Naturopathic Care for Parents and Babies in Melbourne

naturopath melbourne

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

Unlocking the Benefits of Postnatal Naturopathy

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

How Postnatal Naturopathy Works

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

Naturopathy for Every Family Member

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

For Parents

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

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

Download – Free Guide For Your Fourth Trimester

For Baby

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

Book a Consultation to Support Your Family Health

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

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What can I do for eczema?

do for eczema

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

Why does eczema happen?

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

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

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

Why does it itch?

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

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

The relationship to your skin microbiome

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

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

How can eczema be treated?

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

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

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

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

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

 

References

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

Are Contraceptives Harmful?

Are Contraceptives Harmful?

One source of chemical exposure that particularly affects women are pharmaceutical contraceptives, which while providing important birth control benefits, can also have adverse effects on the body, particularly when we have systems, organs or tissues with suboptimal functioning or diseases or nutrient deficiencies. (4)

In our modern world, we are all exposed to a significant amount of chemicals from food, water, medications and the environments we live in and ongoing research increasingly indicates a link between such exposure and the presence of disease and/or health imbalances. (3) In this blog, I’ll dive into the specifics around contraceptive toxicity and what you can do to help yourself clear it whilst 

What types of contraceptives are there?

The most common contraceptives used by women are combined oral contraceptive pills (COCs), progestin-only contraceptive pills (POPs) and intrauterine devices (IUDs – such as the Mirena). Lots of abbreviations there!

COCs contain various combinations and doses of synthetic oestrogen and progesterone (known as progestins), while POPs are progestin (synthetic progesterone) only medications. Each are available in pill, patch or vaginal ring dosage forms. 

The most common type of synthetic oestrogen used in these medications is a compound called ethinyl estradiol (EE) (others that can be used include chlorotrianisene, dienestrol, diethylstilbestrol, fosfestrol, mestranol or quinestro). 

Progestins (the synthetic version of progesterone) can contain old (norethisterone, levonorgestrel, gestodene) or new forms (drospirenone, dienogest, trimegestone). The two types of IUDs are available are the copper-bearing (Cu-IUD) and hormonal-releasing forms. [1,5-7] 

How are contraceptives processed by your body?

So, you either ingest these contraceptive medications orally or they are present in your body following insertion. What happens to these hormones once they are in your body?

The pharmacokinetics (how they are absorbed, distributed and removed from the body) varies depending on the different types and dosage forms used, with oral medications generally having more significant biological effects compared with topical, vaginal or intrauterine forms. (But not always). [4

For the oral dosage forms, once it makes its way down the gastrointestinal tract/gut, EE is absorbed quickly (though the rate of absorption can vary from 20-65% between individuals, from day to day and with long-term use). 

Nerdy fact 1: this can be one of the reasons why one woman will respond differently to these medications to another (the fascinating joys of physiology!) 

Once the contraceptive medicine is absorbed, it undergoes metabolism (conversion) in the liver. This produces a range of oestrogen metabolites (substances that have been converted to a different form) that then either leave the body via the kidneys or bowels, or are altered by bacteria in the large bowel/intestine and reabsorbed and recirculated throughout the body. [4,8

Nerdy fact 2: this is one of the reasons why gut health influences hormone levels and activity in the body and therefore menstrual health and fertility). 

So, what about progestins (our synthetic progesterone)? They only go through the step of conversion in the liver (they aren’t reabsorbed and recirculated like oestrogens are). Though (you know what I’m going to say here…) the rate (how quickly or slowly) that progestins are metabolised will be different depending on the type of progestin in the medication used. [8]

How do synthetic contraceptive hormones get processed in your body?

The summary so far:

  • How these synthetic hormones are absorbed and distributed in the body will vary from one woman to the next depending on the type and duration of medication used. 
  • It will also vary because of the wide range of differences between us all in our physiology (which body systems and organs are working well and which ones need some love). This will influence the degree to which such substances can adversely affect our bodies in one way or another. 

Contraceptives and their side effects

The types of adverse impacts associated with such contraceptive medications and devices can include our gut and vaginal microbiomes, liver function, oxidative stress levels, chemical accumulation and nutrient status. [9-16

That sounds like a lot, right? Keep in mind we will all respond differently to such medications, so it’s important to consider your own individual response and if a particular contraceptive is right for your body or not. 

It’s all about the bugs….(gut and vaginal microbiome) 

The link between contraceptive medications and the gut microbiome is complex/complicated. 

Certain intestinal bacterial species with a particular enzyme called beta-glucuronidase and beta-glucosidase in the colon (you may have heard of the term ‘estrobolome’ which this is referring to these type of gut bugs) alters the structure of oestrogen in bile. How is this relevant? This will influence the amount of oestrogen that is reabsorbed and recirculated around the body. [17,18

Nerdy fact 3: intestinal dysbiosis (an imbalance between beneficial and non-beneficial bacteria in the gut) can mean more oestrogen is recirculated in the body, and in this case, more is not better when it comes to too much oestrogen!

