miscarriage – why is it still taboo?

miscarriage – why is it still taboo?

Miscarriage… why is it still taboo?

October is Baby loss awareness month. And during this month, a week is set aside every year to start conversations to break the taboo about miscarriage and infant death. 

I have a confession to make. Although I’m here for all my clients as I support ladies around fertility pregnancy and sometimes loss; I find this month helpful to me personally as I had a miscarriage myself.

My baby would be 18 this year. Every year you mark times you would be celebrating firsts, like school, secondary school, and going off to Uni. As it stays with you as grieving the loss of any family member would. I  remember giving him the name Ben ( I instinctively knew it was a boy).

I was given a due date of mid August 2003 after I went for a scan on Christmas eve, where I heard the heartbeat for the first time. The sonographer gave me the date and I kept the scan card in my keepsakes probably until around 2017, when I was finally able to throw it away without feeling sad about it. 

The pregnancy was a shock, as at the time my boyfriend and I were not trying for a baby. I remember taking 4 pregnancy tests to confirm the pregnancy and illogically asked my sister to do one ( the weird things you do when faced with something you know is the truth!)  but at 30 with a house and a good job I thought after the initial shock that this was something I could do. Sadly it broke us and me for a long time as although I was in a good place he wasn’t.  

At around 9 weeks into the pregnancy I started to miscarry. I was involved in a really serious car accident 10 days prior to this, and I often wonder if the shock and blow I took to head and body had something to do with it as my little fiat uno was crushed to a pulp by a Dutch 18 wheeler who pulled into my lane without seeing me and crushed me against the barriers. The miscarriage happened a week and a half later and It was the day after the new year, so still a lot of party people getting too drunk and ending up in Accident and Emergency – bad timing on my bodies part when I got there it as it was a heinously busy night.  It started around 12:45am and like really bad period pains it soon became apparent I was miscarrying as it built into huge waves of pain and bleeding. When I got to the hospital I was left in Accident and Emergency on the side and nobody came to help me for 4 hours despite asking quietly at first and then calling out as I was in a lot of pain. Finally after lying on a stretcher bed for 4 hours a registra peeled back my trousers and gasped at the bleed everywhere and mumbled ‘yes that’s miscarriage, lets admit you overnight as this looks quite bad.

I finally got admitted to the ward around 5am, rigged up to an IV as I’d lost so much blood and had really low blood pressure and a lovely auxiliary nurse cleaned me up and  ‘helped me along’ with the removal, as she said it would help if we got things out in terms of my recovery. The ward was dark at this point and this all happened with her holding a torch and the curtain around my bed.  I cried through the whole thing and afterwards as I lay there wondering why it had all happened, what I had done wrong to make the baby go away and in the process my boyfriend and how desperately alone I felt. ( something I later realised is a common thing most women go through when they have a miscarriage)

I left the hospital and slept walked through the next few days. When I returned to work my manager at the time who I had rung to tell her about the miscarriage said on email ‘ I don’t know what to write on your return to work form so come into my office for a chat’ A conversations that introduced me to the world of the taboo around miscarriage. I soon discovered –  Like the movie and line in fight club ‘ the first rule about miscarriage is ‘ nobody talks about miscarriage’ as my colleagues knew about it but nobody talked to me or even offered a sympathetic word or hug apart from the lady I sat next to. 

I was gobsmacked and a bit taken back when my manager seemed reluctant to start the conversations when we finally met in her office,  about what to write on the form – to which I replied      ‘… its obvious isn’t it? I lost my baby so write that down..’ My manager then fumbled ‘ I’ll just write women gynaecological issues shall I?  –  I haven’t had a miscarriage before… I hope you are ok now? I just got up and left the room after that mumbling a bit, knowing that that was about as much sympathy I’d be getting from work about my ‘unfortunate miscarriage’ as she put it.

