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

Help NSW Solo Parent Families who have Lost Their Homes in Floods

NSW Solo Parent Families who have Lost Their Homes in Floods

HEAD TO THE FUNDRAISER TO HELP NSW SOLO PARENT FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES IN FLOODS

We are so incredibly sad to hear of the devastation occurring throughout the NSW community due to the floods.

Within this community of impacted people is a minority group of solo parents with children, many of whom have lost everything in the flooding and are now homeless.

Imagine having everything that you have worked to create for your family being swept away in an instant.

The news of this is reaching communities nationally and globally, with so many people wanting to contribute and help those in need, ourselves included. We have a personal connection with the flooding in NSW, with our family and friends scattered through affected regions, many of whom have been evacuated and/or rescued with their children from their now submerged and destroyed homes.

We know that many of you, like us, will be wanting to help. That’s why we have launched this campaign.

We want to offer help not only to our family and friends, but to as many solo parent families out there who have lost their homes as we can. These families are in desperate need of our community support to rebuild their lives.

HEAD TO THE FUNDRAISER TO HELP NSW SOLO PARENT FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES IN FLOODS

All of the money raised in this campaign will be split and distributed evenly between the single parents who register with us and meet the eligibility criteria, detailed on the financial support registration page.

Solo parents can register up until the completion of this campaign (10 April 2022), and all funds will be split evenly and sent via bank deposit to the recipients at completion of this fundraiser. No money will be withheld for administration, nor by this fundraising platform. All proceeds go to those in need.

If you know of any solo parent families who have lost their principal place of residence in the NSW floods, please forward the registration to them so they can elect to receive the financial support that this campaign raises too –> www.bit.ly/FG-flood-support

“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.”

― Shannon L. Alder

Thank you so much for your contribution to this cause.

Read the Stories of Survival as they’re being shared with us. The stories are coming to us from solo parent families registering for support from this campaign are both heartbreaking and inspirational. They are powerful demonstrations of the resilience and willingness of the human spirit when met with such catastrophic and urgent life and death moments. So far it is solo mummas and their children who have registered for support with us, and the courage these women show is incredible.

In kindness and care,

Carly Woods & Charmaine Dennis
Directors
Fertile Ground Health Group

Read some of the stories shared:

Most of the time I love being a solo parent, but emergencies don’t make the list. I have to make every decision and wear the responsibilities of those snap judgements. I’m angry at needing to do this alone, time after time after time. We didn’t have adequate support. I couldn’t be or do it all. I couldn’t evacuate safely. For six hours my three year old was forced to sit in our kayak tied to the clotheslines while the rain lashed around her face and soaked her until her little lips were blue. We were tethered to the clothesline with an extension lead I ripped out of the house in a panic. As flood waters continued to rise around us and I sobbed goodbyes to loved ones down the phone and imagined watching my toddler drown in my arms. It hurts to be in this position AGAIN. I have worked so so hard over the last year to recoup most of what we lost in our 2021 house fire and now it’s vanished right from under my nose all over again. I have no where to run my business and earn our keep. No where to live for who knows how long – in the face of an extreme rental crisis. Every single thing I bought or made post fire is again – gone. Another traumatic experience to add to the bank. PTSD reigns supreme. There are only so many times you can restart on your own.

– Los De Groot

Im 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

How to tackle guilt during the silly season

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 Health Consults

Free naturopath

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 health consults on rotation, so that you have access to expert naturopathic and nutrition care.

These sessions are designed to help anyone wanting preventative wellness strategies for immunity, symptomatic relief for acute conditions and general health enquiries. You will , of course, be referred if needed for more complex issues or conditions.

With health 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.

Register for your free digital consult

Simply head to our bookings page, navigate to Nutrition or Naturopathy and choose ‘Free 10-minute consult PHONE/ONLINE’

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.

Which practitioners are offering free 10-minute health consults at the moment?
Shantini Iyngkaran

Shantini Iyngkaran

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 – The Melbourne Apothecary > Free 10-minute Naturopathic Consult”

 

Jane Holland

Jane Holland Fertile Ground Health Group Free 10 minute health consults

Renowned for her grounded and intuitive approach to health, Jane is a holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher and retreat facilitator who is passionate about empowering people to cultivate a healthy and honest relationship with food, eating and their body. Jane brings awareness and reverence into her sessions and is dedicated to listening and supporting her clients to unravel the subconscious patterns of behaviour which drive decision making (particularly in relation to food and eating).

