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Book Review: Taking Charge of Your Fertility | Hardin Acupuncture

Book Review: Taking Charge of Your Fertility

fertility chart with basal thermometer

This post was originally featured on Without Child.

In my early twenties, every time I felt mid-cycle cervical fluid I thought it was my period. I’d go to the bathroom and realize, oh, it’s that other stuff.

Ok, that’s an embarrassing thing to admit. And yet, I’ve met many, many educated, self-aware women with similar embarrassing stories around cycle confusion.

I didn’t know that there was an alternative to the birth control pills I was taking that caused frequent yeast infections, breakouts and affected my mood in a not-so-nice way.

After seeing my first acupuncturist, I started to get more in tune with my body. She asked lots of questions about my menstrual cycle, which in turn had me paying attention.

And eventually, I started charting after reading the book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler.

Even if this book didn’t contain important, life-altering information, I’d recommend you read it just for the fact that Toni is freaking hilarious!

It’s hard to imagine that a book about the reproductive cycle could be a page-turner, but it is. Even if you’re not as clueless about your body as I was when I first picked up the book, I’m sure you’ll learn a ton and have fun doing it.

The basic premise of fertility awareness is something that I think every woman should understand, whether she then chooses to chart or not.

And if you think fertility awareness = the rhythm method you’re making a big mistake.

It’s a common misconception.

When I told my mom I was going off of birth control pills, she thought I was heading down a risky path with nothing but a wing and a prayer. And maybe a lucky crystal or two.

As much as she wanted to be a grandmother, she wasn’t ready for an unplanned pregnancy. Neither was I.

The rhythm method means guessing your ovulation date based on past cycles which is just one step above a crapshoot (even if your cycle is amazingly regular), while fertility awareness is based on scientific observations that let you predict your cycle in real-time.

It’s just three steps. Record your basal body temperature. Observe your cervical fluid. And check your cervical position.

Basal body temperature means you take and record your temperature first thing every morning – before you get up to pee or move around much.

The second piece (observing your cervical fluid) means you just pay attention to the quality and consistency of the fluid you have going on down there.

And the third is checking the position of your cervix to see whether it’s soft and open or closed and hard. This third step is an optional double-check for the first two in case there are any discrepancies.

You then use that information to time intercourse accordingly.

The particular details are too much to go into in this post, but they are elucidated perfectly in Toni’s book, complete with pictures, graphs and helpful hints.

She even has a ten-page appendix that you can tear out and bring to your doctor so you’re both on the same page.

That last piece is important. Many tests and interventions are still planned around a standard 28-day cycle, which just isn’t the case for most women.

Your individual chart will help guide exactly what’s needed at what time.

Because even with charting, timing and all that jazz, you may still need support if you’re having difficulty getting pregnant. But now you’ll know better what that support might look like. It’s priceless information.

Amazing that three simple steps can help women get pregnant, prevent pregnancy, learn about their bodies, and be more empowered when it comes to traditional and alternative choices!

And if it seems like too much work, consider one woman that Toni highlights in her book – she stays snuggled in bed half-asleep while her partner places the thermometer in her mouth and records her temperature!

Fertility awareness is totally something that you and your partner can approach together and the process will most likely lead to greater communication and intimacy between you.

How’s that for a side effect?

Clearly, birth control is an important and complex topic. Being fully informed is important. Click here to read more about the negative effects of oral contraceptives in particular.


(Image source: Veronica Tilden, DO)

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Taking Charge of Your Fertility

  1. What a great post, Debbie! I read that book when I was looking for a contraception option that didn’t interfere with breastfeeding. I learned SO MUCH about my body! SO much.

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