Can a Naturopath Help with Fertility?

Naturopath for Fertility

Embarking on the journey to parenthood is an incredible and sometimes challenging chapter in many people’s lives. While conventional medical approaches play a vital role in fertility treatments, an increasing number of people are exploring complementary therapies like naturopathy for fertility, to enhance their chances of conception.

Naturopathy is a holistic approach to health and wellness that emphasises the body’s ability to heal itself through natural medicine. It incorporates various therapies, including nutrition, herbal medicine, and lifestyle counselling. Naturopaths view fertility holistically, considering physical, emotional, and environmental factors. At Fertile Ground, our naturopathic practitioners work towards identifying and addressing underlying issues that may impact fertility, such as hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, environmental disruptors and stress.

In fact, we’ve written a free ebook guide all about strategies you can start to put into place immediately to begin enhancing your fertility. It’s called ’12 Steps to Create Your Fertile Life’ and you can get it here:

Download Our Free 12 Step Fertility Guide

Balancing Hormones Naturally

Hormonal imbalances, often silent disruptors within the intricate dance of the human body, can wield substantial influence over fertility. Understanding this intricate interplay, naturopaths adopt a multifaceted approach to rebalance hormones, fostering an environment conducive to fertility. Let’s delve deeper into the nuanced strategies employed by our naturopathic practitioners for fertility:

Lifestyle Modifications for Hormonal Harmony: Our fertility naturopaths recognise the profound impact of lifestyle choices on hormonal equilibrium. Through personalised assessments, individuals are guided towards lifestyle modifications tailored to their unique needs. This encompasses recommendations for adequate sleep, stress management techniques, regular exercise, food choices, weight management and a multitude of nutritional nuances. All of these things are pivotal in promoting hormonal balance.

Nutritional Support as a Foundation: A cornerstone of naturopathic intervention lies in the power of nutrition. Nourishing the body with the right balance of nutrients is crucial for hormonal health. Naturopaths, therefore, curate dietary plans rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This nutritional support aims to fortify the endocrine system and create an optimal hormonal milieu for fertility. Fertile Ground naturopathic practitioners analyse specific dietary and nutritional requirements and prescribe supplements where necessary for optimising fertility.

Herbal Medicine: Nature’s Balancers: Harnessing the potency of botanical allies, naturopaths may prescribe specific herbs renowned for their hormonal balancing properties. Herbs such as Vitex, known for its impact on the menstrual cycle, or adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha, revered for their stress-modulating effects, are carefully chosen to address hormonal imbalances. These natural remedies act synergistically with the body, gently nudging it towards hormonal equilibrium. (It’s very important to know that any herb suggested on the internet or by well meaning friends may not be right for you – always consult with an expert naturopath/herbalist before taking anything).

Fertile Ground practitioners use the prescription services of The Melbourne Apothecary for dispensing both nutritional and herbal supplements. The Melbourne Apothecary is one of Australia’s largest fertility specific prescription only naturopathic dispensaries, located in Collingwood, Melbourne. You can collect or arrange to have your prescription posted to you.

Mind-Body Techniques: The Art of Hormonal Harmony: Stress, a ubiquitous companion in modern life, can exert a profound influence on hormonal balance. Naturopaths recognise the intricate mind-body connection and often incorporate stress management techniques into their approach. Mindfulness practices, breath coaching for nervous system regulation, relaxation exercises, and techniques like yoga and meditation are woven into the fabric of naturopathic care and many of these are often recommended by Fertile Ground naturopaths, all with the aim to  help you reduce stress hormones and promote hormonal harmony.

Individualised Treatment Plans: A Tailored Approach

Naturopaths champion the uniqueness of each individual, acknowledging that hormonal imbalances are diverse and multifaceted. Consequently, treatment plans are meticulously crafted, considering a person’s medical history, lifestyle, and specific hormonal and fertility challenges. This bespoke approach ensures that interventions are precisely aligned with the individual’s needs, optimising the chances of restoring hormonal balance and optimising fertility.

Education and Empowerment: Equipping Individuals for Hormonal Health: Beyond prescribed interventions, naturopaths embrace an educative role. Understanding that empowered individuals are better equipped to navigate their health journey, naturopaths provide insights into the intricate dance of hormones. This education empowers individuals to make informed lifestyle choices, reinforcing the principles of hormonal balance in their daily lives.

