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Preconception Health Care and Natural Fertility

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Article by Claudette Wadsworth

Claudette Wadsworth Profile | Email | Website
Claudette Wadsworth Qualified Naturopath
Herbalist
Nutritionist

Natural Fertility Specialist
ThetaHealing Practitioner
40 Grosvenor Street
Bondi Junction
NSW
Australia 2022
(02) 9389 3689
Natural Fertility

Fertility is a complex issue that involves both prospective parents. Conceiving a child is a very special, though often unconscious, event. For others, it may be problematic. With over a decade of clinical experience and research, Claudette is dedicated to offering the best, scientifically researched natural methods and medical testing for overcoming fertility problems as well as offering you a program of preconception health care for healthy, conscious conception. Uniquely positioned at the forefront of a dynamic and highly researched area of health, Claudette has set a new precedence in the treatment of infertility for both males and females. Her program can profoundly improve your chances of a healthy, successful conception, pregnancy, birth and baby.

 

Do both partners have to be involved?

The combined effort by both parents ensures better health of the new baby and fertility issues may come from either the female or the male. Therefore, one of the most important components is that both partners undertake preconception health care: 50% of the genetic material comes from the female and 50% comes from the male. If only one partner is involved, it is still worth doing but will not necessarily be as effective.

 

Preconception care ensures there is an adequate supply of factors which are essential to the health of the female and male reproductive organs, the general health of both parents, the health of the sperm and egg, foetal development, the ultimate health of the baby, and an absence of things that have been shown in studies to be harmful.

 

Why do I have to wait 3-4 months before trying to conceive?

Sperm can take up to 116 days to develop and mature, during which time they are vulnerable to damage. Likewise the egg takes approximately 100 days to mature before ovulation.

 

Poor nutrition, tobacco, drugs, alcohol, environmental pollution, lack of exercise, stress, oral contraceptives, genito-urinary infections, and other infections eg Candida, allergies, child bearing at an older age and stress are all important factors which may be harmful to sperm, eggs, health of the male and female reproductive organs, general health of both parents, and in turn the health of the baby.

 

Therefore 3-4 months of healthy living before conception will improve the quality of sperm, egg and pregnancy. Most couples are keen to conceive as quickly as possible. However, preconception care ensures all underlying causes are dealt with prior to conception attempts rather then seeking reasons after problems have occurred.

 

Is Natural Fertility Management compatible with or after IVF?

Natural Fertility treatment is ideal prior to undertaking IVF as it can resolve or reduce the underlying causes of the infertility and thereby actually increases the success rate of IVF. A recent study in the UK showed IVF success rates more than doubled when preceded by a period of preconception health care. IVF does not address the underlying causes e.g. infections, auto-immunity (e.g. sperm antibodies, miscarriage antibodies), hormone imbalances, poor egg or sperm quality, thyroid imbalances but bypasses these factors to force the conception to occur. As a result, IVF has a higher than normal rate of miscarriage, birth defects and low birth weight babies.

However, naturopathic treatment is available concomitant with IVF treatment. In fact, nutritional support and stress management are vital for those undergoing assisted conceptions, e.g. IVF. No supplement that has a hormonal effect is given to interfere with the drug regime. Emphasis is placed upon boosting your nutritional requirements, improving egg, sperm and embryo quality and reducing stress. Today Claudette works with many medical doctors to help integrate your treatment and for you to achieve the best possible outcome.

Is there any research on Natural Fertility?

Foresight Study Results

Foresight – the British Association for the Promotion of Preconception Care was established in the UK in 1978. Their clinics have almost twenty years of practical experience with published clinical study results. Published in the Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine, 1995: Foresight with Surrey University, UK conducted a 2 year study with 367 couples which was completed in 1992. The women participating in the study ranged in age from 22-45 years, the men from 25-59 years. 59% of the couples had prior adverse reproductive history, including 38% miscarriage and 37% infertility (1-10 years). The remaining 41% of the couples had no previous adverse reproductive history but among these were older couples. Upon completion of the study, 89% of all the couples had successful births of healthy babies, including 81% of those who were previously infertile. In comparison to any similar sized population sample who do not practice preconception health care, approximately 70 miscarriages and 6 malformations usually occur.

