Living in accordance to the menstrual cycle

the menstrual cycle, Kiah McGowan

How to optimise your self-care, diet and exercise changes in each phase of the menstrual cycle.

People who menstruate undergo hormonal fluctuations every month. Through each phase of the menstrual cycle, our internal bodies change, and we can feel this through our energy levels, physical symptoms, sociability, appetite and mood. It only makes sense that we listen to these changes and live in harmony with them. Living in accordance with your cycle is an amazing way to support your hormonal health, optimise your lifestyle habits and promote presence in your body.

How does Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) understand the menstrual cycle?

TCM understands the menstrual cycle as a complex ebb and flow of the Yin and Yang energies, as well as Blood and Qi (life force; energy). Yin and Yang are the fundamental basis of all life, and the balance of these determines one’s health. Yin is related to night time, cooling, moistening and stillness, while Yang is related to day time, warming, drying and movement. Similarly, Blood nourishes and supports bodily structures (more Yin is quality) while Qi supports bodily functions and mechanisms (more Yang in quality). When these four parts are in balance, our cycles should look like this:

  • Cycle length of 26-32 days
  • 3-5 day medium bleed
  • 30-80 mls bright red rich blood (full pad = 5ml/ full tampon = 10ml/full cup 15-30ml/ full period undies = 15-20ml)
  • No spotting, period starts straight away
  • No bloating, PMS, sore breasts, pain etc.
  • Clear signs of ovulation (days 12-20)
  • Minimum 11 day luteal phase (ovulation – day before period)

The ebbs and flows of Yin, Yang, Blood and Qi in Chinese Medicine are very similar to the hormonal fluctuations understood by Western Medicine. In both medicines, changes that occur in the cycle that do not line up with the above list are seen as imbalances. Which means that if you, say, get horrible period pain every month, this is not normal and is actually a sign that something is out of balance.

Promoting natural balance through cyclical living

The Menstrual phase: ‘Blood phase’

This phase of the menstrual cycle occurs from day 1 of full bleeding. Our pituitary gland in our brain begins producing luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which stimulates the growth of small sacs in the ovaries, known as follicles. Our uterine lining sloughs off and is lost through the menstrual bleed.

  • Blood is Yin in nature, and therefore we need to support our Yin through promoting stillness and nourishment. Think: cozy, warm and restful.
  • Self-care: Take it easy and enjoy activities such as reading, journalling, meditating and cooking.
  • Exercise: If you feel up to exercising, opt for more gentle activity that won’t deplete you. Yin or Restorative Yoga, stretching and walking is ideal.
  • Diet: Drink lots of tea and water during your period, avoiding ice-cold or refrigerated drinks. Eat plenty of cooked and warming foods like soups, stews and bone broths. Ensure your eat plenty of protein and healthy fats such as beans, meats and seafoods. You can also include TCM blood-stimulating foods like ginger, turmeric and apple cider vinegar.
  • Keep yourself warm: wear socks, stay cozy and keep a hot water bottle on your tummy, which may help promote blood circulation.

The Follicular phase: ‘Yin phase’

This phase of the menstrual cycle occurs from the start of the period until ovulation. The follicles we produced in our menstrual phase grow until one comes the most dominant. Our uterine lining, or endometrium, also thickens up.

  • After menstruation, we focus on Blood and Yin nourishment, and can enjoy the increase in energy that comes with this.
  • Self-care: we begin to feel more extroverted and energetic at this time of the month. It’s time to get out there: go on dates, make new friends, have more sex, try new things! This is a great time to get new projects together, focus on self development and take advantage of creativity.
  • Exercise: This is the time to get those gains in the gym! Lift heavy and focus on endurance, your body can handle it and recover better at this time.
  • Diet: Eat generous amounts of protein, fat, folic acid and B12. Think beans, fish, eggs, meat, cooked leafy greens, berries, avocado, tahini and nuts/ and seeds. Avoid alcohol, coffee, smoking and sugary, processed foods.

The Ovulatory phase: ‘Yang phase’

Ovulation generally occurs around day 11-16 of the menstrual cycle, NOT only day 14 which is a common misconception. Ovulation is affected by many factors, such as cycle length and our physical and mental health. The dominant follicle mentioned in the previous phase releases an egg after a surge in LH occurs. Yin and fluid levels are at their peak, which brings about stretchy (egg-white consistency) fertile mucus.

  • During this phase of the menstrual cycle, we transition from more Yin energy in to Yang, so we can live in a more Yang manner!
  • Self-care: It’s time to bring your creative projects to light! The best time of the month for presentations, work events and hosting. Your libido will be high too. If you’re trying to fall pregnant, this is the time to get busy!
  • Exercise: begin to get a little gentler while still riding on that energy high. It’s a perfect time for swimming, yoga, jogs, lighter weight lifting and HIIT.
  • Diet: begin to eat lighter meals with lots of cruciferous veggies and fibre to flush out excess estrogen. Enjoy warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, cumin, cardamom, cayenne and ginger to nourish the Yang. Limit cold and raw foods or drinks.

The Luteal Phase: ‘Qi Phase’

The egg released during ovulation now becomes the corpus luteum, a temporary hormone-secreting structure (secreting progesterone and estrogen). The corpus luteum will break down if pregnancy has not occurred around ovulation.

  • This is a very Yang time of the month: basal body temperature increases with all the extra warming Yang energy, and if you do become pregnant, Yang is needed here to support and hold the fetus. As we draw closer to the period, we promote Qi flow, which is impeded with stress, frustration, resentment and bottling up of emotions.
  • Self-care: focus on emotional release. Feeling irritable, upset and/or depressive are signs that you need to slow down. Prioritise rest and alone time; get in to breath work, journalling, meditation. Book that massage, acupuncture or facial session and take care of yourself.
  • Exercise: decrease vigorous exercise and opt for low-impact pilates, yoga, barre, body weight exercise or stretching. Many people naturally begin to feel a lack of strength post-ovulation, so listen to your body.
  • Diet: You may notice that your appetite is going a little haywire and this is because your metabolic rate is also increased, meaning you can up your caloric load (this doesn’t mean eat that entire block of Cadbury!!). Instead, opt for hearty meals, slow-cooked meats, stews, soups and broths with plenty of root veggies. Include green and/or pungent foods like basil, fennel, garlic, ginger, vinegar, rosemary dill etc, as well as magnesium and zinc-rich foods like nuts and seeds.

Our periods are our fifth vital sign. When we listen to our bodies and the symptoms that come up during our cycles, we begin to see the things we need to work on. If you suddenly had an excruciatingly painful, emotional period one month, think to yourself: what has my self-care been like this cycle? How have I been feeling emotionally? Have I been eating too much sugar, drinking too much alcohol? Have I been over exercising?

Having this presence in your life and with your body can be a game-changer for your hormonal health. However, natural changes do take time to come in to effect, so be patient with yourself. If you need extra support, acupuncture and Chinese Herbs work cyclically to support your bodies’ changes at each phase to promote hormonal balance and happy periods.

Book your acupuncture sessions with Kiah to get back in to balance naturally. Navigate to heading ‘Acupuncture > Acupuncture Initial’ and select Kiah McGowan.

Postnatal Depletion Recovery

Postnatal Depletion

Georgia Marrion, Senior Fertility Naturopath and Nutritionist at Fertile Ground Health Group, joined Andrew Whitfiled-Cook from Natural Medicine Partners on their podcast – Wellness by Design, to discuss postnatal depletion recovery.

We know that pregnancy can take a toll on a woman’s body and involves prioritisation of nutrition to the fetus (foetus) at the expense of the mother.  We also know that this can result in significant depletion of nutrients, and furthermore can even result in  structural changes to the mother’s brain tissue.

It’s no wonder, then, that there’s a thing called pregnancy brain, and that women suffer from extreme fatigue, sometimes months, or even years after giving birth.

Stress hormones play havoc with maternal hormonal balance and immunity. When does this depletion become pathological? When does postpartum fatigue become a problem? And what other issues face women after giving birth?

Today we are joined by Senior Fertility Naturopath and Nutritionist, Georgia Marrion. Georgia is an expert in supporting women both during their pregnancy and in the postpartum period.

Join us as we delve into the aetiology and supportive measures we can offer women who suffer from prolonged fatigue, stress and ensuing mental health issues which impede optimal family functioning.

Listen on your preferred medium, see links below:

Apple Podcast

Buzzsprout

Book your free 10-minute introduction telehealth consult with Senior Fertility Naturopath & Nutritionist, Georgia Marrion to get started. Navigate to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

References

Huntley R. What is postnatal depletion and do I have it? ABC Everyday. Posted 6 Mar 20196 Mar 2019, updated 19 Oct 2020. (Accessed 3023 Apr 3).

Hoekzema E, Barba-Müller E, Pozzobon C, et al. Pregnancy leads to long-lasting changes in human brain structure. Nat Neurosci. 2017 Feb;20(2):287-296. DOI:

10.1038/nn.4458

Barba-Müller E, Craddock S, Carmona S, et al. Brain plasticity in pregnancy and the postpartum period: links to maternal caregiving and mental health. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2019 Apr;22(2):289-299. DOI: 10.1007/s00737-018-0889-z

Chenko N, Dukart J, Tchaikovski S, et al. The expectant brain-pregnancy leads to changes in brain morphology in the early postpartum period. Cereb Cortex. 2022 Sep 4;32(18):4025-4038. DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhab463

Kim P, Leckman JF, Mayes LC, et al. The plasticity of human maternal brain: longitudinal changes in brain anatomy during the early postpartum period. Behav Neurosci. 2010 Oct;124(5):695-700. DOI: 10.1037/a0020884

Zeisel SH, Niculescu MD. Perinatal choline influences brain structure and function. Nutr Rev. 2006 Apr;64(4):197-203. DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2006.tb00202.x

Dhiman P, Pillai RR, Wilson AB, et al. Cross-sectional association between vitamin B12 status and probable postpartum depression in Indian women. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2021 Feb 17;21(1):146. DOI: 10.1186/s12884-021-03622-x

Houghton LA, Yang J, O’Connor DL. Unmetabolized folic acid and total folate concentrations in breast milk are unaffected by low-dose folate supplements. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jan;89(1):216-20. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.26564

Williamson JM, Arthurs AL, Smith MD, et al. High Folate, Perturbed One-Carbon Metabolism and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Nutrients. 2022 Sep 22;14(19):3930. DOI: 10.3390/nu14193930

Are Contraceptives Harmful?

