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Filtering by Category: Preconceptual care

Is Stress Zapping your Fertility Hormones

Aisling FitzGibbon

Is stress zapping your fertility hormones?.png


Women are biologically and emotionally different to men. However, as women, we’ve been made to perform in a society that has elevated the masculine at the expense of the feminine. While I acknowledge the incredible work achieved by past generations of women to earn us equal rights, financial empowerment and the freedom to work in areas previously dominated by men, it has come at a price. That price is our health when women are called to work in testosterone fuelled environments whose pace doesn’t suit our natural rhythms.

Stress sends the body the message it’s in danger and in response, cortisol and adrenaline are produced. Now this would be very beneficial if you were being chased by someone in a dark alley because it would give you the fuel to run quicker to get out of danger. When the danger is over the stress hormones would decrease and you'd be able to relax. What's happening with women is their stress hormones are continuing to stay high and this affects their ability to conceive.

Women’s bodies are particularly susceptible to the effects of stress on their sex hormones. Cortisol suppresses ovary function and reduces oestrogen and progesterone secretion. Reproduction is not on the body’s to do list when it's running on stress hormones. The stress could be due to working in a high performance competitive environment where being constantly on high alert is needed to get the job done.  

Some women are crushed from the expectation of having it all. Women are outperforming men at universities but once in the workplace are expected to combine a high-flying career with motherhood. Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a sleep, stress and energy expert, says that her clinic is filled with professional women who are finding it difficult to do everything. This is because the female body has specific needs and rhythms and when these are not met, health problems such as adrenal exhaustion, anxiety, infertility and weigh gain can manifest.  Women are more susceptible to stress levels. It has been proven by scientists at Ohio State University that emotional and physical pressures can double the risk of infertility in women.

How do I know if my cortisol levels are out of whack?

Cortisol levels tend to peak between 6-8 am which helps us to get up in the morning and get going for the day.  However, if you’ve been exhausted and have had trouble sleeping then your levels could be too low in the morning making you feel sluggish and groggy. If during the day you are exposed to stressful events then the adrenal cortex will pump out cortisol in response.

High Cortisol can cause

·        Rapid weight gain

·         High blood pressure

·        Impaired ability to absorb the necessary vitamins and minerals from food

·        Blood sugar imbalances

·        Poor sleep

·        Hormonal imbalance leaving to irregular periods or cessation of periods

·        Cravings for high calorific foods causing weight gain especially around the belly

·        Insomnia, if cortisol continues to remain high at night when it should naturally lower

If the stress response continues then cortisol levels lower.

Low Cortisol can cause  

·       Feelings of exhaustion not relieved by rest

·       Jittery feelings

·       Mood changes & depression

·       Low back ache

·      Chronic inflammation leading to autoimmune disorders

·      Weight loss

·      Poor bladder capacity

·      Cravings for salty foods

·      Infertility as progesterone is now used to make cortisol

How I work

As stress makes it less likely for a woman to conceive, I use my Occupational Therapy skills to teach my clients how to create work life balance to reduce stress levels. I show them how to get in touch with their natural rhythms to optimise their energy levels. The word progesterone means “for gestation” which means that women need this hormone to become  pregnant and to stay pregnant. I offer tailor made nutritional programmes with foods and supplements to support adrenal health and reproductive health.

I help create the pillars of health my clients need to regain their health and fertility. I offer saliva testing to check cortisol levels and solutions to naturally balance these levels. I use the tools of Fragrance Alchemy to help balance the hormonal system and to unblock the emotional stressors that may be contributing to their problems with conceiving.

If you are interested in working with me then please fill in my clarity call application form. I look forward to connecting with you.




Infertility. Your Call to Incredible Transformation

Aisling FitzGibbon

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The desire to have your own baby can be all consuming so when it doesn’t happen as quickly as planned many couples opt for invasive procedures without addressing the underlying reasons for infertility in the first place. There is a tendency into wanting what we want when we want it so rather than exploring alternative options many couples rush into treatment. Bamboozled by statistics that show declining fertility with age, there is a fear that if they don’t do something right now, it might never happen and that the baby they so long for will never arrive. 

The patriarchal culture, following the current medical model seeks to regulate and control the body. This is no different when it comes to reproduction. Too often the IVF route is being prompted as the most viable option when a couple present with fertility problems. Most people who undergo IVF have no clear idea of why they need it as they embark on this expensive procedure. It can cost anywhere from 5000 to 20, 000 euros, depending on the number of attempts the woman has to undergo to get pregnant. While medical interventions offer much needed hope, studies show that they also add to the grief and stress that couples already experience from infertility. These interventions do nothing to address the underlying health reasons of infertility. Some women do not respond well to IVF and the percentage success rates depends on the mother’s age and whether or not, she is using donor eggs.

