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.

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.

 

Creating A Calm and Supportive IVF Embryo Transfer Day

By Amy O’Brien, FGHG Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbal Medicine practitioner

Working at Fertile Ground as an Acupuncturist there is a lot of opportunity to understand how women are feeling on the day of their embryo transfer. We treat with acupuncture once or twice on the day of transfer, and there is a real wisdom in the instant feedback of what women share about their experience of this day.

The things they are glad that they put in place, and the things they wish they had done differently. The emotions and physical terrain they’re navigating, and what’s helping their head, their heart and their body. The ways they feel isolated, or vulnerable or scared or hopeful. Things they might believe are true only for them, but which largely apply to majority of women in a similar circumstance.

IVF is such a big process. Often overwhelming, and often a case of taking things one day at a time. And yet, when it comes to embryo transfer, it can be really quite useful to plan ahead a little too.

For example, almost every woman who tries to work on the day of their embryo transfer, and around their acupuncture appointments, inevitably says ‘Gosh, I really should have just taken the day off. It would have made things easier.’ So for a woman approaching her first transfer, this is really useful to know!

And for women who have experienced an embryo transfer before, and is preparing for another, this can be a great opportunity to up level self care and self compassion on this day.

We don’t know what we don’t know, so let me offer up some insight from the collective experience of embryo transfer day.

Here’s a list of things that you might just find useful to implement on the day of your embryo transfer. It’s packed with insight I have gained since the day I first offered Acupuncture on the day of transfer at Fertile Ground, eleven years ago.

These are all relatively easy to implement. Relevant for all kinds of cycles. And focus on navigating a day that is not only stacked to improve outcomes, but to care for the beautiful human you are, too.

All the best for your cycle, and we look forward to supporting you along the way.

LINK:

https://www.thewrittenelixir.com/post/embryo-transfer-day

 

Amy O’Brien, FGHG Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbal Medicine practitioner, and creator of The Written Elixir

Amy facilitates a space where people feel confident to explore their health challenges. She recognises how anxiety, insomnia, digestive and sleep disorders can hop along for the ride when lovely women are grappling with issues surrounding their cycles, fertility and pregnancy. Amy is comfortable treating all aspects of women’s health including period problems, cycle irregularities, preconception, fertility and pregnancy care.

5 Steps to Take Before IVF

Written by Gina Fox, FGHG Naturopath (This article was originally published on www.conceivebaby.com.au)

Trying to conceive takes time and once you’ve made the decision to have a baby frustration, impatience and sadness are just three of the emotions that can grow with each menstrual cycle that passes.  It’s worth reminding ourselves that we have a 20% chance of conceiving in any one cycle and that 80% of couples will be pregnant within 12 months.  Having that longer term view and doing things to improve your chances of conceiving can be a good focus while you wait.

This impatience for results and lack of understanding about timing is one of the reasons why many couples embark on IVF treatment before they really need to.  We find that many couples benefit from focusing on some key basics they do have control of.  Addressing these things increases the chance of conception within a reasonable time frame and allows women to exert some control over their ability to fall pregnant.

Here are 5 steps to take before IVF:

Have sex at the right time of the month

Know when your fertile window is so that you have sex on a day when you increase your chances of conception.  You only have at the very outside 6 days in your cycle that you may be able to become pregnant and that’s if the sperm lives for 5 days and the egg for 1 day.  The most likely days you will conceive are 2 days prior to ovulation and the day of ovulation.  If you have sex on one of these days then your chances of becoming pregnant in that cycle dramatically increases to 27-33%.

The funny thing is that although 70% of women in a recent Australian study thought they knew when they were ovulating, only 13% accurately estimated their day of ovulation.

If you are relying on an app for this they can be grossly inaccurate. It’s much more accurate is to keep track of your vaginal mucus changes and recognise when your mucus is wetter and more stretchy.  Ovulation predictor kits can also help to more accurately pinpoint your fertile window.  For more information on this go to Your fertility website and watch the video by Kerry Hampton on pinpointing your ovulation (http://yourfertility.org.au/for-women/timing-and-conception/).

Check that your weight is in a healthy range

If you are overweight then you can improve your chances of conceiving by committing to healthy eating and exercising and reducing weight even by a little.  A common measure of whether you are over or under weight is the BMI calculator which you will easily find on line and by putting your height and weight into the calculator it will work out if you fall in the 18.5-25 healthy BMI range.

For women who are overweight and have PCOS reducing weight by as little as 5 % can significantly improve regular ovulation and your chance of conception.

