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

Are you prepared for one of the biggest days of your life?

 

Giving birth to your baby is a momentous event, particularly if it’s your first child. It is your initiation into motherhood, a rite of passage and you will be entering into unfamiliar territory. You may not have thought about just how big this will feel, or perhaps you’ve been thinking about the big day obsessively with equal amounts of curiosity, trepidation or uncertainty.

Much of our thoughts and energy during pregnancy go toward eating well, exercising and preparing for the days and months after the baby’s arrival, but it is equally important to consider how you can prepare to have a good labour and birth on this momentous day.

With so many opinions and different birth stories to hear, it can be difficult to know who or what to trust and how to feel confident about giving birth to your baby. Navigating this unfamiliar territory doesn’t have to be arduous, especially when there are experienced guides known as doulas or birth attendants. A guide to help you with birth preparation, creating a birth plan and gathering a good support team during pregnancy and birth, so when the big day arrives and you first greet your newborn babe, it can be the best experience it can possibly be!

What is a Doula?

A doula is another word to describe a birth attendant, birth coach or birth support companion.  She offers guidance and information as well as emotional and physical support.

A Doula will help you and your partner prepare for birth by giving you tips and tools for effective labour, help you understand what to expect when you are in hospital and assist you to navigate your way through risk management. They also work with you to create a plan for the kind of birth experience you would like to have and offer reassurance for when things don’t go to plan, bringing a calming presence to what can potentially be a confusing time.

Doulas add to a positive birth experience where birthing women feel safer, more informed and more aware of birth choices and the implications of these choices.

Why do I need a Doula?

Most Australian woman have fragmented maternity care and see multiple people across the pregnancy and birth journey. This can leave some women feeling unsupported and fearful about birth because they haven’t developed a relationship with a trusted guide, who they can rely on to assist and support them during the physically and emotionally intense experience of giving birth.

A good Doula is respectful of the demanding roles that obstetricians and midwifes have in the birth process. They understand that hospital midwives and medical staff can be weighed down by paperwork, protocols and safety during the birth, which can sometimes mean they have less time for the emotional, practical and physical care of birthing women.

By having a Doula you are filling in the gaps and giving yourself consistency of care and an opportunity to develop a supportive, trusting and educational relationship which has multiple benefits for you, your support team and family.

Does a doula need special training? Are they qualified to provide advice?

Anyone can call themselves a doula, so it is important to check that your doula has been trained by a reputable and experienced person or organisation.  It is also important to remember that doulas cannot give you medical advice or diagnose and assess your condition. This is the job of your GP, medical specialist or midwife.

A doula’s role is to educate and support you in birth preparation through to labour, delivery and immediately post-partum.  It is always best to engage a trained birth attendant doula. Our FGHG birth attendants have been trained with one of Australia’s most experienced childbirth educators and counsellors, Rhea Dempsey.

What happens at each appointment with my FGHG Doula?

You can engage a doula to attend your birth at any stage of your pregnancy but it is ideal to establish the relationship a few months before the baby is due. This allows time for you to get to know each other and feel comfortable and confident with your birth attendant.

Doulas at Fertile Ground Health Group are also massage therapists and many women choose to have regular pregnancy massage to further strengthen the relationship, build trust and to support a positive labour and birth. FGHG birth attendants can also recommend who to see when you need help with common ailments during pregnancy and what kind of support you might need post-natally for birth recovery, breastfeeding and nutrition.

At the initial 30 minute meeting – you will get to know your practitioner, how they work, what to expect, costs, share your concerns and history and have your questions answered to make an informed choice.

At the Birth meeting – this is a comprehensive 2 hour meeting that is ideally done as early as possible in the pregnancy because it is all about developing the relationship, establishing the birth team and bringing all interested parties together – i.e. partner, family and other support people, anyone who is attending the birth.

You will prepare a birth plan which talks you through all aspects of what to expect at the birth, which will allow you to get clear about your birth preferences and be more informed about the times when decisions and choices need to be made about pain relief, vaccination, placenta and umbilical cord.  You’ll also discuss where to park, medications and what food to bring as well as techniques to use during labour for active birth and optimal foetal positioning, birth preparation and resources you can use for any issue that arises.

