My husband and I have always known we wanted to start a family one day. The majority of my life I had taken conceiving and having children for granted. It wasn’t until I learnt of my sister’s struggle with conception and her diagnosis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome that I started to consider that I may also have some difficulty. More red fags appeared when, after stopping oral contraception, I did not have the return of my menstrual cycle or ovulation.
It was found that I too have PCO and, whilst they couldn’t determine if it was the syndrome or not, there was little possibility of conceiving naturally, especially as it appeared I would need help to ovulate.
It wasn’t until I was having a conversation regarding gut health, and how it affects your whole body, with Catherine (Oates-Smith) that I came to think that there was perhaps another avenue I could explore. I was particularly drawn to the advice that I see to any problem before I conceive to ensure I don’t pass any “intolerances or allergies” on to my baby through poor gut ESTELLE’S STORY 24 microbiome.
My relationship with food has always been a bad one, if something didn’t make me throw up it would send me running to the bathroom or huddled over in pain. I spent many months discussing this and other problems with my GP before, with the help of a gastroenterologist and tests, it was determined that I have acute Irritable bowel syndrome.
I immediately started the FODMAP diet to ensure I could maintain and treat my symptoms and repair my gut fora before trying to have a baby. Little did I know that within months of starting and vigilantly following the FODMAP diet, not only was my health the best it had ever been, but my cycle and ovulation returned of its own accord. When my husband and I decided to start trying for our family we fell pregnant with a healthy baby girl within the first cycle.
After having seen the scans of my ovaries from prior to starting the FODMAP diet, and knowing my success with conception, I can only attribute this to following the diet and maintaining a healthy and balanced stomach/digestive system. Throughout my pregnancy and nursing I continued to follow my diet whilst finding within its limitations things that I could eat to properly nourish my growing baby and still ensure the microbiome that I passed on to her would be as healthy as possible. I do not wish my daughter to struggle as I have with both food and her cycle and hope that through my awareness and actions she will benefit.