Are Contraceptives Harmful?

One source of chemical exposure that particularly affects women are pharmaceutical contraceptives, which while providing important birth control benefits, can also have adverse effects on the body, particularly when we have systems, organs or tissues with suboptimal functioning or diseases or nutrient deficiencies. (4)

In our modern world, we are all exposed to a significant amount of chemicals from food, water, medications and the environments we live in and ongoing research increasingly indicates a link between such exposure and the presence of disease and/or health imbalances. (3) In this blog, I’ll dive into the specifics around contraceptive toxicity and what you can do to help yourself clear it whilst 

What types of contraceptives are there?

The most common contraceptives used by women are combined oral contraceptive pills (COCs), progestin-only contraceptive pills (POPs) and intrauterine devices (IUDs – such as the Mirena). Lots of abbreviations there!

COCs contain various combinations and doses of synthetic oestrogen and progesterone (known as progestins), while POPs are progestin (synthetic progesterone) only medications. Each are available in pill, patch or vaginal ring dosage forms. 

The most common type of synthetic oestrogen used in these medications is a compound called ethinyl estradiol (EE) (others that can be used include chlorotrianisene, dienestrol, diethylstilbestrol, fosfestrol, mestranol or quinestro). 

Progestins (the synthetic version of progesterone) can contain old (norethisterone, levonorgestrel, gestodene) or new forms (drospirenone, dienogest, trimegestone). The two types of IUDs are available are the copper-bearing (Cu-IUD) and hormonal-releasing forms. [1,5-7] 

How are contraceptives processed by your body?

So, you either ingest these contraceptive medications orally or they are present in your body following insertion. What happens to these hormones once they are in your body?

The pharmacokinetics (how they are absorbed, distributed and removed from the body) varies depending on the different types and dosage forms used, with oral medications generally having more significant biological effects compared with topical, vaginal or intrauterine forms. (But not always). [4

For the oral dosage forms, once it makes its way down the gastrointestinal tract/gut, EE is absorbed quickly (though the rate of absorption can vary from 20-65% between individuals, from day to day and with long-term use). 

Nerdy fact 1: this can be one of the reasons why one woman will respond differently to these medications to another (the fascinating joys of physiology!) 

Once the contraceptive medicine is absorbed, it undergoes metabolism (conversion) in the liver. This produces a range of oestrogen metabolites (substances that have been converted to a different form) that then either leave the body via the kidneys or bowels, or are altered by bacteria in the large bowel/intestine and reabsorbed and recirculated throughout the body. [4,8

Nerdy fact 2: this is one of the reasons why gut health influences hormone levels and activity in the body and therefore menstrual health and fertility). 

So, what about progestins (our synthetic progesterone)? They only go through the step of conversion in the liver (they aren’t reabsorbed and recirculated like oestrogens are). Though (you know what I’m going to say here…) the rate (how quickly or slowly) that progestins are metabolised will be different depending on the type of progestin in the medication used. [8]

How do synthetic contraceptive hormones get processed in your body?

The summary so far:

  • How these synthetic hormones are absorbed and distributed in the body will vary from one woman to the next depending on the type and duration of medication used. 
  • It will also vary because of the wide range of differences between us all in our physiology (which body systems and organs are working well and which ones need some love). This will influence the degree to which such substances can adversely affect our bodies in one way or another. 

Contraceptives and their side effects

The types of adverse impacts associated with such contraceptive medications and devices can include our gut and vaginal microbiomes, liver function, oxidative stress levels, chemical accumulation and nutrient status. [9-16

That sounds like a lot, right? Keep in mind we will all respond differently to such medications, so it’s important to consider your own individual response and if a particular contraceptive is right for your body or not. 

It’s all about the bugs….(gut and vaginal microbiome) 

The link between contraceptive medications and the gut microbiome is complex/complicated. 

Certain intestinal bacterial species with a particular enzyme called beta-glucuronidase and beta-glucosidase in the colon (you may have heard of the term ‘estrobolome’ which this is referring to these type of gut bugs) alters the structure of oestrogen in bile. How is this relevant? This will influence the amount of oestrogen that is reabsorbed and recirculated around the body. [17,18

Nerdy fact 3: intestinal dysbiosis (an imbalance between beneficial and non-beneficial bacteria in the gut) can mean more oestrogen is recirculated in the body, and in this case, more is not better when it comes to too much oestrogen!

And here’s the thing…both oral COC and IUDs can alter gut microbiota and vaginal microbiome composition and the integrity of our small intestinal lining (which can cause, contribute to or exacerbate dysbiosis). [9-16] This means that contraceptives may indirectly contribute to body toxicity by adversely affecting the capacity of the gut to metabolise and excrete other environmental chemicals we are commonly exposed to (xenobiotics including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrotoluenes, pesticides, polychlorobiphenyls, heavy metals, benzene derivatives, azo dyes, artificial sweeteners). [20

Take home message 1: the balance of your bugs matters when it comes to hormone health and fertility. 

Contraceptives and your liver function

Contraceptives can also affect how happy your liver is, which is important because one of the key functions of this important organ is to detoxify a HUGE range of substances from the outside (chemicals from our food, drink, environment and medications, including the hormones from these contraceptives) and inside our bodies to make them safer for removal from the body.

That is, certain contraceptives (and our gut bugs) can affect the activity of our liver enzymes (the good guys that carry out these detoxifying reactions). [21] This can present a problem when the level of our chemical exposure exceeds the ability of these liver enzymes to detoxify them, resulting in higher levels of circulating (unconverted) toxic metabolites, further contributing to an overload of these liver detoxification pathways. [4,8,22

Take home message 2: healthy liver function is another key aspect of hormone health and fertility. 

Contraceptives and their impact on nutrient and trace mineral status

Contraceptive medications may also contribute to endogenous toxicity by modifying endogenous nutrient, heavy metal and trace mineral levels, subsequently influencing (nutrient-dependent) hepatic detoxification and cellular antioxidant enzyme activity.

A range of studies have shown that nutrients that can be lower with use of OCPs, IUDs or injectable contraceptives include zinc, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin B12 while higher levels of iron, copper and cadmium can also occur. [31,32, 33, 34, 35]

Lower levels of selenium, zinc and magnesium can influence body toxicity as they are required for the synthesis and activity of antioxidant enzymes in the body (including glutathione (magnesium), superoxide dismutase (zinc), glutathione peroxidase and selenoprotein enzymes (selenium). [36

The toxic effects of the heavy metal cadmium in the body include by depleting glutathione levels, inhibiting antioxidant enzyme activity and increasing the synthesis of free radicals/oxidative stress [37] Copper, when it’s too high, can contribute to pathological oxidative processes in much of the body, including inactivation of glutathione peroxidase and oxidation of hepatic mitochondrial cells, while excess iron results in the formation free radicals. [33,38,39] When there are excessive levels of oxidative stress in body cells and tissues with use of contraceptives, this can have a detrimental impact on detoxification processes and overall body toxicity and functional capacities.   

Take home message 3: nutrient status and oxidative stress can be adversely affected by contraceptives, particularly if you have used them for an extended period of time. 

What can you do if you think contraceptives are adversely affecting you?

The use of pharmaceutical contraceptives has an important place in the population for birth control and family planning purposes – this blog is not a directive to come off all your contraceptives! 

However, their potential detrimental impact on the body (and your reproductive health and fertility in many cases) is an important consideration. This means it is important to identify if the health issues you are experiencing are associated with your contraceptives and getting individualised support with strategies including functional pathology, dietary modifications, nutrient, herbal and lifestyle changes to address such imbalances. 

Written by Senior Fertility Naturopath & Nutritionist, Georgia Marrion MHNut, BHsci (Comp Med), Adv.Dip HSci (Nat) MNSA, MANPA, MFSA

Make a free 10 minute booking with Georgia to get started on your journey towards better health.

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  54. Hilakivi-Clarke L, de Assis S, Warri A. Exposures to synthetic estrogens at different times during the life, and their effect on breast cancer risk. J Mamm Gland Biol Neoplas 2013 Mar; 18 (1): 25-42.
  55. Oedingen C, Scholz S, Razum O. Systematic review and meta-analysis of the association of combined oral contraceptives on the risk of venous thromboembolism: the role of the progestogen type and estrogen dose. Thromb Res 2018 May; 165: 68-78.
  56. Dragoman MV, Tepper NK, Fu R, Curtis KM, Chou R, Gaffield ME. A systematic review and meta-analysis of venous thrombosis risk among users of combined oral contraception. Int J Gynecol Obstet 2018 Feb; 141 (3). 
  57. Glisic M, Shahzad S, Tsoli S et al. Association between progestin-only contraceptive use and cardiometaboic outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Prev Cardiol 2018 May. 
  58. Skovlund CW, Morch LS, Kessing LV. Association of hormonal contraception with depression. JAMA Psychiatry 2016; 73 (11): 1154-1162.
  59. Faryal U, Rashid S, Majra B, Hassan M, Saqib J, Ali MA. Effect of hormonal contraceptives on serum serotonin in females of reproductive age group. J Ayub Med Coll Abbot Pak 2016; 28 (1). 
  60. Meier TB, Drevets WC, Teague TK, Wurfel BE, Mueller SC, Bodurka J, Dantzer R, Savitz J. Kynurenic acid is reduced in females and oral contraceptive users: implications for depression. Brain Behav Immun 2018 Jan; 67: 59-64. 
  61. Erol O, Simavli S, Derbent AU, Ayrim A, Kafali H. The impact of copper-containing and levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine contraceptives on cervicovaginal cytology and microbiological flora: a prospective study. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care 2014 Jun; 19 (3): 187-93.
  62. Chagas BS, Gurgel APAD, Paiva Junior SSL, Lima RCP, Cordeiro MN, Moura RR et al. Synergic effect of oral contraceptives, GSTP1 polymorphisms, and high-risk HPV infection in development of cervical lesions. Genet Mol Res 2017 Aug 17; 16 (3).  
  63. Jatlaoui TC, Riley HE, Curtix KM. The safety of intrauterine devices among young women: a systematic review. Contraception 2017 Jan; 95 (1): 17-39.
  64. Batur P, Bowersox N, McNamara M. Contraception: efficacy, risks, continuation rates and use in high risk women. J Women’s Health. 2016 Aug; 25 (8): 853-6.
  65. Klug CD, Keay CR, Ginde AA. Fatal toxic shock syndrome from an intrauterine device. Ann Emerg Med 2009; 54: 701-3.
  66. Herzer CM. Toxic shock syndrome: broadening the differential diagnosis. J Am Board Fam Pract 2001; 14: 131-6.
  67. Cho EE, Fernando D. Fatal streptococcal toxic shock syndrome from an intrauterine device. J Emerg Med 2013; 44: 777-80.

