She's been described as the godmother of fertility—and the rows and rows of photographs of smiling parents with babies hanging on the walls in Zita West’s West London office certainly support that claim. In 1992, the pregnancy expert and practicing midwife set up the Zita West Clinic, and has since helped thousands of parents to conceive with a combination of complementary therapies and modern science. West has also helped high-profile clients, such as Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, Stella McCartney and Sophie West throughout their pregnancies. West talked with JustLuxe, offering advice for couples looking to become pregnant in 2014.
JustLuxe: What made you get into this field?
Zita West: When I started my career working as a midwife, I found that lots of people started to ask for help getting pregnant. I also was very interested in Chinese medicine and trained in acupuncture, so it was a natural progression for me to go down this route. I just can't believe how popular acupuncture has become 25 years later!
JL: What's the one essential piece of advice you offer couples?
ZW: For couples trying to conceive, dealing with uncertainty is really difficult. Helping them with advice around sex and fertility awareness, as well as how to balance their lifestyles with work/life balance, is also really important.
JL: Is there a common problem you see when treating couples? If so, what is it?
ZW: When it comes to unexplained fertility, one of the biggest issues is the age of the couples trying to conceive, and delaying pregnancy. There are lots of different reasons for couples to wait to have children (meeting the right person, career, etc.), but this does affect the chances of fertility.
JL: What are the main lifestyle factors that affect couples trying for a baby?
ZW: Working long hours as well as anxiety and stress affect so many people and really cause issues for fertility. Weight (over and underweight) is an issue that many people don't realize can impact fertility to a great extent. Then there are the usual factors that people find difficult to give up but really should if they can, such as alcohol and cigarettes. I find that if my couple can get into the right mindset and stop worrying, as well as taking their lifestyle into account, then the success rates go right up.
An initial consultation with Zita West at her clinic in London starts from £175 (approx. $285).