Jane is deeply committed to building community and creating safe and supportive spaces for people to live more harmoniously within their inner and outer environments.

Jane carries degree level qualifications in both Environmental Management (Sustainable Development) and Health Science (Nutritional Medicine) and is trained in both Hatha and Yin Yoga (400hrs Teacher Training certifications). She is also a Food & Spirit practitioner and Emotional Anatomy coach, integrating Eastern and Western philosophies in a wholistic approach to wellness. Jane uses her technical knowledge and understanding in these modalities, together with her deep insight and intuition, to ignite profound and lasting transformation for her clients.

Book your free 10-minute health consult with Holistic Nutritionist, Jane, by navigating to Nutrition > Free 10-minute Nutrition Consult

 

Josephine CabrallJosephine Cabrall Fertile Ground Health Group Free 10 minute health consults

Josephine is an experienced, degree-qualified naturopath and trained fertility teacher specialising in fertility, reproductive health and pregnancy. She uses nutrition, dietary strategies, herbal medicine and lifestyle advice, to help her patients achieve their goals and is passionate about working collaboratively with other health care providers for the best outcomes of the patient.

Understanding the importance of a supportive and empathic support team through the fertility and IVF journey, Josephine aims to meet her patients where they are at, giving them strategies and resources to achieve the best outcomes possible.

She also enjoys helping patients with gut health, thyroid health and stress reduction, recognising the impact of these conditions can have on both fertility and general health.

As well as general fertility, Josephine has a special interest in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Acknowledging the different presentations of PCOS, she relishes in seeing women improve their fertility and other hormonal symptoms through individualised, tailored treatment plans. To help women better understand and combat PCOS, Josephine has authored an eBook, The PCOS Solution, as well as the Guide to PCOS & Diet – which she generously makes available for free – download here.

Book your free 10-minute health consult with Naturopath, Josephine by navigating to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > Free 10-minute Naturopathic Consult.

 

Tess Doig

Tess Doig

“I believe the future of our health starts with preconception care and that improving a couple’s nutrition, health and lifestyle can give the best possible start to their future baby’s health”. 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.

Tess also has a special interest in endometriosis, understanding the complexities of this condition through the connections between, immune, microbiome, hormones, and nutrition and how they interplay to progress this disease. She also understands the huge lifestyle and emotional burden this condition causes, and uses a range of nutritional, herbal medicine and lifestyle interventions to help resolve symptoms and improve the reproductive health and fertility of women with endometriosis.

Having two young children herself, she loves to support women through their pregnancy and postpartum journey. Tess understands the joy of this time but also the impact this can have on a woman’s mental health. She offers a supportive and compassionate listening space, while also investigating underlying pathology that may be affecting their mood. Treatment options include through nutritional, herbal medicine and lifestyle prescriptions.

Believing every person is an individual and there is no one-size-fits all approach to health, Tess will use all of her tools and knowledge to create a treatment plan specifically for you. She likes to think of herself as a health detective and is highly skilled in blood pathology interpretation along with clinical expertise, functional testing, and naturopathic diagnostic techniques.  Tess combines all of these approaches to assess and investigate your health. Tess is also passionate about collaborative medicine and will work and communicate with your medical practitioner and other members of your health team where needed.

Book your free 10-minute health consult with Naturopath, Tess by navigating to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > Free 10-minute Naturopathic Consult.

Getting to know your practitioner – Michelle Lowe, Massage Therapist & Doula

with Michelle Lowe, FGHG pregnancy and fertility massage therapist and doula

What do you love about your work as a remedial, pregnancy and fertility massage therapist?

There’s so much that I love about what I do as a massage therapist, I feel I am very fortunate and lucky to be able to do work that I am deeply passionate about. I love being able to see the transition patients make from when I first see them to when they leave the treatment like a whole new person and then seeing the progress they make with each treatment. I love being a part of the journey with women to falling pregnant and helping them to switch off and just receive. Hearing my patients’ good news that they’ve fallen pregnant, or the relief they feel after a pregnancy massage is really rewarding for me as I love to help.

What initially inspired you to add womb massage to your skill set?

So I used to suffer from really bad period pains, with no real understanding as to why I was suffering from them. I tried many different things to help, but for me they weren’t overly successful or not well suited for my lifestyle. It was definitely more of a personal journey for me initially to train in fertility/ womb massage. I remember sitting in circle on the first day and all my symptoms were explained so clearly to me as to why I was experiencing period pains. With this experience I learnt so much about my body that I wanted to help others who experience the same.

