Top 5 tips for Christmas when trying to conceive

Dec 10, 2015 - 4:56pm

Top 5 tips for Christmas when trying to conceive

To help you through the busy upcoming Christmas period, here are our top tips on how you can prepare your body for conception.


1. Take a prenatal vitamin

It is advisable to start taking a prenatal vitamin three months before trying to conceive. This is to make sure the woman’s folic acid, iron and vitamin D stores are topped up in order to prevent birth defects.

We recommend:

Elevit pre-natal supplement, 30 tablets $27.95

2. Immunisation

When planning pregnancy, ask your GP to run a blood test to check your immunity status to Rubella. Rubella infection during pregnancy can cause birth defects such as deafness, heart problems and intellectual disability. If you are not immune, arrange for an immunisation. You will then need to wait a month after your injection before trying to conceive.

3. Healthy eating and optimum body weight

It’s common to break your normal eating habits around Christmas, although try to remember it’s best to maintain a balanced diet. Foods rich in calcium, iron and folate, such as dairy foods, fruit and vegetables, cereals, wholegrain breads, beans and lentils are vital. Being underweight or overweight can reduce the woman’s odds of conceiving, as it makes regular ovulation less likely. Strive for a healthy body weight (BMI 20-25).

4. Exercise

During the festive season exercise may be the last thing on your to do list, but it is very beneficial to your overall health, as well as preparing your body for pregnancy. Create an exercise plan that you can follow into your pregnancy.

5. Reduce alcohol and give up smoking

If you are trying to get pregnant it’s best to reduce or avoid alcohol in order to prepare your body for pregnancy. Additionally, there is no better time to stop smoking then when you are trying to get pregnant. Smoking and even passive smoking may affect a woman’s chances of getting pregnant.

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Happy Christmas shopping from Fertility Pharmacy!

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WaterWipes Review– world’s purest baby wipes

Dec 1, 2015 - 10:03pm

WaterWipes Review– world’s purest baby wipes

Once you become a mother wet wipes are an essential part of your bag. Young babies have a very delicate skin and frequent wiping of their bottom along with the chemicals used in regular baby wipes may cause irritation. Now Australian parents have a chemical-free baby wipe alternative to use - WaterWipes.


Point of difference:

Whilst most baby wipes claim to be pure, natural and suitable for sensitive skin they still contain a large list of chemicals that include preservatives and parabens. WaterWipes are a multi-award winning product that is free of all the synthetic preservatives and is produced using a patented preservation system that uses 99.9% purified water and 0.1% grapefruit extract (natural preservative).

Instructions to use:

The product is sterile before the pack is open and once the seal is broken they should be used within 4 weeks. Addition, unlike other baby wipes on the market WaterWipes have an expiry date even if unopened.

Product feel:

The wipes have no smell and feel wetter than regular wipes.  Most importantly WaterWipes do not leave a residue of unwanted chemicals on the baby’s skin when used during a nappy change.


WaterWipes are generally more expensive when compared to the other brands of wipes. Nevertheless, certain retail outlets, offer a bulk buy with a discount.

Regular sized pack: $7.50 for a pack of 60 wipes. 

Bulk buy: $82.50 for 12 packs of 60 wipes.

Sensitive skin conditions:

This is an ideal product to use on a nappy rash or when dealing with sensitive skin conditions such as eczema. I often used cotton wool and water on my baby’s red bottom instead of regular wipes in order speed up skin’s healing process. Waterwipes is a convenient alternative to that, particularly when you are on the go.

To conclude ... 

Whilst the WaterWipes are are more expensive than the other brands of baby wipes on the market, they are a chemical-free option. I would strongly recommend this product for babies with allergies and/or sensitive skin conditions.

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Please let us know if you would like to trial a free sample of WaterWipes. Check out my subscription page for more details:

We would love to hear your review of this product.

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Back or Pelvic pain during pregnancy? - Pelvic Girdle Pain explained.

Nov 27, 2015 - 5:46pm

Back or Pelvic pain during pregnancy? - Pelvic Girdle Pain explained.

Many women experience pregnancy-related low back pain and/or pelvic pain. Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP), also referred to as Pelvic Instability, is pain at the back of the pelvis, and/or pain over the pubic joint. It is important for pregnant women to understand this condition, and be aware of the treatment options, particularly if the pain is severe enough to interfere with their daily activities such as sitting, carrying and walking.


What is PGP?

PGP is inflammation of one or more of the pelvic joints. There are two joints at the back of the pelvis (sacroiliac joints) and one at the front (pubic symphysis). Sacroiliac joint (SIJ) pain is generally located between the top of the pelvis and the buttock creases. Pubic symphysis pain is usually located over the pubic bone, groin, inner thigh and/or vaginal area.

What causes PGP?

PGP is very common and

as many as 30% of all pregnant women experience PGP, which usually starts in the second trimester.

The combination of pregnancy hormones, and rapid changes in posture and body weight both contribute to PGP. Genetics and lifestyle factors such as occupation and exercise may play a role too.