Holistic Monitoring and Adjustments: A Dynamic Process: Naturopathic care is an ongoing, dynamic process. Fertile Ground naturopaths monitor progress closely, adapting treatment plans as needed and working closely and collaboratively with your healthcare team. Regular check-ins allow for adjustments, ensuring that the approach remains responsive to your evolving needs. This holistic monitoring contributes to the sustainability of hormonal balance and promotes enduring fertility.

By addressing hormonal imbalances through this comprehensive and holistic lens, naturopathy emerges as a supportive and integrative ally in the journey towards enhanced fertility. Through lifestyle adjustments, nutritional fortification, herbal medicine, mind-body techniques, individualised care, and ongoing monitoring, naturopaths seek not only to balance hormones but to cultivate an environment where fertility can flourish. In the realm of naturopathy, hormonal harmony becomes a key orchestrator in the symphony of reproductive wellness.

Fertility Naturopath Services in Melbourne

In the pursuit of parenthood, an increasing number of individuals are seeking holistic solutions to complement conventional fertility treatments. Naturopathy, prioritising natural medicine and holistic well-being, has emerged as a invaluable ally in the journey towards conception. With over two decades of providing fertility naturopath services in Melbourne, Fertile Ground has witnessed the integration of our natural approaches yield exceptional outcomes. Collaboration between naturopaths and fertility specialists is becoming more common and we are proud to know that we have paved the way for this as it has always been our highest value at Fertile Ground since the practice began back in 2001.

If you’re captivated by the potential benefits of fertility naturopathy, we invite you to connect with Fertile Ground’s expert practitioners in Melbourne. Schedule a free 10 minute consultation with one of our fertility naturopaths to discover how naturopathy can be intricately tailored to your unique needs, providing a holistic and supportive approach throughout your fertility journey.

Book your naturopathic appointment

Buy a gift voucher for someone special

Springtime Raspberry Lime Smoothie Bowl

Raspberry Lime Smoothie Bowl

As we launch ourselves into Spring, let’s let our cells and microbiomes sing with dietary delight and variation – and what better way to do that than putting your feet up with a Springtime Raspberry Lime Smoothie Bowl and bringing the essence of beachside Bali to your living room. Organic frozen berries are a beneficial and nutritious addition to your plate, bowl and drink all year round. Spring heralds the bonus of using fresh berries, with fresh raspberries starting to hit the shop shelves in the third month of Spring in Australia (early November). This recipe is safe and delicious at all stages of your fertility journey, whether you are trying to conceive, pregnant, or have already birthed your bub.

(1 serve = 250mL)

INGREDIENTS – Springtime Raspberry Lime Smoothie Bowl

  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • ½ frozen banana
  • ¼ raw zucchini
  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • 1-2 tablespoons protein powder
  • ½ cup Greek, natural or coconut full-fat yoghurt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • To serve: ¼ cup each of toasted nut, seed and coconut mix and fresh berries

METHOD: 

  • Add all ingredients to blender and blitz until well-blended.
  • Serve with yoghurt and toasted nut, seed and coconut mix and fresh berries sprinkled on top.

NOTE: 

If you’re in the postpartum stage, add in 1 serve of collagen powder along with your protein powder for tissue healing support.

This Springtime Raspberry Lime Smoothie Bowl recipe is brought to you by senior fertility naturopath and nutritionist, Georgia Marrion. Keen to get some dietary support in your fertility, pregnancy or postpartum journey? Book in with Georgia for a free 10 minute telehealth consult to find out what’s possible for you > navigate to heading Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > 10 minute Free Naturopathic Introduction

Find Help for Recurrent Miscarriage

recurrent miscarriage

Miscarriage is a difficult yet (unfortunately) very commonly experience during pregnancy where a loss occurs prior to 20 weeks’ gestation. Recurrent miscarriage, where 3 consecutive miscarriages occur, while less prevalent, is still common and a condition we see and help manage in our patients frequently at Fertile Ground.

While in some cases the cause is unknown, there are many reasons associated with an increased risk and incidence of miscarriage including: anatomical, age, genetic, autoimmune, infectious, endocrine, chromosomal abnormalities, lifestyle and environmental factors. (1,2)

Following a thorough investigation to assess potential causes in each individual case, we usually recommend a broad range dietary, lifestyle, nutritional and herbal strategies to ameliorate the specific risk factors that may be contributing to miscarriage specific to each person/couple.