What types of benefits do you commonly see in your patients doing regular womb massage?

Everyone can be vastly different as all cases are unique. The main benefits I will see in almost everyone is that they are more relaxed and grounded. Almost everyone reports a lighter feeling in their abdomen, better bowel movement, reduction in period pain and feeling less stress and anxiety.

In your work you support many women on their journey to becoming pregnant. Do you recommend they continue to see you after becoming pregnant? What benefits does massage have to offer women in pregnancy?

Absolutely, massage is really beneficial to have throughout pregnancy. It’s great for relaxation, especially during first trimester or if any stage of pregnancy is causing some stress and/ or anxiety. It’s also great for relieving any aches and pains associated with pregnancy or pre-existing aches and pains that may be exacerbated by pregnancy. Beyond that, its beneficial for sleep and circulation, especially during third trimester when everything is starting to feel compromised. I like to think massage gives you a boost mentally and physically to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed.

You are also a doula (also known as a birth attendant). What inspired you to become a doula?

This has always been a tricky question to answer as there are many reasons why I decided to become a doula/ birth attendant. I think one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to become a doula was to support women and be with women during a time that can make you feel very vulnerable. I’ve been treating pregnant women for many years and I’ve heard lots of stories from women who hadn’t felt well supported during their births and many other stories when women haven’t been aware of their choices and options during pregnancy and labour, maybe wanting to have done it differently. If you look at the statistics and the possible causes of medical intervention, having a support person, particularly a doula, has shown positive research results. I’d love to help women have better birthing experiences.

What sorts of things do you do to support women in your work as a doula?

As a doula I am an emotional and physical support person during the pregnancy and labour of a mum to be. I support the mother in helping her through the pregnancy in the lead up to the labour, really getting to know her and her partner and what’s important to them during their labour experience. I personally like to go over any fears and try our best to work with them so that a couple can have a positive birth experience.

We go over a birth plan and their options as to what they might like to experience and how they usually cope with pain. I am currently working on a plan to try and determine tools that couples can use to help women cope with pain. This will allow partners to have a better idea of what they can do and possibly what role the mother wants from them – whether that’s eye contact, movement, massage, pressure points, music, rebozo work, there are sooo many things we can use to help create a safe space that is working with pain (if that’s what a mother’s goal is). Having said that I obviously bring in my own tools to work with pain and that’s massage, rebozo techniques (using a shawl) and pressure points, which are also great at boosting oxytocin for labour. I can use and teach these tools to partners so that we can support each other in supporting the mother to be.

After the birth I also like to meet up with the new family and see how they are going and offer any support that I can during this transitional phase too.

Can you share a moment from your work that you will never forget?

I will never forget that magical moment of seeing a baby born for the first time. I was so in awe of the mother’s strength and perseverance, it’s a magnificent journey to witness and be a part of, words cannot describe the feeling in the room once that baby is born. There are ups and downs, but you’re working as a team to support the mother and father along the way. That first birth taught me soo much, and I think it will forever affect my approach to being a birth attendant.

Your patients are often seeing acupuncturists and naturopaths as well. What type of benefits do you see in these types of shared care?

I find the women and couples who are seeing an acupuncturist and or a naturopath are very well supported through all aspects of health. We’re all looking at different angles of the individuals’ health and I find these clients tend to have better overall health and reach their health goals quicker, generally speaking.

What other modalities do you find your clients get benefit from?

Meditation and yoga, and when necessary counselling.

When I see patients who have a lot of mind chatter and trouble switching off I like to advise meditation to calm the monkey brain.

I also hear lots of good feedback from clients who have seen a counsellor, whether it’s to put things into perspective or have someone with an unbiased opinion to talk to.

I am also a yoga enthusiast and will often advise patients to do certain yoga poses to help stretch and strengthen muscles for better alignment, but if people can get to a class that’s even better.

 

Learn more about Michelle Lowe, remedial massage therapist at Fertile Ground Health Group or make an appointment to have one of her fabulous massage treatments. Online Booking

Opportunity at FGHG for Remedial Massage / Myotherapist to join the team

We are seeking a Remedial Massage or Myotherapist experienced in pre and post natal massage.

Fertile Ground Health Group (FGHG) is a busy, multidisciplinary natural medicine practice specialising in preconception, infertility, pregnancy and family health.