And here’s the thing…both oral COC and IUDs can alter gut microbiota and vaginal microbiome composition and the integrity of our small intestinal lining (which can cause, contribute to or exacerbate dysbiosis). [9-16] This means that contraceptives may indirectly contribute to body toxicity by adversely affecting the capacity of the gut to metabolise and excrete other environmental chemicals we are commonly exposed to (xenobiotics including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrotoluenes, pesticides, polychlorobiphenyls, heavy metals, benzene derivatives, azo dyes, artificial sweeteners). [20

Take home message 1: the balance of your bugs matters when it comes to hormone health and fertility. 

Contraceptives and your liver function

Contraceptives can also affect how happy your liver is, which is important because one of the key functions of this important organ is to detoxify a HUGE range of substances from the outside (chemicals from our food, drink, environment and medications, including the hormones from these contraceptives) and inside our bodies to make them safer for removal from the body.

That is, certain contraceptives (and our gut bugs) can affect the activity of our liver enzymes (the good guys that carry out these detoxifying reactions). [21] This can present a problem when the level of our chemical exposure exceeds the ability of these liver enzymes to detoxify them, resulting in higher levels of circulating (unconverted) toxic metabolites, further contributing to an overload of these liver detoxification pathways. [4,8,22

Take home message 2: healthy liver function is another key aspect of hormone health and fertility. 

Contraceptives and their impact on nutrient and trace mineral status

Contraceptive medications may also contribute to endogenous toxicity by modifying endogenous nutrient, heavy metal and trace mineral levels, subsequently influencing (nutrient-dependent) hepatic detoxification and cellular antioxidant enzyme activity.

A range of studies have shown that nutrients that can be lower with use of OCPs, IUDs or injectable contraceptives include zinc, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin B12 while higher levels of iron, copper and cadmium can also occur. [31,32, 33, 34, 35]

Lower levels of selenium, zinc and magnesium can influence body toxicity as they are required for the synthesis and activity of antioxidant enzymes in the body (including glutathione (magnesium), superoxide dismutase (zinc), glutathione peroxidase and selenoprotein enzymes (selenium). [36

The toxic effects of the heavy metal cadmium in the body include by depleting glutathione levels, inhibiting antioxidant enzyme activity and increasing the synthesis of free radicals/oxidative stress [37] Copper, when it’s too high, can contribute to pathological oxidative processes in much of the body, including inactivation of glutathione peroxidase and oxidation of hepatic mitochondrial cells, while excess iron results in the formation free radicals. [33,38,39] When there are excessive levels of oxidative stress in body cells and tissues with use of contraceptives, this can have a detrimental impact on detoxification processes and overall body toxicity and functional capacities.   

Take home message 3: nutrient status and oxidative stress can be adversely affected by contraceptives, particularly if you have used them for an extended period of time. 

What can you do if you think contraceptives are adversely affecting you?

The use of pharmaceutical contraceptives has an important place in the population for birth control and family planning purposes – this blog is not a directive to come off all your contraceptives! 

However, their potential detrimental impact on the body (and your reproductive health and fertility in many cases) is an important consideration. This means it is important to identify if the health issues you are experiencing are associated with your contraceptives and getting individualised support with strategies including functional pathology, dietary modifications, nutrient, herbal and lifestyle changes to address such imbalances. 

Written by Senior Fertility Naturopath & Nutritionist, Georgia Marrion MHNut, BHsci (Comp Med), Adv.Dip HSci (Nat) MNSA, MANPA, MFSA

Make a free 10 minute booking with Georgia to get started on your journey towards better health.