The worst thing about miscarriage is you often feel shame, sadness and anger all rolled up into one and are faced with pregnancies all around you! I was in a team in the EU office at the time where both ladies around my age were pregnant and only a few weeks further on than me happily talking about their milestones – and all the while there I sat silently dealing, listening and giving support and words of encouragement at the right times to my colleagues about their happy event – when what I wanted to do was run away or curl up back at home in my own space. 

After the whole ordeal and lack of support from everyone round me  (it was 2003 and things have come a long way from there thankfully)  – It took me years to even talk about it properly. I kept it all bottled up and this is probably the first time I’ve even pieced it all together. 

A year later, I decided a fresh start was needed so I left Nottingham, moved to London, sold my house and started a nutrition course. During this time I really focused on hormones and strangely enough some of my case studies became pregnancy, and hormone related, so you could say I went looking for answers and Nutrition and hormones helped me see a way forward. 

However alongside this, had I been better informed and supported I might have been given some  counselling by the GP I visited afterwards when I wasn’t coping about lovely organisations like Tommys and SANDS who are there to help women through miscarriage and still birth to help them deal with the emotions and feelings that come up at any point as you grieve the loss of a family you had imagined to have, even if only briefly. 

Every year over 250,000 women go though a miscarriage and the statistic is one is four babies are lost before 12 weeks. 

Its changed a lot since 2003 in terms of being more open, but its still the last taboo. Mostly women suffer in silence due to ‘not wanting to make a fuss’  or making anyone feel uncomfortable, including friends and family. Then come the ones who do talk to you with words of advice  telling you ‘ its for the best’ or .

..’there must have been something wrong with it’ Or ‘you didn’t want a baby did you? a double Scorpio sting for ladies who get pregnant unexpectedly and then miscarry –   almost stopping you feeling grief like you didn’t have the right to grieve at all. 

Miscarriage is always met with ‘ advice’ However despite all of the support I give women preparing them for pregnancy, it can be tricky to prevent miscarriage especially if there have been multiple miscarriages.

Despite all the preparation and emotional support, the blood tests and the invasive testing, the advances in modern technology that can pinpoint gender and abnormalities at such an early stage,  I still find it difficult to give answers as to why miscarriage happens – but you can guarantee I look into things with a  fine toothed comb and have had some brilliant success stories with women carrying to term after 4-6 miscarriages. 

Often when working in this area after doing a huge amount of digging – The truth is  sometimes we don’t know. I am reluctant to say its ‘ chromosomal’ as it could be any number of things such as progesterone issues, failure to thrive, placental issues, incomplete cervix or any number of things. Rather unhelpfully the NHS in the UK will only test if you have 3 recurring miscarriages. 

What I do, is always give support and a familiar voice at the end of the line if they need it, as mostly when you decide to talk it all comes flooding out.

I feel having a miscarriage myself was what the driving force behind my business – to  help women  conceive and carry to term is my greatest triumph. Having a miscarriage has as helped me to become a better more caring practitioner and one who knows what to say when others don’t.

A journalist I follow on Instagram wrote a story on her miscarriage in the guardian a few years back ( this post has been sitting in my files for a few years and I visit it and ask whether it’s the right year to release it and with a larger milestone happening ie 18 years since the miscarriage I finally think I can say things with a bit more head than heart these days and feel a sense of release for what He may have wanted me to do). But its taken time. Its always good to talk, or listen and even more so if its taboo.  

b vitamins & pcos

b vitamins & pcos

Today I’m really excited to talk to you about a group of vitamins really vital for female health useful for ladies particularly with hormone dysregulation, PCOS and weight issues.