Your experience, motivation and passion for working with pregnant women, as well as your professional approach will secure this role.  To be considered you must have:

  • At least 3 years experience in massage
  • Health Fund Provider numbers, insurance and professional association membership
  • Availability to work 2-3 sessions per week, including evenings until 7pm.
  • Excellent communication skills, a desire to be the best in your profession and actively seek opportunities to raise your profile in the industry.

If you are seeking full reception support, relevant resources and additional training with professional development opportunities, this is an extraordinary opportunity to work with a vibrant, experienced team. Set in a beautiful work environment with excellent prospects for career, business and professional practice development, your desire to be the best in your profession will be supported by opportunities to collaborate with some of the most respected practitioners in the industry.

To apply email a covering letter and resume to Monique Bevan management@fertileground.com.au. Applications close Friday 7th June 2019.

What is Buteyko?

by Carly Woods, FGHG Buteyko practitioner and Naturopath

Did I say potato? No. But I understand the confusion. Let’s get some clarity around what Buteyko is.

A lot of people know about Buteyko Therapy because of the incredible results it produces in asthma recovery.  Dr Konstantin Buteyko developed it in the 1950s for this exact purpose. It’s a breathing therapy that is simple, powerful, and easy to integrate into your life for maximising your health outcomes.  Let’s dive in.

So Buteyko is fabulous for asthma – great, but did you know that it’s also applicable to a whole range of conditions that aren’t even related to asthma?

Anxiety, for example, is such a pervasive and easily hidden condition suffered by so many, and you can use the simplicity and power of Buteyko Therapy to take the edge off before the panic hits. You can even use Buteyko therapy to train your body out of anxiety patterns to avoid panic and chronic internal tension entirely.

The list of conditions that Buteyko is brilliant for is extensive, and includes:

  • Stress, anxiety
  • Digestive issues
  • Respiratory issues, such as sinusitis, rhinitis, hay fever, and asthma.
  • Sleeping issues, such as insomnia, sleep apnoea, and waking with a dry mouth.
  • Cognition issues, like memory, focus, and concentration.
  • Fatigue
  • Dental issues, like palate development, teeth grinding, bad breath.
  • Muscle tension.

And that’s not even all of it.

‘So why are the beneficial effects of Buteyko so wide-reaching?’ I hear you asking me with inquisitive eyes and slight disbelief. A great question.

The answers are simple, and the systemic effects profound.

Buteyko works to

  1. balance and retrain your nervous system;
  2. align your jaw to the right position and activate your correct breathing muscles (to train you out of being a dirty mouth breather);
  3. support proper oxygenation of the tissues throughout your entire body by adjusting your blood gas set point to a more appropriate level.

So let’s think about this for a second. I’m going to just take the first point of how Buteyko works, and dissect it a bit to help you to understand how powerful ‘balancing and retraining your nervous system’ really is.  Imagine you have a chronic condition (many of you may already, so if this is you, imagine your reality). Now imagine you are SUPER stressed. How does that stress feel thrown into the mix of your chronic condition symptoms? Does it exacerbate them, or does it placate them?

It surely does not placate.

So we can see here that stress is unhelpful. Great.

Now let’s think about sleeping.  When we sleep our body LOVES to repair itself. When we sleep we switch into something called the ‘parasympathetic nervous system response’.  It governs our states of rest. In this state we digest, repair, and rest best.

The first reason that Buteyko is such an incredibly versatile therapy is because it switches your body out of the state of stress (called the sympathetic nervous system response) and lands you in your parasympathetic response – your resting, digesting, and repairing state.

So now reconsider your chronic condition – is its repair helped or hindered by stress? Is its repair helped or hindered by being in a repair and rest state?

You got it – the healing of chronic conditions is helped GREATLY by putting your body in the nervous system response state of REPAIR.  I’ve never met anyone who was all, ‘oh yes please, I’d love a bit more stress today – that will surely help me feel apex on my health mountain and heal my underlying issues.’

So we get it – the takeaway here is: Buteyko trains your body OUT of the stress state and INTO a state of repair.

Throughout the next lot of blogs I’ll get into the nitty gritty of how Buteyko helps with all of the conditions listed above. We will start with anxiety and stress.  In the meantime – to get you going with a fierce health stride make sure you grab your free access to my Stress & Anxiety Buteyko Starter Pack.