References
  1. Lackie J. A dictionary of biomedicine. Oxford University Press, 2010. DOI: 10.1093/acref/9780199549351.001.0001.  
  2. Sharma B. Hormonal contraceptive chronic toxicity in females: a review. J Forensic Sci Toxicol. 2018 Aug; 1 (1): 1003.
  3. Bijlsma N, Cohen MM. Environmental chemical assessment in clinical practice: unveiling the elephant in the room. Int J Environ Res Pub Health 2016; 13: 181. 
  4. Mattinson DR, Karyakina N, Goodman M, LaKind JS. Pharmaco- and toxicokinetics of selected exogenous and endogenous estrogens: a review of the data and identification of knowledge gaps. Crit Rev Toxicol 2014; 44 (8): 696-724.
  5. IARC Monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans, volume 72. Oral Contraceptives – combined. 1999. Accessed 14 December 2018 from https://monographs.iarc.fr/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/mono72-6.pdf https://monographs.iarc.fr/iarc-monographs-on-the-evaluation-of-carcinogenic-risks-to-humans-49/
  6. Farman M, Tripathi SK, Babu DK, Nandi S, Kumar G. Influence of estrogen, progesterone and their synthetic derivatives on ovarian functions. J Infertil Reprod Biol 2015; 3 (4): 250-254. 
  7. Amy JJ, Tripathi V. Contraception for women: an evidence-based overview. BMJ 2009; 339: b2895.
  8. Lee CR. Drug interactions and hormonal contraception. Trends Urol Gynecol Sex Health 2009 May/June; 24: 23-26. 
  9. Khalili H, Granath F, Smedby KE, Ekbom A, Neovius M, Chan AT, Olen O. Association between long-term oral contraceptive use and risk of Crohn’s disease complications in nationwide study. Gastroenterol 2016; 150: 1561-1567. 
  10. Khalilli H. Risk of inflammatory bowel disease with oral contraceptives and menopausal hormone therapy: current evidence and future directions. Drug Saf 2016 Mar; 39 (3): 193-7. 
  11. Rezek M, Sayyed T, Maood A, Dawood R. Risk of bacterial vaginosis, Trichomonas vaginalis and Candida albicans infection among new users of combined hormonal contraception vs LNG-IUS. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care 2017 Oct; 22 (5): 344-348.
  12. Aminzadeh A, Sanat AS, Akhtar SN. Frequency of candidiasis and colonisation of Candida albicans in relation to oral contraceptive pills. Iran Red Crescent Med J 2016 Oct; 18 (10): e38909. 
  13. Zhou Z, Zhang L, Ding M, Luo Z, Yuan S, Bansal MB, Gilkeson G, Lang R, Jiang W. Estrogen decreases tight junction protein ZO-1 expression in human primary gut tissues. Clin Immunol 2017; 183: 174-180. 
  14. Chen L, Zhang W, Hua J, Hu C, Lai NLS, Qian PY et al. Dysregulation of intestinal health by environmental pollutants: involvement of the estrogen receptor and aryl hydrocarbon receptor. Environ Sci Technol 2018; 52 (4): 2323-2330. 
  15. Morkl S, Lackner S, Meinitzer A, Mangge H, Lehofer M, Halwachs B, Gorkiewicz G et al. Gut microbiota, dietary intakes and intestinal permeability reflected by zonulin in women. Eur J Nutr 2018; 57: 2985-2997. 
  16. Fosch SE, Ficoseco CA, Marchesi A, Cocucci S, Nader-Macias MEF, Perazzi BE. Contraception: influence on vaginal microbiota and identification of vaginal lactobacilli using MALDI-TOF MS and 16S rDNA sequencing. Open Microbiol J 2018 Jun 29; 12: 218-229. 
  17. Kwa M, Plottel CS, Blaser MJ, Adams S. The intestinal microbiome and estrogen receptor positive female breast cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2016 Apr 22; 108 (8). 
  18. Fuhrman BJ, Feigelson HS, Flores R, Gail MH, Xu X, Ravel J, Goedert JJ. Associations of the fecal microbiome with urinary estrogens and estrogen metabolites in postmenopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2014 Dec; 99 (12): 4632-4640.
  19. Donders G, Bellen G, Janssens D, Van Bulck B, Hinoul P, Verguts J. Influence of contraceptive choice on vaginal bacterial and fungal microflora. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 2017 Jan; 36 (1): 43-48. 
  20. Claus SP, Guillou H, Ellero-Simatos S. The gut microbiota: a major player in the toxicity of environmental pollutants? Biofilms and Microbiomes 2016; 2: 16003. 
  21. Greenhaigh K, Meyer KM, Aagaard KM, Wilmes P. The human gut microbiome in health: establishment and resilience of microbiota over a lifetime. Environmental Microbiology 2016; 18 (7): 2103-2116. 
  22. Jacobs CL. An analytical method to investigate the estrogen metabolism in women taking combined oral contraceptives. NWU 2018.  
  23. Ekhato CN, Osifo UC, Akpamu U. Effect of oral contraceptive pills (containing low doses of synthetic hormones) on liver function in adult female rabbits. Asian J Biotech 2014; 6 (1): 15-20. 
  24. Onyesom I, Osioma E, Etagar EE, Ofili MI. Activities of some liver enzymes in serum of humans receiving DMPA and Cu-IUD contraceptives. Schol J Appl Med Sci 2013; 1 (2): 62-64.
  25. Jonderko K, Skalba P, Kasicka-Jonderko A, Kaminska M, Bizior-Frymus D, Dyja R. Impact of oral contraceptives containing ethinylestradiol on the liver microsomal metabolism. Eur J Contracept Reproduc Health Care 2013 Aug; 18 (4): 284-92. 
  26. Mawet M, Maillard C, Klipping C, Zimmerman Y, Foidart JM, Coelingh Bennink HJT. Unique effects on hepatic function, lipid metabolism, bone and growth endocrine parameters of estetrol in combined oral contraceptives. Eur J Contra Repr Health Care 2015 Jul; 20 (6): 463-475. 
  27. Sirtuk-Ware RL, Menard J, Rad M, Burggraaf J, de Kam ML, Tokay BA, Sivin I, Kluft C. Comparison of the impact of vaginal and oral administration of combined hormonal contraceptives on hepatic proteins sensitive to estrogen. Contraception 2007 Jun; 75 (6): 430-437. 
  28. Sitruk-Ware R, Nath A. Metabolic effects of contraceptive steroids. Rev Endocr Metab Disord 2011 Jun; 12 (2): 63-75. 
  29. Dilbaz B, Ozdegirmenci O, Caliskan E, Dilbaz S, Haberal A. Effect of etonogestrel implant on serum lipids, liver function test and hemaglobin levels. Contraception 2010; 81 (6): 510-514.
  30. Archer DF, Thomas MA, Conard J, Merkatz RB, Creasy GW, Roberts K, Plagianos M, Blithe D, Sutruk-Ware R. Impact on hepatic estrogen-sensitive proteins by a 1-year contraceptive vaginal ring delivering Nestorone and ethinyl estradiol. Contraception 2016 Jan; 93 (1): 58-64. 
  31. Akinloye O, Adebayo TO, Oguntibeju OO, Oparinde DP, Ogunyemi EO. Effects of contraceptives on serum trace elements, calcium and phosphorus levels. West Indian Med J 2011 Jun; 60 (3): 308-15.
  32. McArthur JO, Tang H, Petocz P, Samman S. Biological variability and impact of oral contraceptives on B6, B12 and folate status in women of reproductive age. Nutrients 2013 Sep 16; 5 (9): 3634-45.
  33. Babic Z, Tariba B, Kovacic J, Pizent A, Varnai VM, Macan J. Relevance of serum copper elevation induced by oral contraceptives: a meta-analysis. Contraception 2013 Jun; 87 (6): 790-800.
