Guest: Gabriela Rosa
Guest Bio: She’s an author, researcher, keynote speaker and natural fertility specialist.
Health Professional Radio – Natural Methods
Katherine: Thanks for listening to Health Professional Radio and my name is Katherine. Today, I’m joined by Gabriela Rosa, the founder and director of Natural Fertility & Health Solutions. Welcome to our show.
Gabriela Rosa: Thank you for having me, Katherine.
Katherine: Now, you’re one of Australia’s leading natural fertility experts and that’s our main topic for today, fertility. There are many factors why women may experience difficulties conceiving, but have you seen certain trends or things that come up time and time again for a lot of women, something that might be quite common?
Gabriela: Look, there are so many trends. When you stop to look at what’s going on as far fertility is concerned, the one thing that will certainly stare you in the face is the age of women, and even men, before they have their first child. Obviously, we are becoming older as a generation of having children, and that’s certainly going to be something of impact when it comes to the ability to conceive and carry a healthy pregnancy to term.
So that’s certainly one aspect and I guess … it’s not to say that just because somebody’s over a certain age though, and this is very much my belief, that age is really a number, and we need to have a look at what else is going on. Because I have some people that come to see me and they’re 45 but they still have really good AMH levels, which is ovarian reserve …
I had one patient last year who conceived at 46 naturally, who basically had a very reasonable FSH which was below 10, follicle stimulating hormone below 10. AMH was actually quite good for her age. It was about the two or three mark. The average AMH should be around 14 and FSH should be under 10.
So from that perspective, looking at someone like that, you say, “Oh 46, no. You’re not going to conceive.” But then if you go and have a little bit of a deeper look at how their body is actually operating and how it’s working – and mind you, this woman did have a much younger husband – so the part of sperm health was actually quite well taken care of.
But it’s about really looking at the person, not the numbers behind that person. I think that is something that is quite important when we’re looking at any kind of trend. It’s not just to take what is face value but really look at: okay, well how does this really relate if we were to look at it from different perspectives?
Katherine: Yes, you’re right. I think that a lot of people that … they think once you’re past 30, especially after 35, that’s it. There’s not a lot of options for them … more [inaudible] [02:41] surgery, and it does … some people and some couples do choose IVF. But like you said, there are some people who are, say, in their early to mid40s, they can conceive naturally because of their health. Can you tell us a little bit more about natural fertility? You’ve got a book, Eat Your Way to Parenthood. Tell us about that.
Gabriela: Sure. Look, I think that what you’re saying is so true. People start to look at their fertility when they feel that it’s being threatened, especially women who are very career-focused. They’ll go, “Oh my god, I’m 35 now, I have to do something about this.” Now, I’m always appalled, by the way, when they go to other fertility specialists and they’re told, “Oh, look, you’re 35. You’re too old. Get on with it.” It’s not like that.
I think that the majority of the people that I see in my clinic actually, they’re generally over 40, and we get really great results with women who not only are over 40, but also have had a longstanding history of fertility problems, even unexplained infertility. In fact, that’s probably the area that we have the most success with, because we look at things from a very different perspective to modern medicine.
In regards to knowing what to look at and how to go about it, I think that the key aspect is really helping them to understand and be guided by the foundationals of optimum fertility. Whenever I’m treating a patient, I always look at what I like to call the triad of health – the physical aspect, the biochemical, the emotional. Those things underpin every single program that I’ve put together.
Soon, in the next month or so, I’m going to be launching a new program called the Fertility Alignment Program, which is going to impart, have all of the advice that I’ve given in my Eat Your Way to Parenthood book, as well a lot more. It’s going to be this complete solution and toolkit for couples who are experiencing fertility problems or who want to optimize the way that they have been going about trying to have a baby. It’s really looking at every aspect that can impact one’s fertility, and looking at their environmental factors, as well their diet, as well as their sleep, and the exercise and the stress and environmental challenges – what I like to call my 11 Pillars of Fertility.
Maybe we can talk about that at some other point, Katherine. [laughs] But yeah, so essentially, it’s really looking at all of those different aspects and how they are going to be able to help that person or that couple optimise their chances of creating the healthiest possible baby. Really, that’s what it comes down to. It’s not about the age. It’s about how well is that body primed to beingas healthy and as fertile as it can possibly be.
Katherine: Right. You did mention, say, unexplained or … infertility that there is no kind of physiological reasoning behind it. Can you explain the process you normally go through with someone like this?
Gabriela: Sure, great question. Look, whether I’m addressing polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, unexplained infertility, male infertility, whatever it is, I’m always looking at a foundation. I’m always looking at: okay, what are the things that I need to make are in place for a minimum amount of time that it takes for the egg to mature and the sperm to form, which is that 120 days of preparation prior to a conception attempt, that is going to make all the difference, not only to that couple’s ability to conceive, but also their ability to create the healthiest possible baby?
Which becomes even more important for a couple who, perhaps, is over 40. One thing that a lot of people don’t realise is that by eight weeks’ gestation, a baby’s health blueprint is set for the rest of their life. Their health potentials and predispositions, by that time, are pretty much set. They have all their little organs, all their little fingerprints. All of that is in place at that eight-week point, and a child’s health really does become the lowest common denominator of both partner’s health at the time of conception.
