The Work of a Fertility Awareness Practitioner
Juliet Le Page shares some of her insights into the world of fertility problems and what she does to help people who come to see her.
Part of my work is as a fertility awareness (FA) practitioner so whilst this is largely working with women it does, as well, mean looking at the men too when a heterosexual couple is involved.
Another large part of my work is acting as a detective – looking at aspects of the persons medical, family and gynaecological history as well as other areas such as lifestyle, working environment, nutrition, exercise levels, sleep patterns, in fact really anything and everything that can be helping or hindering the chances of a successful conception. I then pull all the information together and identify the key components that need to be worked on together in order to make that ‘family’ dream come true.
In this blog, though, I wanted to use the space to write about another key part of my work which is the education and empowering of people through teaching fertility awareness. And as women have a far more indicators in terms of reproductive health I will concentrate on them – but any men out there reading this let me know if you would like a blog focussing on you!
So what is fertility awareness? Essentially for women it is the ability to use three natural indicators to be able to take control of their fertility as an effective method of family planning whether this be to avoid or achieve a pregnancy. Included in this is reproductive health awareness e.g. being able to use any one of the three indicators to observe their own bodies, understand its normal changes and know what is healthy and typical for them in terms of reproductive health.
Being able to identify and interpret the signs and symptoms and patterns of fertility throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle is incredibly empowering especially if you are trying to conceive or sustain a healthy pregnancy. Poor FA knowledge may contribute to fertility delays and in my clinic this is very apparent.
Think about the following research:-
A questionnaire surveyed two Australian IVF clinics. 87% of the women asked had used books and the internet to try and improve their fertility awareness knowledge. 68% believed they had accurately targeted their fertile time. Only 13% could identify their actual fertile time!!!
As a FA practitioner I, and my colleagues working elsewhere in the UK, passionately believe that fertility education should be a fundamental part of our primary care pre-conception advice when couple and individuals first report difficulties conceiving. Accurately timed intercourse on fertile days may reduce the time trying to conceive and avoid unnecessary delays or assisted fertility treatments. And even if you have to go for assisted conception being fertility aware is more than just conception – its being aware of your reproductive health for life!
Juliet is a qualified and experienced fertility awareness practitioner and consultant using the Billings Ovulation Method (BOM). An ex-chartered physiotherapist who previously worked in obstetrics and gynaecology in Edinburgh she still has many links with the medical profession and other health professionals working with fertility problems and keeps abreast of the latest developments in this field.