How I work

Some women get pregnant the first time they try. Others need to take an initial detour as their body invites them to transform. Fertility cannot ever be seen in isolation as it is an extension of our health. Infertility is a wake -up call to heal ourselves and come home to ourselves, before we embark on the sacred journey of parenthood.

I go on a journey of discovery with my clients to uncover the underlying physical, mental and emotional reasons that are preventing conception. I work in 4-6 month packages where we have a weekly online consultation and email support. These weekly sessions hold you accountable to your journey and support your engagement with the process.

As a Nutritionist, I use diet and supplements to optimise your energy levels. I use foods and supplements to address deficiencies/excess while concentrating on boosting your fertility. I address adrenal health, methylation pathways and thyroid function.

As an Occupational Therapist, I address the necessary lifestyle changes that help manage and protect your energy. I use relaxation techniques to reduce stress hormones that compromise pregnancy hormones. I introduce emotional release tools to dissolve negative emotions such as fear to put you into the best possible heart space.

The changes we make together are implemented easily into your life on a weekly basis. It is my privilege to facilitate this journey and to turn infertility into lessons on fertility that take you closer to your goal of becoming a parent. 

If you are interested in working with me then please fill in my clarity call application form. I look forward to connecting with you. 





Wisdom for Mum To Be

Aisling FitzGibbon

I was contacted by Kathleen O'Hara Farren a mum of three who wanted to pass on her wisdom to me and you about preparing for pregnancy.

Kathleen has 3 children. Her first birth was a hospital birth, her middle birth was a home birth and her last birth was a hospital birth but she has shifted into the perception that she was home in her body.

We are so used to self-care on our external self, however the internal self needs us to give so much love to. Keep going back to beautiful words and tell yourself this is a loving experience. Love carries you through no matter what way it unfolds.

Take care of your food, your physical self, your attitudes and exercises but please don’t give yourself a hard time.

You realise support is coming from everywhere. There is more than you and your baby. Miracles start to happen. Opportunities arise that give birth to greater opportunities that lead to where you need to be.

Positive framework:

I’m not in control but I’m in control of me. I’m going to do it the best I can.

Tips for Mum to be:

Talk to people who have had healthy birth experiences. Seek out woman who have had natural births in local breast feeding groups.

Create a birth plan and practice saying with strength “Have you seen my birth plan”.

Get in sync with your hips and spend time in the wild – near the river and the ocean to connect with your inner wild woman.

The moment of birth is a cosmic connection. Pregnancy is a sacred time. 

Listen to who you want to hear and seek them out.

Beauty, love, respect, strength and wildness.

Practice hip dancing, the more relaxed you are the better. During your labour create a cave like experience either with your room or in your imagination.

Recommended reading/watching:

Reducing fear of Birth in U.S Culture TED talk by Ina May Kaskin


Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin


Ina May Guide to Childbirth    




Kathleen welcomes visits to her website of emerging education online learning and mobile cultural emergence classes are being planned. If you mention you heard about Kathleen on Aisling’s Holistic Health show, she will offer you special rates.

My work in Preconception care chose me

Aisling FitzGibbon

When I finished school I really had no idea what to do. I had filled out a university application in my final year and ticked a few courses I felt might suit me.  I ended up doing a BA degree in Early Childhood studies in University College Cork. I learned about the psychology of early childhood, the physiology of early childhood and early years education. I had work experience in multiple settings- an ABA school and a special needs primary unit. When I saw the role that Occupational Therapy played in helping children with special needs I decided this was a career I wanted to pursue.

I found myself in Salford University in Manchester studying for a BsC degree in Occupational Therapy that required a return to the UK. I found this to be a stressful time but I persevered as I felt that this was going to be my future career. I enjoyed the course and learned a considerable amount but experienced the limitations of Occupational Therapy when working in a mental health setting with teenagers.  The setting was not conducive to health as it was hospital policy at the time to reduce budgets by cutting fruit out of the menu! The teenagers were heavily drugged with antipsychotic medication that was destroying their physical body. Their symptoms were being controlled but as the song says “the drugs don’t work, they just make it worse.” I felt that my work there was in a palliative capacity with little scope to bring about any real change. One day I was attacked by a young girl who tried to rip my hair out and who had to be restrained and knocked to the ground by a staff member. I felt despair for these young people who seemed to have nothing to look forward to as they were being kept in a zombie state by medication. The root cause of their illnesses were not addressed and it was a work environment that didn’t suit me. I felt unwell being there. 

