Working With A Certified Fertility Nutritionist
What does it look like to work with a Fertility Nutritionist?
We’re like detectives. As a registered nutritionist who practices functional medicine, my goal with clients is to help them understand the root cause of their fertility struggles. If you are struggling to make a baby and are not getting answers elsewhere, there may be so much more you have to learn with me.
If you were wondering what we delve into in the initial consultation…here goes! We will discuss your medical history, family history and presenting symptoms. How you sleep/wake, move, eat, drink, metabolise food, relax, socialise. Where your home is, where you work, your commute. What supplements you have been taking, when you take them, where you shop, what you cook, how you cook. Everything!
It takes two to tango!
We know that infertility rates are on the rise and that the food we eat and the environment we bathe our cells in has a lot to answer for (and, of course, age, but that is by no means the only factor). We also know that male-factor infertility plays an equal part as female-factor infertility, so it is vital that both partners take steps to address their health in order to increase their chances of a successful conception, but also for the health of their offspring.
Why are my packages a minimum of 3 months?
Well, it takes around three months to influence the quality of eggs and just under for sperm, so three months is always a good starting point.
When it comes to balancing out systems in the body, restoring gut function, addressing thyroid health or even improving nutrient status, these can also take time and require regular check-ins and tweaks to protocols.
That might sound intimidating, but I can assure you it is not, and we will have fun!
Will I have to do additional testing?
It totally depends on what's going on with you, where you are on your fertility journey and what previous investigations you have had prior to seeing me.
There are so many incredible tests out there that can provide you with an insight into what is going on on a deeper level than standard blood tests (which are still a vital part of a client's workup). It also depends on a couple's budget, but all suggestions will be explained and only suggested if they are 100% right for you.
1 in 6
Around one in six couples in the UK will experience difficulties conceiving, that's over 3.5 million people.
of reproductive-aged couples worldwide struggle with infertility (WHO). Globally that's 48.5 million couples who experience infertility.
Male factor alone contributes up to 30% of cases of infertility.
25% of infertility cases have no identifiable cause. In other words, no reason is offered for why those couples can't conceive, with conventional treatment being the next step. However, there is often so much more that can be done to understand the bigger picture, and this is where a fertility specialist comes in to help get to the root cause.
How Could Working With A Fertility Nutritionist Help You?
My support as a nutritionist extends beyond food and what you put on your plate daily. It is more than just about your reproductive organs, but whole body health.
My support reaches into all aspects of an individual's life, from the food they eat to how they sleep, de-stress, move, breathe, exercise, and so much more! I work with advanced testing companies to help give you answers to questions that may not have been answered before and get you one step closer to parenthood.
Here are just a few ways that I can support you:
Optimise Nutrient Status
Egg and Sperm Health
Microbiome Support (oral, vaginal, and gut)
Stress and Sleep
Blood Sugar Regulation
YOUR ROADMAP TO MAKING A BABY
11 STEPS TO A HEALTHY CONCEPTION
Food is medicine. The body needs the energy and nutrients from the foods we eat to function and thrive. From vitamins and minerals to proteins and healthy fats, the best place to start when it comes to supporting your reproductive health is the food choices you make daily. Even small changes such as cooking with whole foods and reducing the intake of ultra- processed (packaged foods) that contain artificial additives, sugars and salts, can have a huge impact on gut and hormonal health.
BLOOD SUGAR REGULATION
Blood sugar levels refer to the concentration of glucose circulating in your bloodstream. Poorly managed blood sugar levels are linked with hormone imbalance, PCOS, poor egg and semen quality and even erectile dysfunction. Therefore, making dietary and lifestyle choices that will regulate those levels will not only address some of those pesky symptoms like sugar cravings, energy crashes and poor sleep but will help maintain a healthy hormone balance and enhance your fertility.
GUT HEALTH AND DIGESTION
We need happy guts to get the nutrients from our foods, support a healthy immune system, and maintain hormone balance. When it comes to fertility, it is essential to support digestive processes, address dysbiosis and rule out any chronic gut conditions.
One of the liver's primary roles is detoxifying hormones and toxins from the environment or food. We need a happy liver for healthy reproductive function, and what our livers love the most are whole foods, not "juice diets" or other crazy "detoxes"—just the right foods and avoidance of as many of those pesky environmental toxins as possible.
Mitochondria are the "powerhouses" of our cells. They produce ATP, which is our cell's primary energy currency. Each oocyte contains about one hundred thousand mitochondria, and this is because a considerable amount of energy is required for the complex processes of egg maturation, fertilisation, and early embryonic development. Healthy mitochondrial function is also essential for sperm quality and fertilisation.
STRESS AND MINDSET
Let's face it: when you decide you want a baby, you want baby! Every month that goes by can feel like an eternity, and the let-down each month can be all-consuming and emotionally draining. Stress comes in all shapes and forms, and we know that stress can negatively impact a couple's ability to conceive. It is impossible to avoid stress altogether, however managing your own "stress load" with stress-reducing strategies is possible and it can help shape a positive and calm mindset, which is important in the lead-up to trying for a baby (but also outside of trying for a baby).