Reduced pelvic stability during pregnancy

The pelvic joints are extremely stable before pregnancy and only move by about 2 degrees. During pregnancy your pelvic joints become more mobile and moves up to 4 degrees. The feeling of ‘instability’ during pregnancy comes from suboptimal muscle control or dysfunctional movement patterns.

How do I know if I could have PGP?

You may have pregnancy-related PGP if you experience pain during daily activities listed below:

  • Pain in one or both sides of the lower back/pelvic area
  • Pain over the pubic bone
  • Pain with rolling in bed
  • Pain with standing up from a chair
  • Pain whilst standing on one leg

If you suspect that you may have PGP see your physiotherapist, who will test the stability, movement and pain of your pelvic joints and muscles.

How do I treat it?

RICE management: The use of the following acronym is a helpful tip to remember what may help to decrease your pain.

Rest – horizontal rest is the only way to offload the sore joints

Ice – ice is a natural anti-inflammatory, and has a cumulative effect, so use it a lot!

Compression – support garments such as tubigrip, a pelvic support belt or pregnancy shorts may help. Beware, in some cases these garments may make it worse. Seek advice from your women’s health physiotherapist first.

Education – Talk to your physiotherapist for advice on changing your daily activities, exercise and posture to help decrease your pain. For more information, Fitwise Physiotherapy have an e-book on: PGP during pregnancy and as a New Mum: Management and Solutions 

Additional techniques that may help:

  • Manual therapy from your physiotherapist
  • Decrease the amount of walking you are doing
  • Avoid standing on one leg i.e. sit down to get dressed, avoid pushing things out of the way with your foot
  • Clinical pilates to address your biomechanics

Can I still exercise?

YES! Exercise during pregnancy is good for you and your baby. Keep it low impact and pelvis friendly and your options could include:

  • Pilates
  • Stationary cycling
  • Swimming (avoid breast stroke kick)
  • Light weights sitting on a fitball or with weight even through both feet (avoid lunges or single leg movements)

Will it go away after I give birth?

Usually the pain improves when the cause (pregnancy) has been taken away. However, the higher the pain during pregnancy, the more likely the woman will have pain after pregnancy. Therefore, it is best to see a physiotherapist as soon as you can to help keep the pain at a low level during pregnancy. Research shows that functional rehabilitation (Pilates) after birth improves your post-natal outcomes, and decreases the change of PGP with subsequent pregnancies.

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Article written by: Caitlin

Caitlin is a physiotherapist with post-graduate training in pelvic floor physiotherapy and exercise for women. She works with pregnant and post-natal women at Fitwise Physiotherapy in East Melbourne and Armadale where she loves to promote fun and safe exercise. Caitlin spends time on the maternity ward at Epworth Freemason's hospital, treats patients at Fitwise and runs exercise classes including pilates and pregnancy spin classes. Caitlin also works at the continence clinic at St Vincents public hospital. To keep fit, Caitlin enjoys yoga and running, so understands the importance getting back into exercise during and after pregnancy. For more information, visit:

What treatment measures have you found the most useful in the management of PGP?

Dec 1, 2015 - 7:22am


I had PGP in my second pregnancy and consulted Caitlin about it. She gave me a fitted band to wear, instructions on how to reduce pain in my day to day living and an exercise regime to improve the muscular tone that was supporting my pelvis. It got me through the last trimester and in my third pregnancy I proactively used her advice and was able to keep the pain at a minimum. Thank Caitlin!

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Vitamin D in conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding

Nov 23, 2015 - 6:53am

Vitamin D in conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding

The spring is here and the warm rays of the sun do more than just giving us a sun-kissed glow on the face. Sunshine if an important natural source of Vitamin D that could increase your chances of conception, as well as playing an essential role in baby’s skeletal development during pregnancy and breastfeeding.


What is the role of Vitamin D?

Your body needs Vitamin D for many functions that include: bone health, immune system and cancer prevention. One of the important roles of Vitamin D is to regulate the levels of calcium and phosphate for bone strenth.

Why is Vitamin D important in conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding?

Conception depends on multiple factors and nutritional status of both female and male is a major player. There have been numerous studies that correlate impaired fertility and low Vitamin D status in both sexes.

During pregnancy there are additional demands on a woman’s body. During this time Vitamin D requirement can increase up to 4 to 5 fold and having sufficient levels of this vitamin is important in preventing baby’s bone deformities. Vitamin D is also important post-birth in breastfed infants. If a woman has been deficient in Vitamin D throughout pregnancy and is breastfeeding, it is advised to give Vitamin D supplementation (400IU daily) drops to the newborn.

If a woman is formula feeding, however, there is no need for Vitamin D supplementation.  Fortified formula milk provides enough vitamin D for the newborn.

How do I get adequate intake of Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is aquired in three ways:

1. Sun exposure: Your body makes most of its vitamin D through the exposure to sunlight during the summer months. In the skin, ultraviolet rays will convert cholesterol precursor (7-dehydrocholesterol) to Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).

