Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Natural Vaginal Lubricant

Lately in the news there has been some talk about how vaginal lubricants used during intercourse could possibly be killing the sperm and thereby limiting chances of a conception. After reading and researching some of the more popular lubricants I can see why.

So I wanted to share a gentle vaginal lubricant recipe with you. This is from an author who I find to be quite exceptional in her life's work. Aviva Romm has been a midwife and herbalist for 20 years, homeschooled her four children and is now a 2nd year medical student at Yale University school of medicine. She has a series of books on that I would recommend you have a look at.

In one of her books she describes this recipe for a gentle vaginal lubricant:

4 tablespoons cocoa butter
4 tablespoons coconut oil (if you don't know where to find this, and you have checked with your health food shop, email me at and I can give you a few places in the US and Australia)
2 tablespoons almond oil
10 drops of Sandalwood essential oil
10 drops of vanilla essential oil

the Sandalwood and vanilla are highly aphrodisiac scents but are not absolutely necessary for this formula to be used

Combine ingredients, store in a glass jar, and apply as needed.

HOpe this helps

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Are organic foods any better than "normal" foods?

REcently a few doctors in an article printed in the Gold Coast bulletin made the bold statement that organic foods are no better than regular store bought foods and are more expensive. In essence they were saying there was no evidence to support paying extra for the organic food. They said there was no research that said organic was more nutritious.

Well, they should have said no research that we know of because this 2004 study is an eye opener.

Researchers at Rutgers University, intrigued by the idea that organic foods are "better", decided to shop
around for some answers. From the supermarket shelves, they purchased snap beans, cabbage, lettuce,
tomatoes and spinach. Then they bought equivalent organically grown vegetables at a health food store.
The research team analyzed the mineral content of their purchases. In every case, organic products were
superior to the non-organic produce, often by huge percentages.
Variations in Mineral Content in Vegetables Firman E. Baer Report, Rutgers University

So there you have it, this study clearly shows the increased nutrient value of organic foods. If you can buy them, I would say go for it.

Keep in mind though that unfortunately organic produce isn't completely free of pesticides and of course the nutrient value is likely to vary from soil to soil, so its still good to wash your fruits and vegetables even if they are organic and buy from a store that gets their supply from a variety of different suppliers.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

PCOS Study and tips

Imperial College London

New project to analyze why Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and insulin resistance are so closely linked
Understanding the link between Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and insulin resistance is the aim of a new project announced today, funded by the charity WellBeing of Women.

It is known that women with PCOS have a 3-fold increase in their risk of developing type-2 diabetes, where the body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use insulin properly. Insulin resistance is an important factor in the condition, which is the most common female hormone disorder. PCOS affects between 5 and 10 per cent of women and is a major cause of infertility.

The new £97K project aims to identify a defective point on the insulin signalling pathway in women with PCOS. The researchers, from Imperial College London, hope this will enable the development of new therapies which target this part of the pathway, to counter the insulin resistance and the fertility problems that PCOS can cause.

Insulin is released from cells in the pancreas after eating and it signals insulin-sensitive tissues (such as fat and muscle) to take up glucose, keeping glucose levels in the bloodstream normal. In people with insulin resistance, normal amounts of insulin are not adequate to produce a normal glucose response, meaning that levels of insulin in the bloodstream need to be higher to achieve normal blood sugar levels.

Insulin resistance (and/or the compensatory excess of insulin in the bloodstream), may contribute to abnormalities in function of the ovaries that lead to many of the symptoms of PCOS. These include irregular periods, or no periods at all; fertility problems; weight gain; acne; and excessive hair growth (hirsutism).

A longer term concern is that insulin resistance also predisposes people to diabetes. In some patients the pancreas is unable, in the long-term, to produce enough insulin to compensate for the resistance of the tissues to insulin action. Consequently, blood sugar levels rise. What is not known is why PCOS and insulin resistance are so closely related.