 

 

Study involved:    367 couples           lasted 2 years

                                Age of Females:   22-45 yrs

                                Age of Males:       25-59 yrs

 

Presenting with previous history of:                                                Percentage in sample:

 Infertility                                                                               37%

Miscarriage                                                                           38%

Therapeutic Abortion                                                         11%

Still Birth                                                                                3%

“Small for dates” or Low birth weight babies  15%

Malformations                                                                      2%

 

Results:

No miscarriages, perinatal deaths, malformations

No baby admitted to Intensive Care

* Normal expectation based on population sample: 70 Miscarriages, 6 Malformations

 

Outcome:                                                                               Percentage in sample:

Live Births                                                                             89%

Live births to those previously infertile                           81%

Average gestational age                                                     38.5 weeks

Average weight of males                                                    7lb 4.5oz (3299gm)

Average weight of females                                 7lb 2oz (3238gm)

Lightest baby                                                                       5lb 3oz (2368gm)

* Natural Fertility in Australia uses the same protocols but extends these to include specialised herbal treatments for reproductive and hormonal difficulties.

 

Foresight Study 2003

Foresight completed a further, larger study with 1,061 couples. Results show similar excellent outcomes, with a conception rate of 78.4% of a healthy baby within two years of following the program. This study also suggests a more than doubled conception success rate for IVF of 47.1% following preconception health care.

 

University of New England

Susan Arentz, BHSc(Hons) ND, Dip Hom; Dip Bot Med and Dr

Gemma O’Brien, BSc(Hons), PhDSyd conducted an independent study of 67 patients on the NFM Conception Program at the Jocelyn Centre. Pilot research is being carried out by Susan Arentz, BHSc (Hons), ND, Dip Hom. A high proportion of the couples in this study (those in test group) had serious fertility problems, all were diagnosed infertile, and 25% of them were over 40 yrs. Results showed that 52% of previously infertile couples conceived within the first 2 months following their participation in the program and 50% of these women were in the 40+ age group.

 

Is Natural Fertility also for those without problems?

Yes. Many couples come to optimize their health and their baby’s health preconceptually but have no difficulty conceiving. They recognise that boosting their health is going to have long term health benefits for their children and themselves. It is becoming more commonplace given the increasingly toxic world we live in and the subsequent rise in fertility problems.

What problems does Natural Fertility treat?

Low sperm count

Low sperm motility

Poor sperm morphology

Irregular cycles

Hostile mucus

Sperm antibodies

Endometriosis

Ovarian cyst

PCOS

Fibroids

PID/Infections

Candida/Thrush

Stress

Nutritional deficiencies

Thyroid imbalances

Poor egg quality

Hormonal imbalances

Miscarriage

Miscarriage antibodies

Prostatitis

 

What about older couples wanting to conceive?

Many of Claudette’s clients have been above 40 years of age and have used Natural Fertility to improve their chances of pregnancy and having children. Obviously your age cannot be reduced but factors that affect the hormonal balance as well as the health and quality of eggs and sperm can be addressed to some degree. Claudette’s protocols also reduce the risks associated with age such as foetal abnormalities and a higher incidence of miscarriage. Although you obviously feel that time is running out, completing a thorough preconception plan can be advantageous to a healthy conception and baby. Many of the risks associated with older parents have been shown to be associated with greater toxic exposures and nutritional deficiencies due to a longer life. However, Claudette will discuss your individual circumstances with you to so that you have realistic expectations.  

 

What if there is “no reason” for my infertility?

This may be due a number of reasons which Claudette investigates to uncover and treat: nutritional deficiencies that are not medically tested, other health issues in either partner which indirectly affects fertility, infections not typically tested for fertility, heavy metal or chemical toxicity, auto-immune antibodies. These are addressed with a combination of natural and medical testing and therapies.

 

What about Gender selection?

This option is not offered to couples with fertility problems as the aim is to for any conception at all, regardless of gender and some of the protocols reduce your chances of conceiving. It is a combination of 3 techniques to increase the chances of a particular gender but of course, there is no guarantee. See article specific to Gender Selection.

 

Can I do Natural Fertility if I’m single?

Yes of course, although the program is more advantageous when both parents are involved. Claudette has worked with both sperm and egg donors.

 

What if I already eat a healthy diet?

Unfortunately nowadays a healthy diet may be inadequate as the nutrient content of food is affected by farming methods, modern processing and refinement of foods, lifestyle issues, environmental hazards, such as the use of tobacco, alcohol, being on the oral contraceptive pill and other drugs that rob the body of vital nutrients.This was demonstrated by a CSIRO study that found 67% of Australian women received less than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of zinc in their diets. Zinc is needed for more than 200 enzyme reactions in the body and is essential for reproduction. Stress increases the demand of a variety of nutrients. Older couples may require an increase in nutrients compared to a younger couple as the nutrient stores may be depleted and they have been exposed to lifestyle and environmental factors for a longer period of time. Nutritional needs is increased by 15-20% in pregnancy.

 

Is preconception health care a new idea?