The B vitamins are very important in helping to improve the symptoms of PCOS. In nature if we get a balanced diet we get lots of the B vitamins in things like Meat, Fish, Eggs, Milk and green leafy veggies. If you want to have them in one source ie a vitamin, Its really important to make sure you have these vitamins in a combined formula as they all work together on different elements!
Vitamins B2, B3, B5 and B6 are particularly useful for weight and maintaining and managing it. One of the B vitamins – Vitamin B2( riboflavin) helps to turn the food you eat via fat, sugar and protein to the energy we need to survive(its also the one that turns your wee bright yellow!)  B3 another vitamin, s an important co-factor in supporting glucose tolerance factor (GTF), GTF is something  that allows your body to keep an eye on blood sugar . It needs vitamin B3 to help this process, almost like food for your GTF! Vitamin B5 is also important as it helps your body metabolises fat, so important if you are overweight and need to lose weight to qualify for fertility support!  B6 is also marvellous as it supports proper hormonal balance and may be one deficiency present if you suffer from PMT. It helps to maintain blood sugar, oestrogen and also progesterone and helps in mood regulation via serotonin. Many women with PCOS have deficiencies in this and also low progesterone, so worth topping up your levels with B6 in this case. B6 is also part of a ‘gang’ with B2 and B3, that will help your body to make and move thyroxine, needed for normal thyroid hormone production.

Let’s not forget folate B9! Many of you maybe on folic acid for your fertility as this is the basic component of many B complex vitamins. However I like to super charge my ladies and always go for the superior version of folate called Methlyfolate. Folate is such an important substance, its not just needed for helping to prevent Spina Bifida and Neural tube defects, its needed for all our cells to replicate which happens hundreds of thousands of times a second in our bodies, so vital for health, not just to get it in supplement form but in natural forms through leafy greens!

Folate works in conjunction with B12 also a co-factor and together they help to reduce a substance or by-product of methylation called homocysteine. This can have implications of cardiovascular issues if too high and homocysteine can creep up if taking metformin, without replacing both B12 and folate in the diet.

Deficiencies in these vitamins can happen easily if you have an inflammatory condition like PCOS, so having a great combined  B vitamin will enable the body to maintain balance more easily so it can do its job!

B12 is an important vitamin and many people are deficient in this mineral. It is found in lots of foods such as Meats, fish and dairy, so often vegetarians can become deficient in this vitamin,  particularly people who don’t eat a healthy diet. B12 together with folate is really needed by the body to help cell replication and DNA, which we need constantly as cells die and are replenished. When we eat protein B12 is released and is then further broken down by something called intrinsic factor which helps B12 to get absorbed into the blood stream. You need good levels of Hydrochloric acid for B12 to be released so for many this may be the issue of constant low B12 despite supplementation. So taking some cider vinegar in war water before food helps with stomach acid support.  B12 becomes deficient in the body by using metformin, so it really important to take this to help red blood cells and oxygenated blood travel round the body. Thorne Research Basic B has a super absorbable B12 called Methylcobalamin in it, which is an excellent version of B12, and one of only 2 I recommend together with Adenosyl cobalamin and Hydroxocobalamin. I’m not a fan of the standard  B12 forms you see in most supplements – Cyanocobalamin. I’ll be honest it isn’t my favourite form as it uses cyanide as a binding factor instead of more natural forms. It is a very small amount and we do have naturally occurring cyanide in some food, however I like my B12 without a side order of poison personally!  So if you, like me, are not into this, always read the labels of supplements to see what’s in them and if possible go for active b Methylfolate.

The B vitamins are also essential for the liver , which has 2 phases. The first one processes substances such as hormones and toxins and metabolises them – B vitamins particular B2, B3, B6, B9 and B12, are important at this stage. The second stage is where these substances are ‘ conjugated’ . B vitamins do their thing at this stage also and help the liver to get rid of  excess and old hormones so they can be eliminated by the body. If you have PCOS its more than likely you have an excess of oestrogen, so this is where B vitamins can really help your liver!

Here a diagram to show how well absorbed methylfolate is in the body compared to folic acid as well as where B12 and Homocysteine come into things as we break the vitamins down via food and supplements for the body to use.

Many ladies with PCOS I’m working with are having great results combining this supplement with Inositol which also helps regulate blood sugar via the insulin receptors. It also works on the liver to support its function and in trial has supported reducing higher FSH and reducing oestrogen. In trails particularly for IVF this has helped egg quality and also improved outcome in IVF. There are also loads of studies on using Inositol for PCOS.


