Bringing Up Baby | Science & Tech Reviews

Bray, Rosie & Richard Mackney. Get a Life: His & Hers Survival Guide to IVF. Orion: Sterling. Oct. 2017. 320p. index. ISBN 9781409155027. pap. $17.99; ebk. ISBN 9781409155034. HEALTH

In this hilarious, though at times heartbreaking, guide to one couple’s incredibly complicated fertility/infertility journey through IVF, UK-based freelance writer Mackney and TV producer Bray share the journey of undergoing IVF (three times) in order to have a baby. With occasional insights and advice from reproductive medicine expert and gynecologist James ­Nicopoullos, this book shares a lot of Bray’s experience and emotions yet includes Mackney’s perspective as well. Although there are other IVF guides, the personal feel (complete with humor, compassion, mistakes, confessions, and occasional crude language), along with the expertise, makes this a great resource that provides reassurance throughout. Though there are some UK-specific references (the National Health Service, English procedures, etc.), would-be parents from any country will find this immensely helpful. VERDICT A wonderful read for anyone going through the IVF process, or those interested in learning more about it.

—Cheryl Yanek, Brooklyn

Schaffir, Jonathan. What To Believe When You’re Expecting: A New Look at Old Wives’ Tales in Pregnancy. Rowman & Littlefield. Oct. 2017. 168p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781538102077. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781538102084. HEALTH

Pregnant women are inundated with well-meaning but not always scientifically proven or correct advice. Obstetrician Schaffir aims to examine whether the “old wives’ tales” about pregnancy and childbirth are true or not (usually not), giving a better sense of the origin of these stories and whether or not they will work and why. Tales range from plausible to unbelievable, including examinations of the health benefits of women eating the placenta postbirth, whether exercise is beneficial for an easier labor, and if spicy foods induce labor. While chapters are often full of clichés and gender stereotypes, there is plenty of solid medical advice, studies, and well-researched points to make this a useful read for women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Schaffir uses slightly dated language at times, but is also very witty. ­VERDICT Of interest to would-be parents who wish to clarify rumors and myths and tips from others.—Cheryl Yanek, Brooklyn

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