Stacey's comment

I am glad they are looking into the mechanisms that the insulin resistance that women with polycystic ovaries experience effects the ovary and its production of hormones. And I also hope that they look at and investigate the actual cause of the insulin resistance which in most cases of polycystic ovaries is diet. Now there are a small number of women that do not seem to have a poor diet when it comes to dealing with PCO but the majority of women that we see, whether lean or overweight with PCO really need to focus on their diet.

Eliminating high glycemic foods is the first step and adding in foods that are rich in antioxidants and minerals is very important as well. Eliminating trans fat from fried foods, processed foods, biscuits, muffins, and other processed foods is also very important to help regulate ovulation.

Adding good healthy fats such as nuts and seeds, avocadoes and an appropriate amount of low mercury fish is also helpful. Keep in mind that ALL carbohydrates eaten turn into glucose (sugar) in the body. This doesn't mean that all carbohydrates have to be eliminated, but it does mean that making sure you are eating low glycemic carbs is extremely important.

Some women may have to eliminate carbs for a short period of time to improve their situation but the natural therapist that you are working with should give you some excellent guidelines regarding diet.

Balancing proteins, low glycemic carbs and good fats is very important to improve PCO and we have even had women who have eliminated the mulitiple follicles on the ovaries and improve ovulation by following our program. OUr PCO ebook at (books section) has helped many women become pregnant even without utilising our herbs.

A nice health glucose balancing drink that many of our patients diagnosed with PCO enjoy is green tea with a cinnamon stick and a drop of licorice. And recently spearmint tea has been linked with helping to address excessive hair growth as well.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Proof of the importance of the Mind Body connection regarding fertility

Mind Body Institute Treatment of 'Unexplained Infertility' Focuses on Stress Reduction With Impressive Results

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Feb. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Debra Sussman tried to
have a baby for years. After trying on their own, she and her husband
sought medical intervention. They went through several years of advanced
fertility treatments including in vitro fertilization (IVF) and countless
"It was heartbreaking," says Sussman. "It affected my entire life -- my
work, my relationships, finances and identity ... I felt completely
isolated and broken."
Sussman learned of the program at the Mind Body Institute at UCLA
Medical Plaza. The program is dedicated to helping women deal with
infertility by teaching relaxation techniques, positive reinforcement, and
cognitive restructuring to alleviate stress associated with infertility.
Today Sussman has a healthy baby girl and is the Executive Director of
the Mind Body Institute where she helps many other women through the
challenge of infertility. The Institute has served infertile patients in
Los Angeles since 1999 at UCLA Medical Plaza in Westwood and at its new
clinic in Newport Beach since January.
The 10-week program meets for 2-1/2 hours once a week, blending lecture
and hands-on experience through group support and yoga by alleviating the
psychological and physical symptoms of stress associated with infertility.
The program is modeled after The Harvard Medical School's infertility
program and is medically endorsed by doctors dedicated to encouraging a
more comprehensive approach to women's fertility issues. According to
research studies, infertility patients who attend a Mind Body program
decrease anxiety, depression and achieve a 55 percent increase in
conception rates.

Stacey's Comment
For the last 2 years I have been sending tips to those seeking support while dealing with their fertility issues. Many of these tips deal with the the emotional aspects of fertility issues. We receive countless emails from both our patients and those who are not our patients but have read the tips thanking me for supporting them through a difficult time.

Our Fertile Mind Fertile Body workshops boast a similiar "success rate" to what is listed in the above article. 60% of the participants of our lst year workshops have gone on to have a viable pregnancy within 3 to 7 months of attending. I utilise different techniques than the ones described above but my aim is the same, giving couples the support they need to improve their emotional health and subsequently their physiological health as well.

THe one on one counseling sessions I have conducted with individuals have also yielded fantastic results when all recommendations are followed.