1.    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15644580

2.    http://www.obgyn.net/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos/hormone-levels-and-pcos

3.    http://www.naturalnews.com/027045_vitamin_B12_cyanocobalamin_methylcobalamin.html#  
4.    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11304860 B12  

5.    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/1/265S.full 

6.    http://pubget.com/paper/17952759/myo-inositol-in-patients-with-polycystic-ovary-syndrome-a-novel-method-for-ovulation-induction 

7.    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21300338

8.    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21463230 

9.    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199904293401703 

10.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18854115 

11.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18854115 

12.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18854115

insulin resistance PCOS diet

insulin resistance PCOS diet

Many women diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome( PCOS), suffer from insulin resistance ( approximately 50-70%) and it effects 1 in 15 women worldwide.  Lets bring it right back to basics and go into a little physiology to understand what this is all about and how this impacts your fertility.

What is Insulin and why do we need it?

Insulin is used in the body to maintain the levels of glucose. In the body glucose is a key energy source primarily for the brain and blood cells. Many other tissues can use fat and protein to gain energy but red blood cells and the brain really need glucose.  The liver is the main storage unit for glucose.

Insulin  is the helper hormone directly tied to glucose that allows you to maintain some sort of normality in energy and metabolism management. You get glucose in the body when you break down and eat carbohydrates. Insulins total role is to pull glucose from the blood or store it for later. As a crude analysis it does this by  ‘ dip testing’  to see if levels are dropping to hyperglycaemia,  and it then pulls glucose out of the stores in the liver, or if its too high it will grab all the glucose floating free and store it. When you become insulin resistant it’s almost like the hormone insulin forgets how to do its job and it doesn’t know when to store or pull glucose from the blood, as it gets overwhelmed by the amount of glucose being poured into the blood and therefore becomes less effective at lowering blood sugar. Over time this will have an effect on the endocrine system. With ladies who are polycystic the endocrine function, ie the key organs that support and produce hormones, that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood are sending the wrong signals and over time can create an imbalance. This will happen from the very beginning of the cycle and can cause mild to severe hormonal imbalance, this result s in issues with all the above, ie low libido, or higher and inability to lose weight, hirsutism ( excess hair growth), weight gain, cystic acne,  mood swings, sleep issues and anovulation  (absent menstrual periods)  to name a few.

How does having insulin resistance or PCOS effect fertility?

The body is always working to balance things and is a finely tuned system or almost an orchestra of all sorts of instruments that come together to bring on ovulation. If one of these hormones is ‘out of kilter’ the endocrine system will step in to send out another hormone to correct this. This is exactly what happens with Insulin. The body detects something isn’t working and has repeatedly not listened to the key command, so it sends in another hormone in the view that higher levels of this will tip the other levels to the right function. However this causes all sorts of issues if this goes on for a while.

A woman’s cycles

At the beginning of a woman’s cycle on day one the tag team will be in place to send out hormones to prime her for ovulation. This goes from Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH), to Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), to Luteinising Hormone (LH), to Oestrogen then Progesterone. ( you will be tested for the majority of these when going to the GP for blood work)

In women with PCOS and insulin resistance, the GnRH will detect higher Insulin and pulse out more GnRH than normal to balance, this then sets the tone for the rest of the cycle as LH will then rise too high, too early,  (this is the hormone that indicates the egg must be released from the follicle and should in most cases be a short lived hormone)  Having a high level of this gives the indication that follicles are now ready to pop and reduces FSH almost before it has had time to do its thing. This then leads to excessive production of the big players oestrogen, and then androgens  ( Testosterone and  androstenedione) and then oestrogen dominance becomes a fixture.  The ‘poly’ in the diagnosis comes from the fact that lots of follicles will try to develop but not fully mature. In a normal pattern, follicles develop then die away where one to two become dominate and this releases the egg. This will also have an effect on progesterone the hormone that maintains pregnancy and womb lining and in many situation women with PCOS will have low progesterone levels.  In most cases ovulation falls short as the egg won’t have been able to grow sufficiently to produce a viable oocyte.  Women with PCOS will have a very real indication the cycle isn’t working as there is no period to speak of for many months or a very long cycle over 35 days. A normal cycle is a  process where lining is broken down and built up as the hormones come to play throughout the month and is usually between 26- 33 days.

