Naturopathic Care for Parents and Babies in Melbourne

naturopath melbourne

As you navigate the transformative journey of pregnancy, birth and parenthood and consider how best to support yourself and your growing family, we encourage you to consider postnatal naturopathy in Melbourne as an avenue for ongoing holistic wellness. Let’s explore the principles and benefits of postnatal naturopathy, shedding light on how it can offer support to both parents and babies through the various critical life stages and big changes.

Unlocking the Benefits of Postnatal Naturopathy

Postnatal naturopathy embraces a holistic approach to health and well-being. It goes beyond addressing specific issues, focusing on various aspects such as diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management. This comprehensive approach extends to the use of nutritional supplementation, herbal medicines, and homeopathy. These tools work in harmony to enhance overall health for both parents and babies.

How Postnatal Naturopathy Works

While postnatal naturopathy can and does provide immediate relief for acute issues, its main emphasis is on holistic intervention and preventative healthcare. Naturopaths carefully assess an individual’s physical and mental state to identify areas for improvement in their overall health and wellness. Collaboration with other medical practitioners ensures thorough testing and diagnoses if needed, resulting in optimal holistic outcomes. Collaboration with your healthcare team is a key value and process at Fertile Ground and The Melbourne Apothecary to ensure you’re getting the best care. We have a wide network of collaborative health professionals from various allied health and medical professions who we commonly work with and refer to.

Naturopathy for Every Family Member

Our services extend beyond postnatal naturopathy for parents in Melbourne. We offer naturopathic care for babies and young children too, at both Fertile Ground and The Melbourne Apothecary, providing convenience through telehealth consultations so you can access naturopathic care with us from anywhere in the world. Our expert practitioners are dedicated to supporting the health and well-being of your entire family.

For Parents

New parenting often brings tiredness, exhaustion, and sometimes overwhelm. Our expert practitioners are highly experienced in helping parents navigate these challenges. Whether you’re recovering from birth, managing breastfeeding concerns, coping with sleep deprivation, or addressing issues of mood and stress, our naturopaths can provide valuable support.

In fact, the time after birth is often referred to as The Fourth Trimester, and support to help your body and mind adjust to this new terrain is critical. If this is you (or about to be you) get started with our free guide:

Download – Free Guide For Your Fourth Trimester

For Baby

Children’s health can often be maintained and restored through minor dietary changes and short-term naturopathic assistance. Our commitment is to help you strike the right balance in supporting your child’s healthy development. We also offer guidance on homeopathic kits and natural remedies for common childhood issues too.

Book a Consultation to Support Your Family Health

If you’re seeking naturopathic pregnancy care, postnatal naturopathy, or support for babies and children, our team at Fertile Ground Health Group in Melbourne is here for you. Our highly skilled naturopathic practitioners are ready to discuss your unique needs and help you achieve optimal health. Book an appointment and access the naturopathic support to help you achieve greater wellness.

Book your naturopathic appointment

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What can I do for eczema?

do for eczema

Are you wondering ‘What can I do for eczema?’ How many creams and lotions have you had to use just for it to come back with vengeance? There is so much more to this condition than meets the eye and a lot that can be done to help. Read on!

Why does eczema happen?

Atopic dermatitis/eczema (AD) is multifactorial involving alterations in cell mediated immune responses, barrier dysfunction, IgE mediated hypersensitivity and environmental factors.

Alterations in barrier function along with immune dysregulation are thought to be first step in the development of atopic dermatitis with each of them work cyclically with one another to maintain the eczema presentation (2). 

Impaired barrier function with a high rate of transepidermal water loss places a person at risk of developing eczema (1). Defects in the skin barrier proteins such as keratins, intracellular proteins and transgluataminases facilitate a dysregulated immune response to external environmental antigens and drive an inflammatory skin response (1). 

Why does it itch?

We know the itch of eczema too well and it is caused by the release of histamine in the body. Histamine is released by a subset of sensory neurons which cause itch and allergic inflammation, which is why many people with eczema see a worsening of symptoms when eating high histamine foods (1). 

The importance of lipids (fats) cannot be ignored in patients with eczema. Ceramides, long chain fatty acids and cholesterol contribute to the lipid matrix that makes up the skin. In patients who experience eczema we see a decreased level of long chain ceramides and long chain fatty acids which are reduced by inflammatory Th2 cytokines (1). Th2 cytokines are associated with an increased inflammatory response in eczema as this cytokine reacts to environmental allergens (1). 

The relationship to your skin microbiome

The microbiome of the skin is particularly important in eczema with patients having decreased bacterial diversity with increased opportunistic Staphylococcus and Corynebacterium bacteria. High levels of opportunistic bacteria can increase proinflammatory cellular reactions (1).  