Buteyko is a combination of simple, practical breathing techniques – I’ll be writing all about how and why they work in these blogs.  If you’re keen to learn how to use Buteyko for yourself and start feeling better immediately – come and see me so that we can tailor a Buteyko program specifically for your needs.  In my consultations we create a Buteko program specifically for you, teach you how and when to use your techniques at home, I’ll show you how to measure your progress, and you’ll learn about what signs to look out for from your body that indicate you’re on the right track with your balance and healing.  My aim is to make it super accessible and easy for you to stay on track with your health long-term.

I usually see patients 3-4 times, and then it’s up to you to implement the changes consistently in your life – which is not hard at all with Buteyko since it’s practical and simple, plus the way you feel as you progress through it is so wonderful that you’ll undoubtedly be a keen Buteyko breathing bean, looking forward to your integrated self-care spaces.

Breath is so incredibly fundamental to life. You meet your breath before you meet your mother.

Learn to get the basics right, and from there your health and healing potential is limitless.

In breath

Carly

Carly Woods - HeadshotCarly is a Buteyko Practitioner and Naturopath. She is passionate about helping her patients access their innate balance and wellbeing using practical, simple, and powerful fundamentals.  If you’re keen to get started now, book in to see Carly. She is available to see you at Fertile Ground Health Group on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Take a look at Carly’s bio to find out more about the way she works and how Buteyko Therapy can help you.

Getting to know your practitioner – Nicole McCowan, FGHG massage therapist

What do you love about your work as a remedial and pregnancy massage therapist?

I love being able to give women relief from any aches, pains or discomfort they have. I also absolutely adore when women lie down on the table and 9 times out of 10 there is an instant “Ähhhhhhhh” moment as they allow themselves to relax, knowing that the next 60-90 minutes is all about them and nurturing their bodies. Being a remedial and pregnancy massage therapist it’s my job be as caring, kind, compassionate and knowledgeable about the body as I can possibly be. Considering these are my favourite things to be in life, I truly think I have one of the best jobs in the world!

As well as being an aromatherapist and reiki practitioner, you teach feminine embodiment yoga. Would you like to tell us a bit about that?

Love to, it’s a massive passion of mine. Feminine Embodiment Yoga (FEY) is a specialised yoga practice uniquely celebrating the female form and flow. The practice allows you to strengthen your body through a combination of hatha yoga poses and rhythmic movements. It also has a strong focus on breath, balancing active and restorative poses and meditation. I love being a woman and learning about how unique our minds, emotions and bodies are, so when I discovered a yoga style specifically developed for women I couldn’t get enough and I enjoy sharing this practice with all women.

As a Practitioner, layering treatments with several modalities brings incredible results. For example, in a birth preparation massage the physical massage will work on an anatomical level, with the essential oils in the massage oil penetrating to a physiological level, add some reiki to reach the energetic level and once the massage is complete we the discuss home care and simple yoga postures and stretches that can work wonders to continue the birth preparation process.

Do you think women could benefit from feminine embodiment yoga during their fertility journey? How?

Definitely, Feminine Embodiment Yoga (FEY) focuses on relaxing the nervous system by releasing physical and emotional tension from the body. When the nervous system is relaxed your body goes from being in the ‘fight or flight’ mode (sympathetic nervous system) to “rest and digest”mode (parasympathetic nervous system) allowing your body to heal and restore itself.  The practice also targets specific areas of women’s bodies for greater engagement and toning. For example, in today’s society we do a lot of sitting at desks, in front of the TV, in the car, on transport etc. So FEY focuses on building strength in your legs, bottom and core, as well as stretching out the hips and pelvis, as these areas can become tight and locked. This is especially beneficial for fertility as it creates space and increases blood flow and nutrients to the area.

You support many women with massage on their journey through pregnancy and also post birth. What are some of the biggest challenges you see women going through physically and emotionally during these times?

It is an amazing privilege to be able to support women through this time of great transition as their bodies adapt and change to accommodate the next generation they are growing inside them. Exhaustion and fatigue are common challenges I see women facing during pregnancy and post birth. We live in a fast pace society and being the matriarch of the family comes with a never ending to do list, which you have just added “grow human” and/or “raise child” to the list! It’s important to get enough rest so your body and the baby has the best chance to grow and thrive. Getting a massage is amazing for this and I’m delighted when women come in to see me, having placed importance on putting themselves and their babies on top of their priority list. A massage helps relieve tension, headaches, body aches and pains, and cramping, to name a few. Massage for birth preparation is crucial to be in the most relaxed, rested and healthy state for the labour.