Managing my insulin, looks like the key that unlocks this problem, so how can I help improve insulin resistance?

A huge way to help improve insulin resistance, is through most probably the very source of this issue in the first place, – diet!  I’m not normally a calorie counter, or a believer in ‘ group weigh ins and slimming clubs’  or foods you can buy that tell you how many points you have, its all a gimmick to me especially after watching ‘ the men who made us fat’  Our ancestors never lived like this. What I do believe in is following traditional wisdom.  Why break what thousands of years have honed?  instinctively our ancestors just knew what worked and ensured fertility year on year!  I believe based on the old model emphatically in  reducing our reliance on processed white/baked and ‘pants’ foods that give us zero nutrients but provide the massive ‘ deafening’ effect on our poor old insulin to the point that it is now causing the hormonal epidemic in our modern lives.

So what is the diet you talk about?

In order to ‘reeboot’ your bodies ability to ovulate we need to go back to basics and cut out starchy carbohydrates to a large degree and focus on protein and fat. Remember what I said at the start of this article about the brain and the red blood cells being the only ones needing glucose? All other tissue can work on protein and fat as fuel, so what we need to do is trick your body back into line by maintaining a blood sugar level that is primarily fuelled by  some very basic ingredients: Protein/legumes and veg and very simply cooking like your Great grandparent made!

Foods to Help Balance Blood Sugar Levels

Here is a list of  a few of my seasonal choices of food for winter. The trick is also to have 3 protein balanced meals. Starting off with to set the blood sugar at least 20-30g of protein in the morning.

Protein – I would generally get clients to go organic  (as the conventional ones will only exacerbate your oestrogen burden as the animals are pumped full of this to overproduce) so buy more protein from animals and if veggie vegetable sources. If you eat animal products choose grass-fed, organic and free range animal products. A woman needs to consume 60-70g grams of protein per day while trying to conceive.

  • Free-range organic chicken, lamb beef ( pork can contain some contaminants, so avoid for now) make sure its all fresh cuts and not processed!
  • legumes/beans like chickpeas, lentils and black beans
  • Nut and seed butters: Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, chia and hemp seeds, and Brazil nuts.
  • Cold-water fish, Free range organic eggs and chicken, grass-fed beef and grass fed dairy (go for sheep yogurt as this seems to be less inflammatory) If in the UK you can get this in Waitrose
  • Carbohydrates – All veggies are carbs, so when you say ‘ I’m on a no carb diet, not strictly true!  Choose fresh not frozen too. Some people think that eating carbohydrates will make them gain weight, but the fact is that eating too many of the wrong carbohydrates (pastries, crackers, white pasta, white rice, etc.) is what results in weight gain as they have zero nutrients. Also starches and fibre feed your gut bacteria which can also help you with weight. Whole food sources of carbohydrates contain important nutrients that can help you feel full longer and give your body energy.
  • Whole Grains – bread/crackers/rye/pasta  – limit these for now,   (ie oats once a week) as they will breakdown in the body to glucose, you can introduce them once things are balanced again!
  • Fruits –again as this breaks down to fructose and then eventually glucose limit fruit to 2 servings daily in season at mo are apples, pears and blackberries
  • Vegetables –carrots, Brussel sprouts, greens, sweet potatoes (not white potatoes) and artichokes, cabbage, turnips, kale, chard, leeks, onion, garlic, turnips, parsnips broccoli, cauliflower, Kale
  • High fibre foods – Fibre helps remove excess oestrogen from the body which can be helpful for some reproductive imbalances. Dark leafy greens, brassica vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, quinoa and beans and lentils.
  • Spices – Horseradish (fresh root as opposed to a prepared sauce), garlic, onions, cinnamon, fenugreek, tarragon, coriander and allspice.

