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Episode 2 - Changes To Expect With Fertility Treatment During COVID-19

Episode 2 - Changes To Expect With Fertility Treatment During COVID-19 - Lenny Rose

We interview the Amazing Dr Amanda Waaldyk, Chinese Medicine Dr, Pre natal yoga master and Fertility speciliast, on what changes you can expect with fertility treatment in the face of COVID19, and how to find a silver lining amongst the challenges.

You can reach out to Dr Amanda here:
On instagram - @angea_acupuncture_yoga

[00:00:01] Welcome to the mama. Matters podcast, whether you're expecting you've recently given birth or you're just starting along your fertility journey, it's time to get down to the nitty gritty and sort fact from fiction. I'm your host, Rosie Dumbrell - physiotherapist and pregnancy expert. Mama Matters aims to provide an easily digestible, up to date and evidence based approach to pregnancy, birth and motherhood with a side dose of humour along the way. With interviews from the industry's leading experts and experience of my own adventures as a mother to three gorgeous boys under four, I want to share the stuff that helps to bring confidence throughout motherhood. Mama Matters is a podcast by Lenny Rose Active and this is what you can expect to hear in upcoming episodes.

[00:00:43] IVF does sometimes cause separation between partners and so now is a great time to come back to each other, reignite that intimacy. And when we hug and we touch, it releases oxytocin and oxytocin is the bonding hormone.

[00:01:01] Welcome back. So great to be here. Episode two already. And if you haven't already listened in to number one, we chatted with Dr. Guy Skinner and it was really, really informative and uplifting episode around pregnancy and COVD19. So jump back over to episode one if you haven't already. We are on the COVID19 train at the moment just because it really is my mission with this show to arm women throughout the whole pregnancy journey to motherhood and beyond, with the most up to date information. And you know, I really believe that knowledge is confidence, and that when we are armed with knowledge, we can, I guess, act in the best way forwards and stay as positive as possible.

Our next guest is Dr. Amanda Waaldyk who is an integrative Chinese medicine practitioner with a focus on fertility, female endocrinology and supporting women through every phase of life. And she is the director and founder of Angea Women's Health Clinic. Her approach is with science, and guiding her patients to ultimate health with the whole body system. She is also a master yoga teacher and the co-founder of Mindful Pregnancy Yoga Training, a modern approach to yoga for fertility, hormone balance, pregnancy and post-baby. I've personally known Amanda for a number of years and I'm always humbled by her passion and dedication to women's health. I'm so delighted when she agreed to come on as one of our first guests on the show. She works tirelessly in the field of women's health and closely with IVF patients and their medical teams, and is not only a wealth of knowledge, but one of the kindest and most authentic people I have met.

[00:02:37] So thank you so much for joining us today on the podcast Amanda -  a super, super busy mum and having your own thriving fertility and pregnancy women's wellness business, so it's such a privilege to grab a snippet of your time and you are always so generous with your time and support. So thank you and welcome.

[00:02:56] Great you. Now we've actually got time to record, don’t we. Oh, yeah, a little bit more “space,’ Okay. So we will kick straight off. As someone who has worked in pregnancy, all aspects of women's wellness,  natural fertility, and is a doctor of Chinese medicine who works so closely with IVF medical teams and has done for years,  I would really love to have your opinion on the current situation with fertility treatments, especially in light of the recent announcements of the suspension of Category 1 and Category 2 elective surgeries and just how this affects women in I guess three categories. We've got those who are currently in cycle, or currently in treatment, those who are planning to commence treatment and those who are in fertility preservation who might be needing to freeze eggs for cancer treatment, for example. So can you explain what this means for each of these groups of individuals?

[00:03:53] Absolutely. So for all we know at the moment, they've suspended IVF treatments and that is for except for those that are considered in a category one. And category one means if you're currently in an stimulated cycle or going for egg collection, then you still are able to continue with your IVF treatment, whether you do a transfer or not, a first transfer that will be decided with your IVF specialist. So at the moment, there's still negotiations going on between patients and IVF specialists. For the category tow, or those that are wanting to currently start an IVF cycle has been advised by all the IVF clinics and for the Fertility Association of Australia that we suspend those treatments at the moment, until the government gives us permission to go back in to practice again. So for those that are wanting to start your cycle, unfortunately, you're going to have to put that on hold. And I know, you know, this creates a lot of angst for everyone, particularly for our women that are of a reproductive age. For those of you, just when you're on that IVF cycle on the wheel, you just want to kind of keep the ball rolling. So it's really hard emotionally and also physically and mentally. And those in Category 3, which is the preservation of your fertility so for things like cancer patients, then you are still you still guided by your IVF specialists, but there is still the opportunity to be able to go in and freeze your eggs. So there are the three different categories. But at the moment, most IVF clinics are really trying to minimize the amount of contact that patients are having with inside the clinic. So, you know, we know that a lot of the practices have changed. And now also, too, that they are offering telehealth conferencing with those that are doing the immunosuppressant treatments that are currently still in an IVF cycle. The doctors are still seeing their patients for that majority.

