Six of the Best Books for Women’s Health: Periods, TTC, & More
If the last book you read about women’s health was American Girl’s The Body Book when you were in the sixth grade, it’s time to catch up. The modern library is full of wit and wisdom about our menstrual cycles, our hormones, and our bodies — and what better way is there to understand what it means to be a woman today than to understand the intricate changes our body goes through each month?
These six books about periods, pregnancy, and more are must-reads for anyone who wants to learn more about the menstrual cycle, is trying to conceive, or who’s looking for ways to optimize their hormone health. Read on to discover our tried-and-true reading recommendations for women looking to better understand their bodies and themselves.
Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women’s Health Collective
First published in 1970, Our Bodies, Ourselves is a modern classic on what it means to be a woman. At the time of its first publication, fewer than ten percent of doctors were women. The authors, realizing that they could not rely on the traditional healthcare system, compiled a comprehensive resource based on research, interviews, and more to help women understand their bodies and themselves.
The book has come a long way since the days when it was banned and burned for its references to women’s sexuality and homosexuality. While it covers reproductive anatomy, women’s healthcare, and safe sex, this book is much more than an owner’s manual; it has since been revised from the original edition to cover everything from gender identity, to eating disorders, to violence against women. Now, it is a guide to both women’s health and the role of women within the broader context of society and social justice.
Woman Code by Alisa Vitti
When Alisa Vitti was diagnosed with PCOS, her doctor offered her hormonal birth control as a solution. Searching for answers that wouldn’t require her to alter her biochemistry, Vitti asked her doctor if there was anything else she could do. Disappointed by her lack of options, she launched on her own quest to solve her hormonal imbalances — which led her to found Flo Living, a center dedicated to holistically treating women’s health problems.
Using her insight from years of counseling women with hormonal health issues, Vitti wrote Woman Code, your guide to hacking the unique biochemical system that controls everything from your digestion to your menstrual cycle. Her signature plan incorporates nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle changes — such as cutting harmful chemicals out of your beauty routine — to bring hormones back into balance and reverse issues like endometriosis, PCOS, painful periods, and infertility naturally.
Period Repair Manual by Lara Briden
In the same vein as Alisa Vitti’s Woman Code, Lara Briden’s Period Repair Manual gathers insights from Briden’s years of experience as a naturopathic doctor and women’s health activist. Using nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle recommendations, Briden makes suggestions to help you handle problems like endometriosis and PCOS without heading to the doctor’s office.
The updated version includes additional insights, including those from Jerilynn C. Prior, MD, a professor of endocrinology at the University of British Columbia. Sections on endo and PCOS have been expanded, over 300 new references have been added, and special topics like histamine intolerance and probiotics have been touched on since the first edition. There’s even a brand-new chapter on the transition from perimenopause to menopause, making this book appropriate for women at any stage of life.
It’s Your Hormones by Dr. Geoffrey Redmond
Women suffer from a myriad of health conditions: acne, PCOS, hair loss, PMS, low libido, you name it. These distinct conditions may not appear to have much in common, but in his book, It’s Your Hormones, Dr. Geoffrey Redmond explains how the root of many of the health problems experienced by the modern women is hormonal imbalance.
Dr. Redmond is the director of The Hormone Center in New York, lending him significant authority in the world of women’s endocrinology. Over years of experience, Dr. Redmond has discovered firsthand that the majority of American women ages 35 to 55 suffer from some kind of hormonal imbalance. He offers advice and solutions for getting hormones back in check — but most importantly, he reassures women, who have too often had their concerns dismissed by the medical system as hysteria or PMS, that it’s not them: it’s their hormones.
Nurture by Erica Chidi Cohen
As one of the preeminent doulas of the modern era, Erica Chidi Cohen has assisted hundreds of women through their pregnancies and births. From the beginning months of pregnancy to the baby’s first weeks, this book offers insight into the unique experience of becoming a first-time mother.
Unlike other pregnancy classics like What to Expect When You’re Expecting, however, Nurture goes beyond the physical to emphasize the importance of mental health and self-care during pregnancy. Nurture includes supportive self-help and mindfulness exercises, trimester-specific holistic remedies and recipes, and over 40 useful charts and lists to assuage anxiety and help you feel your best throughout pregnancy. Whether you are currently pregnant or TTC, Nurture has insights into the processes of pregnancy and birthing that will be valuable to any aspiring new mother.
The Trying Game by Amy Klein
Throughout our journey of developing and selling the Mira fertility tracker, we’ve come to intimately understand the unique challenges that come with struggling to start a family. An infertility diagnosis can feel like a death sentence to someone who is not fluent in the language of fertility treatment. The Trying Game by Amy Klein is a thoughtful companion to infertility and fertility treatment, written by a patient who has experienced infertility firsthand.
Klein — author of “Fertility Diary” for the New York Times Motherlode blog — describes her book as the resource she wishes she had when she was trying to get pregnant. The guide is both compassionate and empowering, offering women the information and empathy they need to take control of their fertility journeys in a medical system that often fails them. It not only delves into important topics like freezing your eggs and finding an IVF clinic, but also pays special attention to the emotional component of fertility, including the emotional rollercoaster of starting IVF and the heartbreaking experience of “baby envy” when struggling to get pregnant.
As leading experts in women’s health and fertility, we hope that you will find solace and answers in the pages of these six seminal books. From PCOS to pregnancy, and everything in-between, these informative and entertaining reads will help you assuage your fears and find solutions to any women’s health problem you may be facing — or simply help you better understand what it means to be a modern woman.
✔️ Medically Reviewed by Banafsheh Kashani, MD, FACOG
Banafsheh Kashani, M.D., FACOG is a board-certified OB/GYN and specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Eden Fertility Centers, and has been treating couples and individuals with infertility since 2014. Prior to joining Eden Centers for Advanced Fertility, she was practicing as a top fertility specialist at Kaiser Permanente in Orange County and Reproductive Fertility Center. Dr. Kashani has received numerous awards throughout her years of study and medical training.
Dr. Kashani has conducted extensive research in female reproduction, with a specific focus on the endometrium and implantation. Additionally, Dr. Kashani has authored papers in the areas of fertility preservation, and fertility in women with PCOS and Turners syndrome. She also was part of a large SART-CORS study evaluating the trend in frozen embryo transfers and success rates.
Dr. Kashani is a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In addition, she is a diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and an active member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and Pacific Coast Reproductive Society (PCRS). She is also a member of the Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (SREI).