Leading up to your due date you will have access to your birth attendant:

  • With 24 hour on call period from 38 weeks until the birth of your baby
  • Support for the full duration of active labour and the immediate period (1-2hrs) after your baby is born
  • One post-natal visit at your home to ‘debrief’ after the birth
  • Access to a “back up” birth attendant if needed

Having a trained birth attendant at your side to help you navigate unknown territory, support you and provide guidance ultimately gives you more confidence, reassurance and preparation for one of the biggest days in your life – the birth of your baby and the growth of your family.

More information about doulas at FGHG:

Fiona Harrison, FGHG Massage Therapist and Birth Attendant

Michelle Lowe, FGHG Massage Therapist and Birth Attendant

More information and prices

Who is Ashley Gordon, Acupuncturist?

We talk to Ashley Gordon, Acupuncturist at FGHG and discover what makes him such a fabulous, dedicated practitioner and why he has chosen to focus on reproductive health, fertility and pregnancy acupuncture.

What initially ignited your interest in studying to become a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner and acupuncturist?

Before my time as a TCM practitioner, I was a middle school Biology and Maths teacher. This was good, but I knew there was something… I was on the prowl for job satisfaction. Whilst having a treatment from my acupuncturist, she said “you seem to know a lot about it, ever thought of studying it?”… baffled at the timing of that statement, my answer was “not until now…” and the rest was history!!

How does an Eastern philosophy differ from a western philosophy in terms of fertility and reproductive support?

In my understanding, as different as they can be, they are both just as crucial as the other. Simplistically and generally, Western philosophy seems to go by numbers… if they fit, then they are good. This may not always take into consideration factors such as stress, emotions, sleep and their related symptoms in the body… this is where Eastern philosophy comes in quite strongly. Together, they can make as awesome team, but each have their own ability to stand independently. Fertility and reproductive support can be so easily affected by so many different lifestyle choices. It make sense to sort these out ASAP!

What unique challenges and rewards come from working with your patients in an independent, non-Western healthcare care setting ?

The rewards are many. In fertility and reproductive support specifically, the answer is simply sharing in the joy of people succeeding in their goal of having a baby. In general, assisting people in working towards better health and maximising all that their body and life has to offer. The body knows, we just need to point it in the right direction sometimes…

Chinese Medicine is such a broad discipline with so many different tools, could you offer some insight into how Chinese Medicine works best for you as a practitioner and which areas you particularly love treating?

Without a doubt, my passion lies in treating pregnancy with acupuncture. My fascination and intrigue with the human body is epitomised by pregnancy. Watching the body, grow, adapt and mould whilst still supporting the day-to-day life of a human, blows me away. My other favourite is pre-conception care – assisting this miracle to happen is such a joy!

 

Ash-Gordon-colourAshley Gordon, FGHG Acupuncturist

Ashley is an experienced acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist who is passionate about utilising the innate healing qualities of the body in achieving the desired outcomes. Be that in fertility, pregnancy or general health.

Ashley has a strong focus on preconception care, pregnancy and birth preparation and is motivated by the journeys and emotional and physical changes that these experiences bring. It is his privilege to a be a part of such a personal and life-changing journey.

Getting to know your practitioner – Sonia Millett, FGHG acupuncturist

What inspired you to become an acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist, with a special interest in fertility and pregnancy?

Fertility, pregnancy and women’s health conditions are some of the most interesting and complex to treat, for this reason it has always drawn me – there are so many interesting aspects to consider, such as hormonal and emotional factors.

I love the challenges fertility issues present, and in particular the joy of hard-fought successes such as conceiving a baby after years of trying.  I also enjoy then treating  patients up until they give birth –  there is a real sense of completion and connection with the patient.

I first experienced the benefits of Chinese Medicine when my infant son did not gain weight and was diagnosed with ‘failure to thrive’, and was very unsettled. Several pediatricians were unable to provide a reason or a solution. Chinese Medicine, however, provided some notable improvements, and I was hooked.

