Tips for early pregnancy

With the lovely news from Harry and Meghan, we thought we’d share with you some tips for getting through the first few months. Early pregnancy, especially the first time around, is a very exciting time but it is also easy for anxiety to creep in and many women can feel overwhelmed. The first few weeks of pregnancy can be exhausting on so many levels; emotionally, physically and mentally. No matter who you are you, Duchess or not, your emotions at this time will be the same and this is something I see on a daily basis. If you have never been pregnant before it’s a steep learning curve, and as a midwife there are many common questions I am asked in early pregnancy:

How do I know I’m still pregnant?
This can be a really emotional time, not just because of the hormones but all of the worries about whether it will be ok with the pregnancy, especially if you are older. Before you start showing in these early days it can be so hard to actually ‘feel’ pregnant. One day you experience nausea, the next day you don’t, and new hormones are kicking in that you have never experienced before making you emotionally fragile. The exhaustion you’ll feel in your first 12 weeks, especially having to work and adapt to the pregnancy without telling anybody can really take its toll. Even if Meghan doesn’t suffer as much as her sister-in-law, nausea affects 70% of women which can sap energy further.

I’m not eating as well as I should…
Eating a good diet can be hard in the beginning as you are getting used to what your body needs with when and what to eat. Sometimes it is not always the healthiest of choices with many women craving carbs where they have tried to avoid these foods before. Plus with nausea kicking in it can mean eating what you are able to to get through the first few weeks which is fine. This is why it’s so important to build up a good store of nutrients before you get pregnant.

I feel worried all of the time, can stress affect my baby?
While Meghan is no different biologically to any other pregnant woman, she does have the added pressure of getting through engagements and having the world watching her. Constant stress on a daily basis may affect your baby, so learning to manage stress in early pregnancy is key.

Tips for getting through first trimester

  • Look at what’s going on in your life and what you can cut back on. If you work long hours, try to cut down here, and limit yourself to lots of commitments that can exhaust you.
  • Make sure you have early nights where possible to build your reserves and get you through the next day.
  • Accept that this this will only be for a couple of months and you’ll soon be feeling much better, give in to it where you can.
  • Don’t have any alcohol or coffee in the first trimester.
  • Eat little and often to keep your blood sugar balanced. In early pregnancy you need to tune in to what your body requires. Nausea and tiredness can be a vicious cycle: you feel sick so you don’t want to eat, but if you don’t eat then your blood sugar drops and nausea sets in. When it gets to this point it is hard to quell, so have snacks at hand throughout the day and I also encourage women to have something to eat just before bed to balance the blood sugar through the night. It’s a long time from dinner until breakfast which is why many women wake in the morning with nausea.
  • You need carbohydrates for energy and the developing baby, but for so many women I see they have been used to cutting carbs out and are nervous about how they crave them in pregnancy.
  • Deal with your stress early on. Chronic stress can be detrimental so make sure you manage this. The best way is to practice visualisation or meditation for 20 per day, but if your issues are greater then make sure you seek help through counselling.
  • Take a multivitamin and mineral continuing folate, as well as omega 3. Many women worry in early pregnancy that they are not eating as well as they should, so top your nutrients up with supplements.
  • Nurture yourself. In my experience this is the one time that women really feel they can pamper and nurture themselves. Rest whenever you feel you need to, get as much sleep as you can, and look after yourself from within.
  • Don’t listen to any labour horror stories – concentrate on the positive and if anyone starts to tell you their story, ask if it’s positive, and if not, then continue that conversation post birth!

Join Zita West in Nottingham on May 23rd

If you live in Nottingham or the surrounding areas, then I have some exciting news for you.

I’m coming to CARE Fertility Nottingham on 23rd May to give a talk on the ‘Secrets of Successful IVF’ which will cover cover nutrition, lifestyle, mindset, stress, emotional health and wellbeing, and the team from CARE will join me to give an overview of the different techniques we can use to enhance IVF outcome for a range of fertility issues, to give the best chance of success.

The event starts at 6pm and is free, so reserve your place by calling the CARE Nottingham team on 0115 852 8100.

During the talk, you’ll be able to get your questions answered in person and topics we’ll cover include…

  • What to expect from your IVF cycle
  • How a holistic approach to IVF can lead to success
  • What lifestyle and psychological factors impact chances of conceiving
  • How to manage your mindset during IVF
  • Why IVF fails
  • And much more!

If you’re looking to start IVF or would like more information, then this evening is perfect for you.

Simply call the CARE Nottingham team on 0115 852 8100.

There’s More To IVF Than Eggs, Sperm & Embryos

This week on The Fertility Show, our brilliant Medical Director Dr George Ndukwe explains how there is a lot more to IVF than we might think – healthy sperm, eggs and embryos are just the beginning…

Watch the video below:

Here’s a brief summary of what Dr George Ndukwe says:

“Right from the outset a couple must have the best sperm and egg possible, so preparation for IVF is vital. We often forget that it is important that the whole woman is looked at and treated, after all she is trying to get pregnant. So it is really important to support her before, during and after IVF. If an IVF cycle fails we try and see the woman for a review as soon as possible and a couple can always call the clinic to talk to us about any fears they have. To sum up care, empathy and support are as necessary for a successful IVF cycle as healthy sperm, eggs and embryos.”

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.

Book now

Consultations are available at our Clinic in London, or our visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Video Conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

Connect with us

Call us on 0207 224 0017 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com

 

How to have a baby on your own: what are your treatment options?