Dietary strategies we frequently recommend include reducing your consumption of refined sugars, processed, fried and vegetable fats, ‘junk’ proteins and processed foods and increasing your intake of vegetables, fruits, beneficial fats and whole food protein foods.

Why? Because such a dietary pattern will support both egg and sperm quality and many aspects of hormonal health (we know that this along with other therapeutic strategies is effective based on the many couples we have helped become parents).

Recently, a study has come out confirming what we see clinically in regards to diet quality and miscarriage – so let’s review what the investigators looked at and what they found:(Chung 2023)

What was the study asking?

The study was a systematic review and meta-analysis (which is an analysis of the findings of multiple studies) to summarise the association between preconception dietary intake and miscarriage risk in women of reproductive age.

What did they find?

It was found that eating a wholefood-based, seasonal, antioxidant-rich diet comprising increased consumption of vegetables, fruit, wholegrains and protein foods (eggs, seafood, dairy, meat) reduced the risk of miscarriage and was associated with good pregnancy outcomes.

They also found an association between a high intake of processed foods and increased miscarriage risk.

So quality matters – but so does timing and duration, as they also found that such benefits for miscarriage and pregnancy outcome involved following such a dietary pattern for between 1-4 years prior to conception.

Take-home message

If you have experienced miscarriage, or are starting out on your journey to conceive, preconception health for both females and males can make all the difference to your fertility and pregnancy outcomes. If you feel you need some help improving your dietary intake for fertility or general reproductive health, reach out and book an appointment today so we can help!

Written by Senior Fertility Naturopath & Nutritionist, Georgia Marrion

MHNut, BHsci (Comp Med), Adv.Dip HSci (Nat)

MNSA, MANPA, MFSA

Georgia is available for naturopathic & nutrition appointments at Fertile Ground Health Group, click here to book online.

REFERENCES

1. Hecthman L. Advanced clinical naturopathic medicine. Elsevier: Chatswood, 2020.

2. Chung Y et al. The association between dietary patterns and risk of miscarriage: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Fert Ster 2023 Apr; S0015-0282 (23) 00296-0. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37061157/

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

Buy a gift voucher for someone you care about

 

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.

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.

The emotional rollercoaster of infertility

Emotional Support

by Suzanne Hurley, FGHG counsellor

Anyone in the throes of trying to conceive knows the grueling fertility cycle of hope then worry realised into disappointment, the grief and numbness that takes hold right before a new found fortitude and grit. Each new hope that is a little less sure of itself with each cycle, that if allowed, will vanish and harden into a no expectation kind of expectation.

They will know how disorienting, chaotic, demanding and painful it is to be a part of a world that all too often disallows space for such a massive struggle. Workplaces that have little or no flexibility, friends you simply cannot tell for fear of bringing darkness into their baby making bubble, families that will not or do not understand the what, how and why of what is involved. Your right to privacy and confidentiality that cannot be upheld and the all encompassing feeling of failure and shame, albeit real or imagined that prevents you from stopping the spilling over of grief from your heart, carried as tears that first pool and then pour for all to see.

In times such as these we can benefit from slowing the pace and collecting ourselves long enough to create a simple structure to help keep our vulnerability safe. Establishing some emotional scaffolding can alleviate us of any unnecessary burden we may keep on trying to carry. It can help to ground us in knowing some core well-being skills, either not yet learnt along the way to our adult selves, or are no longer effective. How can we ever be prepared to face infertility when the norm is for our bodies to work when we ask it of them?

No one expects this level of adversity in thinking about starting a family. We may dread it or worry that it may be our story but mostly we expect things to go smoothly. When it does not it can rock us to our very foundations of who we are in the world. It is this crushed illusion of who we are that needs the scaffolding in the same way we provide a stick or trellis for a plant that may struggle to bear fruit if not supported.

Identifying with a fertility counsellor who you are, why you are the way you are and knowing where you are right now when faced with fertility challenges, can be the glue that holds you together. It will be the scaffold you need until you too bear fruit. A task made easier with someone who can hold you lightly as you rise and more tightly as you yield.

The extra bonus is whilst doing all of this you earn yourself a confidant and a witness to the best and worst of you. A person who will see you and get to know you and listen and keep learning what it is that you need. They can plan with you how to have that need met, respectfully and honourably, with compassion and awe.