  34. Imperato F, Perniola G, Mossa B, Marziani R, Perniola F, Stragapede B, Napolitano C. The role or copper-releasing intrauterine device or levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system on uterine bleeding and iron status (prospective study of 8 years). Minerva Ginecol 2002 Jun; 54 (3): 271-8. 
  35. Luque-Ramirez M, Alvarez-Blasco F, Alpanes M, Escobar-Morreale HF. Role of decreased circulating hepcidin concentrations in the iron excess of women with polycystic ovary syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2011 Mar; 96 (3): 846-52. 
  36. Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Centre. Selenium, Zinc, Magnesium. Accessed 16 December 2018 from https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/ 
  37. Rahimzadeh MR, Rahimzadeh MR, Kazemi S, Moghadamnia AA. Cadmium toxicity and treatment: an update. Caspian J Intern Med 2017; 8 (3): 135-145. 
  38. Ashish B, Neeti K, Himanshu K. Copper toxicity: a comprehensive study. Res J Rec Sci 2013; 2: 58-67. 
  39. Kohgo Y, Ikuta K, Ohtake T, Torimoto Y, Kato J. Body iron metabolism and pathophysiology of iron overload. Int J Hematol 2008; 88 (1): 7-15. 
  40. Kowalska K, Milnerowicz H. Pro/antioxidant status in young healthy women using oral contraceptives. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol 2016 Apr; 43: 1-6. 
  41. Zal F, Mostafavi-Pour Z, Amini F, Heidari A. Effect of vitamin C and E supplements on lipid peroxidation and GSH-dependent antioxidant enzyme status in the blood of women consuming oral contraceptives. Contraception. 2012 Jul; 86 (1): 62-6.
  42. Cauci S, Buligan C, Marangone M, Francescato MP. Oxidative stress in female athletes using combined oral contraceptives. Sports Med Open 2016 Dec; 2 (1): 40.
  43. Palan PR, Strube F, Letko J, Sakikovic A, Mikhail MS. Effects of oral, vaginal and transdermal hormonal contraception on serum levels of coenzyme Q10, vitamin E and total antioxidant activity. Obstet Gynecol Int 2010; 2010. Pii: 925635.
  44. Rush EL, Singer AB, Longnecker MP, Haug LS, Sabaredzovic A, Symanski E, Whitworth KW. Oral contraceptive use as a determinant of plasma concentrations of perfluoroalkyl substances among women in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort (MoBa) study. Environ Intern 2018 Mar; 112: 156-164. 
  45. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and your health. Accessed 16 December 2018 from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/health-effects.html 
  46. National Institute of Health US Department of Health and Human Services. Perfluorinated chemicals July 2016. Accessed 16 December 2018 from https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/materials/perflourinated_chemicals_508.pdf 
  47. Khan U, Nicell JA. Contraceptive options and their associated estrogenic environmental loads: relationships and trade-offs. PLoS One 2014 Mar 26; 9 (3): e92630.
  48. Adeel M, Song X, Wang Y, Francis D, Yang Y. Environmental impact of estrogens on human, animal and plant life: a critical review. Environ Int 2017; 99: 107-119. 
  49. Kumar V, Johnson AC, Trubiroha A, Tumova J, Ihara M, Grabic R, Kloas W et al. The challenge presented by progestins in ecotoxicological research: a critical review. Environ Sci Technol 2015; 49 (5): 2625-2638. 
  50. Roberts H. Combined oral contraceptive: issues for current users. BJP; 12.
  51. Peachman RR. Weighing the risks and benefits of hormonal contraception. JAMA 2018 Mar 20; 319 (11): 1083-1084.
  52. Jordan SJ, Wilson LF, Nagle CM, Green AC, Olsen CM, Bain CJ et al. Cancers in Australia in 2010 attributable to and prevented by the use of combined oral contraceptives. Aust New Zeal J Pub Health 2010; 39 (5). 
  53. Morch LS, Skovlund CW, Hannaford PC, Iverson L, Fielding S, Lidegaard O. Contemporary hormonal contraception and the risk of breast cancer. NEJM 2017; 377: 2228-2239.
  54. Hilakivi-Clarke L, de Assis S, Warri A. Exposures to synthetic estrogens at different times during the life, and their effect on breast cancer risk. J Mamm Gland Biol Neoplas 2013 Mar; 18 (1): 25-42.
  55. Oedingen C, Scholz S, Razum O. Systematic review and meta-analysis of the association of combined oral contraceptives on the risk of venous thromboembolism: the role of the progestogen type and estrogen dose. Thromb Res 2018 May; 165: 68-78.
  56. Dragoman MV, Tepper NK, Fu R, Curtis KM, Chou R, Gaffield ME. A systematic review and meta-analysis of venous thrombosis risk among users of combined oral contraception. Int J Gynecol Obstet 2018 Feb; 141 (3). 
  57. Glisic M, Shahzad S, Tsoli S et al. Association between progestin-only contraceptive use and cardiometaboic outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Prev Cardiol 2018 May. 
  58. Skovlund CW, Morch LS, Kessing LV. Association of hormonal contraception with depression. JAMA Psychiatry 2016; 73 (11): 1154-1162.
  59. Faryal U, Rashid S, Majra B, Hassan M, Saqib J, Ali MA. Effect of hormonal contraceptives on serum serotonin in females of reproductive age group. J Ayub Med Coll Abbot Pak 2016; 28 (1). 
  60. Meier TB, Drevets WC, Teague TK, Wurfel BE, Mueller SC, Bodurka J, Dantzer R, Savitz J. Kynurenic acid is reduced in females and oral contraceptive users: implications for depression. Brain Behav Immun 2018 Jan; 67: 59-64. 
  61. Erol O, Simavli S, Derbent AU, Ayrim A, Kafali H. The impact of copper-containing and levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine contraceptives on cervicovaginal cytology and microbiological flora: a prospective study. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care 2014 Jun; 19 (3): 187-93.
  62. Chagas BS, Gurgel APAD, Paiva Junior SSL, Lima RCP, Cordeiro MN, Moura RR et al. Synergic effect of oral contraceptives, GSTP1 polymorphisms, and high-risk HPV infection in development of cervical lesions. Genet Mol Res 2017 Aug 17; 16 (3).  
  63. Jatlaoui TC, Riley HE, Curtix KM. The safety of intrauterine devices among young women: a systematic review. Contraception 2017 Jan; 95 (1): 17-39.
  64. Batur P, Bowersox N, McNamara M. Contraception: efficacy, risks, continuation rates and use in high risk women. J Women’s Health. 2016 Aug; 25 (8): 853-6.
  65. Klug CD, Keay CR, Ginde AA. Fatal toxic shock syndrome from an intrauterine device. Ann Emerg Med 2009; 54: 701-3.
  66. Herzer CM. Toxic shock syndrome: broadening the differential diagnosis. J Am Board Fam Pract 2001; 14: 131-6.
  67. Cho EE, Fernando D. Fatal streptococcal toxic shock syndrome from an intrauterine device. J Emerg Med 2013; 44: 777-80.