As an approximate guide, in order to get adequate Vitamin D from the sun you need to expose you face and forearms to sunlight for at least 20 minutes a day, without sunscreen. Certainly, this advice should be taken sensibly and tailored to the individual. Factors that should be taken in account are: geographical location, season, time of the day, skin tone, age and the amount of skin coverage. It is also best to avoid the strong ultraviolet exposure in the middle of the day 11am-2pm.

2. Food sources:

Dietary vitamin D may be derived from eggs, butter, mushrooms, fatty fish such as herring, tuna, makerel, salmon and sardines, beef, liver and fortified foods such as milk.

3. Vitamin D supplementation: Ostelin, OSteVit-D capsules and drops.

How do I check if I need to supplement with Vitamin D?

If you are planning to conceive or in the early stages of pregnancy, it is best look after yourself with optimal nutrition. However, in the case of Vitamin D, it is a fat-soluble vitamin and for this reason it is often difficult to derive enough from the diet alone. Moreover, due to the high prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency it is advised to check your vitamin D status in most cases with a blood test.

Vitamin D supplementation

The following Vitamin D blood level results could be used as a guide in deciding on the supplement dose:

  • Sufficient:  > 75 nmol/L
  • Sub-optimal level: 50-75 nmol/L
  • Insufficient level: 15-25nmol/L
  • Severe deficiency : < 15 nmol/L

If your levels are below 75 nmol/L, your GP or the obstetrician can advice you on the supplemental dose of Vitamin D to get to the optimal levels. Doses recommended can range from 1000-5000IU a day.

Our pick of Vitamin D supplements:

OsteVit-D Children’s Oral Drops - 15mL

OsteVit-D - 60 Capsules

Ostelin Vitamin D 1000IU - 60 Capsules

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Which supplement have you used to correct your Vitamin D deficiency?

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Top 7 Tips for Exercise during Pregnancy

Nov 20, 2015 - 7:50am

Top 7 Tips for Exercise during Pregnancy

Many women now like to exercise during pregnancy and for many there is no reason at all why they shouldn’t. There is, however, some information and knowledge that is good to have under your belt when deicing what is right for you. Making changes whilst pregnant can also benefit your post-birth recovery and rebuild.

1. Maintain rather than gain – Remember you are now in a maintenance phase rather than one of achieving any new goals or personal bests within your exercise program.

2. Rate yourself – Working to a Perceived Rate of Exertion (PRE) of seven out of 10 is recommended, with one being ‘sitting on the couch and doing nothing’ and 10 being ‘can’t possibly do any more’.

3. Stay cool – Monitor your temperature during exercise. Your internal temperature is higher than your external and your baby has no way of cooling themself down. Prolonged periods of raised temperatures may cause harm – it may be worth skipping those hot yoga sessions or spin classes for a while.

4. Low impact – Concentrate on low impact exercise at this time; some women continue to run during pregnancy and everyone is different, but now is not the time to take up running. Remember, every time you run your pelvic floor is under more stress, so if you feel any kind of weakness or incontinence it may be time to stop for a while. Some of the good low impact exercises are pilates, yoga, swimming and walking.

5. Stay stable – Be aware of changes to your center of gravity during pregnancy.  You may find that a certain exercise you have done earlier in pregnancy become more difficult as your belly gets bigger. You also should also avoid lying flat on your back after the first trimester to avoid putting pressure on the vena cava, which may decrease your blood circulation.

6. To lunge or not to lunge – This provides a point of debate amongst many fitness professionals. My advice would be that if your exercise program has contained lunges prior to you becoming pregnant, and you are fit and strong and you are not experiencing any pelvis or sciatic pain, you may be fine to continue to do lunges with a low weight through your pregnancy. Remember, however, if you start to feel any pelvic related pain or discomfort you should choose another leg exercise at this time. And certainly if you have never done a lunge before in your life, now is not the time to start.

7. Exercise is good – In most cases staying active and exercising through your pregnancy is of benefit to both mother and baby. HOWEVER, if you feel strange or unwell at any point, now is not the time to push on through. Stop what you are doing and seek the advice of your health or medical professional.

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Article written by: Jen Dugard

Mum of 2, founder of Body Beyond Baby & Tough Mums

Jen Dugard book cover

Women’s fitness trainer and an author, Jen Dugard, specialises in pregnancy exercise programs, as well as helping mothers to get back into shape post-birth. The highly motivated mother of two, is running a multi award-winning business "Body Before Baby", “Body Beyond Baby” & "Tough Mums" that provides the largest “specific to mums’” group exercise classes in Sydney. The author of “How to love your Body as much as your Baby” and a postnatal exercise DVD “Rebuild from the Inside Out”, she is a regular expert fitness contributor in various media publications on women’s fitness before, during and after pregnancy, as well as running educational workshops and presentations. Whilst pursuing her own physical fitness passion as an elite obstacle racer, Jen’s message on exercise as a mum is simple: “you must take the time to re-build from the inside out to become stronger, fitter and more confident than you have ever been”.

What exercises do you do during your pregnancy?

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