This is why the time to optimize a child’s health is during the preconception period and not during a pregnancy. Because I get a lot of people that say, “Oh, you know, when I’m pregnant, I’ll be so healthy. I’ll eat well. I’ll avoid alcohol. I’ll avoid coffee.” All of those things. And you go, “Well that’s a really great sentiment there, but it really does need to start way before a conception is even in place.” So I’d look at all of those different aspects that are going to be important for optimising one’s health for that minimum amount of time.
That’s how I find … and obviously again, addressing the physical and the biochemical and the emotional aspects that are going to be important for optimum fertility. By addressing those things, that’s how we have seen couples go from infertile to having a healthy baby, time and time again, over the last 13 years that I have been in private practice. From really just taking that care of going, “Okay, what are the areas that have been perhaps ignored or not looked at because somebody didn’t know it could be an area of interest? And what needs to be done about that?”
So it’s really about looking at all those different aspects. One of the things that I like to say to my patients – and this is really very much what I actually teach them – is that if you want to get pregnant, then what you need to do is you need to act pregnant now to get pregnant later. So it’s almost like that 120 days is a dress rehearsal for pretending that you are already pregnant. Because really every single woman and every single man, within them right now, who are trying to conceive especially, already have that 50% of that little baby that they’re wanting to create. They have that little egg and that little sperm that is going to create and … join together and create the ultimate outcome that they want. So with that in mind, it’s almost like we have to nurture those cells, as if they are already that potential that we want to create, if you know what I mean. So acting pregnant now to get pregnant later – essential.
Katherine: Yeah. I guess the people, your patients that you see, ideally they are in a loving relationship and they’re in it together. But I find there are women out there who are pretty much on their own, or maybe they are in a loving relationship but they feel so much pressure on themselves to conceive that there’s not a balance.
I don’t know if I’m explaining this properly, but do you find let’s say, okay, they’re going to you for fertility treatment and there’s more of a focus on the woman as she puts a lot more pressure on herself? Also in terms of these diet things, for example, the male partner, “Well, you know, I’m not the one that’s getting pregnant. I’m not going to give up smoking or drinking.” Do you know what I’m trying to say?
Katherine: I mean this is reality and this is what happens outside.
Katherine: It is tough, I think.
Gabriela: It is, and a lot of it is to do with our modern medical model, because it’s like the finger is always pointed at the woman because she is the one that’s going to have the baby. But what we know more and more of these days is that the genetic material … first of all, let’s just talk about sex cells for a little moment. The fact that the egg is about 200 times larger than the sperm. It can take a lot more of a beating, if you know what I mean. [laughs] It can certainly take a lot more toxicity being thrown at it. It can take a lot more of these environmental concerns than can sperm from the perspective that there is still the same amount of DNA that needs to be carried from the sperm into the egg, in the egg and the sperm, if you know what I mean.
It’s 200 times smaller, and so the sperm is much more prone to oxidation and damage from environmental toxins and diet and lifestyle and so on. What happens is that 50% of that one ability to conceive – because the ability to conceive is going to be dependent on 50% of a healthy egg, 50% of a healthy sperm. Also, what we now know to be the case is that 50% of a healthy pregnancy, whether a pregnancy will continue on to being to term and to delivering a healthy baby, is going to be 50% to do with whether the sperm is healthy at the time of conception.
So there is so much more understanding these days about whether a man is doing what it takes to be as fertile as possible. There needs to be so much more education about it though, and I think that’s where things like having these types of conversations is so important, because it helps people to understand that they have a part to play, that they are responsible.
If they’re not getting pregnant as a couple, it’s not just to do with one partner or another because … and this is what I like to say to my patients in the clinic – with any other partner, either one of those two people could already be pregnant. It’s a combination of factors that needs to be taken into consideration if we are to create the ultimate outcome that we’re looking for.
Katherine: It’s really interesting what you said with the eight-week old foetus, because there are a lot of couples out there, they don’t even know that they’re pregnant till about the fifth or sixth week, and that’s fairly early. [laughs] Some women don’t know till maybe the second or third month, or at that stage, the eight-week stage, so that’s really interesting. You also brought up a point that it’s not just about conceiving but also being able to have a baby full term. I mean statistics show, as a woman does get older, miscarriage is a lot … it can occur at any age but [inaudible] [0:13:14] speaking, it’s at a higher risk as well.
Gabriela: Also, abnormalities and malformations and genetic problems are increased later on in life, so that’s where … making sure that that preparation is in place and that we’re being proactive about things. A lot of times, before patients or before couples start my program, they say, “Oh, but I don’t want to waste time. I don’t …” Because I really do recommend that they don’t try to conceive in that 120-day period, because there’s so much detoxification and so much change going in the body that it’s more likely to increase the chances of a miscarriage happening if they are to conceive in that 120 days.
I explain to them that they’re being very proactive. It’s not a waste of time in any way. It’s that they’re being very proactive towards what it is that they’re wanting to create, and I particularly emphasize that that 120-day period is especially important for women who are over 40, because it does help to decrease the potential of genetic problems that are being transferred down the line. So it’s an extremely important process.
Katherine: Yeah, it is. Well, thank you so much for your time today. For people who would like to know more, you can go to naturalfertilitybreakthrough.com or naturalhealthboost.com. Thanks again for your time, Gabriela.
Gabriela: My pleasure. Thank you, Katherine.