What do you see as the strengths that acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (CM) have to offer in terms of fertility and reproductive support?

Fertility and pregnancy treatments are a major area of strength in Chinese Medicine as it fills a gap in conventional Western Medicine. This makes it a wonderful adjunct to medical treatments such as IVF.  If a pathology is not visible (eg in scans/to the eye) or does not show up in testing such as blood tests, Chinese Medicine excels. This is why Chinese Medicine can be effective with diagnoses such as ‘unexplained’ infertility, or for older patients. Traditional Chinese Medicine has a different diagnostic system and we can find a diagnosis (and therefore help treat) even when there is none in Western Medicine.

Chinese Medicine practitioners treat the individual, not the disease, and aim to strengthen underlying issues in the body.  The treatments are more patient- centred.

Also, Chinese Medicine is a holistic approach, supporting the OVERALL health and vitality of the body, as well as treating health issues directly. The principle aim of Chinese Medicine and acupuncture is to recover the equilibrium between the physical and emotional aspects of an individual, by treating the whole person. This is why we also provide lifestyle and dietary advice, and consider the emotional state of patients.

Patients often report they feel less stressed and more able to cope following acupuncture treatments, and we see this as a vital part of the treatment.

In your work you assist a lot of women on their journey to becoming pregnant, do you recommend they continue to see you after they have fallen pregnant? What does acupuncture and Chinese medicine have to offer during pregnancy?

Chinese Medicine is very useful throughout pregnancy. It offers a gentle approach to treatment without side-effects. It can help treat conditions such as nausea in early pregnancy, and any pain throughout the pregnancy. In late pregnancy, acupuncture can be used to prepare the patient for an on-time labour.

The benefits of treatment also extend to post-partum for issues such as poor milk supply and for a boost in energy when exhausted.

Your week tends to be very busy, what sort of self-care do you do to recharge outside of seeing patients?

I get lots of benefit from connecting with special friends, and possibly combining this with a walk. Also a regular yoga practice. I find that any practice that nourishes you emotionally as well as physically, has more far-reaching benefits. Whenever time permits, I also enjoy  acupuncture, kinesiology or massage treatments throughout the year.

I enjoy massage treatments primarily for stress relief, and acupuncture or kinesiology when I have a more acute condition that needs addressing such as pain.  I personally really enjoy kinesiology – it’s an eclectic mix of treatment approaches (and even incorporates some Chinese Medicine channel theory).

What are your top five tips for others to help maintain a healthy lifestyle?

  • Eat a nutritious diet with primarily fresh fruit and vegetables (no need to eat low fat foods) and get daily exercise (doesn’t need to be strenuous).
  • Make time for fun and nurture the special relationships in your life. Particularly important when going through challenging times such as when trying to conceive or with a new baby.
  • Find Gratitude – notice things in your life daily that you are grateful for
  • Get plenty of sleep, ideally within the hours of 11pm – 6.00am.
  • And of course have regular therapeutic treatments such as acupuncture, massage, naturopathy, kinesiology, to maintain health – after all, prevention is better than cure! CM is great as a preventative to help keep you in peak heath and manage stress.

Learn more about Sonia Millet on our practitioner page here: Sonia Millet, FGHG Acupuncturist

What’s Your Fertility Plan?

Your Fertility Plan with Sage King from Fertile Ground Health Group

It can be quite overwhelming for any individual or couple to decide if their family plan includes children, let alone go one step further and reach out for support to optimise or facilitate fertility. These decisions can be even more complex for those who fall outside of the mainstream heteronormative, coupled, gender binary. 

Fertility plan – where to start?

Knowing when you want to have children is key to where you can choose to start on this journey. Does your family plan include children within the next 3-12 months? Did you know that preconception care takes a minimum of three months to positively influence reproductive health,  including egg quality? 

One of our expert fertility naturopaths, Sage King, has written a 6-part series to help individuals and couples of all gender identities and sexual orientations confidently navigate their fertility journey and create their own fertility plan. This series is inclusive of everything from preconception pathology screening, naturopathic preconception considerations, how to enhance your fertility naturally, to egg freezing, intrauterine insemination (IU) and In vitro fertilisation (IVF). Sage will be taking a deep-dive in how you can optimise your fertility outcomes.