Movement and exercise is essential for men's and women's overall health, mental well-being, and fertility. It is a powerful tool when used in the right way, and it does not have to break the bank. Exercise is an area I always get asked about with fertility clients, and what is most important is to understand how exercise impacts you and what your limits are. We know the impact that excessive exercise can have on a woman's cycle and their ability to conceive, as can it affect sperm quantity and quality, therefore focusing on low impact sports is best during this period.
When we sleep, our bodies heal and regenerate, which is important for any couple wanting to make a baby. The hormones involved in the sleep-wake cycle (melatonin and cortisol) are also responsible for triggering the sex hormones in both men and women, and these can be disrupted when sleep is disrupted. Poor quality sleep can also negatively impact a person's mood, making it more challenging to deal with emotional situations. The foods you eat and what you drink/when in the day, how you move, how late you work can all impact your sleep quality and quantity.
GOOD QUALITY SPERM & EGGS
It takes two to tango! It is just as important for a man to work on his health and improve his semen parameters as it is for a woman to work on her egg quality and overall health. There are so many factors that can negatively impact the quality of semen and eggs such as environmental factors, poor blood flow and inadequate nutrition. Therefore optimising their quality and their DNA is integral to a healthy pregnancy and the prevention of chromosomal abnormalities, miscarriages and infertility.
THE VAGINAL MICROBIOME
Your body is home to trillions of organisms called microbes. These reside in our mouth, guts, urinary tract, and vagina, helping us digest foods, support our immunity, boost our fertility, and play a protective role in pregnancy. Studies have shown that changes in vaginal microbiology, also known as dysbiosis, are associated with many pathological conditions, including infertility, miscarriage, and premature birth. Screening this area is an absolute must in my practice, as well as helping clients understand how to protect these ecosystems so that they can protect us.
We know that taking a multivitamin alone improves pregnancy rates in women (rather than just folic acid/folate). However, there are supplements, and then there are supplements and supplement/nutrient overdose is a real thing, which can harmful and toxic on the body. The supplement industry is not a regulated one, and many brands fill their capsules or tablets with artificial additives/fillers and do not test for heavy metals that can do more harm then good. Dosages, forms of nutrients and the duration in which you supplement should be based on a client's individual needs and advised by a practitioner.
It takes three months for a follicle to mature into a healthy egg and a similar time for sperm to mature, so let's spend the next three months optimising their quality!
Wonderful words from happy clients.
"I couldn’t recommend Isobel enough as a fertility specialist! My conception journey wasn’t totally straightforward, as so many aren’t, but talking to Isobel was a real turning point for me. Not only was she totally reassuring, kind and empathetic- taking the time to fully get to know my situation and health but she was also amazingly knowledgeable. She provided me with such useful information to take forward. Isobel recommended the right supplements for myself and my husband to take and provided me with nutritional advice to help get my body as ready for conception as I could. After seeing her I felt more relaxed and positive about the journey ahead. It was only a few months after we spoke and took on board her recommendations, that I fell pregnant."
I went to see Isobel after struggling with Alopecia Areata for several years. My hair was dry, and I had several bald patches that wouldn’t disappear. In addition, my skin was dry, angry and dull. The sessions I had with Isobel were very informative. She took into account my current lifestyle and showed me where I could make small changes that would make a big difference. I also really felt like she wanted to help me, and having seen several professionals about my Alopecia, this was the first time I felt like the advice offered would work and was tailored to me. My Alopecia has almost completely disappeared since working with her and taking her advice on diet and supplements. Something that I didn’t think was possible a couple of years ago! I can’t thank her enough for the time and energy she put into helping me get my hair growing again and for the knowledge she shared with me. Aside from the hair regrowth, I feel generally happier and healthier, have better skin and more energy, thank you so much!
I had no idea of the impact changes to my diet and lifestyle could have on my health and fertility journey. Seeking help in someone like isobel is invaluable. She did not just help with fertility, but my overall health. I now feel I understand so much more about nutrition and how to feed myself and my family. Thank you, Isobel. I am forever grateful.
We had been trying for our second child for about a year before I reached out to Issy. Isobel has a really good understanding of the body and how to get it to work harmoniously. I realise now how important nutrition is for how we feel daily in our lives and, of course, making a baby.
She is so passionate about what she does, and I found that really inspiring and motivating. Isobel really wants to help you and get you results; her heart is 100% in it. She is straightforward and to the point, which gives you great confidence in her. You won’t regret working with Isobel because you learn so much, and what you learn ripples throughout your whole life. Yes, fertility might be your main reason for working with her, but the education you receive on nutrition and your body is invaluable. I 100% want to work with Issy again for general life maintenance.