So it is great to hear that in the US there are other clinics that are conducting workshops and have support groups for couples dealing with fertility issues. If you would like more information about our programs here in Australia (soon to be in America as well) please contact for more information. This could be the one piece of the puzzle not yet addressed that may make the difference.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Alternative deep tissue massage to aid fertility

San Rafael, CA (PRWEB) March 5, 2007 -- When Marin County Maya Abdominal Massage therapist Lina Erwin lays her hands on a client's abdomen and feels for the position of the uterus, she is carrying on a healing tradition that has been handed down from mentor to student in Central America for hundreds of years.
Long before Western medicine became the norm, the women of Central America utilized this form of massage to help with infertility, menstruation, and menopause. For women who wish to avoid surgery or drugs, Maya Abdominal Massage is a viable and safe alternative

This non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical healing alternative has been used in what are now Guatemala and Belize to help women's health challenges as widespread as infertility, chronic miscarriages, difficult menopause, prolapsed uterus, varicose veins of the legs, recurrent vaginal infections, and depression linked to PMS. Her new clinic, Traditional Maya Massage (, just opened in downtown San Rafael.

When Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Massage are practiced by trained practitioners such as Erwin, who has lived in Costa Rica and studied in Belize, it has been estimated that approximately 30 percent of woman who have been unsuccessful in getting pregnant eventually conceive after a succession of Maya Abdominal Massage treatments. This compares favorably with in-vitro fertilization success rates, which are 37% among women younger than 35 years and 28% for those aged 36-39 years.

"Long before Western medicine became the norm, the women of Central America utilized this form of massage to help with infertility, menstruation, and menopause. For women who wish to avoid surgery or drugs, Maya Abdominal Massage is a viable and safe alternative," said Erwin. "My clients also feel heartened that I teach them self care so they can maintain their health without having to continue seeing me."

Stacey's comment
I would recommend this type of treatment for anyone who has had an abdominal surgery such as laparoscopy, C-Section, appendectomy, etc to help address scar tissue that may be impeding the function of the ovaries.

Also if you are older and FSH levels are higher there is a possibility that this type of technique could stimulate improved blood flow to areas such as the ovaries.

There is also a company called Clear Passage located in various clinics throughout the US that has correlated similiar deep tissue techniques to unblocking tubes and increased fertility in a certain percentage of individuals that they see. YOu can contact them at

Friday, March 02, 2007

Can Ice Cream/Dairy really help you get pregnant?

Recently data from the famous Nurse's Health Study has revealed that women who ate more low fat dairy foods per day were twice as likely to have trouble conceiving due to problems with ovulation. And women who ate at least one fatty dairy food per day were 27% less likely to have ovulation problems which effect fertility.

This lead the press to jump to the conclusion that ice cream can help to improve your fertility. Well, this is a big jump, and though I am a fan of the occasional ice cream myself, its very important to realise a few things before loading your diet up with high fat dairy on a regular basis to improve your fertility.

I suggest that you consider:

1) Dairy is really irrelevant in this situation. The real pertinent information is high fat versus low fat. Low fat foods, because they are low fat and also because they tend to have more sugar added to them for taste, tend to be high glycemic. Eating high glycemic foods on a regular basis can effect your glucose levels, insulin levels and subsequently your reproductive hormone levels as well. So it is likely the increased consumption of high glycemic foods is effecting ovulation. This is typical in the person who has the diagnosis, Polycystic ovaries. Both lean and overweight women with polycystic ovaries tend to have difficulties with ovulation and also tend to have insulin resistance which is usually the result of eating foods that are high glycemic over a long period of time.

So have 1-3 servings of foods that have good fats in them like avocados, nuts, seeds, fish (though be aware of mercury levels here) and good natural yogurts that are normally higher in fat will keep the glycemic load down and lessen the chance of developing insulin resistance or excess insulin in your system, which again can effect your reproductive health.

2) Statistics say that only 1/3 or women with fertility issues have problems relating to ovulation. The finding in this review related to ovulation issues.