Movement & Embodied Dance for Preconception, Pregnancy & Postnatal Care

Movement & Embodied Dance for Preconception
We have the delightful privilege of introducing you to our unique new practitioner – Katy Woods. Katy joins our Fertile Ground team as a Movement and Embodied Dance Coach.
Katy’s passion is working with people who want to cultivate a deeper connection within and to their bodies.

This can be at any stage of life, and is particularly useful when preparing for and experiencing all the physical and emotional changes that fertility, pregnancy, new parenthood (and other life-changing times such as peri-menopause and menopause) bring the body and mind.

Why are we offering this new modality? 

In early 2020 we were aching for something that would not only help us navigate our own emotional integration through the ever changing terrain of COVID, to keep us moving through Melbourne lockdowns and also to bring us joy.

Katy came to our rescue and AbunDance was birthed – a weekly online facilitated dance and movement group session that helped all of those in attendance move through their emotional landscapes and find connection and uplift too.

When the AbunDance series finished, we continued to have private sessions with Katy, focusing on feminine embodiment practices along with emotional processing. We did solo as well as couple’s consults, which offered a layer of deep connection as we rolled the shapes of our bodies through time and space together.

We found these sessions to be such an incredible asset to our personal resilience and capacity to navigate our lives through COVID that we just knew we needed to offer this widely to our community for all the benefits it brings.
Book for Telehealth/Zoom sessions with Katy on:
Thursdays 10am – 7pm AEST
Fridays 10am – 7pm AEST
Sundays 4pm – 7pm AEST
About Katy 

Katy Woods is passionate about offering practices that nurture your connection to yourself and your surroundings. She works with a movement-based approach to investigate issues related to your body, your emotions, and how your relationships to self and others are formed from that. Her coaching uses guided improvisations, rich imaginings and meditations, authentic movement discovery, and body science to give you long term-tools to become stronger, more confident, and help you refine a deep understanding of self.

Katy is like an old friend, welcoming, insightful, and attentive. She is currently running free toe-dipping 10 minute consults to help you get a sense of what this new connective practice could be like for you.

Read more about Katy in her practitioner bio and book in to get started with a new practice of self care and connection.

We look forward to seeing you at the practice soon,

Charmaine Dennis & Carly Woods
Directors
About Katy

Movement & Embodied Dance for Preconception

 

Katy Woods
Bachelor of Creative Art & Contemporary Dance

Movement & Embodied Dance Coach

Fertile Ground Health Group at The Melbourne  Apothecary
p: (03) 9419 9988
e: katy@fertileground.com.au
www.fertileground.com.au
Facebook & Instagram
a: 33 Smith Street, Fitzroy

Trying To Conceive

Trying To Conceive

We know that around 80-84% of couples with healthy and fully functioning reproductive systems will be pregnant within 12 months, and 93% within two years. These couples have a 20% chance of conceiving on any one cycle and the chance is not cumulative ‒ it is a 20% chance each time. We also know that a variety of factors can affect your chance of conceiving, including your age, diet, lifestyle, fitness and stress levels. We will get to all of that, but let’s focus on sex first!

A fertility equation

If 100 couples try to get pregnant in January, about 20 will conceive, leaving 80 to try again in February. If another 20 per cent (or 16 couples) conceive, then 64 will be trying again in March. Continuing the one-in-five success rate, by the end of April roughly half will have successfully conceived. At this rate, after seven months 78 couples would have conceived (leaving 22 not yet pregnant).

 

Trying to conceive (TTC) takes time – it is like predicting the weather really. It can look like rain, feel like rain, even have lightning and thunder and yet still hold off. It will rain eventually in most cases, but we can’t say exactly when. When you start TTC, if you can, try to keep hold of the understanding that you would like to conceive sometime over the course of the year. This will help avoid what many couples experience as the roller-coaster ride of TTC – the highs and lows that come with expectation and disappointment if you don’t have a positive pregnancy test; feelings that are often compounded by PMT!

Having said that though, research shows that if you can interpret your body’s signs of ovulation and time your sex and conception attempts to the fertile window, your chances of conceiving on any one cycle are significantly higher.

 

When is the best time to have sex?

Every pregnancy truly is a miracle of its own. When it comes to getting pregnant, it seems that many couples aren’t doing it right. A recent Australian study of women trying to conceive found that although more than half (68.2%) thought they were timing it right for conception, only 13% accurately estimated their day of ovulation.

Understanding the most fertile time of the female cycle is critical for conception to occur and it is so important to get good education and advice about this. An inaccurate understanding may contribute to delayed conception and many cases of ‘unexplained’ infertility. Women only have a small window in each reproductive cycle to conceive so it is important to get the timing right. While you can feel like you have been trying for months and months, if you are not focusing your efforts on this optimal window of time, the likelihood of conceiving is slim.

 

Jane’s Story

Jane had been trying to conceive based on when her app told her she was ‘flowering’. Sure enough, as her cycle was irregular (31-45 days), it was way off, saying that she was ovulating a lot earlier than she was and hence missing the fertile window for healthy conception. This couple tried the next month at the right time, and low and behold it worked! Jane also made diet changes and had started herbal medicine, but the timing was an important factor. 

 

The Fertile Window

We know that eggs only live for 12-24 hours while sperm may be viable for up to five days (although most have very little vitality left after three). For optimal chances and the healthiest conception, ideally sperm will be ready and waiting in the fallopian tubes for when the egg is released by the ovary (ovulation). The best chances of conceiving occur with intercourse within the two days before ovulation and the day of ovulation. These three days are called your ‘Fertile Window’.

Technically, you do have a small chance of conception from five days prior to ovulation but you have the highest probability during this three-day window. This is also the best time for insemination for same sex couples or single women who are planning to time insemination at home. In most cases you don’t need to rely on technology or your doctor to tell you when this is occurring. Happily, there are signs to indicate the fertile window and that the egg is about to be released.

When is my fertile window?

To improve your chances of conception, have sex during the two days prior to ovulation and the day of ovulation. e.g if you ovulate on Day 14 of your cycle, your most fertile days (and also the best to have sex) are likely to be days 12, 13 and 14.

 

Having said that, ovulation can be affected by many factors – stress, weight (over and under), excessive exercise, excitement, travel, thyroid problems, polycystic ovarian syndrome and anaemia (as well as all the various types of infertility). Read on for more information on how you can understand how to determine your fertile window, but it is important to seek guidance with a qualified and experienced fertility professional if you are confused. 

Where time permits, it is useful to check and record the signs and symptoms of your reproductive cycle for a few cycles before you try to conceive

Knowing your signs of ovulation and timing your sex with understanding of your cycle will give you an increased sense of confidence in your conscious conception. Marking secondary symptoms like headaches or fluid retention will give your fertility practitioner team very useful information about your cycle and hormones to assist with providing the best treatment for your individual needs. 

Make sure you scan and email or bring your charts to every fertility related appointment where possible. Your practitioner will help you to understand and interpret your chart with ease. It may seem confusing at first, but within a few cycles it will become clear – a free and easy method to understand your cycle for your reproductive life. 

 

For more information or to get help on your fertility or pregnancy journey, book in with a Fertile Ground Naturopath

 

References:

Crosignani P, Rubin B, The ESHRE Capri Workshop Group. Optimal use of infertility diagnostic tests and treatments. Hum Reprod. 2000;15(3):723-732. doi:10.1093/humrep/15.3.723.

Fritz MA, Speroff L. Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility. 8th edn. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011.

Gnoth C, Godehardt D, Godehardt E, Frank-Herrmann P, Freundl G. Time to pregnancy: Results of the German prospective study and impact on the management of infertility. Hum Reprod. 2003;18(9):1959-1966. doi:10.1093/humrep/deg366.

Hampton K, Mazza D. Fertility-awareness knowledge, attitudes and practices of women attending general practice. Aust Fam Physician. 2015;44(11):840-845.

Jansen RPS. Elusive fertility: fecundability and assisted conception in perspective. Fertil Steril. 1995;64(2):252-254. doi:10.1016/S0015- 0282(16)57718-8.

Manders M, McLindon L, Schulze B, Beckmann MM, Kremer JAM, Farquhar C. Timed intercourse for couples trying to conceive. Cochrane database Syst Rev. 2015;3(3):CD011345. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD011345. pub2.

Sharma R, Biedenharn KR, Fedor JM, Agarwal A. Lifestyle factors and reproductive health: taking control of your fertility. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2013;11(1):66. doi:10.1186/1477-7827-11-66.

Te Velde ER, Eijkemans R, Habbema H. Variation in couple fecundity and time to pregnancy, an essential concept in human reproduction. Lancet. 2000;355(June):1928-1929. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(00)03202-5.

Change Seems To Have Been Knocking

Change Seems To Have Been Knocking

Hello 🙂

Change seems to have been knocking pretty loudly on the doors to our souls for the last few years. And as human beings we generally love familiarity and resist change. So how do we find a smooth path forwards amidst the intensity, knowing that change is one of the certainties of life?

Change is inevitable.

Growth is optional.

-John C. Maxwell.

