“The days when we used to stoically tell woman they are getting older so they should crack on are gone,” says gynaecologist Chris Lee.
“Now we take a much more holistic approach and look at women’s lives and priorities. It’s a very personal decision when to start a family, not just based on medical statistics.”
The 42-year-old has just opened a private gynaecology service at London Wellness Centre in West India Quay aimed at career woman in Canary Wharf.
Although he says there is nothing wrong with postponing motherhood until later in life, women should not brush aside problems with their gynaecological health until then.
“The danger is when people leave it until 40 and assume everything is fine but then find out it isn’t,” said Chris who runs the practice with his wife Sally.
“They might have very little time to sort things out which can be very stressful and can in itself adversely affect fertility.”
He doesn’t advise being tested as a matter of course but said it could be helpful to identify any issues earlier in life.
“Women in Canary Wharf are very career-minded and it might not be something they think about but it can help them decide about work-life balance and whether they should consider trying to get pregnant earlier or whether it gives them peace of mind they can wait a few more years.”
The father-of-three added: “There isn’t a specific cut-off point. There has been a trend over the last 20 years for women to have children later and that does carry its own health risks but gynaecologists don’t say a specific age that women should have had children by.
“It is our job to make women aware that over 40 the risks of conceiving and miscarriage do increase slightly. But it’s not like once you get to 40 your fertility drops off a cliff.”
The clinic offers a wide range of services including a full fertility check up for £400 with tests and scans to check egg reserves and issues that might affect ability to conceive. Women can get some results on their lunchbreak.
“It only takes half an hour,” said Chris who is also clinical lead in obstetrics and gynaecology at King’s College Hospital. “Normally women can leave with the reassuring information they want straight away.”
Chris said the aim was to offer flexibility so woman could address issues without disrupting their working day.
“I chose Canary Wharf because of the high number of time-poor business people here. It seemed there was a gap as before now people had to go to Harley Street or London Bridge and take half a day to do it.”
The Eve Appeal reports that there are more than 21,000 women diagnosed with one of the five forms of gynaecological cancer annually and the clinic offers cervical screenings for woman wanting the check more often than then every three years offered by the NHS.
It can also offer help on the full spectrum of women’s health issues from problematic periods to pelvic pain, sexual health and 3D and 4D scanning during pregnancy.
Chris said: “Woman often don’t understand what is available to help them. They put up with pain when they don’t have to but it can be a sign of something like endometriosis and identifying and sorting it out can improve their quality of life and help in the longer term with fertility.”
Bookings on 020 7531 4444 or online.
Your gynaecological health
-Indicators you might need to get checked out are “pain during intercourse, when you go to the toilet or around your period” said Chris.
- Pelvic floor exercise are helpful for all women. If you are diagnosed with a weakness devices can be “very effective” said Chris.
Neen’s Educator which shows if exercises are being done effectively and is available from Boots in Canary Wharf.
-NHS weight loss consultant/surgeon Dr Sally Norton said obesity is a major cause of difficulty getting pregnant. Her foods recommended for aiding fertility are:
Kale, spinach, broccoli and cabbage and pulses such as chickpeas and lentils which contain Folic Acid
Brazil nuts, seafood, egg yolk, meat and mushrooms which are all rich in selenium which is important for male fertility.
Fortified breakfast cereals and dairy or alternative products, eggs and oily fish which will help you up your vitamin D intake during winter.
Red meat, dark green leafy vegetables, pulses, eggs and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals to help you top up your iron stores used by babies during development and breast feeding.
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