Women living with PCOS who educate themselves about healthy nutrition for PCOS are more likely to be successful at changing their health.

Changing your diet will have a huge effect on your ability to balance your hormones and I have had many success stories. Taking out gluten is one of the first things you can do, which will really help you to lose weight, I’ve had ladies drop so much weight in 3 weeks who did this! ( and that doesn’t mean replacing it with ‘ gluten free options/ as these are starchy carbs also!  )

Start being a health detective and go right back to basics. Maybe even investing in a slow cooker? These changes will start to take hold after around 1 month and you will need to follow this for at least 3-6 months to see changes.

While it may seem daunting to have to change your diet, it is one of the best ways you can improve insulin resistance and your overall health, with the added benefit is increased in fertility.

The sheet to the right is an example of  the diet I honed after many years as I also suffer from PCOS to a mild degree due to genetic issues with insulin

Supplements for PCOS

I’m always asked about supplements as a nutritionist and many of the ladies I see with PCOS are at the stage that they are chucking in anything they have seen working on forums all over the net.  As a practitioner I like to ‘ Heal with food’ as add too many supplements in the mix and you really don’t know what is working and what isn’t. Undoubtable like many ladies diagnosed with PCOS who are trying to conceive, you may be on a raft of medication that will ‘ mug’ you of a lot of your vital nutrients. The basic approach I like to suggest is only the bare minimum until I can really see if the food is healing and if not working as fast and needs a jolt after the first month, that’s when I add more supplements.   Also I’m a  trained professional and can only advise on things based on a consultation where I go through specifics. Many of you have been asking each other for advice recently on specifically things like maca and vitex which are herbal medications. This is very personal and can be very powerful ( after all its where all out modern medicine comes from in the first place) so be careful ‘ self prescribing’ as it can interfere with your hormonal balance and any medically prescribed medication.  

1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9467578


2.Philip M. Sarrel, MD. Androgen. HealthyWomen.org.http://www.healthywomen.org/condition/androgen
3. The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/insulinresistance/#metabolic NIH Publication No. 14–4893 (June 2014)
4. About Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: Types of Medical Treatment.http://www.pcosfoundation.org/types-of-treatment
5. PCOS Nutrition Center. What’s Your Protein-To-Carb Ratio?http://www.pcosnutrition.com/links/blogs/whats-your-protein-to-carb-ratio.html

6. Anna-Marija Helt, Ph.D. CH, personal communication, May 2014.

7. Chris Kresser ‘ The right and wrong way to balance hormones http://chriskresser.com/the-right-and-wrong-way-to-treat-hormone-imbalance

8. Effects of Myo-inositol supplement on oocyte quality in PCOS patients

9.The rationale of the Myo-Inositol and D-chiro-Inositol combined treatment for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.http://www.researchgate.net/publication/263858485_The_rationale_of_the_Myo-Inositol_and_D-chiro-Inositol_combined_treatment_for_Polycystic_Ovary_Syndrome

bridget jones’s baby – is having a baby over 40 good or bad?

bridget jones’s baby – is having a baby over 40 good or bad?

Bridget Jones is a well known figure in popular culture, and I’m a huge fan! If you haven’t seen the most current 3rd instalment of the films based loosely around the Bridget Jones Diary I urge you to as its ‘bang on’ so to speak in terms of what is happening right now with women in the UK who want to have babies.

For me having a baby over 40 is always something I celebrate in my line of work! As a fertility Nutritionist I’m inside an ‘ older mum bubble’ , where anything is possible, however when I venture out and meet people ( which I occasionally do!)  its almost whispered that its ‘not right’ or that ‘it’s a bit of a worry isn’t it?’ In fact having a baby at 40  seems almost as taboo as a teen pregnancy according to ‘ word on the street’!  Thankfully this is beginning to change, and lets hope in some small way Bridget will have helped in this quest!