I find inspiration in reflecting on the element of choice amidst change. Perhaps many of us feel like life is happening TO us. I prefer to think that life is happening FOR me and that I have the incredible privilege of choice in how I respond to anything that the winds of change serve up on my colourful life platter. 

Change brings with it a huge opportunity for choice and personal growth. Now, growth is a lovely sounding word HOWEVER in actuality the experience of growth is often downright painful. 

Growth is reaching into realms we don’t yet know (no familiarity). Growth is being a learner at something and not getting it right straight away. Growth is putting something out there, failing, learning from that failure and recalibrating to soar to new heights. Growth is extrication of patterns of thought, emotion and behaviour that have become embedded in the subconscious parts of our brains, and the stretching effort involved to movement beyond that to something that better serves us in our lives.

Growth is uncomfortable

Thankfully, discomfort is the currency of our dreams, so what an amazing gift!

Imagine moving from a state of resistance into a state of delight when met with change and growth. Imagine being so willing to feel the discomfort of growth that you’re constantly reaping the rewards on the other side of it. Imagine using constant external change in your environment to inspire you to push through the discomfort of personal growth in a way that catapults you into an incredible spectrum of human experience that you’ve not yet touched in your life…

The opportunities change brings are endless

And I wish you many beautiful moments of growth amidst it!

If you want support amidst big changes and the discomfort of growth in your life; if you want to steady your capacity as you step into the discomfort and choose to grow in ways that serve you; if you want a moment of spaciousness to breathe and let everything fall away to recalibrate yourself for the next step on your journey – know that we are here for you.

Find the practitioners you need here → www.fertileground.com.au/practitioners 

Your MA 💕

PS – we’re beginning to experience limited availability for many consult types, so we recommend booking in advance for your appointments.

The Two Week Wait

the two week wait with Naturopath Tess Doig, Fertile Ground Health Group

It’s important to explore your options for mind and body support during the two week wait, as this is the time between ovulation or transfer of an embryo during IVF,  to when you find out the outcome of your pregnancy test. It can be a time of great anguish, as you wait (for about 2 weeks) to find out if you are pregnant. 

Many women that have been on a fertility journey for a while often say they are living their life in 2 week increments. The 2 weeks leading up to their ovulation are filled with planning, and lots of sex in the days before ovulation, which then moves into stress and anxiety post ovulation, followed by a depressed few days when their period comes, to be repeated over and over. 

Seek Support

To help support you in this time, here are a few tips to help optimise your body in lowering stress, improving your mood and as well as optimising your body to hopefully lead to a positive pregnancy test. 

  • Reward yourself with a massage, a shopping trip or a delicious meal out with your partner (no wine though please). There is some evidence that supporting dopamine can help support implantation. Dopamine is produced when we feel a ‘reward’, so no better excuse to treat yourself than this. It doesn’t need to cost money either, it could be running a bath for yourself with some candles, chatting with an old friend on the phone or anything else that feels good. As well as supporting dopamine, it can also help as a point of distraction during the two week wait.
Sex for everyone
  • Commonly, when couples have been trying to conceive for a long time, sex can become a little mechanical and left for just the fertile window.  However, studies show that a woman being exposed to a male partner’s semen post ovulation or transfer can actually help implantation. When an embryo implants into a woman’s uterus, her body has to perform a miraculous feat of down-regulating her immune system to allow the foreign cells from the embryo to join into her body and allow her blood supply to continue to nourish and grow the embryo. In no other time does this happen, think of how many immunosuppressive drugs a person must take in an organ transplant. It is believed that a woman continuing to be exposed to a male partner’s cells through contact with semen, this supports that down-regulation of her immune system to support the embryo’s implantation. Sex can also be a wonderful way to boost dopamine, see above, as well as to strengthen the connection between a couple.
  • When going through the fertility journey, allowing sex to be for pleasure and not just baby making, can be a wonderful way to maintain your connection in any context you choose – be it to yourself, to your partner or otherwise. Sex can be supportive whether you’re conceiving naturally, through IVF or in a heterosexual or same-sex couple. For single women, self-pleasure can be just as beneficial. 
When is sex not recommended?

The only time I may consider sex may possibly not be safe during the two week wait, is if you have a significant vaginal infection such as Bacterial Vaginosis. Hopefully this has been looked into and treated prior to conception but if you are unsure, speak to your naturopath practitioner. 

Nutritional & Medicinal Support
  • Eat nitric oxide rich foods such as berries, beetroot, dark chocolate, pomegranate and leafy greens. Nitric oxide is a chemical in the body that helps to open blood vessels and promote blood flow. Increasing blood flow is important for implantation to help nourish the uterine wall and embryo. Some examples of how to include these foods could be a berry choc smoothie with cocoa and organic raspberries, or a roasted cauliflower and beetroot salad with a yogurt dressing and pomegranate sprinkled on top. The other benefit of these foods is they are often feel-good foods, boosting your mood. Another fantastic way to support blood flow can be getting acupuncture, and many studies support acupuncture for not only improving implantation but also relieving stress and anxiety.  
  • Take your progesterone or progesterone supportive herbal medicines. Progesterone is produced in a natural cycle post-ovulation from the corpus luteum, the temporary gland that is produced once an egg leaves the ovarian follicle. Progesterone supports implantation by down-regulating the immune system, lowering inflammation and maintaining the uterine wall for implantation. If during your preconception work up, your naturopath has found you have low progesterone, they may have implemented strategies through nutritional supplementation or herbal medicine to increase progesterone levels. If this is the case, please remember to take your medicines in this time as it is important to continue to work on your progesterone. During an IVF cycle, progesterone pessaries are very commonly prescribed, and please continue taking these as prescribed by your fertility team. There are other benefits too – low progesterone can increase anxiety and insomnia, so by supporting healthy levels of this hormone you can also support a happy mood. 
  • Take your probiotics: some strains of probiotics can support progesterone production which helps with implantation as well as supporting good bacteria that support implantation as well. Bifidobacterium strains, in particular, have some research they can increase progesterone, while the lactobacillus species are the beneficial species in the vaginal microbiome. As mentioned above, vaginal infections can possibly affect the implantation process, by increasing inflammation, and triggering the immune system, so support a healthy vaginal flora while helping to boost your progesterone levels. Speak to your naturopath about which probiotics are right for you, as different species have different roles in the body. 

These strategies can be really helpful in supporting your body to increase the chances of falling pregnant and lowering your stress and anxiety during the two week wait, but the real work comes in preparing your body BEFORE conception. Working with your naturopath for at least 4 months prior to conceiving, can increase your chances of pregnancy through natural conception or IVF by improving egg and sperm quality, supporting healthy nutrient levels, looking at microbiome issues and addressing hormone imbalances (just to name a few). There is a myriad of things we look at improving for people who are struggling to conceive. 

If you would like to find out more how I can help you, please book a free 10 minute consult and we can have a chat about your current fertility struggles and make a plan to move forward.

Yours in wellness

Tess Doig

Tess Doig is a highly skilled degree qualified naturopath with over 9 years of practice specialising in the areas of fertility, pregnancy, women’s health and mental health. She is skilled in complex infertility cases, helping support many women and couples through unexplained infertility, recurrent miscarriage, IVF, male factor infertility and more. 

Along with supporting singles and couples with fertility, she also has a passion for all areas of women’s health including hormone imbalance, gynaecological disorders, vaginal infections, autoimmune conditions and mental health.

Read more about Tess and make a booking to get started on your journey together.

Stories of Survival in NSW floods

Stories of Survival in NSW Floods

Our hearts reach out to all the people who have been caught in these catastrophic floods.

Within this huge group of impacted people there is a minority community who have been sharing their stories of survival with us directly – solo parent families who have lost their homes. These people are sharing their stories with us because we have launched a fundraising campaign to support this vulnerable group to rebuild their lives. Supporting community health, in particular family health, has been a mission of Fertile Ground Health Group for the last 21 years and in this time of need we feel grateful to have the means to generate momentum and support for solo parent families in NSW who have lost their homes.

These stories of survival in the devastating floods are powerful demonstrations of the resilience and willingness of the human spirit when met with such catastrophic and urgent life and death moments. These stories are both heartbreaking and inspirational.  So far it is solo mummas and their children who have registered for support with us from this campaign, and the courage these women show is incredible.

Read the Stories of Survival (continuously updated as more come through)

When we heard the news of the flood I immediately contacted my landlord who said in the 2017 flood my apartment was absolutely fine so I naïvely thought we would be okay to stay here and just use our gas camping stove for meals. I ran out and helped move things in the library in the Toy Library, and got some shopping and then settled in for a few days stuck in the house. We don’t have many support systems in the area where we can just rock up for a few days and expect them to accommodate us, even if there is the threat of disaster. By 11pm we were getting warnings that the flood was going to be bigger than predicted, and we’d need to evacuate. 

I had already moved my car and I did not think it was safe to walk 3 km through low-lying streets with my three-year-old on my back so we decided to stay put. I flagged down a passing SES car but they said they were not taking pedestrians in their cars simply warning them to evacuate. We had no choice but to stay put and hope for the best. I called my Dad letting him know what was happening in case reception went and wrote a list of important phone contacts and sealed it in a ziplock and shoved it in my dry bag. 

I rushed around moving things as high as possible, packing go bags and tying my kayak to the clothesline. A move I thought was futile at the time. At 2 o’clock I heard a large bang downstairs and alarms started blaring. The levy had broken and water was rushing so fast down our downtown apartment that trees were being snapped. A stray gas bottle smashed into our door. Cue panic – dressing myself and my 3yo and a plea to the universe that we would survive again. In January of 2021 I woke to almost our entire apartment on fire, it had just reached the hall outside our bedroom. 

I scooped my 3yo out of bed and bolted, seconds after placing my feet in the garden from the bottom step both gas bottles exploded. Now we were living a similar horror again! Hours passed, frantic calls to both police and SES begging them to just take my daughter. The last SES call at 5am was met with a blunt ‘we aren’t coming into the CBD, good luck’ and an abrupt beep as they hung up. 