 

SuzanneHURLEYCSuzanne Hurley is an exceptionally compassionate, understanding and experienced counsellor with a very specific skill set and deep understanding of the challenging nature of infertility and the path to becoming a parent. Learn more about Suzanne Hurley here.

How to Improve Endometrial Health

Endometrial Health
By Jo Sharkey, FGHG Acupuncturist and Gina Fox, FGHG Naturopath

The big fertility discussion is often about enhancing egg quality to improve pregnancy rates, however, there is much less said about the other major aspect of being able to conceive and that’s the health of the endometrium and getting the embryo to stick. If the soil isn’t right the seed won’t grow and in this podcast we’re going to discuss things you can take control of to create a health endometrium and improve implantation success. Take heart in knowing that the endometrium regenerates every four weeks so by making some small changes today you’ll have an impact on your next menstrual cycle.

As usual the discussion is with acupuncturist Joanne Sharkey and naturopath Gina Fox and today to bring her knowledge to this topic is another Fertile Ground naturopath, Rhiannon Hardingham.

Listen to the podcast… How to Improve Endometrial Health

How is acupuncture going to help me conceive?

by Naomi Jankowski, FGHG Acupuncturist

The question I receive the most frequently in clinic is ‘How does acupuncture work?’ This is such a fantastic question with multifaceted answers. The question I like even better is ‘How is acupuncture going to help me conceive?’ When I consider this, there are two parts to the answer which are relatively easy to explain, and which are very important for patients to hear so they understand what we are doing, rather than just going along with a bunch of arbitrary needles.

The first part of this relates more broadly to the question of how acupuncture works. Through my experience in clinic, I have found that so much of acupuncture works on benefiting blood flow and circulation.  Acupuncture does not just work by bringing blood flow to the area where the needle is inserted, in fact often the needles selected will direct the blood flow to an entirely different area of the body.  For example, I routinely use points on the hands that have a direct affinity to the ovaries and uterus.  If a patient comes to see me on a day that they have menstrual cramping, using these points on the hands usually decreases the pain within a few minutes.  By facilitating blood flow to the area, the uterus is then able to function more efficiently.

In many cases, menstrual cramping is caused by a small amount of uterine clotting that is stuck.  The cramps occur when the uterus has small contractions to try to push the clots out.  Unfortunately, the contractions often become inefficient, and then we have the problem which we so often see in clinic, where a woman either has pain or heavy bleeding.  Increasing the blood flow to the uterus facilitates more efficient uterine contractions.  This in turn will decrease pain, decrease heavy bleeding, and, most importantly, create a good basis of endometrial lining.

This brings us to the next point, and our next question of ‘How is acupuncture going to help me conceive?’ Patients often tell me they have low AMH, and that their fertility specialist has told them they cannot conceive as a result of poor egg quality.  Egg quality is certainly part of the picture, and cannot be overlooked.  But let’s consider another perspective.  What good is the perfect egg if the quality of the endometrial lining is so poor that implantation cannot occur?

The analogy of soil works best to illustrate this point.  A seed will not be able to form roots in soil that is littered with rocks, debris and clumped up dirt.  No matter how much fertilizer you add, if there are enough rocks in the soil, your seed will not grow.  These rocks are the clots in the endometrial lining.  First and foremost, our job is to help eliminate this clotting.  Secondly, we work to add fertilizer to the soil i.e. thicken the endometrial lining.  Then, if necessary, we work on egg quality.  Often I never need to directly work on step three, because by that time, conception has successfully occurred.

It is important to note here that patients often have their lining measured, and are told that it looks fine.  This is a measurement in millimeters that does not take into account quality of lining and possible clotting.  Clots will, in a sense, artificially increase the ‘true’ lining of the uterus present on the scan.  It is detrimental lining that leads to a false reading in millimeters.

So to summarize and answer these clinically relevant questions, the benefit of traditional Chinese gynecology is that it takes into account the quality of the endometrial lining.  Acupuncture can facilitate blood flow to the uterus, to improve the quality of this lining which increases the ability of an embryo to implant.

NaomiJANKOWSKIColourNaomi Jankowski is a highly experienced, registered acupuncturist and Chinese herbal medicine practitioner. Naomi is known for her ability to build relationships with her patients where they feel truly supported supported, even the most difficult of fertility and reproductive journeys.