What you’ll learn in this free 6-part article series

Part One: Identify Your Unique & Individual Needs

  • Individual considerations
  • Couple considerations
  • Sperm donor considerations

Part Two: Do You Need Preconception Screening?

  • Understanding your optimal preconception window
  • GP preconception screening
  • Your functional preconception assessment options
  • Naturopathic preconception considerations
  • PCOS, Endometriosis and the impacts on fertility

Part Three: Enhance Your Fertility Naturally

  • Eating for your fertility
  • Exercising for your fertility
  • Stress management
  • Enhancing sleep quality for your fertility
  • Endocrine disrupting chemicals and why you should avoid them

Part Four: Is Egg Freezing for You?

  • Age and egg freezing – what’s the go?
  • Understanding the egg freezing process
  • How to access Naturopathic support for egg freezing

Part Five: What is IUI & do I qualify?

  • What is intrauterine insemination?
  • Is IUI for you?
  • Natural vs. medicated cycle
  • Importance of collaborative care
  • Naturopathic support options for IUI

Part Six: Your Guide to IVF

  • What is IVF?
  • Is IVF for you?
  • Importance of collaborative care
  • Naturopathic support options for IVF

Are you single? In a couple? Do you wish to use your own eggs, or do you want to carry using your partner’s eggs, or vice versa? Do you have a known sperm donor, or will you use clinic-recruited donor sperm? Perhaps a child is not in your short-term plans but you wish to freeze your eggs for peace of mind down the track – there is great information here for you too. 

Register to receive notification as each article in this 6 part series is released. Sage is dedicated to helping you identify your unique and individual needs, as well as to provide you with the information you need to feel more informed, more confident on how to best navigate your situation, and most importantly helping you feel fully supported on your fertility journey.

Bonus Preconception Q&As with Sage online

Get your questions answered by joining our closed Create a Fertile Life Facebook group. Submit your questions in this group and Sage will answer.

MA’s love letters – June 2021

MA Love Letter June 2021

We’ve been receiving MA’s monthly love letters from The Melbourne Apothecary since the beginning of 2020. These letters contain links to a variety of life enhancing freebies that our fabulous practitioners are constantly creating to help you cope during COVID and beyond.

The letters are also a fantastic and charismatic resource that share all the goings on within both The MA and Fertile Ground. So we thought we’d best share them with you here so that you can join in and receive the monthly intel from our delightful and ever wisdomous MA. Please enjoy.

Hello and a wonderful crisp sunny June to you!

I feel really thrilled to write to you this month (ahem – I feel thrilled every month actually because I just LOVE connecting with you about my favourite thing – health 🥳 ). I have 3 fabulous things to share.

Free preconception series
Firstly, this month Sage King, one of our expert fertility Naturopaths, has put together a 6 part article series designed to help you navigate your fertility journey and create your Fertility Plan. And what a wealth of information this is. I have had the privilege of sneak peeking a couple of Sage’s articles and I can tell you they are off ⚓️ the ⚓️ hook ⚓️ with information about options to proceed and succeed when creating your healthy family 💕

The way Sage writes is so comprehensive AND YET so digestible and clear. Find out more about what this series covers and then go ahead and register to receive all the freebies.

👉Sign up here for the Free Preconception series

World Environment Day
Saturday the 5th of June is World Environment Day 💕 🌏 💕 This day is designed to encourage awareness and action for the protection of the environment – which is SO glorious!🦚🐍🦧🦩🦥🕸🦜🐊🦓🦔🦙🐇🦕

I recently watched David Attenborough’s latest film, ‘A Life on This Planet’. It was completely motivating and deeply eye opening  👀  beyond the level that my plant farming, naturopathic, chemically free, environment loving eyes have been opened before…

The result? We started a Sustainability Action Group at Fertile Ground and The MA – SAG for short (because SAGging is what my heart ♥ does when I think of the health of our planet and what will happen if we, personally and as a community, don’t take greater responsibility for our daily actions that contribute to the devastation of this world).