The summer after my second year of Occupational Therapy training, I met a shaman who was visiting our home. Although I only said hello to her, she looked at me and said that whatever I was training in, I would not end up working in. She asked me to look into quantum physics. I just thought of Stephen Hawking and placed no further heed on what she said. At that time I had envisaged myself as an Occupational Therapy manager in a hospital setting of my choice.

My own problems with low energy and anxiety/depression prompted me to take matters into my own hands after I qualified as an Occupation Therapist and to finally look into the root cause of why I was feeling the way I did. I sought the help of Nutritionist Barbara Wren whose education and information changed my life. Using diet, supplements and detoxification techniques my energy was restored and I decided that as I had experienced such powerful transformation, that I wanted to study Nutritional Therapy. I trained as a Nutritional Therapist in the College of Natural Nutrition.

It seemed as though one path lead onto another and I was led to study the Gut and Psychology Syndrome with Dr Natasha Campbell Mcbride, a pioneer in the treatment of conditions such as autism, ADHD and neurodevelopmental issues. My mind was opened to the healing power of gut health for conditions there were untreatable in the conventional medicine field. I went to an Autism seminar in Edinburgh where I listened to Dr Martha Herbert, who along with other doctors were beginning to realise that autism was a reversible condition and that the younger the child is treated the greater the chances for full recovery.

Although I had wanted to train with Dr Bill Walsh, author of Nutrient Power and expert on the causes of depression, it seemed that his training in 2015 was only limited to medical doctors. This year I felt inspired to look up training with Dr Bill Walsh for Nutritional Therapists and there was a course in Dublin for nutritionists to train with him. When I contacted Niamh Burke, the nutritionist who was organising the event she told me there was one place left! My wish to train with Dr Bill Walsh was granted showing me the miraculous power of the universe when we are on our life’s path.

Dr Bill Walsh is a colossuses of a man, whose knowledge and experience of mental health conditions further elucidated my understanding. He explained the importance of identifying the methylation status of each client as this is what would determine the treatment of mental health problems. In his extensive research and evaluation of methylation status, Dr Bill Walsh became convinced that most parents of children with autism exhibited symptoms of undermethylation, including high accomplishment, obsessive compulsive traits, attention to detail and seasonal allergies. He felt that if both parents possessed the same methylation imbalance, epigenetic abnormalities were far more likely.

By 1999 Dr Bill Walsh had collected blood and urine samples from over 50,000 children with autism. He discovered the presence of zinc and selenium deficiencies, copper overload, B6 deficiency and elevated toxic metals. Subsequent research by Dr Jill James, Dr Richard Deth and others showed that undermethylation is a distinctive feature of autism. It would seem that the low methyl levels in utero and in the foetus itself increases the likelihood of genetic errors which in turn increases the vulnerability to toxic metals and to oxidative stress.

We inherit from our parents our chromosomes which are 50% composed of DNA while the other 50% is made up of protein molecules that carry epigenetic markers that determine which genes get turned on and turned off. The environment in the mother’s womb alters the development of the foetus. Epigenetic changes can be caused by one’s diet and supplements and can echo far into our future generations. What a mother eats and drinks, along with the supplements she takes prenatally can affect the future health of her children.

Statistics from the CDC show that in 1982 one child in 2,200 had autism and yet by 2013 one in 50 have autism. Other childhood illnesses such as allergies, asthma and ADHD are also on the rise. Yet many of these conditions are preventable if we work on parents before children are born.  The preconception time is the best time to make dietary changes, to improve digestive health, to eliminate allergies and to detox from chemicals. It is also the best time to rectify any methylation issues that can have a negative effect on the health of the baby. Could it be that the most important protective measures against autism may be those taken prior to conception. I think so.

I work in preventative health care because this is an area I feel has the most positive effects – to promote the health of the next generation by working on the health of the mother to be beforehand. By providing a healthy environment for the incoming baby, a woman is giving her child the best possible chance to be healthy and strong. She also is making sure that she will be healthy and well postnatally. It is an honour and a privilege for me to be able to do this work.

How I work

I work in a 12 week programme. This time is needed to bring about the necessary changes and to get my client started on the road to wellness prior to conception. During the programme we ascertain your methylation status and based on results I create a tailor- made nutrition plan. I work on introducing dietary changes that fit in with your lifestyle and also suggest specified supplements to rectify any deficiencies. I introduce detox techniques to reduce minerals in excess and toxic metals. I look at improving adrenal, gut and thyroid health, all crucial prior to conception. I address blood sugar imbalances to help prevent reactive hypoglycaemia and gestational diabetes. I show how to reduce chemical exposure in the home and in make-up and hair care products. Lifestyle issues such as exercise and stress reduction are included to help  reduce stress hormones in the body.