3)This is not about increasing dairy. Most dairy has little health benefits due to the way that it is processed. Many nutrients are taken out and only some are added back in to make the foods more "healthy". Milk is not the best source of calcium either because calcium needs other nutrients not all found in milk to help it get absorbed. Green leafy vegetables are your best source of calcium. And supplements taken to help with Calcium should include magnesium, Vitamin D and boron to help ensure absorption of Calcium into the body. Also remember that calcium CITRATE is the most absorbable form of calcium and this should be most of the calcium in any calcium supplement (along with the other nutrients mentioned) for optimal absorption, if the stomach and gut health is good.

4) Remember to stay away from "diet food" that tout low fat because most will have added sugar and low fat tends to mean high glycemic unless you are talking about meats which are more lean with less fat. All protein is low glycemic.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Antioxidant Study

I am always amazed at what negative topics come out in the press about supplements. You and I both know I think that the media is not often 100% reliable (this is clearly shown in our FERTILITY SECRETS CD SET now available from our website), but unfortunately the media is where most people get their information about supplements, foods, and really anything these days.

A recent report spoke of Antioxidants not prolonging life and in some cases may even be related to increased mortality. This is simply more propaganda to keep the public from purchasing something that can be very good for them.

The reasons this review may have come up with this conclusion are many.

1) when reviewing studies it is never clear what type of supplements are used. Were they pharmaceutical grade? This guarantees that the supplements have been tested to make sure they get absorbed in the body. Most supplement companies do not do this testing because it is expensive. So if the antioxidants were not pharmaceutical grade it is no wonder that results would be mixed.

2) The supplements studied were too diverse. They were looking at antioxidants across the board and this is like looking at how effective IVF is around the world, instead of at each centre. There are too many variables at each centre to give an effective measure. I know just from seeing out patients that each centre and each doctor in the centre uses different protocols.

One thing I do agree with in the article I read was that antioxidants should be taken in from your food sources first and "supplements" should do just that..."supplement" a healthy diet. And when you consider that some organic foods will have up to 88% more nutrients than their regular store bought counterparts, it is very important to consider buying organic whenever you possibly can.

3) I have never read a study where people's digestion was considered before they take the supplements, and participants with poor digestion as far as I can tell are not ruled out of these studies. If you aren't digesting your foods properly, they are less likely to get absorbed into the system and less likely to make any difference. So purchasing supplements that are pharmaceutical grade (guaranteed to be tested to ensure they get absorbed) is your best investment regarding supplements. Store bought supplements rarely have this guarantee.

So before you believe everything you read in the media about antioxidants or other supplements be skeptical and ask your natural healthcare practitioner for more information or to do the research from reliable sources for you.

Should you take Fish Oil in preconception and while pregnant

There has been a few controversial articles about how fish oil does not improve moods and shouldn't not be taken during pregnancy or preconception secondary to the Vit A content in fish oil.

There are many studies that show fish oil works well with antidepressants and on its own to help regulate moods. It can also be used in children to help with symptoms consistent with ADD/ADHD and others. So why would this study review come up with these results. My opinion is most likely because the large number of studies varied in the type of fish oil that they used. Off the shelf fish oil is likely cheaper but may not be quite as effective as brands that are processed to assure the quality of the fish oil. Its also very important to make sure the fish oil that you use is free of all mercury. IF it says Mercury tested then it is unlikely that this company will have removed all the toxins like mercury from the fish oil. It will have what the government considers "safe levels" of mercury in it.
When dealing with trying to create a healthy pregnancy, you do not want to expose yourself to any more mercury than you have to, since elevated mercury can be related to miscarriage.

In addition the "warning" about Vitamin A would only be for Cod Liver Oils but even then according to research about Vitamin A reported by the Weston A Price Foundation in Washington DC it is only the Cod Liver oil that contains SYNTHETIC vitamin A that could potentially cause a problem. So make sure that you speak to your natural health practitioner about the best brands of Fish oil for you.

And with Fish Oil, you get what you pay for. Our fish oil retails at $29.30 today. These are guaranteed to have all toxins removed and do not contain Vitamin A.