Fertile Ground and The Melbourne Apothecary already have deep values of sustainability and supporting climate action ✨ 🌏 💓 however after watching this film📽we stirred into even greater action to identify all the ways that we must DO BETTER in the clinic – our revised mission being helping people to make healthy babies — AND a healthy planet for them to live on!

So please see our MA instagram posts to check out what we’re identifying and changing in the clinic to do better ourselves, and perhaps you’ll find some motivation and inspiration therefor things you can do at home to help healthify the planet even more too♥️

Food cravings?
The third thing I want to touch on is food cravings. It’s lockdown again here in Melbourne, and if you’re a person you are likely feeling emotions about that.😧😪😶😡😩🤨🧐🤯

Many of us use food as an emotional buffer🧀🌭🍕🥖🍔🥞🍫🍷

When things get a bit emotionally intense (hello the last 1+ years of COVID…)it’s a good idea to get some support around healthy eating ESPECIALLY if you know that you have a relationship with food that you’d like to change for the better, or one that becomes topsy turvy during stress.

Read this bang on article from Jane Holland, our MA holistic nutritionist, all about diving under the surface of food cravings. Remember that Jane is available for free 10 minute consults to you if you want to connect with her and find out how you can begin to create a healthier relationship with your food.

Read Food Cravings – what are you really craving? With Nutritionist, Jane Holland

Love & Wooly Jackets
Your MA💕

Counselling for Fertility

Counselling for Fertility - Written by Suzanne Hurley, Perinatal Counsellor

Counselling for Fertility is an important aspect to consider for your Fertility journey. When fertility plans are interrupted or delayed it can cause great distress with feelings of helplessness and eventually hopelessness. My clients often decide that it just shouldn’t be this hard and maybe it is their fate to be childless. An incredibly painful conclusion as you can imagine.

When does counselling for fertility begin?

I can begin my work with you at any stage of the fertility pathway. Sometimes it is following a pregnancy loss, which then complicates how one feels about the next pregnancy. Or you may have been trying to conceive for some time and fear may set in that pregnancy may not happen. You may be at the point at which you have been informed you will need fertility assistance and as such may be struggling with this new identity of needing IVF.  Or you may have made many attempts with IVF and may be left feeling drained emotionally, mentally, and physically. Addressing the grief of what has and or is happening is fundamental to the work that I do to help you through these times.

How to make your way forwards

Acknowledging what this all means is vital to establishing a plan of what next. The impact of the whole experience can be extremely profound on work, health, relationships, family and mental health. Often those people facing these challenges have been running on empty for a long time, putting other life plans on hold to chase the elusive goal of wanting their baby yesterday. It can be heartbreaking, tender work that my personal and professional experience allows me some insight into the rocky terrain to navigate together with you. The life you may now be living may have been intended as a short term change to get the outcome you wanted, however adversity may have struck and now you may feel like you’re stuck, with your life on hold for too long, perhaps even devoid of pleasure. 

Finding your centre

Often this life is lived silently, in the shadows of others’ joys and celebrations of their own fertility successes. Sisters, colleagues and friends all seem to competently become pregnant and have the babies so yearned for. Self-esteem plummets, anxiety symptoms bring a sense of panic and the exhaustion of grief brings depression. I am often met by a person barely hanging onto life, so scared to pause and reflect lest the only opportunity they have to conceive will pass them by. This is often nothing like the ideal most of us aspire to for starting a family.

The task is no small one for either of us. A task too big for one person alone and best advised held in the warmth of company.  We build a care team and soon we find a path that embraces greater wholeness, joy, laughter, purpose, and clarity about what is needed and awareness of what is harmful. We develop strategies to walk through the treacherous forest of others’ seemingly blossoming fertility at every turn and find a quieter, kinder, position to begin to thrive once again.

For more support, Suzanne Hurley, Perinatal Counsellor, is available for consultations at Fertile Ground Health Group or you can make an appointment for a phone or video session for your convenience. Learn more about Suzanne.