Being underweight can also affect hormones and reduce fertility. Underweight women may be twice as likely to take over a year to conceive compared with healthy weight women.  A man’s weight is also a factor, so father’s-to-be also need to trim down to improve fertility.

Three tips to start off a healthy weight plan:

–  swap soft drinks and alcohol for water;

– make half you plate vegetables or salad at lunch and dinner with a palm size of lean protein such as meat, fish, eggs or pulses;

– get moving more by standing every 40 minutes from your desk, walking rather than taking the car to the shops and taking the stairs.

Have you stopped smoking and drinking?

Smoking affects egg and sperm development and can damage the DNA in both eggs and sperm.  Smoking not only reduces your chances of getting pregnant but also puts you and your baby at risk of pregnancy and birth complications and birth defects.

Even if a woman has never smoked, her partners smoking makes her up to 30% more likely to miscarry.

It’s much easier to quit smoking with your partner so make a plan to do it together and seek help from a counsellor or acupuncturist to give you extra support.

It’s known that drinking alcohol in large quantities reduces your chance of conceiving but low and moderate drinking may also have an impact.  For men alcohol can cause impotence, reduce libido and also reduces sperm quality and so reduces fertility.  Because of the known toxic effects on a baby’s development the National Health and Medical Research Council recommend that not drinking is the safest option for women who are planning to conceive or who are pregnant.

Clean up your environment

Reducing the levels of environmental toxins that have been shown to affect DNA cellular health can affect your Simple steps to take include:

  • increase your intake of organic food;
  • buy non chemical cleaners including laundry powder;
  • start to use natural face and body creams such as coconut or almond oil;
  • men keep your mobile phone away from the reproductive area by not carrying it in your trouser pocket and at night keep on flight mode if you have it by your bedside.
Optimum nutrition

Research shows that optimum nutrition in the pre-conception period three months prior to conception is associated with a lower rate of birth defects.  If you eat well your eggs and sperm will benefit from all the nutrients required for healthy DNA.  Eating for a healthy weight and to support the growth and development of sperm, eggs and healthy hormones we suggest referring to the Fertility Boosting Diet Summary on our Fertile Ground Health Group website (www.fertileground.com.au) and for more information and recipes read The Fertility Diet by Tasha Jennings and The Fertility Food Map by Petra Joly. Or if you feel like you could benefit from some more specific nutritional testing and advice, you could make an appointment with a Fertile Ground Health Group Naturopath.

By taking some control of your own health, most women and couples find they feel happier and healthier and regain a sense of control over their own fertility.

Of course expert help is not far away if you need further support to achieve your aims and make changes, or if you feel you have more complex issues to manage. For more information on support available for your fertility, explore our Trying to Conceive information and other related FGHG blog articles:

Fertility Charting Instructions

Marijuana and your fertility: Are my eggs / sperm stoned too?

Acupuncture to help you quit smoking

 

References

Hampton K, Mazza D; Fertility-awareness knowledge, attitudes and practices of women attending general practice. Aust Fam Physician. 2015;44(11):840-5.

Your Fertility Website

 

 

 

 

 

Gina Fox

Gina Fox is a naturopath with over 15 years’ experience. She trained under Francesca Naish (author of Better Babies) and has a Masters in Reproductive Medicine. As well as being an experienced clinician she is a speaker, naturopathic lecturer and student clinic supervisor.

Gina is highly skilled in providing naturopathic care for women’s health issues, pre-conception health, infertility, IVF support, pregnancy care and through menopause. She treats a wide range of issues including recurrent miscarriage, thyroid, auto-immune antibodies and she has seen good results working with men to improve sperm quality.

Acupuncture IVF support after egg retrieval

Acupuncture has become a common modality used to support an IVF cycle. In recent years there has been a lot of excitement and extensive literature published about the use of acupuncture to support an embryo transfer and specifically, utilising it for pre and post transfer to reduce uterine contractions and spasms, as well as stress and anxiety [1]. There has also been more investigation into using acupuncture in preparation for starting an IVF cycle. These treatments usually begin 12 weeks prior to the IVF cycle and focus on stimulating blood flow to the uterus and the ovaries, to establish a healthy menstrual cycle and ovulation – with the benefit of having a healthy cycle to improve the outcome of IVF.

What many people are not aware of is an acupuncture IVF support treatment that deserves equal attention, with just as many benefits as pre and post embryo transfer acupuncture. That treatment is acupuncture to support recovery from the Egg Retrieval procedure.

