Fertility issues are becoming more common especially in relation to the lifestyle factors that are associated here such as the stress and the impact of modern day life. The delicate functioning of our hormone systems can easily be tipped off balance and our natural homeostasis can be affected.
When our bodies are in our fight or flight mode, what is called our sympathetic nervous system, we are in a state designed to run away from danger, and the very least of our worries is reproducing which in turn, can lead to low libido. Even when libido is not impacted, fertility issues can be a self-perpetuating cycle for some whereby when pregnancy is not happening as we desire, the stress and distress caused by this can further have a negative impact on this ability to reproduce.
In terms of Nutrition, we quite often work with couples during the planning phase to ensure that optimal health is achieved prior to pregnancy to support the health of the whole family. We also recognise that the situation can be different for everyone in that some people may be in the early phase of thinking of trying whilst others may be at later stages and already going through IVF treatment. We also recognise that it doesn’t always take two to tango and everyone’s situation is different.
Nutrition is of utmost importance for both male and female health when it comes to fertility and there are many considerations to take into account, to optimise both the health of the sperm but also the quality of the egg. Not only do we consider the specific nutrients and ensure that these are in sufficient supply for a healthy pregnancy, we also take into account lifestyle factors and elements such as heavy metals, the presence of specific viruses or microbiome factors that may be inhibiting this natural process.
At the next stage, we then continue to work with individuals throughout pregnancy to ensure that nutrition is optimal throughout. We look at factors such as folate in the early stages and continually look at important elements such as essential fats, vitamin D status and iron in particular. Blood flow to the foetus is also a consideration when it comes to a healthy and full term pregnancy as is looking at specific pregnancy related conditions such as gestational diabetes.
All things in place, we often continue to work with families over many years from these stages of fertility right through pregnancy, through to the birth and early baby development to health in ongoing years for the whole family.
During a Nutritional Therapy consultation, we work with the individual or indeed a couple using a Functional Medicine Framework to look at the root causes of any fertility issues. We work to rebalance and restore the delicate homeostasis of the body by working on foundational health whilst addressing the specific nutrient needs for a healthy pregnancy.
We may also look at Functional testing here and although this is not a first line approach, we quite often use the DUTCH complete hormone profile which give a comprehensive insight into hormonal health. We also use cycle mapping which comes into its own for supporting fertility. We may also look at other testing in relation to specific nutrient status or microbiome status if a specific situation suggests that this is an area for analysis which may need to be addressed as part of the protocol.
There is no one size fits all approach and we help to educate and create a workable plan with the simplest of interventions to make the most positive impact on your health.