MA’s July 2021 love letter

July 2021 Love Letter

Welcome to MA’s July 2021 Love Letter. We’ve been receiving MA’s monthly love letters from The Melbourne Apothecary since the beginning of 2020. These letters contain links to a variety of life enhancing freebies that our fabulous practitioners are constantly creating to help you cope during COVID and beyond.

The letters are also a fantastic and charismatic resource that share all the goings on within both The MA and Fertile Ground. So we thought we’d best share them with you here so that you can join in and receive the monthly intel from our delightful and ever wisdomous MA. Please enjoy.

Hello hello,

I hope this July 2021 love letter finds you healthy, warm and feeling loved. Word on my MA vine is that there are 2 wonderful projects beginning to blossom in our town. I would love to invite you to be a part of either one in whatever capacity you like.

These projects really align with my desire to help to enrich our community, enhance collaboration, and support sustainability (because as I’m sure you’re aware, there is no Planet B).

Project 1 – Brilliantly Upcycled Beautiful Baby Apparel
(or BUBBA for short)

This is an initiative brought to you by the wonderful minds of the Fertile Ground Health Group team. The way it works is that everyone is welcome to bring in and donate any beautiful baby apparel that they no longer need (for newborns – apparel to suit up to 12 month old babies). This apparel will all then be available for any patients of Fertile Ground to take and use for their budding family.

This is an opportunity for you to either share apparel you no longer need, or receive lovely new baby apparel with and from people who not only share your health values but have also likely shared some similar struggles as you too.

By being a part of this initiative in any way you will be contributing not only to a circular economy (less waste), but also to rampant happiness on all sides.

If you would like to donate baby apparel, please drop it into the reception team at Fertile Ground when you’re next nearby. Feel free to write a little love note to accompany your clothes – we will be sure to pass it on.  And if you’d like to pick up free upcycled baby apparel for your growing family, please ask at Fertile Ground’s reception when you’re next in too.

Project 2 – Shared Holistic Health Library

You may have noticed the gorgeous library of health, fertility and self help books that lives on the wall of the upstairs waiting room at Fertile Ground. 

Did you know that it’s a shared library? Meaning – you are most welcome to take a book or two, read them and bring them back/keep them when you’re done. You’re also welcome to add any health / fertility / pregnancy / baby / self help related books you have at home that you wish to recirculate into the community. Take a wander through the Holistic Health Library next time you’re in.

Love & Snowflakes

Your MA 💕

Build your best healthy pregnancy diet

Freya Lawler Healthy Pregnancy Diet Fertile Ground Health Group
How do you build your best healthy pregnancy diet?

In this article I will share with you our top non-negotiable recommendations.  At Fertile Ground health Group, we believe in educating patients on their fertility journey with the most up to date and relevant research when it comes to making healthy babies.

This type of education involves jumping ahead of the curve in regards to current preconception and fertility dietary guidelines. There is often a wide gap when it comes to emerging research making its way into public policy; therefore our job is to merge the two and share the most up-to date nutritional and dietary information available. At the core of our philosophy on prenatal care is ensuring that every mother is educated on the nutritional foundations of a growing a healthy, thriving baby.

It is now more commonly understood that most conditions occurring in adulthood originate in foetal life. This evidence highlights the importance of following an optimal prenatal diet to not only set the stage for the health of your growing baby and your personal pregnancy, but it holds a strong influence on the health outcomes of future generations. By making evidence-based food choices and becoming familiar with real wholefoods, you will provide an excellent basis for great pregnancy nutrition.

Our top dietary tips during pregnancy include

Eat small, regular meals

The notion of ‘eating for two’ has been largely disproven in literature, when in fact there is only a modest increase in caloric requirements during pregnancy. Smaller meals and snacks benefit a pregnant mother in a number of ways; they balance blood sugar, providing your growing baby with a consistent stream of nutrients, prevent nausea, heartburn and reflux whilst keeping energy levels balanced.

Enjoy high quality proteins and fats

Ensuring meals are rich in quality protein and fats rather than being high in refined carbohydrates will keep you fuller for longer, reducing unwanted energy dips and preventing the incidence of overeating. Our advice is to keep snacks at arms reach at all times to ensure you’re eating regularly. Wholegrain crackers, vegetable sticks, dips and a handful of nuts are all excellent options to keep available at all times.The key is to prioritise high quality foods wherever your budget allows.