Egg Retrieval or egg ‘pick up’ is a hospital day procedure where the eggs are collected from the ovaries and takes about 20-30 minutes under a general anaesthetic. During the procedure, your fertility specialist uses ultrasound to guide a needle into each ovary where the eggs are contained in a fluid within the follicles on your ovaries. The specialist removes fluid from the follicles that look like they’ve grown enough to have an egg inside. You will be in the recovery for about 30 minutes after the surgery and it is at this time the doctor or nurse will often tell you how many eggs they managed to retrieve.

Depending on many factors, the full recovery from egg ‘pick up’ can range from being quick, easy and painless, to a slower recovery and on rare occasions can be quite serious resulting with perhaps a stay in hospital.

The more severe and rare cases are often diagnosed with Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS).  Symptoms of OHSS includes rapid weight gain, severe abdominal pain, persistent nausea and vomiting, decreased urination, shortness of breath and enlarged and tight abdomen. Milder cases have more mild to moderate abdominal pain, abdominal bloating, nausea, diarrhoea and tenderness in the ovaries. If you are at risk of this, your IVF clinic will keep a close eye on you during your recovery period.

What is not so commonly talked about or written about, is the support that acupuncture can offer in recovering from an egg ‘pick up’. This is particularly important because the egg ‘pick up’ is done only part way through the IVF cycle. Your body still needs to receive and hopefully implant the embryo later in the IVF cycle.  Treating any swelling and discomfort after the egg pick up and before embryo transfer can be very beneficial.

During post egg pick up acupuncture sessions, we use acupuncture treatment to support circulation in the pelvic cavity, which is thought to bring healing cells and remove inflammatory cells in the region. The acupuncture needles are placed on the legs, arms and abdomen and many people find they feel the swelling go down instantly, after only 30 minutes with needles.

Along with using acupuncture in post egg retrieval, we always suggest some simple things like drinking plenty of water, eating lots of fibre and resting, whilst still getting some very gentle exercise like slow walking.

If you are going in for an egg retrieval and feel you might be at risk because you fit into one of the following categories:

  • have been diagnosed with PCOS,
  • have seen a large number of follicles on scans,
  • have a low body weight,
  • are under 30 years old or
  • have had previous OHSS.

We suggest organising an acupuncture treatment 1-3 days post the surgery. The good news is that if you are doing a fresh embryo transfer in that cycle, you can often combine the post egg pick up acupuncture with the pre- embryo transfer acupuncture to provide support for both procedures.

If you are seeing an acupuncturist and soon to do an egg retrieval it is worth asking them to suggest a plan for you around the time of the surgery. If you are not seeing an acupuncturist and feel that you could benefit from using acupuncture to recover from an impending egg retrieval, it is worth seeing a practitioner at least one week prior to the egg ‘pick up’ so they know your history and constitution and can guide you on the correct timing of treatments.

[1] Effect of acupuncture on symptoms of anxiety in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: a prospective randomised controlled study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20621276

 

Joanne SharkeyBy Joanne Sharkey, FGHG Acupuncturist

Joanne has been in clinical practice for more than 10 years. Her experience and knowledge make her a highly effective practitioner to support women and couples in starting a family. She individually tailors treatments, herbal, dietary & lifestyle advice for preconception care, health during pregnancy and birth preparation for a safe delivery. Joanne also has a special interest in treating PCOS holistically to regulate cycles as well as the hormonal side effects of PCOS including infertility

Meet the special in your IVF Specialist – Dr. Manuela Toledo

Our practitioners at Fertile Ground Health Group communicate regularly with many medical specialists for the shared care of patients and to ensure that the best outcomes are achieved. This collaborative approach has enabled us to get to know some fabulous specialists and we thought you might like to meet the “special” in your Specialist too!

Often these doctors work tirelessly and are fiercely committed to their practice. The subject of our first interview in this series, Dr. Manuela Toledo from Melbourne IVF is no exception!  Read on as Manuela let’s us in on her views about her work and area of speciality.

Meet the special in your Specialist – Dr. Manuela Toledo, Melbourne IVF.
What is your best advice for someone trying to conceive?
Optimize your lifestyle choices at least 3 months prior to conception. Of course this means no smoking and minimal alcohol and caffeine. Exercise moderately for 30mins 2-3 times a week and eat a diet rich in folic acid and antioxidants i.e. fresh organic fruit and vegetables. In addition a multivitamin with folic acid and good hydration.

Oh, did I say no smoking?

What do you love about your work as a fertility specialist?

There are so many aspects to being a fertility specialist and it merges psychology, medicine and surgery. I enjoy the multidisciplinary approach to fertility management and have a special interest in second opinions and patients with complex fertility problems. Never a dull moment!