I called Mum and Dad and choked out a goodbye. Called a friend and told her I didn’t blame her for the advice to stay in the apartment. By this point the water was up to my knees. My 3yo was being exceptionally calm and brave, I am so proud of her! I lifted her from the floating couch into the kayak and jumped in after her, balancing the 4 kittens we had recently rescued precariously at the front. We had about another 1m left on the tether before the top of the kayak would have been pulled under water. I had a knife ready to slash it. We were wearing helmets and she had a floaty, I had a head torch. 

Even though the water was calm and slowly flowing away from the river, the rush of water I had seen earlier was so ferocious I was convinced we were dead if we entered it, kayak or not. I contemplated drowning my 3yo myself so I wouldn’t have to watch her suffer or be sucked away, I could at least tie her to me. 

Tried to climb the roof, too high. More frantic calls to family. Suddenly a voice screaming my name in the distance. I sloshed over to the side of the balcony, it was my DAD! He had borrowed a boat, been stopped on roads four times by the SES before he found a way through. We were saved! Everyone loaded in, three wet bags with some clothes and my phone and wallet. We passed my neighbour who didn’t want to be rescued, a family of five up to their necks in the water trapped behind bars. I begged dad to save them but we couldn’t get the window open. A man lying still on a roof, someone floating in their top story. Countless others screaming from rooftops to be rescued. 

At the end of the river near the large shopping centre there were police officers helping to get people out of boats. We jumped out and Dad grabbed something from his car to try and bust open the window. I waited for him to return, the tears were flowing. Four little faces and a mother came back with him, they had their heads turned to the side standing on a table by the time he pried the security screen off. We rushed them to the evac centre and everyone got fresh warm clothes. I hate to think of the others who died with the same fear we faced that night and I’m so grateful we have escaped near death, twice!

– Los (Lauren) De Groot, Lismore NSW

NSW Solo Parent Families who have Lost Their Homes
Los and her daughter after being rescued by her Dad

 

DONATE TO HELP NSW SOLO PARENT FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES IN FLOODS

The last thing I did before going to bed was to hang my children’s floaties on the bedroom door, just in case. A strange thing to do perhaps, but there’s only me. There’s not another set of ready hands, or another mind in the moment, to help problem solve. I’ve got to make the decisions that will give my kids the best chance and protect them as much as I can. The flood levels were not predicted to reach our house, yet I had spent the last couple of days lifting, packing and preparing our house and belongings. The doors were sandbagged. I’d packed a bag in the car and moved it up the hill. I’d turned off all power points, even the fridge. I’d set my alarm to wake hours before the ‘peak’ of the flood so I could assess where we were at. It still wasn’t enough. I don’t think anyone could have prepared enough for this. My 6 yr old son and I ‘miraculously’ awoke at 3.30am, just as the first trickle of water snaked in under the door. A man arrived at our door yelling for us to get out now. We tried to move more of our stuff upstairs to our housemate’s room (another single mum). My little boy waded back and forth carrying his belongings and treasures upstairs. We had 30 minutes before the water had risen to a level where the water reached the bottom of the mattress on which my 2 yr old was still sleeping. I snatched her up and ran out the door. We got to a friend’s house, safe. The flood breached the second level of our house. Incomprehensible. Previously the highest level breached in our house to our knowledge was 15cm. Our ceiling collapsed, our home is unlivable, but what’s most heartbreaking is hearing my little boy try to problem solve where we will now live.

– Nina Woods, Bexhill NSW

Stories of Survival - Nina Woods 2
Nina returning to salvage items after the flood waters started to recede

 

Stories of Survival, Nina Woods
Nina and son, Lachie, sorting through the few house items they managed to salvage and bring back to where they’re sheltering

 

DONATE TO HELP NSW SOLO PARENT FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES IN FLOODS

My name is Kate Coxall, I was a volunteer firefighter with the RFS for over 4 years, and also a trained Case Manager/Support Facilitator. The skills and training I had from this saved our lives, for this I am forever grateful. We lived in Bungawalbin, on a 110 acre property we had rented for 4.5 months after being evicted due to a sale of our Upper Wilson’s Creek Property. We left on Sunday night, because the water had already come under the house and was rising at a rate that was mind blowing, metres per hour. I let our Budgies out, knowing they would be able to fly to higher points, and raised all belongings and furniture to higher points over hours. I mustered the Landlords cattle the day before in thigh deep + water through several complex scenarios including deep water, to the highest paddock on the property near the road. I was so glad I had done that, they would definitely have drowned otherwise. I took my 8YO daughter, our beloved 8YO rescue dog (member of our family) and drove to the neighbours, after leaving extra feed out and what I assumed at the time, was a barrier to water rising, a plastic storage tub, at the chook’s house door.

I came back after another minimal sleep night of the heaviest rain I have ever heard, at 10:30am. The house had already been inundated, to floor height, I was absolutely shocked. I saw the chicken yard was 1m under water and left the car and my wet weather gear on the fence at a high dry point, and waded through 5ft deep water, over a fence to rescue the chickens, all 9 plus our rooster who snuggled into me to thank me, they had 20cm left till they would have drowned. My daughter has not only named them, they come to her and jump into her arms when called.. I managed to put 3 in the plastic tub to take back to her, but then bogged my car trying to turn around. The neighbour came to help out, and bogged her car, we had access to her partner’s family Ute, which we drove back to the cars, i tried to two her out, unsuccessfully due to the conditions and angles. We saw 5 people carrying a motor, then a boat, attempting to get from Bungawalbin to Coraki, some shoeless, one, Craig, with a huge gash on his head. We begged them not to keep going, just to come and shelter with us, but they refused, and attempted to go on. We later got an urgent message on social media that they were in need of desperate evacuation and had chained themselves in the Tinny to a tree. I cried for them many times, desperately asking other emergency service and medical trained friends to call 000 as I couldn’t call out, but could message. They survived thankfully, we later found out. 

Then the water rose and rose, and we heard the neighbours on the other, much lower side hadn’t been rescued yet and had lost all communication. I again asked friends to please, please call in the rescue knowing Lehann Suffolk and partner were mature aged, and much lower down than where we were. That night, after hearing choppers throughout the day go past, having logged the rescue for them, and us, I couldn’t sleep. I left a flashing torch on the fence post, illuminating the house, deck lights on, hoping the SES would see us. We learned that SES and ADF were grounded at midnight by the time the messages came through, it was terrifying knowing how incredibly fast the water was rising and how inundated we were. At 4am after many days with minimal sleep, I thought I heard 3 voices and screaming.. I felt beyond desperate, worried the Suffolks had not survived. I kept messaging people and services asking for help. That next day I was worried the other lady with me had gone into sepsis, and I felt I had started to go into shock, the water was still rising, and I was exhausted. We spent many hours outside trying to wave at Choppers. The first went straight over us, but the cloud cover was so thick that they missed us altogether. That moment was very disheartening, I thought we may not get rescued. 

My daughter was so brave throughout, but I saw her struggling with the reality that we may/may not get rescued, the fact she learned our house was fully under and the gravity of the idea that we may need to not just leave Budgies AND chooks behind, but her beloved support dog. I was so glad that I could identify what was happening for her and hold her through it. When the chopper came, after I had suggested that we find fluoros and other high visibility materials, which we laid down in the house yard and my neighbour laid on the road, after we waved and yelled and thought they may not find us, we were so, so relieved. I hugged Rob from the ADF thanking him, and then he told us that we couldn’t bring our dog. It was heartbreaking for us both. I took her back to the house where I had laid all the dog food we had and a large bowl of fresh water and told her to “stay home”. She got out and tried to follow us. My heart broke as I had to tell her to “go home”. I was worried she would get hurt or traumatised further from the chopper. I will never forget her face, I just want her back with us. We then were airlifted to Lismore SCU Evacuation Centre, given fresh food, a bed and offer of clothes, medical support and toiletries and charging stations. The gravity of what we had been through was starting to hit me, but we are so grateful to be safe. My employers, from The Lismore App, now family, offered us a place in their home, which is where we have been since, in Gooonellabah. What blew me away most is that a lady came up to me and offered that we could go and stay in her Mum’s granny flat, her name is Mim, and she could lend us a car.. everyone was so kind, I could never thank them enough. The best moment for me was when I was able to ask the man who had already been rescued in the chopper if he had come from the Suffolks property, the neighbours I thought I heard screaming and was desperately worried had drowned.. he confirmed they were all alive and not too unwell. That moment was just the most heartening of all. Thank you to all the rescue personnel, friends and community for your support to get us out, and to check in. It’s made all the difference.

– Kate Coxall, Richmond Valley NSW

Stories of Survival, Kate Coxall
Kate and her daughter

Stories of Survival, Kate Coxall

Stories of Survival, Kate Coxall 3
Being airlifted to Lismore SCU Evacuation Centre

 

DONATE TO HELP NSW SOLO PARENT FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES IN FLOODS

I’m overwhelmed by what a long haul this is going to be. It’s taken me years after my husband left us with nothing to rebuild our lives & now my daughter keeps crying listing all the things she became attached to. It’s hard for children to comprehend the notion of our lives being at risk vs material or sentimental things. Myself and another solo mum fled at 4am with our kids and nothing but the clothes on my back. Our double story house is under and have lost everything. We also don’t know where we are going to live. The housing situation in the northern rivers is so dire – worst for solo parents. I felt vulnerable before : now I’m not sure there is any hope of us being re-housed or recouping what we lost .. it all feels too hard right now : /

– Leah Bee, Bexhill NSW

Stories of Survival - Leah Bee
Leah and her two children

 

DONATE TO HELP NSW SOLO PARENT FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES IN FLOODS

My name is Elina Salokangas. I’m a single mum of 9yo girl and 6yo boy. We live in The Channon, NSW. This is our story. 

Sunday night the power went out at 11pm. So I had flashlights ready. There was a teeny bit of water coming into the living room under the skirting board, which happens sometimes when it rains. So I was up mopping. Then when I went to toilet around 1pm, flushed it, the water came up halfway. I thought, “That’s strange…” I went out to check the creek level on the side terrace (there’s a normally dry creek next to the house, about 5m below the level of the house) and I saw the water level was up to the terrace!! That has never happened before!

