Can you tell us a little bit about yourself
I am a Naturopathic, Botanical and Nutritional Medicine student who is passionate about all thing’s family health, women’s health, preconception, pregnancy and post-partum support for mummas! I have always been fascinated with babies from a young age and it brings me so much joy to work in this space and be surrounded by it day in day out. There truly is nothing more joy giving than supporting one through their preconception journey all the way through to meeting their precious little bub. I am based in Perth, Western Australia and spend most of my spare time down at the beach, camping on the weekends down south or going on hikes. I also have a great love for cooking and the simple pleasures in life like hanging out with loves ones, friends and family.
What is a Naturopath, and what do they do
A Naturopath is a holistic medicine practitioner that recognises the bodies own abilities and capacities to heal itself. We therefore, use herbal, lifestyle and nutritional suggestions to help bring the body back into alignment to support optimal health, vitality and functioning. A Naturopath takes into account everything that has happened to you in your life, to help gain a deeper understanding as to why you are presenting with certain symptoms. This helps us to identify the root cause and what is creating the underlying issue you are presenting with and will treat accordingly. Naturopaths can also support with improving overall health and vitality by identifying areas that may need more attention to help you feel your best and most empowered self.
Can you tell us about Floralia Wellness and what services are offered.
Floralia is a beautiful natural health clinic and shop in Nedlands, Perth, WA where I currently work. We have Naturopaths, Integrative Doctors, an Acupuncturist, and a Nutritionist at the clinic. Floralia Wellness adopts a considered holistic and integrative approach incorporating environmental, pathology, genetics, research nutritional, herbal and lifestyles medicine to create the best possible outcomes for you and your family. Floralia homes practitioners specialising in fertility, reproductive medicine, menopause, thyroid conditions, gut health, kids health, skin health and weight loss. We often work with new mums in the preconception phase, pregnancy phase and then post-natally helping throughout the entire process from maiden to matriarch.
We see you specialise in supporting women’s hormones and wellbeing, as well as providing pregnancy, preconception and postnatal care. Can you let us know a little more about this.
Absolutely! So supporting womens hormones and wellbeing really depends on what the individual needs at a given time to feel their best. Sometimes women may come in with feeling super stressed or anxious, they may be experiencing bloating or gut pain, they may have endometriosis, PCOS, PMDD, fibroids or heavy periods, they may suffer from hormonal acne. I meet them where they are at and listen to what they most need support with. I may then make herbal, nutraceutical, dietary and lifestyle recommendations based on scientific research and traditional evidence to support them and reduce their presenting symptoms depending on what the root cause of the issue is for them. I feel so grateful knowing what I know about the natural alternatives available to support women to feel their best.
I also work with women and their partners on improving fertility doing preconception care for both partners to support a healthy pregnancy and a healthy bub. Doing preconception work and having optimal health at the time of conception has shown to impact the health of 3 future generations! So this is a really rewarding area to be in as you are able to impact the health of our future population.
I also support women during their pregnancy and provide resources and suggestions around nutrition ensuring they are meeting their needs, managing pesky pregnancy symptoms such as heart burn and nausea as well as taking into account the nutritional demands of bub. We can then also use herbal medicine to prepare the body for birth and I can also connect these women with doulas, midwives or hypnobirthing courses depending on what they feel they need. Naturopathy is so fantastic as it really is limitless on how we are able to provide support.
Post birth this may look like helping women meet their nutritional needs and demands, making suggestions and supplying herbal medicines or nutrients to meet the energy and nutrient demands for breast feeding. We can also provide support using herbs and lifestyle advice to reduce the stress and overwhelm that sometimes accompanies having a new baby or the adjustments and changes that happen in day to day life. I often also make up natural scar healing creams for c-section births or herbal teas that can be added to baths to help with tears and to tone the tissues after a vaginal birth. The support available to women with Naturopathy is really limitless. There is nothing more rewarding that working with my patients to help them feel their best at every stage of their journey.
What can we do for our body to prepare for pregnancy.
Preparation for pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for your health, your babies health and the health of future generations. To prepare for pregnancy for optimal outcomes you need at least 4 months prior to conception but preferably 1 year to 6 months to give the eggs and sperm enough time to mature with your new health status as the ovum cycle and sperm formation takes 3-4 months prior to them being released.
