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This Is Your Brain on Birth Control: The Surprising Science of Women, Hormones, and the Law of Unintended Consequences
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This Is Your Brain on Birth Control: The Surprising Science of Women, Hormones, and the Law of Unintended Consequences

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  652 ratings  ·  132 reviews
An eye-opening book that reveals crucial information every woman taking hormonal birth control should know

This groundbreaking book sheds light on how hormonal birth control affects women--and the world around them--in ways we are just now beginning to understand. By allowing women to control their fertility, the birth control pill has revolutionized women's lives. Women
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Avery Publishing Group
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Cherie I looked up the author on a different review site and Dr. Sarah E. Hill, the author of this book, is "A leading researcher in the dynamic and rapidly…moreI looked up the author on a different review site and Dr. Sarah E. Hill, the author of this book, is "A leading researcher in the dynamic and rapidly expanding field of evolutionary psychology Sarah E. Hill completed her PhD at UT Austin and is now a professor at TCU. With more than fifty scientific publications and multiple prestigious research grants to her credit, Dr. Hill has become an authority on evolutionary approaches to psychology and health. She has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Scientific American, and The Economist."

Much more credibility on this topic that the children's book author.

Goodreads, please fix!(less)

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Valerie Fazio
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: won-giveaways
A fantastic, must-read for all women on and off birth control. Not only is this book chock full of information about the pull, birth control in general, and the effects of it; it is also PACKED with information and facts about sex, hormones and women in general.

I won this book on a goodreads giveaway and it is my favorite won book thus far. Non-fiction books are not typically my style of reading, but a book like this practically begs to be read. I ate up every word, soaked up the information
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars

I was both excited and nervous to read this book as being someone that suffers from endometriosis and is on a combined pill for treatment (and which massively helps me cope), I didn't want to be completely put off taking it! But I am a scientist at heart and so I wanted the information anyway, as we all should.
Dr Sarah Hill is a brilliant writer and the book is split up nicely for different areas the pill can and does affect. I like to think myself well read within everything
Oct 31, 2019 rated it liked it
This kind of book is a must read for women on or planning to use birth control. It tells you all the changes that are not on that enormous information sheet that comes with the box but instead are far more likely: psychological side effects. It opens your eyes to all the things that may have changed in your life that you attributed to anything but the pill.
Having said that, there were a few things I didn’t like about the author’s communication style.

For one, she treats numbers as if they were
Jillian Doherty
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book should be in every counseling center - chocked full of factual affirmations, opening one's eyes with paradigm-shattering data.

This book provides an even-handed, science-based understanding of who women are, both on and off the pill. It will change the way that women think about their hormones and how they view themselves.

The truth about how the pill can affect women is hidden but crucial and only starting to be known. No researcher wants to be on record as the person who took down
Laura Lam
I found this really interesting. Learned about:

- how hormones work in AFAB bodies
- how birth control is made and the hormones synthesized
- that most research studies use male subjects, even male rats and even cells (!)
- a lot of the time this is due to the pressure for academics to publish often--takes longer to control for hormonal cycles etc.
- plus of course how birth control affects the body and mind, which is the bulk of the book
- the potential wider ramifications of birth control, e.g. the
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult, nonfiction
I didn't quite finish this all the way. I found the research and information presented in a clear, fairly unbiased way. It was scary to read how much we don't know about the effects of hormonal birth control on personalities, emotions, reactions, mating preferences, smells, musical taste, etc. and to think about how simply the question is usually presented - don't want to get pregnant, take the pill, easy! Bottom line - the pill has made huge impacts on society and lives for good and, sometimes, ...more
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was so freaking interesting. It should be required reading for anyone on birth control - not to scare anyone - but because better information leads to better decision making. I learned a lot from this book that can explain some of my experiences on hormonal birth control, and that information will likely help me make good decisions if I ever decide to go back on it.

My one complaint about this book is that I thought the author generalized a little bit too much about women’s experiences
Jaimie Krems
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As an evolutionary social scientist---I'm professor of experimental psychology at a large research-focused university---I had very high expectations for this book. It exceeded those expectations.

Dr. Hill is an incredible author and her work is not only readable, but it's also plainly fun to read.

I will be assigning this book to students and recommending it to those interested in women's psychology and behavior, evolutionary medicine, hormones---and simply to all who are interested in better
Laura Noggle
Dec 10, 2019 rated it liked it
*Note: Despite the star rating, this book should still be read by anyone who's ever taken birth control for extended periods of time.*

I'm glad this topic is being talked about, but as the author states, more conclusive research is needed.

Yes, there are many unknowns when it comes to ingesting birth control, and much of this I think I've already gathered throughout my years. When I lived in Asia, I stopped taking birth control as I really didn't trust getting it in China where "controls" and
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting and insightful book about the Pill that I would recommend anyone using or thinking of using hormonal contraceptives read. Many of the chapters were very informative and discussed issues that are not common knowledge - I for one didn't know that being on the Pill could affect my sense of smell, and my doctor certainly never mentioned it (or any of the other impacts).

As with other reviews, the author did lean quite heavily on the nature side of the nature/nurture debate and used
Jasmin Abbott
Dec 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Brilliant summary of current evidence about what being on the pill does to your body that is extremely needed - however I would want readers to bear in mind this is how one person explains their (well researched) interpretation since, as someone with a scientific background, there are many points in the book I would be more critical of the evidence and therefore the interpretation. Not all scientists think evolutionary biology/psychology is an explanation for everything, which the author does ...more
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
But I didn't believe everything I read.
There are some great explanations of how women's bodies actually work. But it is always blamed on evolution. It was a base, animal discussion that gave no room for higher brain function or spiritual decision making.
I almost quit when the book said dual-mating (cheating) is innately built into womens psychology, especially when in a state of high fertility.
It got better.
This book is more science than self-help, so it was hard skip to the good
Elly Call
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I expected an easy read but it was harder than I expected—not because Hill was in the science weeds (she was, but it was fascinating so I wasn't mad) but because the science challenged many of my understandings of sex and gender. It turned out to make room for a much more nuanced, informed view that wasn't transphobic--but at first, the book didn't seem that way.