Post birth massage is essential to relieve the stress your body has gone through in labour and accelerate the healing process by releasing tense muscles which aids in moving lymph, fresh blood and nutrients around the body. It can be a challenge to find the time with a newborn to make it into the clinic so we recommend timing it just after a feed and then your gorgeous baby can sleep peacefully in their pram in the room while you receive a much needed massage. If they wake and cry it wouldn’t be the first time the awesome team on reception coo them back to sleep (it’s literally a pleasure and cuteness overload). If leaving the house still seems too hard (which it totally can be trying to time feed and sleep cycles) we offer home visit massages, we recommend you have someone at home with you to watch over baby so you can fully relax in the massage and receive as much nurturing as you give your bundle of joy.

How else can men and women benefit from massage?

Massage can benefit men and women in so many ways by increasing circulation, assisting detoxification, relieving tension and pain, reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep, and boosting your immune system, just to name a few.

Massage also counteracts all the sitting we do which is an awesome benefit considering how many of us have office jobs equating to prolonged periods of sitting. All this sitting leads postural stress which most times manifests in the shoulders and neck. More advanced postural stress can show up as pain or weakness in the lower back and gluteals. More often than not after a massage I will have patients comment how they didn’t realise how tense they were or how tight a specific area was until it was massaged. It’s highly beneficial to have a regular massage, even just once a month, to check in with your body before any aches or pains become acute or chronic.

What part of your work has ever brought you to tears?

As much as I try, I can’t help the rush of emotion when I hear about the birth, see pictures of, or meet a baby of a mother I have been massaging during her pregnancy. Its humbling and special to be able to share the joys of watching their belly grow and feeling the baby move when they receive a massage in Mum’s tum. Knowing that I have been able to support the mother through massage, which may have helped them have a more relaxed and enjoyable pregnancy is just wonderful.

Learn more about Nicole McCowan, remedial massage therapist at Fertile Ground Health Group or make an appointment to have one of her fabulous massage treatments. Online Booking

Is men’s health important for fertility?

(Isn’t fertility a “women’s problem”?)

Written by Charmaine Dennis, naturopath

The truth is, male fertility is declining at such a rapid rate that it is not just an issue for up to 50% of couples experiencing infertility, it has become a real public health issue.

Sperm concentrations in western men have declined 50% over the past 40 years according to a recent research review.1 Particularly associated with advancing age, lifestyle, diet choices and environmental factors, the consequences on the future of human population is concerning to say the least.

The information we share with our patients at Fertile Ground is so important for men to embrace – environmental, nutritional, physical exercise and psychological support, combined with the use of appropriate supplementation. Attention and focus here can really improve semen parameters and prevent infertility, improving the chance for a couple to conceive spontaneously or optimise their chances of conception.2-4 Where possible, it is just as important for men donating sperm too.

In our experience, men are not always on board with exploring this territory let alone committing to all the changes. They may be too confronted or embarrassed or just unwilling to wade through this kind of information about health and fertility like women often are.

We also know that some men really see how their sperm is a reflection of their overall health and they are ready to make change and prevent more potentially serious health consequences in the future, as well as improve their sperm health and fertility. When men get on board with this, we do see time and time again how important it is for the women they are making babies with.

When men make a concerted effort to help improve their own fertility and the healthy conception and pregnancy outcomes, women feel so supported, so much more able to adhere to the recommendations themselves, and as an added bonus of course, it is good for the relationship too!

  1. Levine H, Jørgensen N, Martino-Andrade A, et al. Temporal trends in sperm count: A systematic review and meta-regression analysis. Hum Reprod Update. 2017;23(6):646-659. doi:10.1093/humupd/dmx022.
  2. Ilacqua A, Izzo G, Emerenziani G Pietro, Baldari C, Aversa A. Lifestyle and fertility: The influence of stress and quality of life on male fertility. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2018;16(1):1-11. doi:10.1186/s12958-018-0436-9.
  3. Salas-Huetos A, Bulló M, Salas-Salvadó J. Dietary patterns, foods and nutrients in male fertility parameters and fecundability: A systematic review of observational studies. Hum Reprod Update. 2017;23(4):371-389. doi:10.1093/humupd/dmx006.
  4. Gaskins AJ, Chavarro JE. Diet and fertility: a review. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2018;218(4):379-389. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2017.08.010.