[00:05:54] And so is the main M.O. here because there's increased risk to a fetus or is it mainly around preserving as much of the social distancing practices as possible so that there's not as much patient to doctor contact? Or is it to relieve the load on the healthcare system of something that's in somebodies eyes seen as I guess,  well, it is categorized as elective, obviously. But, you know, a lot of people won't feel that way about that and understandably.

[00:06:24] Yes. I mean, the thing is, it's the primary transmission is believed to occur through respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing and also too within close proximity of each other. So less than six feet distance between individuals. So whilst they're still not really sure of the transmission, it's not fully understood, but the incubation can be anywhere from three to seven days, but up to as long as two weeks. So you've seen how rapidly the virus is spreading. So what we need to do is we need to make sure that where we aren't coming into contact because of the way that the virus is spreading, it's so, so rapid in its transmission. And we just we do need to protect each other. We need to protect our health care system as well. We've seen what's happened in Italy. There's not enough medical supplies to be able to support those that are. And it goes in and it completely, well, it's pneumonia. So then it slows down the respiratory function of the lungs. So it's it is terrible, actually. And so we can't afford everyone to sick, because we can't cope. From a medical standpoint as well. And the too for the health of each other.

[00:07:31] Yeah, absolutely. And so I'm sure it is, you know, one of the most heartbreaking things to go through if you're in that sort of category at the moment. And also because I guess one of the hardest things is we just don't know when things are going to go back to normal and when treatment can be resumed. And I guess if you're in that, you know, your reproductive age is an issue, then that's going to obviously be very hard to swallow. But I think if we can yet look at it in that light that we perhaps don't have a lot of choice at the moment in terms of being socially responsible and doing everything that we can to get things under control as quickly as possible. And by observing these measures, then perhaps we can get things under control a little bit quicker.

[00:08:17] It is. And it's also, too, we don't really you know, there's no research out. There's only a couple of bits of research that have come out in terms of, you know, effects of the mother on pregnancy, which I think you've covered.

[00:08:28] We don't have a lot of data in the early period. So, you know, most of the data is coming out of China, out of Italy and a little bit out of the UK. But, you know, it's looking at more around third trimester. So they're not actually sure if there is a link because there's just not enough data. But there were some women out of China that did have pre-term birth, but that more around thirty six weeks. So not horrendous. Yeah. But there weren't 100 per cent certain of the link.

What are some practical things that you know, women experiencing perhaps this cessation of treatment or, they're in that sort of really, really unfortunate position where, you know, they're wanting to go through fertility treatment, but now that has been taken away for the moment. What are some things that they can do, I guess, to help support themselves through this period?

[00:09:16] Absolutely. And I think we're all really sort of like feeling that fear and panic. And that is even more heightened when you are in the middle of, you know, or the cessation of your IVF treatment during this time. It's really important that we maintain our mental health. And one of the most important things that we can do is just to talk about our feelings, even to our partner. It's really great that the IVF clinics are offering more of a support service. I think also, too, if we can look by meditation and regular meditation practice, even if that's just for five minutes a day, giving us an opportunity to come out of that flight or fight response, that stress away into parasympathetic where we can feel a sense of peace and calm and even breathing exercises. I think, you know, so many of us spend a lot of time in our heads and it's even more heightened during this time that simple breathing exercises give us the opportunity to then have an embodied experience rather than being our thoughts. Even just some deep belly breathing is always a great way. It helps to initiate the vagus nerve, which then calms our nervous system.

[00:10:24] And another great way is also, you know, the food that we eat. So whilst you're already on your fertility journey, don't stop. I think that people think, you know, we like oh my gosh, with what's going on, we've all been to the supermarket. We've all stocked up on lots of frozen foods that we still have an opportunity to be able to continue the way that we're eating. So don't fall off the wagon. Stay on the wagon. Stay hydrated. Still eat all your nutritious foods, making sure that you are supporting your immune system even a better opportunity. Now to add vitamin C, we know it's a common one, but it's a great one because it's a high antibacterial, antiviral. So you can get it from eating your broccoli's, which are also your cruciferous, that helps to metabolize the oestrogen, but it also helps to boost your vitamin C.. You've got strawberries, you've got capsicum. So really making sure that you are eating well and eating good food rather than your processed foods.

And another one that's really interesting is oxytocin. So whilst we're not able to be within social distancing of each other, we have an opportunity to really reconnect with our partners. And this is a big one. IVF does sometimes cause separation between partners. And so this is a great time to come back to each other. Reignite that intimacy. And when we hug and we touch, it releases oxytocin. And oxytocin is the bonding hormone.

[00:11:49] So in clinic, I've been saying that there's going to be a lot more people falling pregnant at home because guess what?

[00:11:56] You've got time to do it. Put your feet up in the air. You want to not rush. It's not like quick, hurry up. I've got to get up. I've got to go to work.

Unless. You have three children unless you have three. Or any children.