The reason I work in 12 week programmes is to provide the necessary structure, support and framework for the changes to take place. Each week builds on the previous week so that we can get to the root cause of the symptoms that are showing up in your body. There also needs to be time to integrate the information so that it becomes your default setting. The weekly session provides accountability and the opportunity to move through any self – sabotage that comes up as you move from the known to the unknown.  

If you are interested in working closely with me prior to pregnancy then please fill in my clarity call application and we can get started on your preconceptual care programme. 

Babies are a gift from God 

Babies are a gift from God 

Why I Choose Organic Hair Dye

Aisling FitzGibbon

 A woman’s hair is a lifelong industry centring on the latest styles, and a myriad of vibrant colours. It's an industry that us women subscribe to because we want to look beautiful. We want that feeling of having our dull and lanky hair transformed into a bouffant of colour and glory. A visit to the hairdressers with its intimate setting, prompts a sharing of our lives, even the unburdening of life’s problems. It makes us happy but does that happiness come at a price?

When faced with a cancer diagnosis at the age of 28, Mette struggled to find out why. Her family had always been healthy, she didn’t smoke and she ate well. The lump in her breast set Mette on a journey of wellness that got her questioning everything we put into our body and what we put on our body. That included hair dye,a substance most women would find difficult to do without today, me included. 

Mette started with exploring safer shampoos and later on looked at producing a hair dye that wasn’t toxic to the women using it in their salon and to their customers. Natulique, an organic hair dye was born. The rest is history as salons now in 45 countries stock their colours. The ingredients in the dyes are made from renewable sources with 95% of ingredients coming from a natural source. They are paraben free, non GMO, with no microbeads or fillers. As much as possible they are biodegradable.

So does hair dye cause health problems?

It depends on what studies you read. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organisation who have said that workplace exposure as a hairdresser is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” This was based on data from cancer studies on bladder cancer. The National Toxicology Program ( NTP) has not classified exposure to hair colours as cancer causing.

The toxic chemicals that may be cancer causing and should be avoided, especially in pregnancy are PPD  (para phenylenediamine) Hydrogen peroxide, Ammonia, Parabens, Resorcinol, lead Acetate and DMDM Hydantoin. Mothers to be should not be exposed to breathing in the fumes associated with typical hair treatments. It is recommended by doctors that women stay clear of toxic compounds such as ammonia and hydrogen peroxide for at least the first three months of pregnancy. The reason for this is that some chemicals may be linked to physical birth defects or genetic defects in the foetus. According to the American Cancer society, the Harvard School of Public Health and the American Journal of Epidemiology there is an association between using synthetic chemical dyes and certain types of cancers.

The Solution

I know I’m not taking any chances and have decided that the only hair colours I use come from Natulique. They are organic and chemical free which fits in with my green lifestyle. I had my hair done two weeks ago at a lovely salon in Dublin called Hermans who is using shampoos, conditioners and colours from the Natulique range. Speaking to Mette, one of the owners of the Natulique company, is refreshing as she is so passionate about her products. The vision of her company is for organic and sustainable cosmetics and products to become part of everyday life to enhance people’s lives and the environment. None of her products are tested on animals. Hurrah for pioneering entrepreneurs like Mette. 

Before getting my hair coloured by Natulique my roots had really grown out

Before getting my hair coloured by Natulique my roots had really grown out

My hair feels beautiful and in great quality after having highlights by Natulique. 

My hair feels beautiful and in great quality after having highlights by Natulique. 

Safety tips for colouring hair in pregnancy

Avoid having your hair coloured in the first trimester.

Choose a semi- permanent over a permanent dye

Wear gloves if colouring your own hair

Get highlights instead to avoid contact with the scalp

Request your own hairdresser to start using Natulique.

If you are a hairdresser based in Ireland and would like to move over to using Natulique in your salon you can contact Catriona at Simply Natural

For more great interviews with change makers join my Free Facebook Group Energy is Your Currency Community where I share a weekly interview and blog every Tuesday. 




Results of my own blood tests using the Bill Walsh Protocol

Aisling FitzGibbon

Last week I got my test results from the Biomnis lab that uses Dr Bill Walsh’s protocol for testing methylation status, mineral and vitamin deficiencies and minerals in excess. I must say it was a bit like receiving exam results in the post. Although I have worked extensively on myself using nutrition and supplements I wanted to see if there was anything I had overlooked and if there were any improvements needed. It seemed there was….

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