Seedsli – Grain Free Summer Breakfast 🌟

grain free breakfast

Seedsli is a great alternative to muesli for the grain or gluten challenged and a delightful way to get creative with your breakfast! Seeds are an amazing source of good fats, protein, fibre, essential vitamins and minerals and energy, not to mention packed with flavour. This recipe is simple to put together and will keep in a sealed jar for up to several weeks. It makes approx 4 cups, is gluten free, coeliac, and grain free.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup each of: unhulled sesame seeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, buckwheat groats (or whatever seeds you have to hand to a total of 3 cups)
  • ½ cup slivered or chopped almonds, toasted and cooled
  • ½ cup coconut flakes, toasted and cooled
  • 1 generous teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla pod, split (optional)
  • ½ cup puffed quinoa (optional, but a very tasty addition)
  • ¼ cup dried fruit (optional)

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to ensure cinnamon flavour is well distributed.
  2. Place vanilla pod into a large jar and top up with seeds.
  3. Allow to stand for a few days, with an occasional shake so the vanilla flavour infuses through the Seedsli giving it a delicious aroma and flavour.
  4. Serve with fruit and yogurt, your favourite nut milk, on top of stewed fruit, or make it into a crumble topping with a crunchy, healthy difference. You can even just have it as a tasty snack on its own. For best nutritional results, soak it overnight in a little water or milk before consuming

This recipe is brought to you by The Breakfast Project and the senior fertility naturopathic and nutritionist team ,at Fertile Ground Health Group.

Are you keen to access dietary support for fertility, pregnancy, postpartum or general health? Book in with one of our  Naturopaths 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.

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Changes to health insurance rebates for naturopathy

By now you will have received notification from your private health insurer informing you that your rebates for naturopathy will no longer be available.  For the millions of people who have benefited from the very real and very powerful results of naturopathic care, this political decision is equally concerning and confusing.

While we are busy being politically active, speaking and writing to members of parliament and signing petitions to change this unfounded decision, it looks like it is still going ahead as of the 1st April, 2019.

You will still be able to take advantage of your rebates for naturopathy up until the 1st April and as far as we understand, all claims that need to be made online for past appointments must be submitted before the 1st of April as well. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to organise your receipts and make those claims.

