Ljupka Peev Naturopath and Herbalist

FERTILITY ASSESSMENT & SUPPORT

Trying to get pregnant can be a difficult and frustrating experience. Navigating the wealth of information available at our fingertips can be equally exasperating, particularly when the information is not consistent.Internet articles and apps that are designed to help people conceive are often based on an “average” menstrual cycle of 28 days, so for many women whose cycle length is different or variable, the information these provide can be inaccurate.

Many individuals and couples become worried or frustrated after a few unsuccessful attempts at getting pregnant. For most, it is normal for it to take 6-12 months to conceive, however, aspects such as a person’s age, their health history, and other individual factors, contribute to their chance of success in any given month. These factors also determine how much time a couple should spend trying to conceive on their own before seeking help or investigation.

Fertility assessment

Information & Resources

Fertility support

Same-sex couples & singles

Consultations

References

 

Fertility assessment

The major causes of infertility in couples are usually attributed to around:

  • 40% male problems
  • 40% female problem
  • 10-20% unexplained or “unusual” problem.[1]

This is further described as:

  • 30% male only problem
  • 30% female only problem
  • 30% both male and female problem
  • 10% unexplained.

Therefore, assessment of both the male and female partners is vital to understanding why pregnancy hasn’t occurred. Ljupka conducts fertility assessments on men and women wanting to conceive.

At the first consultation, Ljupka takes a thorough health history to determine if there are any factors that may impede on the couple or individual’s chances of conceiving. At this point, some further investigations, such as blood tests, semen analysis and ovulation testing, are often required and can be arranged. This information helps to provide insight into the chances of “spontaneous” conception and also helps to give us an idea of what sort of strategies might be most useful. For example, it may be reasonable to continue to try “naturally” with some individualised advice, or perhaps with the help of herbal/nutritional medicine for a defined period of time. Should medical expertise be required, Ljupka has a great network of GPs and fertility specialists (as well as obstetricians) that she refers to.

An assessment of your diet is undertaken to identify any deficiencies that may be relevant to your fertility, pregnancy and general health. Ideally, the aim is to adjust your diet so that you meet your nutritional requirements rather than prescribe lots of different supplements, however in some instances, supplementation may be required. In this case, Ljupka provides advice on types and quality of supplements, as well as individualised dosing to meet your needs.

An assessment of your lifestyle, in terms of physical activity, stress, sleep and general habits can help to identify any factors that may be putting you at an increased risk of ill-health as well as helping to optimise your fertility by addressing factors that may be detrimental. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is usually a “work in progress” and Ljupka considers realistic and achievable changes rather than aiming for “perfection”, which is yet to be defined and often unachievable.

 

Information & Resources

For many couples, correct and individualised information and education around ensuring optimal timing of intercourse for conception is often all that is needed to help couples get pregnant (see Preparing for Pregnancy for some more information). The “birds and bees” for adults, if you like, with more detailed information around the ‘why and how’, such as:

  • what a normal menstrual cycle is (length of cycle, menstrual bleed duration and quality, cyclical symptoms, etc);
  • when ovulation can be expected to occur in any given cycle (which will vary for each woman);
  • how long after ovulation an egg is available for fertilisation (helping to optimise timing);
  • how long sperm survive in the female reproductive tract;
  • how to assess changes in vaginal mucous.

These examples and other individualised information helps to both empower the couple (often taking some of the pressure off the sexual relationship) and to dispel any myths or misinformation. Of course, this also provides vital information as to the correct timing of intercourse to optimise the chance of conception.

 

Fertility support

Ljupka provides individualised fertility support to both the male and female partners. This includes:

  • Preparing for pregnancy
  • Accurate, individualised, cycle-by-cycle advice on timing of intercourse.
  • Stress management
  • Lifestyle advice
  • Dietary advice
  • Risk assessment and prevention strategies in preparation for pregnancy, for pregnancy-related conditions such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia (see also Pregnancy Care).
  • Advice and treatment of other health concerns (which may also be relevant to fertility) and optimising health.
  • Information and resources where required.
  • For people undergoing IVF or ART, additional assistance is provided (see IVF support).

 

Same-sex couples & singles

For single people or those in a same-sex relationship wanting to conceive, navigating the information available and knowing where to go to for help can be even more difficult. Added to this, any legal issues and changes to laws can make it all the more overwhelming. In keeping abreast of federal and state legislation and available supportive services, Ljupka can help with advice and provide resources additionally to fertility assessment and support.

 

Consultations

Consultation with Ljupka is available by appointment. Please call 0488 995 474 or email ljupka@naturopathy.melbourne for appointments.

Ljupka is currently specialising in reproductive health in men and women through a Master of Reproductive Medicine. Read more about Ljupka Peev.


References

[1] Fritz, Marc A and Speroff, Leon. Clinical gynecologic endocrinology and infertility. 8th ed. 2011. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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