Create A Fertile Life Book Launch

We are incredibly grateful for everyone who was involved in making our book launch such a special night. Our book baby has been birthed into the world!

Our attendees enjoyed platters of yummy treats on the night, as well as a show bag full of goodies to try at home and listened to talks by fertility specialist Dr.Lynn Burmeister, building biologist Nicole Biljsma, and of course our book authors Gina Fox, Charmaine Dennis, Tina Jenkins, Rhiannon Hardingham and Milly Dabrowski.

Some people were asking about whether you can still join our private community Facebook group for Create A Fertile Life, as well as sign up for the FREE miniseries we created to celebrate the launch of the book. The answer is YES YES you may join both the facebook group as well as sign up for the miniseries.  You can also purchase your copy of the book here Create a Fertile Life.

P.S. If you are a practitioner and want to join us on 2nd October for our practitioner only launch event, please sign up here. We know as soon as we announce the special guests for this one, spots will be snapped up in a flash. Make sure you are also signed up to our practitioner list for future collaborative events and opportunities too.

Thank you to all of our beautiful friends who took photos xx.

 

Create solid foundations for your fertility

By Gina Fox, FGHG Naturopath and co-author of Create a Fertile Life.

 

Preconception health really does set the foundation for creating healthy eggs and sperm to conceive, and to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. 

So what is involved in a preconception and fertility plan with a naturopath?

Ideally for at least 3-4 months before you begin trying to conceive, you will both pay close attention to your diet and lifestyle, your environment and any chronic health issues that need to be addressed.  Extensive testing for nutritional levels, infections and other contributing factors are all undertaken.  Your family history is explored and your personal medical and health history is extensively mined for clues as to anything that may compromise your fertility.  Everything from digestive issues to nutrient deficiency, hormone imbalance to urinary tract infections can be really important contributors to fertility, many of which are highly treatable or responsive to natural medicine support.

This process is comprehensive, enlightening, empowering and most importantly, takes you on a journey of continuous improvement that at the very least leaves you feeling healthy, energised and vital, but more importantly may help you achieve a healthy baby.

Preconception planning directs us away from unquestioning or despairing acceptance of genetic destiny or environmental randomness. Investing in yourself at this time of your life goes a very long way. There is surely no other time of life in which such major changes occur and where our action is potentially most powerful.

Both the sperm and egg take around 3 months to develop / mature and in this time they are both vulnerable to damage; creating interruptions to normal healthy development and even chromosomal abnormalities.  The embryo and developing baby are significantly influenced by their environment, and their genetic development is profoundly altered by influences from outside.  So we focus on reducing risk factors, optimising the environment in which they develop and hopefully creating the most positive outcome possible: a sweet, healthy baby.

What is the ‘perfect embryo’?

Both the egg and the sperm contain 23 individual chromosomes, which combine at the moment of conception to create the 23 pairs of chromosomes required to make a human. At the very moment conception occurs your child’s genetic stamp, the strongest predictor of their future health, learning abilities and susceptibilities, is created. And the thing that dictates these outcomes are those individual 23 chromosomes in the sperm and the egg.  And the good bit is that you can influence the genetic make-up of your child by improving your own health during the months prior to conception.

Your fertility is a barometer of your general health. As well as an increased chance of conceiving a healthy baby. This approach promises a host of other benefits.  All treatment approaches have their side effects and ours is no different.  Reported effects of regular visits here have included: improved aging (anti-aging), increased energy, healing or improvement of chronic health issues, stress reduction, weight loss, sleep enhancement, reduced disease risk, especially for some of the most common lifestyle diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease … and so much more! The investment you make in your health now will have consequences well into advanced age.

We are often asked by patients what the odds are of their falling pregnant, or, what our success rate is. It is a fair question but not a straight-forward one to answer. Unlike a running race, the fertility journey for most people is not a straight run to the finish line. But very much like a race, those who do well are usually the ones who have put in the hard yards: done the training, eaten well, taken care of themselves, made adjustments along the way, done as their team of experts has advised and consequently showed good endurance.

At Fertile Ground our focus is on optimising, creating the best you, making the most of what you’ve got.  Are you ready to start?

We hope you enjoyed this peek into our new book, Create a Fertile Life which is packed with practical information – It’s an A-Z of pre-conception health so you can create the ideal foundation for your healthy baby.  

Written by Gina Fox, Naturopath, Fertile Ground Health Group and co-author of Create a Fertile Life