With a roll call of A-list clients including Kate Winslet, Stella McCartney, Jemma Kidd, Cate Blanchett, Anne-Marie Duff and Sophie Wessex, who all visited during their pregnancies, leading fertility and pregnancy expert Zita West is the go to guru on the subject. As a practicing midwife, acupuncturist and nutritional advisor, Zita has a loyal and sophisticated following amongst women looking for alternative treatments and practical support during one of the most exciting and daunting times of their lives.
What is your passion?
I think my work is my passion, I find it very hard to get other interests, which is actually my New Year’s resolution! My work moulds who I am and I have many wonderful clients and great friends in the industry. I live and breathe fertility and pregnancy every day.
What is your life philosophy?
I try to apply the same philosophy to my life as the ‘pearls of wisdom’ I give out to my clients; I think the hardest thing for anyone is getting a balance and staying on middle ground. In my professional life I balance technology, science and medicine with holistic practices, and personally I believe in moderation: balancing the things that we know are good for us with the things that make us happy and relaxed.
You have created a range of supplements for pre and post-natal care. With so many products available, why is your range different?
As I’m still working in the industry and seeing clients, I’ve personally been able to put a lot of work into formulating these products, ensuring the needs of the clients I see can be met. I have always had a huge interest in nutrition, and although we should have a balanced diet and meet our nutritional needs from food, the way we live our lives today (stress, bad diet, too little sleep and too much alcohol etc) depletes the body of vital nutrients needed for fertility.
The multivitamins and minerals I have created for fertility, ensure you are getting the key nutrients needed, creating a hormonal balance and boosting your reserves for pregnancy. The pregnancy range, Vital Essence, has been developed to meet the growing needs of your baby through the different trimesters of pregnancy, to help maximise mother and baby’s potential as for both change trimester by trimester. I really believe the foundations to a healthy pregnancy are laid down prior to getting pregnant, in the months leading up to a pregnancy. Your baby doesn’t rely on what you have in any one day, it relies on your reserves, so you can influence and determine the future health of your baby, not only for the nine months of pregnancy, but for life.
What is your hero product, and why?
Revital Essence – I take it every day. It has been formulated for women who have just had a baby, but I find it a great product for general health.
Your latest book, ‘Your Pregnancy Companion’ is a comprehensive guide to pregnancy, birth and the first weeks of parenthood. I think that this book is a modern-day ‘Dr Spock’ and a must-have for all parents. Although it has only just been published, what are people saying about it and what do you hope the book will achieve?
I really enjoyed writing this book. Being a midwife and having lots of friends who are midwives, I could draw on their expertise. It made me reflect over my life as a midwife and how much practice had changed over the years. The section that I’m really interested in is ‘Mind, Body, Baby’; we understand so much more now about life in the womb and how we can influence this emotionally, physically and spiritually.
“Zita is often referred to as a fertility and pregnancy guru … that’s exactly what she is.” Kate Winslet
“Zita’s support and advice helped me through the early days of my pregnancy, and this book will be a great companion to all pregnant women.” Natasha Kaplinsky
“Zita is a truly special woman. Her understanding and passion about all aspects of pregnancy and childbirth are second to none.” Ann-Marie Duff
“Pregnancy is a notoriously tricky time – most reference books deal only with worries and concerns in a traditional way. What every woman needs at a time like this is a confidante. Zita West is just that and more.” Ulrika Jonsson
You also have three CD’s, Getting Pregnant Naturally, Relaxation for Pregnancy and Three Guided Relaxation and Positive Visualisation Sessions for IVF. Do you recommend that these are used as stand-alone aids, or should they be used in conjunction with your books, most especially ‘Zita West’s Guide to Fertility and Assisted Conception’?
Many women get a lot of benefit from these CDs as stand-alone aids, and I’m a passionate believe in visualisation. Because I feel so strongly about the connection with the mind and body, many women have emotional blocks that prevent them from conceiving, so the CDs can sit alongside the books very well as a comprehensive guide.
What are your top tips for infertility?
- It sounds obvious but have sex! It’s amazing how many people underestimate the importance of this, but you should be having sex at least three times a week.
- Watch your relationship; it’s easy for divides to happen when trying for a baby, especially after a long period of time.
- A healthy mind set. Ensure you are positive and don’t have any emotional blocks stopping you conceiving, if you do then look into this to ensure you’re in as positive a state of mind as possible.
- Nutrition. This is a key building block of fertility and by giving careful consideration to what you eat, and making changes where necessary, can really boost your chances of getting pregnant.
What are your five tips for a healthy baby?
Ensure your body (and baby) are receiving nutrient rich foods alongside multiple vitamins and minerals that contain folic acid, vitamin d and the essential fatty acids omega 3 and DHA.
2. Manage your stress levels
Managing your stress levels early in pregnancy will help your baby manage his orher stress in utero.
3. Build up your energy reserves
Building up your reserves of energy in the lead up to labour will not only get you through labour but help in the early days of parenthood. I believe many mothers-to-be work far too long into their pregnancy, but if this is something you can’t avoid, then ensure you get enough sleep, or try mediation or yoga to help with both your energy reserves and mind-set.
4. Mind, body, baby
Try and gain a greater understanding of what your baby senses in utero, as whatever emotion you are feeling, your baby will be too. Stimulate your baby by talking to him; communicate your hopes and fears taking 20 minutes a day to really be with him. Put your feet up and relax, maximise the opportunities that you have to give your baby the very best start in life – and enjoy the incredible experience of creating and nurturing a new life.
5. Talk to each other
Talk about how are you both going to be as parents. Think about what you liked and disliked about the way you were brought up and how you can you help each other in the early days following the birth.
How would you describe your legacy?
I feel very proud to have brought the combination of fertility and holistic therapy to where it is today, especially as when I started, acupuncture and complimentary therapies were nowhere near as highly regarded as they are now.