Hormones inform behavior. Sex at birth informs hormones. Those are facts, they're real, but at first blush I BALKED at this book. I
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
The book was very informative and definitely gave me great insight on birth control and how it works (against) in your body. However, the author added so many “quirky” footnotes that constantly left a bad taste in my mouth. I felt like she was bragging about how intelligent she is the whole time, as well as making the readers know that she is “trying her best” to put everything in a simple way, so that even WE could understand. I liked the book, but the author made me uncomfortable. I’ve never ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Conflicting feelings about this book. I am happy to know more about the workings of hormones now ... but I still do not believe that - as the book repeatedly underlines - we ARE our hormones (we are also our socialisation, our community, our learned experiences etc. ...). A little bit too deterministic to my liking. Still, an interesting read.
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A MUST READ for everyone—regardless of whether you have the biological equipment to get pregnant.

Here is why: Sarah Hill explains how we ALL are affected when people change their hormones to prevent pregnancy. Hormones ARE us, not a part of us, and make us who we are. As a result, when we change them we change ourselves, and the effects of many individual people changing their hormones cascade throughout society and affect people of all/any/no genders.

If you are a partner to someone who takes
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's about time that this book came out! It's about a Texas PhD's research on the psychological changes that occur on birth control, BC's affects on attraction, and the challenges that gender research face today! This book has been my favorite read of the year, and it should be a mandatory read for you too! I hope that Hill's research becomes a huge topic of discussion in the medical community and around the world. After reading this book, I feel obligated to change how I prescribe birth control ...more
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Excessive use of footnotes significantly impeded the flow (pun intended) of reading
Nov 09, 2019 added it
Shelves: health
As Dr. Hill says in this book, there is still much research that needs to be done on how the pill affects women psychologically. She is not saying that the pill should be banned, but she does want women to have a fuller picture of how the pill may effect women. Sex hormones do more than we give them credit for, and they change what it feels like to be ourselves (and who that “self” is). That’s a pretty big deal, and I’m glad that Dr. Hill was brave enough to do the work involved in writing and ...more
Lydia Cayton
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
W O W. To say this book was incredibly enlightening is an understatement. As someone who took hormonal contraceptives for almost a decade, this book gave me a lot of important information that I wish I’d known a lot sooner. Women have the ability now to plan and choose if/when they have a family, and have more opportunities to take control of our lives than ever before. Which is amazing, obviously. However, being armed with the knowledge of how our options for preventing pregnancy might be ...more
Elizabeth La Lettrice
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, women
Loved this book for putting scientific backing behind things I’ve always thought/suspected/wondered about. There were times when it felt like the author kept repeating herself (same sentence, different wording, in the same paragraph) but I was able to read past it and it probably helped to reinforce some of her/the findings in my brain.

I’d love to see an update of this book down the line as it was pretty clear there is not nearly enough people studying this massively important subject. I’d
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I went in skeptical and was never turned away by the research or message. Big takeaways: our hormones influence who we’re attracted to and the things we’re drawn to while also influencing our mood and preference for a partner. There was also a thoughtful discussion on limitations to research that takes women’s hormonal cycles into consideration and a justification for why this type of research is so new.

Important question from the book: How is initial mate selection influenced by birth control
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've been contemplating the effects of birth control pills lately, so this was a timely read, and an interesting one. I learned a good deal about my own reproductive system, as well as the pervasive effects of hormones in my body. Some of this research I had already been aware of, but a good deal of it was new. I thought that the author presented things clearly and engagingly, for the most part, and I read through this at a very good clip. I think I most appreciated the points made about ...more
Katie Bruell
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow. This was eye-opening, to say the least. It made me mad about past doctors and past choices, for sure. I hope every woman will read this book to at least be more informed about the decisions she's making.

Of course, a lot of the science in here is somewhat speculative, though research-based, but based on my own experiences, I believe it.

One quibble--she talks a lot about how there are now more women than men in college, but never considers that mass incarceration and the war on drugs are huge
Tara Lynn
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I am very happy that I finally found the courage to read this book. I was fearful to begin because I didn't want to hear that I, a long-term pill-taker, had hopelessly and permanently harmed my health with no remedy. Happily, this book was not what I'd feared it might be. This book was very helpful, informative, and clarifying. I understand so much more and have better tools to cope with changes having read this book. I highly recommend it to anyone with any interest or curiosity about how the ...more
Dec 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book sat in my pile for a while before I got past the ultra-pink cover and made myself read it, and now I really wish I'd gotten to it sooner. While I was familiar with the book's basic premise (hormonal birth control changes a whole lot of things about you), I hadn't realized the full range of effects it has, how extensively they've actually been studied, nor how they play out in the real world. For me it was a fun and mind-opening look at the complexities of human biology. I can imagine ...more
Alexandra Chupanovkaya
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Educational and eye opening. It is truly scary how little we know about all the side effects of something that, it seems, the majority of the population is using.
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life, ebooks
Very informative with scientific research based on human studies and data. However, expensive since half the book was cited sources.
Anamaria Koeva
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More good books on female biochemistry, please!
Khan Ashraf  Alif
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
Brillian! Recommending to everyone
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Sarah E. Hill, PhD, is an associate professor of psychology and a leading researcher in the dynamic and rapidly expanding field of evolutionary psychology.