We will keep fighting for this decision to be overturned and if you are benefiting from your work with our naturopaths, you can fight for it too. Give your local member a visit or call, write a letter using this template or sign this petition and help them to see how valuable our naturopathic services have been for your health and fertility outcomes.

There is SO MUCH EVIDENCE to support naturopathy and it’s not difficult to find the published research for the benefits of herbal, nutritional and lifestyle medicine.  In fact, we are about to launch a book with over 200 scientific references supporting naturopathic approaches just for preconception. This represents a mere drop in the ocean for research and evidence supporting naturopathic approaches in diet and lifestyle modification, herbal and nutritional medicine for fertility, general health, acute and chronic conditions.

Rest assured that FGHG naturopaths will continue to provide professional, evidence-based naturopathic support and you will still be able to claim for acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, osteopathy and remedial massage at Fertile Ground, so all is not lost! Besides, the benefits you receive from naturopathic support will continue well beyond any rebate you don’t receive!

If you would like to learn more, or do something about the decision to remove naturopathy from health insurance, we hope you find these links to information useful and insightful.

Petition – change.org
Have your say – template letter to the government
Letter to Minister from Your Health Your Choice – Formal request to Australia’s Health Minister, Greg Hunt to amend the Private Health Insurance  Rules 2018
Article – Article from Gill Stannard: You’ll soon be unable to claim for naturopathy and herbal medicince
Article – How did the Australian government conclude “There’s no evidence for naturopathy”
Article – Subsidies for natural therapies abolished 
Latest news – Your Health Your Choice Facebook Page
Listen to report – Discusses the flawed method of review in the decision to amend private health for naturopathy. Features Professor Stephen Myers, Southern Cross University

Gestational Diabetes: a Naturopathic Perspective

One of the things I’m most proud of in my practice is the remarkably low rates of gestational diabetes among my patient group. Pregnancy-related diabetes, like type 2 diabetes, is a growing concern in Australia and its diagnosis is increasing at a rate of about 5% per year. It is often dismissed as being a result of the hormones of pregnancy, but the reality is that almost all women, even those with an increased risk, will avoid developing gestational diabetes if they are given the right information and make the best choices before and during pregnancy.

An area of concern for us at Fertile Ground are the recommendations given to women once they are diagnosed with poor glucose control, usually in their 28th week of pregnancy. A standard list of recommended foods we regularly see include foods known to be high in sugar, as well as generally being very carbohydrate-heavy in their recommendations, with little regard for quality proteins, vegetables and good fats.

From our combined clinical practice, as well as from a multitude of scientific literature, we understand that the best way to avoid gestational diabetes as well as the best way to minimise its impact when it has been diagnosed, is to eat a low GI diet of quality proteins (e.g. eggs, meat, fish, chicken, full-fat yoghurt, tofu and especially nuts & seeds), good fats (avocado, extra virgin olive oil, nuts butters), alongside genuinely complex carbohydrates (vegetables, beans, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, barley, whole oats & barley are best). Breads, pastas, rice and crackers are just not necessary, and I often see women come in with poor blood glucose results baffled & upset, only to identify a meal the previous night heavy in carbs and low in protein and good fats.

As naturopaths we are fortunate to have at hand a number of safe & effective herbal & nutritional medicines to assist with blood sugar regulation, enhanced insulin sensitivity, and (potentially most importantly!) to help reducing sugar & carb cravings. We recommend all our patients follow a healthy diet during their pregnancy, and consult with one of our naturopaths at regular intervals to ensure they are achieving optimal nutrition for their baby’s specific stage of development. We also highly recommended a consultation if a woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, as this consistently leads to significantly better outcomes, including the minimisation of the need for insulin injections and further intervention.

As we come up to the holiday season, this is something worth keeping in mind. While we do understand most of you will be likely to take a day or two off from your usual healthy lifestyles (which you’ve all adopted by now right!?), we all want to put our health & fertility first! As I say about the holiday season, minimise the drawbacks; maximize the benefits! So make sure you’re eating a wide variety of the good foods, you’ve hopefully come to love with our help, and keep the treats to be just what they were intended for: the occasional indulgence!

 

L9999600Rhiannon Hardingham, FGHG Naturopath & Nutritionist

Underpinning Rhiannon’s work is a passion for health and a belief that every child deserves the best start in life. Thorough and approachable, Rhiannon’s commitment to understanding each person as an individual is much appreciated by her patients. Rhiannon is committed to the successful integration of natural and conventional medicine, and believes ideal outcomes are achieved for patients when all their health care providers are working together. She incorporates the use of lifestyle counselling, nutritional supplementation and herbal medicine to achieve optimum results for each individual patient.

Are you our next Fertility Naturopath?

Fertility Naturopath

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

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

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

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

You will receive

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

Is this you?

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

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

What we’re looking for

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

Prerequisite

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

Practice session times

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

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

What is The Melbourne Apothecary?

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

Apply

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

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

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

How to find calm amid the chaos

Meditation with Gina

Is now the right time to develop a calm meditation practice? I think it is and I want to help in these tricky times, so I’ve decided to offer FREE group meditation sessions on zoom.  Hopefully you’ve been able to join the first two and I’d love it if you would join me on the final session on Wednesday 6th May at 8.30am.