No. Many traditional societies practiced preconception health care, such as the Ancient Greeks and Romans whose conceiving couples abstained from alcohol prior to and during pregnancy due to its damaging effects on the foetus. Veterinarians, stock breeders and farmers all feed special diets to their animals prior to conception attempts.

 

Why is there renewed interest in this practice now?

Currently, one couple in six is infertile, one woman in five will suffer a miscarriage, one baby in ten is born prematurely, one in thirty is born with a congenital defect. At least one child in every ten suffers from a learning or behavioural problem and one child in five suffers asthma. However, medical research has revealed that all these conditions are frequently preventable with preconception health care.

 

What is the Success Rate of Natural Fertility?

Measuring the NFM Conception program’s success rates is complex. Clients have a wide variety of reproductive conditions as well as general health concerns, making it difficult and inappropriate to compare them. Some couples come simply to optimize their health and their baby’s health preconceptually but have no difficulty conceiving. Many have very complex hormonal problems or are older couples with decreased fertility and time is inherent. Some couples turn to Natural Fertility as a last resort after numerous failed IVF attempts. Additionally, all treatments are individually tailored and prescribed so there is no one herbal medicine or treatment program.

 

Benefits of Preconception Health Care

Females:

·         Regulates ovulation

·         Balances hormone levels

·         Improves health of ovaries and egg (ova)

·         Reduces endometriosis and improves uterine health

·         Helps clear blocked fallopian tubes and improves tubal function

·         Diagnosis and treat, hidden infections in the reproductive tract

·         Treats Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

·         Reduces polycystic ovaries and management of insulin resistance

·         Lessens cervical damage from erosion/infection/surgery

·         Enhances quality and quantity of fertile mucous and reduces hostile mucous

·         Reduces miscarriage antibodies and sperm antibodies

 

Males

·         Improves sperm count, sperm motility, health and quality of sperm (morphology)

·         Balances hormone levels and boost testosterone.

·         Reduces sperm antibodies

·         Management of varioceles and improvement in circulation and health of testes

·         Improves health of prostate and quality of seminal fluid

·         Diagnosis and treat, hidden infections in the reproductive tract

 

Pregnancy and Birth

·         Normal, healthy, full term pregnancy with reduced complications such as morning sickness, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, constipation, heart burn, stretch marks, poor memory, mood swings, hair loss, skin pigmentation, bleeding gums, fatigue, susceptibility to infection eg thrush

·         Reduced incidence of more severe complications such as hyperemesis, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, toxaemia, preterm birth and stillbirth

·         Short and straight forward labour with reduced risk of post-partum haemorrhage, postnatal depression

·         Successful breast feeding- quantity and nutrient quality of breast milk,  mastitis, cracked nipples

 

Baby

·         Enhanced physical and mental health

·         Reduced incidence of congenital defects, even of older parents, learning and behavioural disorders or delays later in childhood

·         Reduced incidence of SIDS: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, allergies eg. asthma, eczema, food allergies, poor immune system

·         Reduced excessive crying, colic, nappy rash, thrush, teething problems

 

Statistics

1 couple in 6 is infertile

1 woman in 5 will miscarry

1 women in 10 suffers from toxaemia or high blood pressure

1 women in 4 undergoes a Caesarean section

1 baby in 10 is born prematurely or ‘small for dates’

1 baby in 30 is born with congenital defects

1 in every 3 women suffer from some degree of post natal depression

1 woman in 10 breast-feeds her child for more than 12 months

More than 1 child in 10 is affected by a learning or behavioural problem

1 child in 5 suffers from asthma

 

Further Research

Below are a selection of research study results that illustrate the importance of diet for fertility, pregnancy and the subsequent health of the baby.

 

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in January 2007 found that eating trans fats, eg. Margarine, deep fried oils, processed foods, increased the risk of fertility problems by 70% or more.

Poor maternal diet has been shown to cause:

·         Irritability

·         Short attention span

·         Language difficulties

·         Poor reasoning ability

·         Poor memory skills

·         Unfocused thinking

·         Poor concentration

·         Lowered intelligence in the mother

Effects of poor nutrition at different stages of pregnancy:

First trimester

·         Reduced birth weight

·         Proportionately small body

·         Reduced weight of child at 1 year after delivery

All trimesters

·         Reduced head circumference

·         Less than optimum brain development

·         Reduced intelligence

·         Increased risk of high blood pressure in later life

 

Incidence of Low Birth Weight in Australian babies 2003

Low-birth weight babies have a greater risk of:

·         Poor health

·         Longer period of hospitalisation after birth

·         Developing significan

17 Nov 2010

Last Update: 2 Apr 2012

Article/Information supplied by Claudette Wadsworth

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.

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