A warm welcome to Dr Vivienne!

We are delighted to welcome the amazing Dr Vivienne Hall to our IVF team, working alongside Dr George Ndukwe and Dr Simone Rofena.

Dr Hall trained in medicine at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London and specialises in pre-implantation genetics and the management of low and critically low ovarian reserve. She joined the team as she believes the holistic approach and personalised care plans at the clinic give the best possible chance of success.

Here we learn a little more about Dr Hall and her plans at the Zita West Clinic.

ZW:We are really thrilled to welcome you to the team, what was it that most appealed to you about joining the Zita West Clinic?

VH:Well, let me start by saying that I am also thrilled to have joined the Zita West Clinic. I think the thing that excites me most is the I am going to be able to get to know the patients well and give them individualised care that is specifically tailored to them. I’m also really excited by your whole approach to nutrition and the holistic aspects of fertility.

ZW:  How did you start in the IVF world?

VH: I started way back in 1989. I was doing general obstetrics and gynaecology in a busy district general hospital and the infertility part, which was very basic at the time, always fascinated me because it involved a little bit of surgery, a little bit of genetics, a little bit of immunology and a little bit of general medicine. I always thought, what a fascinating subject this is. And each couple who comes along is always so interesting and there’s always something you can do to help them. So I always find that each couple, every new consultation is something fascinating and I can really get involved in helping them and the family.

ZW: Yes, you do form deep bonds when you help people regardless of the outcome.

VH: Yes, I would hate to be in a position where I didn’t look forward to going to work every day, and I do! It’s a privilege to look after these patients and hopefully be successful for most of them.

ZW: What do you think makes IVF successful?

VH: Attention to detail is absolutely key. The patients’ own wellbeing – nutritional and emotional – is also very important. Obviously, added to that, an excellent laboratory that again has a real focus on attention to detail.

ZW: One of the things here is that nutrition and lifestyle is part of our IVF package because it’s really important to us that women prepare nutritionally. Women know everything about fertility and diets, but they don’t really know a lot about nutrition. One of the questions that is always asked is ‘Is there anything I can do to improve the quality of my eggs?’. I know a woman is born with all the eggs she is ever going to possess, but there is a lot you can do around the lifestyle and the environment the eggs are growing in. It’s interesting as well because, the questionnaire we have here, looking at digestion and the gut, I think, is a huge factor in fertility and it’s interesting that the whole gut area is one of your interests.

VH: Yes, it all came about when the Human Genome Project was done. What came out of it was the ability to analyse huge quantities of bacterial DNA in the gut and it seems that the bacteria you have in your gut can impact on all sorts of aspects of your health – immune processors and inflammation and all the things that can have a significant effect on natural fertility. So, we know the presence of the wrong amounts of bacteria can have an effect on things such as obstetrics and miscarriage, pre-term labour and post-caesarean. I think, what will become more important is actually seeing what’s going on in The Human Microbiome and The Vaginal Microbiome and to see if that has an effect on IVF and pregnancy success, as well as the reduction of miscarriages. So, I’m hugely interested in educating patients about their own gut flora and how they can improve it quite simply by using probiotics and that sort of thing and analysing when we think there is a serious problem with the microbiome. That might lead us to correlate things we know are important here in Natural Killer Cells in immune system problems with a simple realignment of the gut microbiome.

ZW: Are there any new things you’d like to work on while you’re here?

VH: I’ve always been very interested in the genetic aspects of IVF in patients for whom it’s appropriate and that continues to go from strength to strength. I’m very excited to be working with Dr George and Dr Simone to do some more about immunology. Despite the fact that it’s quite controversial, there’s a lot going on there that we need to clarify and take forward. The nutritional aspects and the support aspects too are things I’m very interested in – the patient actually being ready to do IVF and taking time to get the patient prepared properly for something which is probably very important, not to mention expensive, and potentially quite devastating when it doesn’t work.

 ZW: For a lot of women they have a pet thing, I want this sort of IVF or that sort of IVF. What do you say to those couples?

 VH: I know a lot of couples come along with preconceived ideas, either because they’ve had treatment elsewhere or they’ve read around a lot, which is highly commendable. But I think you have to use your experience and skill to do what you can and do what they want if you can, but be strong enough to say, I really don’t think that is what you should be doing, I’d recommend this instead. So, I very much take on board what they’d like to do, but possibly modify it to something that is most likely to give them success first time round.