The Benefits of Meditation

I’m sure you’ve already heard much about the benefits of meditation.  So I’m not going to rave on about the benefits (much).  If you haven’t yet heard meditation can help you with an incredibly diverse range of things such as providing immense relief from your anxiety and stress, resetting your circadian rhythms, regulating a daily practice of deep rest, facilitating repair in your body, encouraging a deeper sense of connection and wholeness – the list is endless. These are just some of the top few that are relevant to our current circumstances.

This may be your opportunity to include meditation within your daily ritual so that you can use these crazy COVID-19 days to hone a skill that can serve you in other challenges that will inevitably come over the years (to all of us).  Life brings us all shades of circumstance – some we perceive as brilliant, others perceive as not so. We know that there will always be more challenges. Thankfully, adopting meditation as a daily practice can really help you rise to any occasion and keep calm amidst it. Through meditation you can enhance your resilience, your capacity and your ability to think clearly.

What can we do?

This current situation isn’t something we can run away from, it is our life. The only thing we can be certain of right now is that the current lockdown will continue for some time. So we can choose how we wish to show up each day over the next number of weeks and what practical things we want to do each day to support our own health and to help others.  

I have taught people meditation for a number of years now and I hear common questions about obstacles to meditation – I’d like to share a few insights with you.

Common Questions

My mind is so busy I just can’t settle and meditate

I have news for you, everyone’s mind is busy.  That is what minds are built for – to think and be busy and look out for us.  This isn’t a hindrance to meditation and we’re not trying to empty the mind of thoughts – that’s a bit like saying we can stop getting older….  we can’t and we don’t want to stop our thoughts.  So yes everyone can meditate.

I don’t know what meditation style to follow

There are many ways to meditate and you can place your attention on various objects like breathing,  sounds, a candle, or you can count or recite a mantra.  There’s no right or wrong and it’s a matter of finding a style that suits you.  You can also use different objects on different days.  Following the breath is the most universal and this is the style that I’ll teach over the free sessions.

Will meditation make me too relaxed so that I’m not motivated to do anything?

In fact meditation can help you to do the opposite.  It’s helping to train the mind to focus on an object of awareness and this in turn helps us to know when our mind wanders.  It can do wonders for our ability to focus on a job and not on distractions and to use our time more effectively.

How can I find time to meditate in my busy life?

Hopefully now many of you are at home or working from home this may be easier to find some time whether it’s 10 minutes or longer.  Once you develop a routine it’s much easier to incorporate once our lives open up again.  It really is a matter of prioritising our health above other things like netflix!

Can I meditate on a chair or lying down rather than sitting on a cushion cross legged?

Yes you can meditate sitting on the floor on a cushion or on a chair or even standing or walking meditation.  Although you can meditate lying down this might be best to do as a relaxation before bed as you may well fall asleep.

Calm on

Spending time regularly sitting and being with ourselves and listening to ourselves is highly productive.  If you would like some support in making meditation part of your daily routine I am offering a final meditation session this week.  Simply sign up and we’ll send you a zoom link. I will lead some meditation sessions followed by a question and answer session.  The session is 30 minutes and the date is Wednesday 6th May 2020 at 8.30am.

Gina Fox

Naturopath & Fertility Educator

Are you looking for support with your fertility, health, or mindset? You’re welcome to book in with Gina Fox.

Lockdown Lentil Patties

Lockdown Lentil Patties

Lentil Patty Life Savers

Have you been struggling for lunch ideas while in lockdown? Lost for inspiration amongst preparing all your own food? These lentil patties have been a life saver for me. With the weather getting colder, I’m sure most of use feel like a warm meal for lunch but want something that is quick, tasty and healthy. These patties are all of those things.

Lentils are a good source of minerals and B-vitamins, plus protein and fibre to keep you full and satisfied well into the afternoon and balance your blood sugar. The nuts, seeds and eggs in this recipe up the protein content further and provide further minerals and Bs. The other ingredients give plenty of flavour but I like to top my patties with some chilli hummus, babaganoush, or avocado and goats cheese for extra deliciousness. Plus, don’t forget the green leaves.

I make the mixture up on a Sunday, shape into patties and freeze. Then, I take them out in the morning as needed to thaw and cook at lockdown lunchtime. Here is how.

 Ingredients
  • 2 ½ cups cooked green lentils – also referred to as brown lentils (soak overnight and cook or use organic canned lentils), half whole and half blended to a paste
  • 1 cup carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, ground
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, ground
  • 1 cup rolled oats, ground
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 cup wholemeal spelt flour (use chickpea flour for gluten-free)
  • polenta for coating
  • olive oil for cooking
Method

Use a food processor to prepare all your ingredients in a flash, process each on separately and add to a large mixing bowl as you go. I usually grind my walnuts, then sunflower seeds, then oats, then chop the wetter stuff like onion, garlic and carrot, and lastly blend half my lentils.

Once these are all in the bowl add the eggs, tomato paste, Worcestershire, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Then add the flour, starting with a 1/4 cup. Try rolling a 2-inch ball with the mixture, if it is too wet, add the rest of the flour.