Choose grass fed and free range over grain fed and conventionally raised meat and poultry. Healthy fats to include are small fish rich in essential fatty acids, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil and avocados. We understand it’s important to allow yourself some dietary flexibility during your first trimester when you may be suffering from morning sickness and food aversions are prominent. After this period, the above recommendations should form an essential basis of your prenatal dietary requirements, reflecting a wholefood, non-processed Mediterranean style diet.

Avoid sugar and processed foods and adopt a lower GI way of eating 

Evidence shows that increased sugar and processed food consumption during pregnancy may contribute to increased gestational weight gain and the development of pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and preterm birth. To mitigate this, our suggestion is to move away from foods that offer empty calories and little nutritional value. Swap processed bread, white pasta and sweets for more nutrient dense options such as wholegrain sourdough, pulse pastas, legumes, whole grains, full fat yoghurt and seasonal fruits.

Whilst these recommendations are an essential part of any pregnant mothers daily nutrition, we suggest ensuring foods rich in vitamin A, folate, iodine, iron, choline and B12 are consumed regularly and supplemented where necessary. In addition to this, conventional dietary guidelines are designed for women who are healthy and nutritionally replete. Therefore, individual prenatal nutrient requirements may differ from woman to woman. Seeking guidance from an experienced health provider can be beneficial in assessing your unique nutritional needs.​

Written by Freya Lawler

Freya Lawler, Naturopath and Functional Nutritionist at The Melbourne Apothecary, is passionate about food. She believes that in order to optimise your health from the ground up, you must begin with your diet. She loves to identify simple ways to make a huge difference in your health, through optimising your diet and creating tailored nutritional plans. Whether it be for supporting your pregnancy, balancing your hormones, clearing your skin or improving your digestion – Freya can guide you back to your best health through functional nutrition. 

Learn more about Freya

Free Resources

New Birth Preparation Video Consultations

Women need to be held and supported as they cross the threshold of childbirth into motherhood.

Birth Preparation is an essential tool to get your head and heart in the game and ready for labour. To feel mentally and emotionally equipped to deal with the transition ahead. These tools and support have never been more necessary than they are now.

As an Acupuncturist and Birth Support person these conversations would usually take place in the context of an acupuncture consult. Conversations about fears and tools, about options and research.

And yet, in the context of this rapidly evolving new world, acupuncture as a routine birth preparatory measure is no longer our best option. We’re adapting. And it is my belief that at this time we should instead have these conversations and preparations at a distance – via either phone or zoom.

Consults are 60 minutes and can cover whatever you like.

  • Tools to create calm as you step closer to birth
  • Techniques for managing pain
  • Developing a working with pain mindset
  • Physiology of birth and the role that the world environment might be playing
  • Acupressure points that may be of use
  • Any research links to help you better understand different things that may be coming up
  • Talking about any previous birth experiences 
  • Preparing for postpartum
  • And anything else that you might want to discuss

The content we cover will be guided entirely by you and your unique needs.

To get a sense of things you might like to cover, have a read of this article I wrote:

https://www.thewrittenelixir.com/post/a-love-note-to-mamas-approaching-birth-mid-pandemic

Our conversation will cover the terrain that doula / birth support generally encompass. It’s important to note that medical advice around COV-19 should be coming from your primary care provider and only a select few other resources (World Health Organisation and others)

There is scope to do follow up consults to dive deeper or address things as they pop up for you.

There is also absolutely scope to continue this phone support after your birth to:

  • help you step down from labour
  • active birth story listening
  • remind you of the basics and caring for yourself in the midst of this monumental transition
  • offer resources and referrals where appropriate

Support is crucial. We are right here for you.

You can call 9419 9988 or make an online booking here: Book Online

 

Written by Amy O’Brien, FGHG Acupuncturist and Birth Attendant.

Amy is a passionate Acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and birth attendant. She is fascinated by birth and exploring our birthing potential. The births of her own two children were her most incredible life experiences and she is also keen to explore better outcomes for postpartum women.