 

When it comes to having a baby on your own, most single women fortunately do not have fertility issues, instead they face an issue of how to get the sperm and egg together. 

The treatment options available to single women are usually based on and dictated by age and fertility status.

There are four different treatment options, which I’m talking about in today’s episode of The Fertility Show.

And as usual, you’ll find your cheatsheet below.

Treatment options cheatsheet

1:  Artificial Insemination: donor sperm is inserted into you in a clinical setting

2: Stimulated cycles: you are given injections to stimulate you and then have Artificial Insemination.

3: IVF (Assisted Fertility): your eggs and the donor sperm are fertilised in the lab.

4: Egg Freezing: if you are not quite ready to under go these treatments and are thinking more of planning ahead, then we would be looking at egg or embryo freezing.

Here at the Zita West clinic, we are able to help you plan you treatment, so that you get the best possible outcome.

I understand how difficult it can be to make these decisions and how hard it can be to find out what you need to do and the best treatments for you. But if you book a consultation we can help you every step of the way.

Book now

Consultations are available at our Clinic in London, or our visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Video Conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

 

 

5 Tips For Coping With The Two Week Wait

The two-week wait is the worst time for any woman who’s just gone through the IVF process.

The last few months have been complete with blood tests, scans, daily visits to the clinic, and much, much, more. And then, suddenly, you’ve had your transfer and you’re on your own. Waiting and hoping for a positive pregnancy test.

What do you do?

It’s really difficult, and something that every woman going through IVF will experience. Here are my five key tips for coping with the two week wait.

As always, here’s your cheat sheet.

 

Rest: It’s common sense to me that when you’ve been through so much to go home and just put your feet up. Lie on the bed, and do whatever you can to rest. Obviously, if you have to go back to work, that’s something you have to do. But remember, the whole process of IVF and the anticipation of what’s going to happen is a lot to manage, so it makes sense to put your feet up and relax.

Gentle Exercise: The second tip is gentle exercise, like walking. No bootcamps, no aerobics, nothing too strenuous. Take it very easy!

Say no to coffee and alcohol: You should be doing this anyway, but cut out coffee and alcohol. Instead, drink plenty of water, at least 2 litres a day.

Deal with anxiety: It’s easy to question and doubt if you may or may not be pregnant, especially in the first couple of weeks. Try setting aside 20 minutes a day for relaxation, which can help calm your nerves. We supply you with downloads that are really helpful to listen to during the two-week wait.

Stop doubting yourself: So many women I see are convinced it’s not working and then give up all of the above! Even if you think it’s not working, don’t stop any of the above! Carry on exactly as you’re supposed to under the guidance of your clinic and only make decisions based on what they say to you.

Generally, many of you will have gone back to work during the two week wait and you need to plan ahead. I really recommend you try and plan your diary ahead of time to make sure it’s not going to be a stressful week, with loads of travel and meetings. If you can, try and take it easier than you normally would.

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.

Book now

Consultations are available at our Clinic in London, or our visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Video Conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

Connect with us

Call us on 0207 224 0017 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com

 

5 Tips For Surviving The Festive Season When You’re Trying To Conceive

With the annual Christmas festivities just around the corner, this week on my blog I want to talk about coping with Christmas when you’re trying, but struggling to conceive.

Many couples dread this time of year and even dealing with family and friends can be tough particularly if they have children around. Here are my 5 top suggestions to gracefully survive this festive season when you’re having difficulties conceiving

1.Be prepared – In the coming weeks, you may have to deal with unwanted questions from family members, or have to cope with insensitive comments. To avoid an uncomfortable situation, rehearse a few lines you can say if someone enquires about this sensitive topic. Take control of the situation, be friendly and then change the subject.

2.Eat well – Although the Christmas and New Year period is the time of year to indulge, you must remember that nutrition plays such an important role when it comes to fertility. You should eat a whole range of foods such as green leafy vegetables, eggs, nuts, good fats, yoghurt and beta carotene rich foods such as tomatoes, carrots and red peppers. Of course it’s ok to indulge a little, but it’s really important to also consume nutritious, nutrient-dense food prior to getting pregnant, because you need to be creating healthy eggs and healthy sperm.

3. Reduce alcohol – The fact of the matter is that research shows us that on average, the more alcohol you drink, the longer it will take you to get pregnant. For women alcohol may contribute to irregular periods, irregular ovulation and luteal phase defects, reducing chances of conception and for men, alcohol can affect sperm morphology and motility, and cause free-radical damage to the DNA sperm carries. Although it’s hard this time of year, I recommend you cut out or at least cut down on alcohol to boost your chances to conceive.

4. Have more sex –  The truth is many couples do not have sex frequently enough, and when you’re trying to conceive, sex is obviously key. Although sex tends to become more stressful than enjoyable for many couples who are trying to conceive, it is absolutely essential that you are having sex at least three times weekly during your fertile period because sperm can live up to a week inside you so regular sex helps you ensure a constant flow of sperm for ovulation.

5. Make a plan – Begin to make an action plan around having a baby for the new year. This can help you take back control over things you feel you have no control over.  Is your body baby ready? Are you having enough sex? Do you need to make a step to discuss IVF options? I have seen how despair is easier to feel than hope but have also seen so often hope return once women and couples begin to take back control through planning.

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.

Book now

Consultations are available at our Clinic in London, or our visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Video Conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

Connect with us

Call us on 0207 224 0017 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com