Why did you choose fertility for your specialist profession from all of the medical options available to you?

I started off training as a resident in general and plastic surgery but felt myself drawn to the fascinating science of reproductive medicine. I would have also liked to be an embryologist (a scientist who works in the IVF laboratory) but enjoy patient contact too much.

What part of your work sometimes brings you to tears? 

I don’t cry easily (except maybe watching a sad movie on a long haul plane flight when I am jet lagged) but it is very emotional when a successful patient comes back with her newborn and extended family who are all very grateful. It makes one realise that the impact of infertility is far reaching.

What are the biggest challenges about being a fertility specialist that your patients don’t see?

Unfortunately Victoria is the most heavily regulated jurisdiction in the world with regard to fertility treatment and there is a lot of paperwork that goes on in the background. Victoria is the only state in Australia (and the world) that requires police checks prior to fertility treatment and I resent that my patients are forced to have these discriminatory checks when the naturally fertile population doesn’t.

According to the bureau of statistics, the average person has 10 jobs in their lifetime. What did you do before becoming a fertility specialist? Do you ever see yourself doing anything different?

I have worked in medicine and fertility for so long now that I cannot see myself doing anything else. Reproductive medicine is a very fast moving field and staying up to date is imperative. I have however also served on the Board of Melbourne IVF which has helped me understand how running the very complex management side of an IVF unit works. My main work is at Melbourne IVF but I also intermittently work as a consultant at TasIVF in Hobart and Launceston which I really enjoy. So in a way I feel that I do have several different jobs.

Do you recommend your patients see an acupuncturist or naturopath while they are doing fertility treatment? Why?

Many of my patients are already seeing a naturopath and/or acupuncturist and have already optimised their lifestyle. This is often very beneficial for their fertility treatment and they seem to cope much better both physically and psychologically, so from my point of view I am very supportive of a multidisciplinary approach.

What is your all-time best success story that you can share?

There are so many success stories but I always remember those that have had unsuccessful and sometimes quite complex treatments in Europe, the UK and USA often even with donor eggs and then finally come home to be successful here with their own egg in a natural IVF cycle – that is very special for me and confirms that sometimes less is more.

How can people contact you if they would like more information?

You can call my office directly on 03 9415 1815

 

For more information about Dr. Manuela Toledo or to enquire go to the Melbourne IVF website

Dr Manuela Toledo, MBBS. FRANZCOG, MMed. CREI qualified (Certification in Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility) with a holistic approach and a special interest in complex infertility.

Manuela Toledo graduated in medicine from The University of Melbourne and started specialising in obstetrics and gynaecology in 1997.

Manuela trained at both The Mercy Hospital for Women and The Women’s Hospital in Melbourne and became a fellow of the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 2004. During this time Manuela also completed a Masters of Reproduction and Genetics at the University of Sydney.

Manuela spent three years as the Melbourne IVF Fellow completing specialist training in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, obtaining the CREI specialisation in 2008. She joined Melbourne IVF as a consultant in 2006 and served as a member of the Melbourne IVF Board from 2006-2013. Manuela holds a VMO position at The Women’s Hospital.

Manuela is interested in all aspects of infertility and has a special interest in providing second opinions for complex infertility, fertility preservation and complementary medicines.

 

 

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💕

Ten Fertility Enhancing Foods

Ten fertility enhancing foods

Let’s talk about the top ten fertility enhancing foods. Of course, there are a number of foods that are great for fertility and health, however there are some that are indeed more super than others. Getting the basics of healthy heating right is the most important step. From there you can integrate some nutrient dense superfood options that are still commonly over looked by many people.

There is a lot of talk about superfoods and all the amazing things they have to offer for just about every conceivable human ailment and worry. From Cacao to Gubinge, Maca to Goji and Acai the promises include increased fertility, cures for cancer, recovery from all sorts of disease, anxiety and woe. Certainly these foods have so much to offer and definitely can be considered to be powerful, nutrient dense foods with super qualities. However, they fall short of being miracle foods. No amount of goji berries is going to make up for the 2 or 3 coffees or cokes you might drink in a day, or if you gorge on junk foods week after week. If you haven’t got the basics covered, superfoods are not your miracle cure-all for a modern-day poor lifestyle.

Get the basics right first

While superfoods can be fantastic, we (naturopaths and nutritionists) are big believers in the necessity of getting the basics right. Eat whole, live foods that are as close to their fresh form as possible, preferably locally grown or even better straight from your garden. This includes veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, pulses, grains, meat, fish and dairy. Often it’s the unassuming, simple whole foods that actually have incredible super qualities that should be taken advantage of daily.