The message that you are almost irresponsible even trying over 35 is plastered everywhere. It is even worse if you are over 40 as when you start trying it all seems to become more scary as are the messages about potential birth defects, miscarriages, and if by some miracle you have the child,  then there is the issue that they might have development issues and there is more chance of autism. The list goes on, and the stories I have heard about how it’s not a good idea to try after 37, are enough to age your eggs overnight and sew your own bits up! If it’s not enough hearing this from GPs or IVF clinics, the media coverage on this is certainly relentless, something that is repeated almost weekly in the many columns of broadsheets and tabloids. 

As a Nutritionist this whole issue of  ‘ old eggs’ and the ‘geriatric mother’ (as was mentioned in Bridget Jones’s baby)  gets me very riled up as its one of the fastest growing age group of women I have coming through my door in the last 2 years and its one I’m getting results with, despite the fact they are ‘ past it’ according to those in the know! This is anecdotal to my practice, but lets take a look at this more closely…

For the first time in decades women over 40 have now taken over the teen pregnancy rate. How’s that for a statistic? A more sombre statistic that ‘its not safe to have a baby over 35’ seems to be hitting home as this age group accounts for the largest amounts of abortions of any other more recently.

Also if we look back a few decades to the 1920s, being an older mum was more accepted. Many were even giving birth when grandmothers and 42 years old was a time when many stopped adding to their families.
Today,  an interesting statistic is  that many women in their 40s are also first time mums.  The UK Office for National Statistics figures show that pregnancy rates for over-40s are doubling and in the last years,  this has gone from  only a mere six per 1,000 to now
14 conceptions per 1,000.

Only recently an article in the London Standard mentioned that London is leading the charge for women giving birth to babies over 45. So there is definitely something going on out there with women not giving up or even coming into motherhood later on in life.

In fact, the true statistics about female fertility are far less scary than we are led to believe. Women do lose a lot of their eggs by 30, but that still leaves them with many tens of thousands, when only one is needed to make a baby. Something many ladies are not told in IVF clinics where  egg donation is offered if over 37, or if they have been trying for over 6 months.
Other scaremoungering comes from of all places the  journal Human Reproduction. But if you take a closer look at this article in 2004 the  statistic were drawn not from modern day but from birth records from 1790-1830.  When correct me if I’m wrong, there was no access to modern health care or nutrition and many were possibly only living to 45 anyway, so actively avoiding Sex. So no…. ‘Bridget Jones, wanton sex goddess, with a very bad man between her thighs!’ there!
The truth is everyone is different and if you  put in the work and follow a healthy lifestyle, diet and stress levels are managed appropriately, you just may well have the fertility of a 20 something!

In my view Fertility isn’t always age specific and there might actually be some truth in what I talk about daily that diet and tailored intervention  improves fertility at any age. A study in 1995 conducted by Surrey University and Foresight with over 300  couples ranging from 25-45 years old gave couples with previous infertility and miscarriages a tailored dietary and supplement programme over 2 years. During this time 81% of them went on to have healthy babies http://www.zestnaturalhealth.co.nz/preconception-care-and-fertility/how-effective-is-preconceptive-care/  similar studies are also being conducted by Foresight and also the University of New England.

Lord Robert Winston seen as a one of the grandads of modern fertility talked recently in a daily mail article about women’s fertility being sound until around 45, which might have raised a few eyebrows. I can’t corroborate this empirically but share his view, as do see a heck of a lot of women who are getting pregnant these days over 40.

I believe in fertility in older women wholeheartedly, as my own grandmother was part of this ‘gang’ and had my mum when she was 37. This isn’t an isolated incident and its shown to happen time and time again, defying the naysayers. Thankfully many I work with don’t give up, but to be honest with all the media attention about ‘Britain facing an infertility time bomb’ it can be very hard to cut through the negativity.

As always Bridget Jones is ‘On trend’ as it has been right from the first film! Let’s hope it starts a ripple effect, where ladies feel they don’t have to feel old and ‘past their sell by date’ when trying over 35,  or worry about the issues with their ‘ageing eggs’ Hoorah for Bridget is what I say and as Daniel Cleaver would say ‘ Hello Mummy’!

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