Updated: Sep 18
We get a lot of discovery calls asking about how a we can help with fertility as naturopaths, so we thought we'd cover it here for you.
A fertility naturopath is a specialised healthcare practitioner who focuses on natural medicines, diet and nutrition to enhance fertility, and reproductive health.
The main goals of a fertility naturopath include identifying and addressing the underlying factors that may affect fertility, optimising reproductive health, and promoting overall wellbeing to prepare you for a healthy pregnancy. This all comes down to what we call preconception care. The work we do in the lead up to falling pregnant is called preconception care, regardless of whether you are already trying to concieve or have not yet started.
Your fertility naturopath will take a comprehensive and individualised approach, considering various aspects of a person's lifestyle, diet, nutritional status, test results, environment, and emotional wellbeing to develop personalised treatment plans that help you with your main goal of having a baby. The outcome is that you get to maximise your fertile potential whilst improving your health and wellbeing in the meantime.
At RH: Reproductive Health, we find that people benefit greatly from having a fertility naturopath as part of their healthcare team, whether experiencing infertility or just wanting to take a proactive approach to falling pregnant quickly and having the healthiest pregnancy possible.
What do fertility naturopaths do?
Fertility naturopaths are qualified in herbal medicine and nutrition, and are expertly placed to advise you on diet as well as supplements and herbs. When supporting your reproductive health and fertility we may use:
Nutritional counselling: Optimising your diet to ensure you receive the necessary nutrients for healthy fertility and your general health.
Herbal medicine: Fertility naturopaths may recommend specific herbs with known benefits for reproductive health, such as those that support hormonal balance, manage stress and enhance fertility. Herbal medicines used are high quality, high strength, prescription-only remedies, designed specifically for you.
Lifestyle modifications: Lifestyle changes, including exercise, stress reduction techniques, and sleep improvement, to promote optimal reproductive function, may be recommended.
Supplements: Depending on individual needs, fertility naturopaths may suggest supplements like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support fertility. Again, these will be high quality, high strength prescription only medicines designed to be used under the guidance of a qualified health professional.
How fertility naturopaths approach fertility
When we talk about improving fertility it all comes back to that term: preconception care. Preconception care applies to you even if you have already begun trying to fall pregnant. It refers to preparing the environment in your body for pregnancy and, very importantly, to improving your egg or sperm quality.
When it comes to preconception care, our fertility naturopaths at RH: Reproductive Health have a very specific approach to assessing and treating you in an individualised way. We will be like your health detective, looking under every stone to find how we can improve factors that impact your fertility and set you up for a healthy pregnancy. This includes conducting thorough testing to determine where your body is out of balance and exactly which of our treatments are going to be the most beneficial for you. We always have our heads in the scientific research and use this, along with our extensive clinical experience, to guide our treatment strategies.
Your treatment plan will take into account any underlying health conditions you have such as PCOS, endometriosis, adenomyosis, hypothalamic amenorrhoea, thyroid disease and any other diagnosed health conditions you may have. The functioning of all the body’s systems is taken into consideration because every aspect of your general health will contribute your egg/sperm quality and/or ability to carry a successful pregnancy. This includes not only hormonal balancing, but also improving the function of the digestive system, nervous system, stress response and metabolic health. We will also support you to improve your nutritional status, fight the impact of ageing and kick those unhealthy habits.
We can do this work regardless of whether you are trying to conceive naturally or undergoing fertility treatments, such as IVF. We will always make sure you are getting the care you need from medical professionals alongside our treatments and will communicate with your doctors and specialists, where appropriate.
How can preconception care improve egg and sperm quality
It is possible to harness the window of time before eggs and sperm come together to positively influence their quality and therefore the likelihood of pregnancy.
Both eggs and sperm are susceptible to damage on their journey of development, before they meet to form an embryo, which then grows into a baby. This damage can be to their structural integrity, DNA-integrity or other factors that impact their ability to function and grow. Our ability to defend against this damage is influenced by factors such as genetics, age, diet, lifestyle and endocrine disrupting chemicals.
Naturopathic preconception care aims to mitigate these factors to produce robust, healthy, good quality eggs and sperm that have the best chance of resulting in pregnancy, and producing a healthy baby.
How long does preconception care take?
It takes about three months for sperm to be produced and matured, ready to create a baby. For eggs, whilst it’s true that we are already born with all of our eggs, they undergo a period of rapid development for the three months before they come together with sperm.
So, ideally preconception care should be done for at least three months prior to conception. This will allow time for the healthy things you are doing to impact the egg/sperm over it’s entire period of development.
However, it’s never too late to start preconception care. Even if you are already trying to conceive and can’t take a break, due to circumstances, it’s still worthwhile looking after your egg/sperm health whilst they are undergoing their final stages of maturation: the time where they need the most love and care.
Conversely, it’s never too early to start preconception care. Looking after your health now will help you to feel great and ensure that things are optimised when the three months window begins.
Resources and next steps
Preconception care can be a powerful tool to change your situation if you are having fertility challenges and proactively boost your chances of a successful pregnancy. The bonus is that you get to benefit your overall health in the process by improving the function of all the body's systems, whilst knowing you are doing all that you can to enhance your fertile potential.
Correcting any imbalances or deficiencies found and improving egg/sperm quality takes time but it's never too late to start preconception care by trying to improve your health from wherever you are at now. A fertility naturopath is uniquely placed to guide you with an individualised preconception care plan, helping to make your efforts have the greatest impact.
If you think you'd like a fertility naturopath on your care team you can book a free 10 minute discovery call to discuss your situation and the best way forward, with one of our highly experienced naturopaths.
If you can’t see a fertility naturopath right now want to get started at home you might want to check out our Preconception Care Explained online webinar. This is packed full of the core preconception care tips that are essential to know, benefit everyone and you can get started on right away.
If you are undergoing IVF or about to undergo, we have a free resource for you to help you understand the process and what you can do to feel empowered along the way.
If you are yet to try to concieve it's a great time to consider your individual fertility plan (free resource).
We hope this information helps you on your unique journey,
The RH:Reproductive Health team.