Consider blueberries, salmon, oats, green leafy veggies and garlic just to name a few. To be super, food does not necessarily need to be exotic. For example, eating a seasonal diet ensures that the foods you do consume are as fresh as possible and are consumed when they are picked – not after they have been stored for a year or two. Truly super eating is actually quite simple. The foods we most commonly refer to as superfoods (spirulina, maca, goji, acai, etc.) are really just the cherry on top!

Superfoods are a useful and highly beneficial addition to your diet. But of course, as always, there is no quick fix and no way around eating the basic ‘super’ foods with every meal, everyday for ultimate health and a fertile life.

Tips for daily essential top 10 ‘super’ foods for fertility and health

 

Chia seeds

Chia seeds for fertility are an important addition to your diet if you aren’t already eating them. They are gluten free and as well as being high in fibre, they absorbs water to form a gelatinous texture that is soothing and healing to your digestive tract. Chia seeds contains eight times more Omega 3 than salmon, more calcium than dairy, is high in iron as well as vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants. Best of all, chia seeds are a complete protein and contain all 8 essential amino acids. Athletes find Chia seeds improve endurance and hydration as well as maintaining blood sugar levels. Chia seeds for fertility – aim for 1-2 tablespoons daily.

Blueberries

These little bundles of joy are packed full of antioxidants! Blueberries for fertility are low in sugar (a low GI fruit) and so are great for women with PCOS or people trying to lose weight. They are a good source of fibre, vitamin C, manganese and Vitamin K. Best of all, they taste delicious. Be careful to choose organic with berries as they are commonly sprayed because bugs really like berries too. Look for local berries as many berries available in major supermarkets have been shipped from across the globe (often China), which makes it harder to ensure the freshness and quality of your final product.

Green leafy vegetables

Include silverbeet, spinach, rocket, kale, lettuce, parsley, coriander, mint, etc in your diet for fertility. These foods are a good source of fibre as well as being high in important vitamins A, B, C, K and folate. They are essential for women who are preparing for pregnancy or are pregnant as they contain folinic acid, which is the most absorbable form of folate. Maximise your daily intake with a green smoothie during the warmer months.

Eggs

Free range, organic eggs for fertility are one of your best sources of protein, vitamin D, B12, zinc, phosphorus and selenium. Yes, they contain cholesterol, so if it is a problem for you, take fish oil at the same time to lessen the absorption of cholesterol. Also, as part of a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and high in healthy fats, a little cholesterol is required. Cholesterol has been painted as the bad guy but it’s also what our hormones are synthesised from. If cholesterol is an issue, check with your naturopath about how to use food to regain control.

Yoghurt

Organic, full-fat, unflavoured yoghurt for fertility contains calcium, good fats and ‘friendly bacteria’ to keep your digestive system healthy. Have a serve of yoghurt daily to keep your immune system strong.

Quinoa

While technically a seed, quinoa cooks up like a grain and unlike most (even whole) grains, quinoa is a complete protein. That simply means that it contains all 9 essential amino acids. It also contains more fibre than other grains and is rich in essential fatty acids, iron, lysine (great if you suffer from cold sores), magnesium, B2 and manganese. Quinoa is also gluten free. It is a significantly better grain choice than pasta or even brown rice due to its protein and nutrient content.

Salmon

One of the richest sources of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. It’s also high in protein, selenium and B vitamins, especially B12. Eat salmon with the bones for the added bonus of calcium. Most of the salmon in Australia is farmed but the best source is Huon Tasmanian salmon. Locate your nearest Huon stockist.

Oats
High in soluble fibre, oats eaten daily have been shown to lower and help maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure. They improve bowel function and are a good source of B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc and selenium – all the best nutrients for fertility. Oats are also considered to be a ‘nervine tonic’ in herbal medicine, which means they are useful for calming and nourishing your nervous system. Eat oats for fertility regularly throughout your week.

Walnuts

Researchers from UCLA in California found that men who ate a couple of handfuls of walnuts (75gms) a day saw improvements in their semen quality. They found improvements in sperm motility and morphology and the suggestion is that it was due to walnuts being a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (an Omega-3). Other benefits with these great fats include improved brain and heart health. Be sure the walnuts taste fresh and are organic. Try eating walnuts for male fertility every day.

Remember, superfoods are a useful and highly beneficial addition to your already amazing diet. As always, there is no quick fix and no way around eating the basic ‘super’ foods at every meal, everyday for ultimate health. Get the basics right and build from there.

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 💕