Emma Cannon has practised fertility assistance for decades, helping hundreds of couples to conceive. Her book The Baby-Making Bible is written from the perspective of Chinese medicine, which she marries with Western baby making science.

What is most noticeable is the book’s positivity. It gives women the hope and confidence that they can contribute to their chances of getting pregnant. This is refreshing, because couples who are struggling to conceive can often feel they have no control over something that seems to happen so easily for other people.

For anyone who is unfamiliar with or sceptical about Chinese medicine, the book gives a basic introduction to the principles of Qi (chi – energy) and Jing (health inherited from your parents). It takes a 360 degree look at your whole life and health, and encourages women to prepare themselves and their bodies for pregnancy before they start trying to conceive. To that end, the book can be useful for women who just want to use natural methods to regulate their menstrual cycle.

By taking a holistic approach to health, Cannon gives advice about diet, exercise and managing stress levels. But she is also realistic, and appreciates that people have busy lives to manage.

Cannon identifies people as falling into five types – cold, damp, blood deficient, warm and stagnant. These types sound rather obscure, but when you read the theories behind them, they are simple to understand. There are comprehensive descriptions of the different types, and it should be easy for readers to identify which category they fall into.

Emma Cannon has suggestions for each type and gives some information on which foods suit which type. The dietary information includes lots of recipes to try. The recipes are easy to follow and full of ingredients that are inexpensive and commonly featured in most people’s store cupboards, which is refreshing as some similar books insist that readers buy obscure and costly ingredients.

But the book does not focus exclusively on physical and biological issues. Cannon also examines what mental factors are at play, and asks whether there are any mental blocks women have to conception. She offers visualisation techniques and affirmations about your state of mind to encourage a healthy cycle and conception.

By focusing on the menstrual cycle, the book obviously focuses on the woman and what she can do to improve a couple’s chances of conceiving. There are small sections on men and what men can do, but the book does feel very one-sided, and perhaps could do with more information about how the couple can make changes together to affect their health.

The Baby-Making Bible does recognise that not everyone will be able to conceive naturally, and provides detailed advice for couples who are undergoing assisted reproduction technologies.

Overall, the book is definitely worth getting because it is positive about women taking control of their reproductive cycles.

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