Roll into 2 inch balls, coating each ball gently in polenta (spread your polenta out on a plate to do this) and then flattening onto a baking tray lined with baking paper to form discs about 1.5-2cm thick.

Pop your tray/s in the freezer for an hour or so until patties are frozen and enough to handle and then stack them in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to use.

Cooking

Take out your patties a few hours before you want to eat them and let thaw in the fridge.

Cook for a few minutes on each side in hot olive oil until crispy and warmed through.

Go crazy with healthy toppings, e.g.
  • try tomato, cheese, onion, rocket and organic tomato sauce
  • chipotle hummus, sliced cucumber and spinach
  • babaganoush, avocado and tomato
  • beetroot relish and cheese
  • a fried egg and rocket

Josephine Cabrall

Naturopath

BHSc (Nat)

Recipe modified from Classic Lentil Burgers by https://www.makingthymeforhealth.com/

Are you looking for a Naturopath to help hone your health and diet during the various stages of lockdown? You’re welcome to book in with Josephine.

Improve your fertility during lockdown

Stress management

The current COVID-19 pandemic has bought about a number of significant changes in day to day life for all of us, let alone for those of you focusing on your fertility.

Many people are working from home and may have additional challenges negotiating this new work/life space. Whilst there are certainly pros and cons of being in lockdown, there are many things that you can be doing now to help improve your chances of conceiving. 

Focus on what you can do now

Whilst there may be an overwhelming feeling of lack of control in the current circumstances, try to focus on what you can control and what factors you can change that may help improve your fertility. 

Diet & Exercise

If you are not in the healthy weight range, aim to change your diet and exercise levels to help achieve this.

We know that being overweight or underweight can impact your fertility negatively and can also reduce your chances of success with IVF. Now is the time to address this. 

Start with calculating your BMI and your waist measurement. Look online or in our book (Create a Fertile Life) for details around calculating your BMI and waist measurements correctly. 

If your BMI is less than 18.5 or greater than 25, or your waist measurement is greater than 94cm (for men) or 80cm (for women), then you may need support in achieving a healthy weight to improve your fertility.

Make a time to speak to your naturopath about what changes are necessary to help you achieve a healthier more fertile weight. They will also be able to assess whether there are likely to be any other contributing factors that may be affecting your ability to maintain and/or achieve a healthy weight. 

Exercise regularly

Aim for 30-60 minutes of exercise every day. Along with benefits to your fertility, exercise helps to improve your mood, blood sugar and hormone balance, circulation, energy and assist in weight management.   

It’s probably never been more important than now to be exercising regularly. The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to negatively affect our mental health. Impacts can come in the form of financial stress, job insecurity, isolation and less social connections. This may also affect our fertility by increasing our stress and anxiety and exacerbating any previous mental health issues.

Exercising regularly is a wonderful positive change you can make to help improve your body’s ability to manage stress and resilience. Start with doing something and build up from there. Use that extra time in your day that you may have spent travelling to/from work to lock in a daily exercise routine and stick to it. Book it in at a specific time each day.  I have been doing Yoga or Pilates classes at 4pm every day which has been a lovely way to wind down and also work out (see below for some free online classes). Try to find something that you enjoy and that makes you feel good after completing. 

Make your diet more fertile!

Now is the time to focus on making those changes to your diet that you may not have had time to do so before. Use this time productively to nourish yourself with healthy meals. For example, cook up big batches of healthy soups or broths and freeze these in smaller portions so that they are readily available for a meal when needed.

Treat yourself to a daily nutrient-dense smoothie, make some chia seed puddings or your own wholegrain bread. Now is also the perfect time to cut out the caffeine and alcohol which may be easier due to the lack of social functions. Speak to your naturopath, or look at our website for recipe ideas or to the Chapters in our book, Create a Fertile Life, for more inspiration. 

Utilise healthy stress management techniques

Stress affects all aspects of male and female fertility. Fortunately, stress reduction programs can significantly improve your chances of having a baby. This is now the perfect time to be introducing daily deep breathing techniques, visualisation and/or meditation.

There are many apps e.g. Smiling Minds, Headspace, Stop Breath Think etc that you can use to begin with. There are also specific fertility-related meditations that you can download made by our very own naturopaths Charmaine Dennis and Gina Fox. Give them a go.

Try to make meditation a daily practice. It can create powerful change in your life.

Now is the time to focus on what positive steps you can make during lockdown to help improve your fertility.  We know that whilst a woman’s eggs are present from birth, they take 3-4 months to mature in the ovaries before they are ovulated. Sperm are manufactured from scratch over the same time frame. This preconception period of 3-4 months is a wonderful time to focus on supporting the growth and development of both the eggs and sperm so that they are likely to be a lot healthier and thus, improve your chances of conceiving.

More helpful action taking resources for you

Free Yoga class  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epsvORtTVk0

Free Pilates class https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-750Jo8CUU

Tina Jenkins
Naturopath
B.Nat., Masters of Reproductive Medicine (MRMed), B.A., Cert Nat Fert Mgt.
Member FSA, NHAA, ATMS

Looking for a Naturopath to support you? Book in with Tina here.