Fertility and Conception stands out among books in this genre because it is written with a conversational style with a solid scientific base.

It is one of those books whose pages seem to turn effortlessly. You might start out looking at the nutrition section, but you will be drawn on well past that as Dr Trewinnard’s chatty style hooks you to the later subjects.

Dr Trewinnard’s thirty years’ experience as a doctor means that she can speak about fertility and conception in a manner that is authoritative, but with a common sense approach. It is a bit like chatting to a GP who knows her stuff, but rather than being chucked out of the consulting room when your ten minutes are up she has the time to answer your every question (even on those things that feel too trivial to ask about in real life).

Her advice is backed up with medical knowledge, but unlike some other texts in this market her book does not read like a medical research paper. Perhaps this is because she writes not only as a doctor but also as a mother of four!

Dr Trewinnard approaches conception and pregnancy as a joint enterprise between a man and a woman, which is refreshing because these days men are much more likely to take an interest than their own fathers would have. The advice to men is pervasive throughout the book and does not patronise or diminish their importance.

The advice on nutrition for conception and a healthy pregnancy is obviously quite general compared to books which are devoted entirely to the subject. A more comprehensive list of what is banned, recommended or encouraged would have been helpful. However, there is an interesting section on what each of the vitamins and minerals does and where to get them from a balanced diet, which is handy for anyone who has been told that they need to eat more vitamin B6 without being told which foods contain it (lentils, avocado and watermelon – if you’re interested!).

The parts of the book that deal with drinking and smoking are hard hitting without sounding like a lecture, which is how some similar books come across. Dr Trewinnard makes some useful suggestions and lists some great alternatives to tea and coffee, so that you can reduce your consumption gradually.

There is also a helpful and comprehensive list of how long it might take for your body to get back to normal after stopping contraception. This is important so that couples can be realistic about the timing.

Finally, the chapter about environmental hazards that affect your fertility was the most surprising. Dr Trewinnard talks about potential risks at work, so that anyone who is nervous about speaking up to their HR department about this subject can approach that meeting feeling well informed after reading this.

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