 To book a consultation with Dr Vivienne Hall contact the reception team on 020 3613 2267

Tips for early pregnancy

With the lovely news from Harry and Meghan, we thought we’d share with you some tips for getting through the first few months. Early pregnancy, especially the first time around, is a very exciting time but it is also easy for anxiety to creep in and many women can feel overwhelmed. The first few weeks of pregnancy can be exhausting on so many levels; emotionally, physically and mentally. No matter who you are you, Duchess or not, your emotions at this time will be the same and this is something I see on a daily basis. If you have never been pregnant before it’s a steep learning curve, and as a midwife there are many common questions I am asked in early pregnancy:

How do I know I’m still pregnant?
This can be a really emotional time, not just because of the hormones but all of the worries about whether it will be ok with the pregnancy, especially if you are older. Before you start showing in these early days it can be so hard to actually ‘feel’ pregnant. One day you experience nausea, the next day you don’t, and new hormones are kicking in that you have never experienced before making you emotionally fragile. The exhaustion you’ll feel in your first 12 weeks, especially having to work and adapt to the pregnancy without telling anybody can really take its toll. Even if Meghan doesn’t suffer as much as her sister-in-law, nausea affects 70% of women which can sap energy further.

I’m not eating as well as I should…
Eating a good diet can be hard in the beginning as you are getting used to what your body needs with when and what to eat. Sometimes it is not always the healthiest of choices with many women craving carbs where they have tried to avoid these foods before. Plus with nausea kicking in it can mean eating what you are able to to get through the first few weeks which is fine. This is why it’s so important to build up a good store of nutrients before you get pregnant.

I feel worried all of the time, can stress affect my baby?
While Meghan is no different biologically to any other pregnant woman, she does have the added pressure of getting through engagements and having the world watching her. Constant stress on a daily basis may affect your baby, so learning to manage stress in early pregnancy is key.

Tips for getting through first trimester

  • Look at what’s going on in your life and what you can cut back on. If you work long hours, try to cut down here, and limit yourself to lots of commitments that can exhaust you.
  • Make sure you have early nights where possible to build your reserves and get you through the next day.
  • Accept that this this will only be for a couple of months and you’ll soon be feeling much better, give in to it where you can.
  • Don’t have any alcohol or coffee in the first trimester.
  • Eat little and often to keep your blood sugar balanced. In early pregnancy you need to tune in to what your body requires. Nausea and tiredness can be a vicious cycle: you feel sick so you don’t want to eat, but if you don’t eat then your blood sugar drops and nausea sets in. When it gets to this point it is hard to quell, so have snacks at hand throughout the day and I also encourage women to have something to eat just before bed to balance the blood sugar through the night. It’s a long time from dinner until breakfast which is why many women wake in the morning with nausea.
  • You need carbohydrates for energy and the developing baby, but for so many women I see they have been used to cutting carbs out and are nervous about how they crave them in pregnancy.
  • Deal with your stress early on. Chronic stress can be detrimental so make sure you manage this. The best way is to practice visualisation or meditation for 20 per day, but if your issues are greater then make sure you seek help through counselling.
  • Take a multivitamin and mineral continuing folate, as well as omega 3. Many women worry in early pregnancy that they are not eating as well as they should, so top your nutrients up with supplements.
  • Nurture yourself. In my experience this is the one time that women really feel they can pamper and nurture themselves. Rest whenever you feel you need to, get as much sleep as you can, and look after yourself from within.
  • Don’t listen to any labour horror stories – concentrate on the positive and if anyone starts to tell you their story, ask if it’s positive, and if not, then continue that conversation post birth!

Join Zita West in Nottingham on May 23rd

If you live in Nottingham or the surrounding areas, then I have some exciting news for you.

I’m coming to CARE Fertility Nottingham on 23rd May to give a talk on the ‘Secrets of Successful IVF’ which will cover cover nutrition, lifestyle, mindset, stress, emotional health and wellbeing, and the team from CARE will join me to give an overview of the different techniques we can use to enhance IVF outcome for a range of fertility issues, to give the best chance of success.

The event starts at 6pm and is free, so reserve your place by calling the CARE Nottingham team on 0115 852 8100.

During the talk, you’ll be able to get your questions answered in person and topics we’ll cover include…

  • What to expect from your IVF cycle
  • How a holistic approach to IVF can lead to success
  • What lifestyle and psychological factors impact chances of conceiving
  • How to manage your mindset during IVF
  • Why IVF fails
  • And much more!