I went out to the front terrace to check if I could see any water, and water was all I could see! I quickly rescued the bunnies – the bottom floor of their cage was already under. Then I woke up the housemate in the studio. Moved my campervan on higher grounds. Then went back mopping… until the water started to come in from everywhere!! 

My first thought was to lift everything from bottom shelves and cupboards up higher, onto top of the shelves, thinking I was saving all the most important things… little did I know that all the shelves and furniture would fall over anyway. My son was sleeping on the couch. I picked him up when the water level was almost touching him. Put him down on my bed, next to his sister. Quickly went to get some jumpers for them… wetsuits… then woke the kids up, carried them to the kitchen table and put the wetsuits on. My housemate had two life vests as well, which I put on for them.. then the table started to wobble and float! Carried the kids to the kitchen counter, while putting up the ladder, and then carried them to the ladder and up to the bus roof. So grateful my bus was parked under the terrace roof 2 weeks prior! And you could quite easily climb to the roof of the house from the top of the bus, if necessary.

Last thing I got from the garage was a tarp, kids floaties, saw, rope, secateurs… water up to my belly button by then. I sawed the legs off from the little bunny cage and so we could fit them on the bus roof as well.

By then it was maybe 3am? It all happened so fast, from no water to waist height in 30mins, I think! I was too wet to go to the roof, smelling like sewerage, so I ended up standing on top of the ladder, leaning on the bus, the rest of the night. Also to make sure the ladder wouldn’t float away. 

By the sunrise the flood levels dropped. I got down, started to clean up the sludge from the front terrace and gather all the bits and pieces, while the kids were still sleeping up on the bus roof. It was still raining non stop, and less than an hour later the water started to rise up again!! I climbed back to the roof. About 1m water on the terrace and indoors… during the night it peaked at 1.8m indoors, 2-3m around the house, up to 4m on the driveway… my hitop campervan was almost totally under.

When my son woke up, he saw somebody swimming in the flood waters!! We could not believe our eyes! It was our neighbour, the landlady’s nephew, coming to check on us if we were Ok. First time ever I identified somebody as a True Blue Ozzie Hero! About half an hour later our other neighbours came in by canoes to rescue us! By then I felt totally dysfunctional, just so relieved and happy to be rescued. We survived. Can’t stop thinking about how different the outcome it would have been if I would have gone to bed early, before 11pm, that night…

– Elina Salokangas, The Channon NSW

Stories of Survival in NSW Floods
Standing on the ladder, leaning on the bus the whole night

 

Stories of Survival in NSW Floods
Elina’s son, daughter and bunnies taking refuge on top of the bus

 

Stories of Survival in NSW Floods

Please share these stories of survival with your community and share the fundraiser. Every little bit helps. Thank you.

With gratitude, kindness and in support of solo parent families who have lost their homes in the NSW floods,

Carly Woods & Charmaine Dennis
Directors
Fertile Ground Health Group

How to tackle guilt during the silly season

Dinner

Are you eagerly anticipating the start of the silly season (and holidays!), or dreading the craziness which inevitably emerges when you mix families/ food/ alcohol and the (second) weirdest year on record?! It feels like the perfect time to talk about how to tackle guilt during the silly season – and to be kinder to our bodies and minds.

For many, this time of year can feel challenging. ESPECIALLY if there is an already fraught relationship with food and eating… Instead of being a time of celebration, it becomes a time of consternation. Worrying about over-indulging, constant fear of gaining weight, imagining how your family will judge you for your body or appearance after a year (or two) apart, and guilt about the dessert… or the ham… or the pavlova you take a slice of every time you walk past the kitchen. Instead of being a time of relaxation and enjoyment, it can feel exhausting and stressful.

But it doesn’t have to.

As we temporarily step away from the routines and rituals which structure our daily lives, our mind can ring the alarm bells (often loudly!). These routines provide us with certainty and a sense of control, which means as we move into a more ‘fluid’ time of year, we lose trust in our capacity to honour our inherent needs and are instead filled with uncertainty about our ability to cope. We fear that, without the diet or meal plan or gym session, we will become chaotic eating machines. What follows is usually guilt and remorse for our apparent lack of willpower and self-control and a rollercoaster of emotions as we grapple with our constantly nagging inner critic.

So what can we do?

Firstly, BE KIND.

Our tendency is to berate ourselves for stepping outside the lines. A part of us is desperately afraid that if we ‘fall off the wagon’ it will mean we will never get back on again. We might find ourselves eating differently during the holidays, because it is a different time of year.  This in itself is JUST WHAT IT IS. It is what we MAKE THIS MEAN that ultimately creates dissonance. In other words, we eat a big slice of Christmas pudding.

The only truth here is that we ate a big slice of Christmas pudding. What we tell ourselves (ie what we make this mean!) is that we are hopeless/ have no willpower/ will get fat/ might as well eat everything all day long…/ fill in the blank… The truth is, you ate something. Full stop. It is what it is and instead of judging yourself for the choice you made, ask if you can accept this, with kindness, and move along. Fixating on every extra chocolate you eat will not change what happened, but it will create discomfort and anxiety.

Secondly, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

This one can feel a little challenging if you rely on a diet plan or eating regime to make decisions. Outsourcing our inherent body cues instead of paying attention to what we are feeling can mean we are very disconnected to what is going on inside. Taking a moment to breathe and notice your hunger, the sensations that are present and what it is you TRULY want can go a long way to nourishing yourself. And it’s not always food you are needing! In fact, oftentimes food is simply a convenient way to relieve stress, boredom or loneliness.

Being present with the sensations that arise in each moment and enquiring where they are in the body, as well as allowing them to move through us can mean instead of reacting by eating unconsciously, we are able to respond and meet our needs instead.

Thirdly, HONOUR YOURSELF + SET BOUNDARIES.

Find ways to support and connect to what nourishes you EVERY SINGLE DAY. Sometimes when we step outside of our day-to-day lives and get around family, we can get triggered. Creating a daily ritual or practice can be an incredibly powerful way to check in with yourself. And it doesn’t have to take a long time! Five minutes of conscious breathing, a quiet cup of tea on the grass, a morning shake or stretch or 10 minutes of meditation can bring us back into our sovereignty. Be honest with yourself and others about what you need so that instead of being at the mercy of the world around you, you can connect first to your intuition and be in service from there.

And finally, HAVE FUN!!

It’s been a year for all of us, so don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself! Laugh, connect, dance, eat, be merry. Life is short and we are here to experience it all. It’s ok to be who you are, your messy, beautiful imperfect self.

Lots of love, Jane x

Jane Holland Fertile Ground Health GroupWritten by Jane Holland, respected holistic Nutritionist at The Melbourne Apothecary, renowned international retreat facilitator, adored Deep Sleep Yin Yoga teacher.

Jane is running a free webinar on 11th January 2022 which will be available as a recording after the event. Register here to get free access Reprogram your relationship with food, eating & your body

Book in with Jane to understand and reshape your food story, build a healthy relationship with your food and body, and create behaviours in your life that support your healthiest self. (Jane is currently offering free 10 minute Nutrition consults to help you take action – when booking navigate to heading Nutrition > Free 10 min consult > Jane Holland)

Free 10 minute Introduction Consults

Free 10 minute introduction consults, Fertile Ground Health Group, The Melbourne Apothecary

We believe that bodies and minds thrive when given the right ingredients. We are dedicated to boosting our community wellbeing and this is why our brilliant team of practitioners offer free 10-minute introduction consults on rotation, so that you have access to expert care.

These sessions are designed as an introduction to what is possible whilst working with your chosen practitioner.  They are a great way to virtually meet and discus your needs to see how they can help your individual circumstances, fertility and health care needs. You will , of course, be referred if they think another practitioner will better suit your needs.

With health and fertility, there is endless possibility, multiple angles for fine tuning and a plethora of ways to start to feel better. We want to help you feel your radiant vitality shining through.

Click on each modality to find your practitioner

Acupuncture

Registered Acupuncturist – Meghan Smith
Registered Acupuncturist & Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner – Kiah McGowan

Coaching

Buteyko breath coach / Financial Health Coach – Carly Woods

Counselling

Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor – Suzanne Hurley
Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor, Accredited Mental Healthcare Social Worker – Chanel Keane

Naturopathy

Senior Fertility Naturopath – Charmaine Dennis
Senior Fertility Naturopath – Gina Fox
Senior Fertility Naturopath & Nutritionist – Georgia Marrion
General health & Postpartum/Postnatal Naturopath – Shantini Iyngkaran
General health & Skin Health Naturopath – Lucy Moores

Register for your free 10 minute Introduction Consult

Simply head to our bookings page, navigate to Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Counselling, Coaching or Midwifery and choose ’10-minute Free Acupuncture/Naturopathy/Counselling/Coaching/Midwifery Introduction TELEHEALTH’

Note: If you are interested in fertility, IVF support or trying to conceive, please book with a Fertile Ground naturopath. For general health concerns and questions, please book with a Melbourne Apothecary naturopath or nutritionist.

ACUPUNCTURE

Meghan Smith

Registered Acupuncturist

 

Meghan Smith Fertile Ground Health Group Acupunctdure

Meghan Smith is a registered Acupuncturist with a Bachelor of Health Science (Acupuncture) from Endeavour College in Perth, Western Australia. 
 
Meghan first fell in love with Chinese Medicine after being faced with her own health challenges in her early twenties, which inspired her to re-evaluate a career in design and pursue her fascination for Chinese Medicine. From the beginning she found herself drawn to helping women and individuals trying to conceive, throughout pregnancy, labour/birth and into parenthood. 
 
Meghan is passionate about assisting people through the major transition of becoming parents, in particular educating new parents or parents to be about the importance of postnatal care during the fourth trimester, also known as Zuo Yuezi. 
 
Before relocating to Melbourne, Meghan worked in a fertility focused clinic in Perth, WA, supporting individuals and couples going through Assisted Reproductive Technology and IVF. Meghan emphasises the importance of acupuncture alongside IVF treatment following evidence-based treatment planning to optimise outcomes with her patients whilst focusing on providing emotional support and stress relief too. 
 