[00:12:13] It's really nice time to be able to connect back in. And I mean, that's even for those that do have children. And you need to spend more time with the kids as well. Tracking your cycle. Come back to what know, understanding when you are that you're ovulating and making the most of these opportunity, of this opportune moment where you are at home still try naturally. You know, you just never know.

[00:12:35] And, you know, I think one of the big things is understanding the importance of managing stress levels, because our sex hormones are so interlinked with our, you know, just general hormonal system around fight or flight.

[00:12:49] And, you know, all of that sort of stuff. And so, although, you know, it is a time where we might be feeling really, really stressed, it's a time to do everything that we can, especially if you're in that reproductive journey to bring yourself back into balance on a daily basis. Its a work in process all the time, isn't it?

[00:13:08] It is. Well stress releases cortisol. And we know that cortisol not only disrupts biological feedback system, which is our hypothalamus, pituitary, ovarian axis. So where it can influence ovulation and change the lengths of our cycles, it also two quarters all suppresses the immune system. So like you said, it's just really kind of maintaining our health on a daily basis. And so don't stop taking your supplements. Continue to take all these supplements that work on your egg quality, that work by supporting your hormones, get outside the best type of vitamin D, D three, and that's the one that's from the sun. So if you have an opportunity, it's also an immune modulator as well. Get outside, be in the sun and take these opportunities to really slow that down and connect back into nature. Because, you know, we are women are particularly like nature. We are like the seasons. It is a great reminder for all of us, even though we are on pause. Take advantage of this moment of pause. And sometimes I say we're having clients that are going during repeated cycle one after the other. Is that the body lacks its own natural rhythm. It's important that we come back to that natural rhythm and we give our body space to breathe in between cycles so if we can take on that mindset, change of perspective around it and go, Hey, we're on pause, but this is going to give me an opportunity for me to get my body back, for me to bring balance back into my hormones. So when I do go back, you may actually be, you know, five steps ahead instead of 10 steps backwards.

[00:14:40] Yeah, that's a great, great point. Yeah. Awesome. Okay. And you also mentioned earlier before we pressed record that you have some great resources that you can share with our audience and help them be supported throughout this period. To be able to give us the lowdown on those.

[00:14:58]  I Wrote a book a couple of years ago, a digital book called Body Baby Ready. So this book literally, it's like coming in and seeing me for an appointment. So I walk with you through each step of what's required to support you on your fertility journey. All the blood tests that are needed or your hormone tests from foods to eat, the opportune times to have sex. And it's just a beautifully done, it's got all my pearls of wisdom. It's a beautifully written book. It's like a magazine. It's easy to follow. And then also to next week at 7:30, I'm going to be doing a sister circle for anyone that's going through an IVF back or an opportunity to come together as a group and just be able to share how you're feeling in a safe and sacred space.

[00:15:39] And that's Melbourne based.So that will be 7:30 Wednesday night. I'll share the details in the show. Notes perhaps, so that if you're happy for me to share that out would be lovely, as well as the details on how they can download your e-book, which is such a lovely offer. Thank you so much. And thanks so much for your time. Thanks, Rosa. I really appreciate that.

[00:16:04] What an incredibly challenging time it is at the moment, especially for those along the fertility journey and a heart really does go out to you. I hope that some of the information provided by Amanda gives you the tiniest bit of solace. And if you'd like to grab the body baby ready guide, here are the links:

You can also follow Amanda and her team on Instagram @angea_womenshealth_clinic and find out about upcoming IVF support circles.

Teleheath counselling services are available at; 1800 111 483

IVF Australia Website: updates information daily so is a great resource to stay connected with.

We are sending out so much love to anyone out there affected by the elective surgery suspension and hope that there is a silver lining in there somewhere for you, even if it is just the knowledge that you are doing your bit to stop the spread of this crazy pandemic and supporting your fellow Australians. Please reach out to your support network and your friends and family remotely, of course, during this time. And of course, touch base with any of our interviewees for clarification or support.

[00:17:08] In episode 3, I interview the amazing Jan Ireland, founder of Midwives and Mammas Australia, veteran midwife and devoted mother and grandmother. We delve into the different roles of antenatal care, helping you to think differently about your own model of care, as well as how our current pandemic is affecting ante and perinatal care and how you can best navigate this tricky time. If you're loving what you're listening to, then please share this on social media. You can use the #mamámatters. And for more information and free resources on pregnancy and postpartum, you can jump on over to the Lenny Rose Active website: we’ve got free e-books on them from exercising pregnancy, exercising in postpartum, to hospital checklists and so much more on our Instagram and IGTV. So, you know, it really is my mission just to educate and support women throughout the pregnancy to motherhood journey. So please jump on over and check out all of those amazing free resources and we hope to catch you in the next episode. Bye!

[00:18:18] This episode is brought to you by Lenny Rose, active Australian owned three times mum and physiotherapist designed, lux active and technical wear for pregnancy to motherhood journey. You can find us on or on Instagram @lennyroseactive.

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