Patients with eczema also have significantly lower numbers of intestinal Bifidobacterium and higher numbers of Staphylococcus (1,2). Overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Clostridium difficile, increases intestinal permeability causing a cascade effect on immunity and skin barrier function (1, 2).  There’s a lot you can do for eczema on a skin microbiome level.

How can eczema be treated?

Studies have shown that frequent application of appropriate moisturisers (ceramide dominant or lipid mixtures) can reduce skin inflammation, enhance skin hydration, decrease bacterial colonisation and improve skin barrier function, decreasing the need for topical corticosteroids (1,3). Creams that contain the following have measurable effects on skin barrier function and inflammatory mediators: ceramides, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, licorice extract (glycyrrhetinic acid), and palmitoylethanolamide (3). 

  • Appropriate probiotics have proved beneficial in the prevention and treatment of eczema through modulating the gut bacteria and immune response (3). 
  • Wearing appropriate clothing textiles such as cotton and silk has been shown to reduce the number of eczema breakouts and aid in cream absorption (3). 
  • Therapeutic bathing in natural mineral rich water and gentle sun exposure has been shown to promote skin healing and improvement in eczema appearance (3). 
  • Natural oils applied directly to the skin have been shown to improve skin hydration, exert anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial effects reducing chronic and acute skin inflammation (3). 
  • In depth dietary analysis is necessary to identify food sensitivities/allergies that may be contributing to sustained eczema presentation or acute eczema flares. Hypersensitivity to certain foods is seen in 85% of eczema patients. (3)

Eczema/AD are complex conditions that require in depth analysis and targeted treatment to get results. There’s a lot that your naturopath can do for eczema, including prescribing you an appropriate plan to help to get your eczema under control, which may include targeted lotions and assisting you with an overall assessment of your lifestyle and the factors that contribute to the expression of eczema/AD with you.

Written by Lucy Moores, Naturopath and Nutritionist at The Melbourne Apothecary. 

If you’re looking for help with your eczema, book in a free 10 minute chat with our Naturopath and Nutritionist Lucy by navigating to heading ‘Naturopathy – Melbourne Apothecary’

 

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6399565/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29063428/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4518179/ 

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

Oaty Blueberry Muffins

Oaty blueberry muffin The Breakfast Project

Oaty Blueberry Muffins…of course, these are not your usual fluffy sugar-filled muffins like you might have grabbed en-route to work from your favourite coffee shop once… or twice…

These are a hearty, guaranteed-to-fill-you-up-with-goodness kind of muffin.

Oaty Blueberry Muffins Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 ½ cups almond milk, warmed
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or seeds of one pod
  • 1 sweet red apple, skin on, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries

Method

Preheat oven to 170°C and prepare the muffin pan by greasing with coconut oil or lining with baking paper.
Mix oats, chia and warm milk together in a small bowl, and soak for 10 minutes. Add in coconut oil.
Stir in maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, apples and almond meal
Gently fold through the blueberries, still frozen.
Spoon into prepared muffin pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Cool to cold. They keep for about 5 days in the fridge.

These scrumptious muffins will keep you fuller for longer. They are a great breakfast on the go or snack that will keep you going. Love to meal prep? We do too! You can bake and freeze so you have a muffin on hand all week!

Want more?

Book in for a free 10 minute introduction consult with one of our naturopaths or nutritionists to get started with revamping your diet and lifestyle with delicious, healthy choices that support your wellbeing, energy and taste buds!

Blood-sugar, Hormones and Fertility

Blood Sugar

As you’ve probably already learned, your diet has everything to do with your fertility. Let’s explore more about why your blood-sugar levels matter. It is well established that irregular blood-sugar, insulin resistance and diabetes have a negative effect on fertility outcomes for all involved so it is very important that we address this head on.

How to Identify if you have Blood-Sugar Issues

Many of us have trouble with blood-sugar levels without really knowing it, and these can cause physiological problems well before your test results will lead your doctor to inform you that you are at risk of developing diabetes. Once you get to this stage, you’re well down the path of disease development.

You are likely to be pre-disposed to blood-sugar problems if you have:

  • A family history of Type 2 diabetes.
  • PCOS.
  • Experienced gestational diabetes with a previous pregnancy. 

You are likely to be struggling to control your blood-sugar levels if you suffer from any of the following:

  • Eat a predominantly carbohydrate diet.
  • Have energy slumps in the afternoon.
  • Get regular headaches.
  • Crave sugary foods, cordial or fizzy drinks, chocolate or carbs.
  • Have energy drinks, colas or coffee to give you a lift.
  • Easily become ‘hangry’ (angry when you’re hungry), shaky, or faint.
  • Faint or foggy-brained.
  • Have an ‘apple’-shaped body

How to Blood-Sugar Issues Affect My Fertility?