Meghan is a knowledgeable and confident acupuncturist with a great skill for putting her patients at ease during acupuncture. She is passionate about continued learning and has plans for further education in birth and postnatal support to continue to be able to educate and empower her patients at a high level.
 
Aside from fertility and IVF support and reproductive health generally, Meghan is also passionate about preventing illness and burnout. She loves to provide support to people who suffer from auto-immune conditions, digestive issues, mental health, anxiety, fatigue or immune support when feeling out of balance. Meghan’s evidence-based treatment plans will often be combined with Chinese diet therapy and other advice to help patients maintain harmony and general health.
 
Meghan is a caring and empathetic practitioner who understands the challenges people face when trying to conceive and is dedicated to provide a welcoming and safe space for all her patients.
Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Registered Acupuncturist, Meghan by navigating to Acupuncture / Chinese Medicine  > 10-minute Free Acupuncture Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

Kiah McGowan

Registered Acupuncturist & Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner

 

Kiah McGowan, Fertile Ground Health Group, The Melbourne Apothecary, Cosmetic acupuncture, acupuncture

Kiah McGowan is a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner who completed studies at University of Technology, Sydney, as well as at the Chengdu University of TCM in China. In their 4 years of practice, Kiah has developed a deep understanding and respect for holistic health, and treating people as whole beings rather than just their symptoms. Their goal is to cultivate a space where you feel valued, heard, and supported in your journey toward balance.

Kiah has a personal passion for mental health – initially finding Chinese Medicine in their teenage years as relief for anxiety and insomnia, they now find it incredibly fulfilling to help those struggling with stress, depression, anxiety and sleep issues. Kiah quickly began to discover their fascination with female reproductive health early in to their studies, and enjoys seeing people along their journey through all aspects of hormonal health: from regulating hormones and cycles, promoting optimal fertility and conception, assisting during pregnancy, supporting mothers through the postnatal phase and the transition to menopause. Kiah also provides Cosmetic Acu-facials, having developed a signature combination of traditional Chinese facial tool massage and cosmetic acupuncture to enhance the skin’s natural radiance.

Kiah is your go-to general health acupuncturist, employing holistic approaches for all health concerns, including common conditions such as muscular pain or tension, fatigue, and digestive issues. Kiah has special interests in areas of hormonal health (from balancing cycles, to fertility, pregnancy and menopause), mental health (stress, anxiety, depression and sleep), and offering rejuvenating cosmetic acu-facials for radiant skin. Kiah is committed to nurturing a sense of understanding and self-awareness within all their clients, so that they may recognise the ways their body speaks to them through their symptoms.

Kiah loves to balance the ancient intricacies of Chinese Medicine with their love for modern science and research, and enjoys practicing in an evidence-based manner. Kiah believes in empowering individuals on their path to health, both inside and outside the acupuncture room. They do this through creating highly structured treatment plans which highlight weekly at-home self care tasks, so that patients can take an active role in their healing journey.

Ready to get your journey started and find out if acupuncture can help you? Book your free 10-minute Acupuncture introduction consult with Kiah by navigating to Acupuncture > 10-minute Free Acupuncture Introduction TELEHEALTH.

 

 

COACHING

Carly Woods

Buteyko breath coaching for total health / Financial health coaching for women

Carly Woods Buteyko Breath Coaching / Financial Health Coaching

Buteyko Breath Coaching with Carly for total health

Carly is passionate about teaching people simple and powerful ways to be able to regulate their nervous systems and enhance healing using Buteyko breathing therapy and Naturopathic lifestyle support, because these are foundational aspects that have been so profoundly transformative to her own health. Carly believes in making health fun, engaging, and practical. She loves to give you simple tools to help resolve your stress and anxiety, optimise your respiratory health, enhance your sleep and soothe your digestion.

Begin to experience the effects of healthier breathing ahead of time by accessing Carly’s Free Buteyko Breathing Starter Pack. Maximise your healthy life by rewiring the patterns of your respiratory tract, nourishing your nervous system, resting easy with better sleep and easing your digestion by using these simple Buteyko breathing techniques.

Financial Health & Business Coaching for women who want to take more control of their lives

Carly is co-director of Fertile Ground Health Group and The Melbourne Apothecary alongside her partner, Charmaine Dennis. To say that Carly is obsessed with empowering women financially and contributing to the uplift and wealth cultivation of women in our community for the betterment of the planet and all life on it, would be an understatement.

Carly helps women identify what stage they’re at, where they want to be, and develops strategies to help them get there. Carly coaches on everything from the foundations of money management (budgeting and assessment for present and future),  to options to grow your wealth leveraging the capacity of your money to make money on itself (and how to stop trading your time for money), to getting more out of your superannuation for long term security, money mindset (understanding your unconscious money behaviours and blocks), business growth techniques (marketing, engagement and evaluation), personal growth tools to help you polish your capacity for change, and even offers education about how to invest in the stock market according to your ethics and values for long term gain and asset diversification.

Carly wants to first empower women to satisfy their own financial needs then secondly, to help women make MUCH MORE MONEY so they can feel safe enough financially to take chances and bold action toward creating a better world in the ways they feel inspired to. Access Carly’s free 30 minute talk – “How to Make More Money

Read more about Carly and book in for a free 10-minute introduction consult with Buteyko breath coach / Financial health coach, Carly by navigating to Coaching  > 10-minute Free Coaching with Carly Introduction TELEHEALTH

COUNSELLING

Chanel Keane

Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor

Accredited Mental Healthcare Social Worker

 

Chanel Keane Fertile Ground Health Group Counsellor

Chanel Keane is an accredited mental health social worker and counsellor with 23 years experience in private practice and a variety of community based and health care settings. She is passionate about being a counsellor – particularly the therapeutic benefits her clients experience of being heard and engaged in a human relationship that is respectful, safe, honest, and focused on their needs and resolution of their struggles.

Throughout Chanel’s counselling and social work career she has been dedicated to supporting women through many life challenges particular to women. This includes experiences with infertility, IVF, unplanned pregnancy, pregnancy loss and perinatal and postnatal mental health issues. She believes deeply in the importance of reproductive choice in a woman’s life and that women’s reproductive journeys are complex and can be fraught with challenges.  So often women can feel very alone and isolated in these experiences which in turn compounds some of the distress and suffering they feel.

Her engagement with clients is passionately grounded in a person centered, feminist counselling practice. Chanel respects that the lives of people are complex – your needs are diverse and always influenced by the broader social, political and economic realities in which you live. Her approach to supporting you is to listen to your experiences and needs in an open, non-judgemental and empathic way, providing counselling, information, options, advocacy and therapeutic interventions in partnership with you. She honours each person’s subjective experience of their struggles, and lived experience, exploring how these experiences intersect with their identity and sense of self.

Chanel has extensive experience  in working with people whose lives have been affected by childhood and adult trauma, mental illness, drug and alcohol dependence, sexual assault, and family violence. It is her hope that through therapy, you can develop a greater self-awareness of your emotions, thoughts, strengths and supports, and in so doing feel an improvement in your overall well-being, connection with yourself and with others.

Chanel  believes that you feelings and struggles are not signs of weakness or ill health, but are most often normal responses in trying to cope with challenging life experiences. She likes to encourage the use of diverse mediums such as creative writing or journal writing and other creative forms of expression to explore and  express your experiences.

Chanel’s employment experience includes roles at Adora Fertility, CASA House (Centre Against Sexual Assault), The Royal Women’s Hospital, Pregnancy Advisory Service (RWH), Marie Stopes Australia, Headspace, Sexual Assault Crisis Line, 1800 Respect.

Areas of counselling experience

  • Women’s mental health and well-being
  • Infertility and IVF
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy options
  • Reproductive loss
  • Parenting
  • Childhood and adult trauma
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Relationship concerns
  • Interpersonal violence
  • Grief and loss

Chanel offers face to face, phone and zoom consultations.

Medicare rebates may apply for up to 10 sessions per year – this requires you are referred from your GP or medical practitioner with a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan and have a valid medicare card. The rebate is $77.80 for Mental Health Accredited Social Workers. 

Private Health Rebates may also apply – please check with your health fund. The amount you can claim depends on your level of cover.

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor, Accredited Mental Healthcare Social Worker, Chanel by navigating to Counselling > 10-minute Free Counselling Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

Suzanne Hurley

Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor

 

Suzanne Hurley Free 10 minute health introduction consults

Suzanne Hurley is a Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor, Supervisor & Dance/Movement Therapist. She attends to those who may be unhappy, distressed, afraid or otherwise impacted by fertility related events where additional support may be needed. She has an impressive level of expertise having worked with varying degrees of reproductive loss, including pregnancy options counsellinginfertility and IVF supportperinatal mental healthabortion counselling, parenting and with reproductive health issues. She has provided her clients with counselling, group support and presented to health professionals in various perinatal settings. Her expertise and understanding of the issues women, couples and families face when immersed in the perinatal period is highly specialised. She knows that when confronted by the unexpected you need someone by your side.

Suzanne brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience after having worked in multiple settings where perinatal mental health has been the focus of her work. This has included time on the PANDA Helpline (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia), at Carrington Health in the Community Outreach Perinatal Support Service. She spent 10yrs at The Women’s Hospital’s Pregnancy Advisory Service and other periods of time at Marie Stopes Australia National Counselling Service for unplanned pregnancy, Melbourne Pregnancy Counsellors and at Adora Fertility.

Suzanne also works at Austin Health Psychiatric Unit in the Parent Infant Program as a Dance/Movement/Play Therapist. She has also run groups Pregnant Pause and Moving Stories: explorations of the pregnant body, past present and future, through movement.

Suzanne provides clinical supervision to health professionals often working with perinatal mental health, reproductive loss, grief and infertility and in other areas of public health and community services.