To begin, we want to reduce exposure to as many toxins or chemicals as possible which can be found in most of your home care products, makeup, perfumes and sometimes water by switching to more natural alternatives. We want to ensure that the basics of great health are being achieved such as a wholefood diet with enough fibre, plant diversity and protein being achieved, at least 8 hours of quality deep sleep, limiting the use of chemical filled products, regular physical activity and a healthy weight for your body, adequate quality water intake, getting morning sunlight exposure ect.
We can also run preconception blood work to ensure that everything is okay and so that we can identify any areas that are needing to be worked on. For men, there are special nutrients and lifestyle factors of interest that are required for optimal sperm health and for women, we want to start tracking your menstrual cycle to identify your ovulation and fertility window as well as seeing where your hormones are. Having optimal female hormones and a great ovulation with the correct cervical mucus is very important and can tell us about what might need to be optimised.
What is your advice for pregnant mums, to keep hormone health at its optimum, and to eat well for baby too
Fit in what where you can and try to find healthy alternatives you can make at home of your cravings that satisfy you and are more nutrient dense if you can stomach it. For example, hot chips made with sweet and regular potato, sea salt and olive oil. You can make delicious healthy cakes and sweets at home with buckwheat flour and almond meal. Ice cold smoothies are often loved by pregnant mums and can be a great way to hide extra goodness in. Collagen powder in a great hack to boost the protein content of your meals if you are struggling to meet your daily needs. Add it to yoghurt, smoothies, sauces, porridge, curries, stews and more!
For mum’s who have just given birth, and don’t have much time on their hands, what meal would you recommend that is healthy, balancing and is quick and easy to make.
Anything that can be done in a slow cooker! You can chuck in frozen meats or beans, veggies that you have in the fridge and some spices. You can make dahls, curries, stews, stewed fruits porridge and soups. Slow cooker meals are perfect for post partum as they are warm, well cooked and full of nutrition. You can add in extras that are great for you and your baby like ghee, coconut cream, turmeric and bone broth.
Why are prebiotics and probiotics so good for mum, and baby.
Having beneficial bacteria transferred to baby via the breast milk is incredibly beneficial as it may help to reduce colicky symptoms, reduce the severity and occurrence of skin conditions, help with sleep and benefit them for the rest of their life by having a more balanced, healthier, well rounded microbiome. So, to put it simply, if mum has a healthy gut and microbiome which can be supported through the use of pre and probiotics, baby will be at a great advantage and may help to reduce common complaints and support a beneficial microbiome for baby into childhood.
Any tips to increase milk supply for breastfeeding mums
Yes! There are many fantastic things naturopaths can do and offer to increase breast milk supply for mummas. The real question we want to ask will be why you may be experiencing less breast milk? Sometimes this can be due to feeding frequency and duration or having a poor latch. This is where a referral to a lactation consultant will be valuable to help identify any areas that need addressing to have the best outcomes for mum and bub.
Outside from that we can look at the mums stress levels, her food intake and nutrition as well as using some herbal medicines to support the flow. We want to ensure that the mum is eating enough to support breast milk production and than she is getting enough macronutrients such as protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats as well as many of the crucial micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
Getting a meal catering service may be a life saver for mums with busy hands to ensure that you are meeting your needs. Some herbal medicines can be utilised during this time as teas, decoctions or liquid extracts to improve milk production. Such herbs include fenugreek (careful as too much can change the flavour of your breast milk!), fennel (this one is fantastic! Great for colicky babies too), St Mary’s Thistle, Vervain (great for when you are feeling more stressed), goats rue, shatavari, chamomile, alfalfa and ginger. You can also add these herbs and spices into your cooking to boost your intake.
Can you tell us your favourite products for pregnant mums and mums who have just given birth.
The range by Mere have some fantastic products for helping mum recovery like bath salts, nappy cream, perineal ice and heat packs, breast ice and heat packs and so on. In naturopathy we can also provide safe herbs for mum if she struggles with sleep or the stress that sometimes accompanies such life changes. We can also create creams for treating mastitis, or nappy rash. As well as breast milk tonic herbs to increase supply.
This article has been written by Amy Parin, a Naturopath. This article has been written with no intention of being a substitute for medical advice, always consult your doctor first.