Blood-sugar issues not only lead to an increased risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia and some cancers, your blood-sugar is directly related to many causes for suboptimal reproductive health and infertility as well. There are a number of ways your blood-sugar can create problems with your fertility including impacting your hormonal imbalance and creating inflammation. The good news is that this is totally within your control! What you put in your mouth dictates what happens to your blood-sugar levels on a biochemical level.

Carrying extra weight negatively affects your fertility. In fact, one of the main suspected causes of impaired fertility related to weight is the underlying issue of insulin resistance, affecting hormone expression and inflammation. This can lead to compromised ovulation and egg quality, and impaired sperm production. Not only will managing your blood-glucose levels through diet and exercise help you to lose the extra kilograms but getting your blood-sugar and insulin sensitivity under control will improve your hormones and fertility.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you’re not overweight that your blood-sugar is spot on. If you tend to crave sweet, sugary or carbohydrate-rich foods, get shaky or irritable if you are late eating or miss a meal then this is still highly relevant for you.

Do I have blood-sugar issues if I only get sugar cravings before my period? 

Many people experience a particular increase in cravings for sugar and chocolate when they are pre-menstrual. Of course, hormones play a role here, and following our advice on balancing your hormones usually helps with these premenstrual sugar cravings. But just as importantly, managing your blood sugar fluctuations by following the dietary recommendations here will also help to improve your premenstrual symptoms, plus benefit your early pregnancy outcomes should you happen to have conceived in that cycle. 

Sugar and stress

Eating excess sugars and refined carbohydrates can also contribute to higher stress levels. Blood-sugar spikes trigger your adrenal glands to produce higher levels of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone. A common experience when ‘quitting sugar’ is one of improved stress tolerance and relaxation, plus broader benefits such as concentration and productivity. Higher levels of cortisol can adversely impact your fertility, so breaking the sugar habit is crucial in improving your fertility when you have blood-sugar issues.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Some people with weight problems and insulin-resistance issues find they are diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS. This is the most common endocrine disorder affecting female fertility, with 8-13% of women of reproductive age having the syndrome. (1) It seems to have a significant genetic component, and you are likely to find your mother, sisters, aunts or cousins have similar symptoms, or that you have a family history of Type 2 diabetes. But there is no need to despair if you’ve been diagnosed. Successful management of PCOS is something we regularly achieve in our practice, very often resulting in improvements in symptoms and successful pregnancy within months of treatment. 

Common symptoms of PCOS include long or absent menstrual cycles, acne, male-pattern hair growth, weight gain especially around the abdomen and upper body (the apple shape), and a tendency to crave sugar and carbohydrate-heavy foods. PCOS is diagnosed via ultrasound to confirm the presence of multiple cysts on the ovaries, taking a patient history to determine irregular or absent periods and related hormonal signs and symptoms, and blood tests to confirm high testosterone (or symptoms like acne and hirsutism). You only need two out of these three criteria to be diagnosed with PCOS – you don’t have to have multiple cysts on the ovaries to have PCOS.(2)

Being a ‘syndrome’ rather than a ‘disease’, symptoms and test results vary from person to person. It is not uncommon for someone thin with irregular cycles to be diagnosed with PCOS, or for someone with irregular cycles and multiple cysts to show normal blood-glucose and hormone levels. Clinically, we often find these people present with some of the other secondary symptoms (hair growth, acne), and respond well to breaking their sugar addiction with a low carbohydrate diet. These individuals are often told they have polycystic ovaries, but without the syndrome (PCO). 

It’s important to remember that every person with multiple cysts and ovulation problems can have a different presentation, and it is unlikely you would have all the signs and symptoms commonly listed. 

The signs and symptoms of PCOS 

  • Infrequent ovulation and irregular, prolonged or absent menstrual cycles.
  • Subfertility and fertility issues.
  • Weight gain, especially associated with abdominal fat deposition, but just as often under or normal weight women can present with PCOS. Weight and body shape changes after stopping the oral contraceptive pill are common.
  • Excess dark body hair around the nipple, chest, belly, chin and upper lip. 
  • Hormonal acne. 
  • Poor blood-glucose control with frequent cravings for carbohydrates and sugary foods.

What makes a person susceptible to PCOS?

Unfortunately, you may feel as if your biology is working against you. PCOS is more likely if you have a family history of Type 2 diabetes or if your mother had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with you. You are also at increased risk of developing gestational diabetes once pregnant and Type 2 diabetes later in life. But it’s important to remember that you have some control of your health outcomes at the end of the day. The tools available to you to learn to help manage your PCOS symptoms and improve your fertility will also benefit your health long term and reduce your risk of developing disease later in life.