In Counselling Suzanne can address:

Contemplating Pregnancy
  • Fear and worry about pregnancy, birth, baby.
  • Relationship issues including Family Violence
  • Infertility
  • IVF
  • Single women contemplating using donor sperm
  • Another baby after difficult perinatal experiences
  • Health issues
Unintended Pregnancy
  • Pro Choice, unbiased pregnancy options counselling
  • Unplanned/planned/IVF, wanted/unwanted, complexity in circumstances
  • Unplanned and unwanted with beliefs against abortion
  • Unplanned, wanted but am I sure?
  • Difficulties deciding
  • Pregnancy the result of sexual assault
  • Considering abortion later in pregnancy
  • Abortion support; pre and post
Pregnancy Support
  • Anxiety and or Depression
  • History of mental illness
  • Unhappy
  • Change of circumstances during pregnancy
  • Birth preparation
  • Foetal abnormalities
  • Harmony testing at 10wks
Life With Baby
  • Birth debriefs
  • Not enjoying your baby
  • Not feeling like yourself
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Isolation
  • Family issues
  • Postnatal Anxiety and or Depression
  • Missing work or thinking of return to work
  • Who we are as a family?
  • Who am I as a mother/father?
  • Unexpected outcomes
  • Grief and Loss
End of Reproduction
  • Who am I if I am not a mother?
  • Childless not by choice
  • Health issues impacting fertility
  • Hysterectomy counselling
  • But I wanted more children

Suzanne’s approach to counselling:

What I believe…

I firmly believe compassionate, early counselling intervention for all reproductive trauma events, including unbiased abortion support, will establish parents both today and in the future with the best possible outcomes for managing the unexpected realities for if they do, when they do and during having their babies. This can be done alone, isolated and uncertain or accompanied with honour, good humour, and grace. You get to choose…Read more about Suzanne

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor, Suzanne by navigating to Counselling > 10-minute Free Counselling Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

 

 

NATUROPATHY

Charmaine Dennis

Senior Fertility and Oncology Naturopath 

 

Charmaine Dennis

Charmaine Dennis is a naturopath, fertility and health expert, mentor, writer, mother, and businesswoman with 20+ years of experience. She is the founding director of Fertile Ground Health Group and The Melbourne Apothecary, co-author of Create A Fertile Life and The Breakfast Project and co-creator of the Be Fertile relaxation CD series, among other health inspired projects. Her greatest gift and inspiration is making health, wellbeing, and passionate living accessible, inspiring and achievable for everyone. 

Through her own health crisis at 34 years old (a shocking and life-threatening diagnosis of acute leukaemia in 2010) Charmaine experienced first-hand immersion into the medical system.  This transformative, life-affirming, challenging time has refocused and reinvigorated her drive for good health and living life to its fullest. Undoubtedly this experience has deepened her passion for collaborative health care.

Charmaine’s naturopathic career has followed a special interest in working with people with fertility issues requiring IVF support since 1999.  She has assisted many in realising their dreams to conceive healthy, beautiful babies in collaboration with GPs and fertility specialists, acupuncturists and other health modalities. Since her own cancer experience, she can see the gaping need for more collaboration between natural and medical oncology approaches and enjoys working with people who need support for wellness and advocacy through their own cancer journey at any stage of treatment or recovery.

As well as mentoring and supervising students, naturopaths and other practitioners at Fertile Ground Health Group, Charmaine is running retreats, immersions and workshops for anyone to support their personal or business development.

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Naturopath, Charmaine by navigating to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

Gina Fox

Senior Fertility Naturopath

 

Free 10 minute introduction consults Gina Fox Fertile Ground

Gina Fox is a naturopath with over 20 years’ experience. She trained under Francesca Naish (author of Natural Fertility Management and Better Babies) and has a Masters in Reproductive Medicine. As well as being an experienced clinician she is a speaker, naturopathic lecturer and student clinic supervisor.

Gina is highly skilled in providing naturopathic care for women’s health issues, pre-conception health, infertility, IVF support, pregnancy care and through menopause. She treats a wide range of issues including recurrent miscarriage, thyroid, auto-immune antibodies and she has seen good results working with men to improve sperm quality. She also enjoys the post birth appointments with mother and baby, maximising wellness for the whole family and educating parents on how to manage many common childhood illnesses. Her professional approach involves working in collaboration with doctors and specialists to create an effective co-ordinated treatment.

Gina loves to help couples achieve full-term pregnancies and give birth to beautiful healthy babies. She excels at addressing underlying stressors while couples achieve their optimal fertility. Her own meditation practice led her to become a meditation instructor and co-develop the Be Fertile series of guided relaxation meditations for women around conception, IVF and pregnancy support, which is now available for free to everyone to access and download.

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Naturopath, Gina by navigating to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

Georgia Marrion

Senior Fertility Naturopath & Nutritionist

Georgia Marrion Free 10 minute health introduction consults

Georgia is a naturopath of 19 years’ experience with a Degree in Complementary Medicine and a Masters in Nutrition. Along with extensive clinical experience in reproductive health and fertility, Georgia is also an experienced writer and well regarded speaker.

Initially embarking on reproductive health as a clinical speciality following her own personal experience with sub-fertility and pregnancy complications, she has a strong curiosity and passion for supporting people who are experiencing reproductive challenges. Georgia specialises in supporting individuals and couples during their journey through preconception, conception, pregnancy and postpartum life stages.

Areas of focus  include menstrual cycle irregularities, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) , pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) and histamine issues as well as male fertility and sperm health issues.

With 2 children of her own in their primary school years, Georgia can help to expertly guide you through the early years of family health issues, and enjoys treating babies and children with recurrent infections, failure to thrive, digestive issues at all ages and any challenges that you need support with for your baby or child’s best health.

Georgia also enjoys treating women and individuals during the transition to menopause including peri-menopausal imbalances.

Her clinical approach involves supporting and guiding you to optimise your health physically, mentally and emotionally using an approach blending traditional and scientific knowledge. This is based on an integration of her many years of clinical experience with ongoing education to stay up to date with new research and treatment strategies. Along with gaining her Masters Degree, this includes post graduate mentoring and training with Rachel Arthur, Rhiannon Hardingham, Leah Hechtman, Dr Andrew Orr and The Fertility Mentoring Program (The Baby Maker Network) among others.

Georgia believes that a team approach gets the best outcomes for all. She works in close collaboration with her patients’ medical care team to ensure the most effective, appropriate evidence-based treatment plans for each individual.

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Naturopath, Georgia by navigating to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

Shantini Iyngkaran

General Health & Postpartum/Postnatal Naturopath

 

Shantini Iyngkaran Free 10 minute health introduction consults

Shantini Iyngkaran is a Naturopath whose practice focuses on maternal care including pre and postpartum experiences. She believes the vitality of a mother is the result of unconditional support, attuning the mother to her body and replenishing all her cups, emotionally, physically, and relationally.

She also has a special interest in gut and immune health. As someone who has struggled with her own health challenges in these areas, she approaches this with lived experience and compassion.

Shantini values time and presence in her consults as she learns about the individuals physical, spiritual, emotional, and home health. She discerns a variety of modalities, techniques, herbal, and nutritional knowledge to identify and support health needs.

Shantini brings insights to her work from her multifaceted career as a solicitor, entrepreneur, personal trainer and yoga teacher. Her multi-passionate approach to her career and life, allows her to provide a holistic and tailored naturopathic practice.

When she isn’t working at the Melbourne Apothecary, you will either find Shantini walking in nature, with her beloved pooch, Sir Waffles, creating in the kitchen, serving her local community, enjoying a matinee at the cinemas or relishing the company of her friends. She is a connoisseur of hugs, so if you feel like a warm embrace book in with her.

As someone who deeply values connection and community, Shantini is currently offering free Naturopathic 10-minute consults to help to get you started towards better health. These sessions are a chance for you to make sure the therapeutic relationship is a great fit and get clarity about what you want to achieve on your health journey.

Book your free 10-minute health consult with Shantini by navigating to Naturopathy – Apothecary General Health > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

Lucy Moores

General Health & Skin Health Naturopath

Lucy Moores, The Melbourne Apothecary, Skin Health, Naturopath, General Health, Nutrition

Book a free 10 minute introduction consult with Lucy Moores

Lucy Moores is a passionate nutritionist and naturopath dedicated to helping you achieve optimal health and wellness. She has a particular passion for helping her patients rejuvenate, protect and balance one of the largest and most exposed organs of their body – the skin. Lucy helps you not only with skin as it relates to restoring your natural healthy glow and addressing dermatological issues, but also as relates to immune health, your microbiome, your hormones and your vaginal health.

With her expertise in nutrition and naturopathy she can offer a unique perspective and comprehensive support to guide towards a balanced and vibrant life.

After dedicating 8 years of her life to studying and immersing herself in the field of natural healing, Lucy’s passion for this transformative approach to health burns brighter than ever.  As a qualified nutritionist, Lucy has a deep understanding of the vital role that proper nutrition plays in optimising well-being. Having personally experienced the challenges of autoimmune disease, she knows firsthand the impact this can have on quality of life. This personal journey ignited a passion for exploring the intricate connection between nutrition, autoimmunity and inflammation and she believes that food can be one of our most powerful medicines.

Additionally, as a qualified naturopath, Lucy combines the best of traditional healing with evidence-based natural therapies. As mentioned, Lucy has a special interest in all types of dermatological skin concerns as well as vaginal health, menstrual irregularities and general immune or inflammatory conditions.

She is passionate about collaborative health care and integrates functional testing alongside natural healing principles, enabling a comprehensive understanding of your body’s unique needs.

Lucy’s greatest joys come from witnessing transformations with her patients as they make positive changes in their lives. She provides compassionate guidance and unwavering support throughout your wellness journey, empowering you to take control and live your best life.

Lucy takes her passion beyond one on one consultations and educates and inspires the wider community through workshops and patient education. Her goal is to create awareness and empower you to gain a deeper understanding of your body and equip you with the tools to make positive changes that promote optimal health and radiant skin.

Embark on a transformative journey with Lucy to revitalise your quality of life, restore your skin from within, reclaim your vaginal and hormonal health and/or nourish your immunity!

Lucy is available via telehealth and in person.

Book a free 10 minute introduction consult with Lucy Moores by navigating to Naturopathy – Apothecary General Health > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

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