If you’re looking to start IVF or would like more information, then this evening is perfect for you.

Simply call the CARE Nottingham team on 0115 852 8100.

How To Have Acupuncture With The Zita West Clinic If You Don’t Live In London

One of the things that we’re really known for at the Zita West Clinic is acupuncture. We use acupuncture and treat thousands of women every year who are trying naturally and also going through IVF.

I’m often asked by my patients who don’t live in London, ‘How can I access Acupuncture at the Zita West clinic around the UK and Ireland.’

So this week in the Fertility Show, I want to tell you how…

I’ve been an acupuncturist for 25 years now, and so I’ve always been a huge believer in its benefits for fertility and IVF, because I see how it helps so many women that are going through a very stressful time.

We have a lot of women that say they would like acupuncture, but they can’t do it in London. And this is where our affiliated network of accredited acupuncturists comes into play. We have affiliates up and down the UK and in Ireland who we have trained, and we do annual trainings every year to keep them abreast with best practise.

All acupuncturist members of the network have received training in our unique holistic approach to achieving optimum reproductive health as well as the diagnostic processes and treatment protocols followed at our London clinic. Members also have access to the Clinic and other members of the network for consultation and general advice.

We get great feedback from women who have visited our affiliates. They get a greater sense of well being, they really feel supported through natural fertility and when they’re undergoing IVF, they have a better feel of well being.

Our national network of Zita West affiliated acupuncturists specialise in all aspects of male and female reproductive health.

To find your nearest Zita West accredited acupuncturist, click here.

 

Join us for our free ‘6 Ways To Prepare For IVF Success’ online event, Monday 6th November at 7.30pm

If you’re thinking about IVF, or about to embark on IVF, then we’d love to invite you to our free online event about ‘6 ways to prepare for IVF.’

Join Zita online on Monday 6th November, from the comfort of your own home, for an insightful and informative webinar where she’ll be talking about the Zita West Clinic’s unique holistic approach to IVF, and how to prepare for IVF to ensure best result, and how to recover from failed IVF cycles.

We’re well known for helping couples to get pregnant with IVF who have failed at other clinics. We like to think we have a reputation for thinking outside the box (when others won’t) and we are constantly looking for new methods and treatments that may help improve the chances of success.

Our results speak for themselves. Many of our clients come to us having had failed IVF cycles elsewhere. We are specialists in why IVF fails, and consider the role of the immune system, with Dr Ndukwe being a world leader in the field of reproductive immunology, and many of those clients go on to achieve a pregnancy with us. So if you’re new to the IVF process, or have failed in the past and looking for a new approach, this event is for you!

During the webinar we will talk you through what you can do to prepare for IVF success on every level, not just the medical level, and how a plan of action covering every aspect of your health and well-being can help to optimise your chances of conception and pregnancy, including:

  • How lifestyle, nutrition and psychological factors can impact on success
  • How to manage your mind-set for IVF success
  • Why IVF fails and what can be done
  • Simple steps you can take to increase your chances of successful IVF

At the end of the live event, there will be a Q&A so you can get your questions answered there and then.

This will be a LIVE only event hosted by Zita West and there will be no replay. All our live webinars are extremely popular, so click here to reserve your seat now.

 

Book your one to one appointment with Zita

One of the greatest pleasures I get from doing my consultations is coming up with a plan and a woman or couple leaving feeling lighter proactive and more in control of their situation.

With this in mind, I wanted to remind you guys – our valued subscribers – that you can book one to one appointments with me!

So why see me?

Most couples who come to see me want to get pregnant naturally, and to feel that they are doing everything they can to make that happen.

Appointments with me are ideal no matter what stage of the journey you are at, whether you’ve just started trying to conceive, have had a miscarriage, are thinking about IVF or have had IVF that’s failed or if you are thinking of going it alone.

Our holistic approach looks not only at the medical side of your fertility, but also at other areas of your life that may be having an impact on your ability to conceive naturally.

What I do well is to work with you on creating a personalised fertility plan of action to pull all the strands together. My aim is to give you the best opportunity of becoming pregnant naturally and help you understand what you need to do next in a way that is manageable, affordable and individual to you.

Appointments can be conducted virtually via Skype, or in person at the clinic and are priced £175. To book, click here.