For more information or to get help managing PCOS generally, or for fertility and / or pregnancy care

Book your naturopathic appointment

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References

  1. Teede HJ, Misso ML, Costello MF, et al. Recommendations from the international evidence-based guideline for the assessment and management of polycystic ovary syndrome. Hum Reprod. 2018;33(9):1602-1618. doi:10.1093/humrep/dey256.
  2. Fritz MA, Speroff L. Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility. 8th edn. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams
    & Wilkins; 2011.

Are you our next Fertility Naturopath?

Fertility Naturopath

An exciting opportunity is available now for an experienced Fertility Naturopath to join our team at Fertile Ground Health Group.

Fertile Ground Health Group practitioners have been leaders in their respective professions for IVF support, fertility, pregnancy-related treatments and general reproductive medicine care for over 21 years. Our practitioners are well respected amongst medical specialists and experts within this area of practice.

We pride ourselves in providing exceptional standards of patient care and believe that collaboration and co-creation create the best learning environment where everyone involved benefits – practitioners, patients and the team supporting both. We have a large influx of new patients ready and waiting for the right new practitioner.

To be eligible for this position, you already have passion, interest and experience in reproductive health, pre-conception care, infertility, IVF/ART, pregnancy, birth and beyond. Mentoring and supervision with seasoned practitioners on our team is also available if required.

You will receive

You will not only receive dedicated business management and administrative support, but will also be immersed in a collaborative team of well-known professionals to grow, work and co-create with. We provide support and opportunities from all angles to guide, develop and expand your professional profile. You will have new patients waiting to see you and the established reputation of Fertile Ground Health Group including professional and collaborative referral networks to provide you with a consistent flow of patients to work with on an ongoing basis.

Is this you?

  • You value collaboration and your ability to develop referrer relationships and patient results are a must.
  • You want to establish yourself as a leader in your profession and you are willing and ready to raise your profile through opportunities that excite you (we have opportunities for exposure and growth rolling in all the time).
  • You understand the value of writing blogs and social media, marketing contribution, relationship building, speaking opportunities (to health professionals or patient groups), running workshops, classes or support groups (in person, on zoom or on social media).
  • You may feel ready to be a mentor in the naturopathic field or run masterclasses of your own, for practitioner or patient audiences (or both). In either instance, we are fully set up to support you to take off in this arena too.

As a member of our team you receive full access to all the foundational goods that come as part of the extensive springboard that is Fertile Ground Health Group, providing you with endless opportunities to accelerate your practice.

What we’re looking for

We are looking for an experienced naturopath who would like to simplify the work involved in running a business and dispensary, who is ready to focus on being a fully supported, fantastic practitioner, dedicating efforts to growing patient reach, enhancing their profile and growing their career with Fertile Ground Health Group. Ideally you are ready to let go of all the (often unpaid) work of running your business and ready to fully immerse in what you love most – seeing patients and being  the best practitioner you can be (without wearing so many different hats).

Prerequisite

We require up-to-date fertility and IVF knowledge in order to continue serving our patient base with the high standard of care that they enjoy. The successful applicant will, of course, be well supported and integrated into the existing naturopathic team, with mentoring if desired. A solid baseline understanding of current research and confident clinical application is required as a baseline and completion of relevant reproductive medicine courses or demonstration of equivalent experience is considered favourably.

Practice session times

You will need to commit to a minimum of two sessions per week with room to grow over time. Sought after Saturdays are encouraged even if alternating. Practicing options include both in person and/or Telehealth (Zoom or phone). Appointments can be conducted from wherever you are – providing you have a stable internet connection. In light of this new Telehealth paradigm, if you are interstate you are also welcome to apply.

If you are able to offer face to face sessions from our practice at 6 Smith Street, Collingwood, Melbourne, you will be working in one of Australia’s most intentionally beautiful and vibrant clinic spaces with an extensive dispensary at The Melbourne Apothecary, which supplies all of your prescription needs. At present, our naturopaths work both from home via Telehealth and in person at the practice, depending on preference.

What is The Melbourne Apothecary?

The Melbourne Apothecary (The MA) was created in 2020 to provide Melbourne’s first prescription-only naturopathic dispensary, serving the Fertile Ground Health Group team as well as filling prescriptions for naturopaths all over Australia. The MA serves to protect the privacy of our fertility and IVF patients (for those who want it) along with opening up to the general health population as a street-frontage “shop” and growing general health practice. It is a truly beautiful space and strives to be an example of what is possible.

Apply

To apply please email a cover letter detailing your interest, availability and ideal scenario along with your resume to Charmaine Dennis at charmaine@fertileground.com.au

Applications close December 15th December 2022. Apply asap as we will be interviewing as soon as the right candidates land in our inbox.

“It always feels too soon to leap. But you have to – because that’s the moment between you and remarkable.” Seth Godin