Exploring Fertility: A Conversation with Expert Zita West
We got to know Zita West in our latest in our ‘getting to know’ series. Zita is one of the UK’s leading authors on everything to do with getting pregnant and being pregnant.
How did you start your career?
My mother was a midwife, so I grew up around women and babies. Perhaps it was inevitable that I would become a midwife myself. That was over 40 years ago. Now I am a mother of two and a grandmother of two, and I’m still surrounded by women and babies!
What was the most rewarding part of being a midwife?
Seeing the mother when she first meets her newborn baby is such a special moment. I also used to love working in the community too and seeing new families in those first few days following.
Tell us a little bit more about your IVF clinic
Throughout my whole career I have always had an interest in natural approaches to both pregnancy and fertility, which has resulted in me combining the two using both a holistic and medical approach. I built my clinic which takes a holistic approach to fertility, pregnancy and beyond, looking at this as a 15-month programme starting with three months pre-conception, all the way through to the first three months of the postnatal period, or fourth trimester as it is now becoming known.
Why is helping new Mums important to you?
It was my own experience of terrible morning sickness throughout both of my pregnancies, as well as mild postnatal depression after the birth of my second baby. I was determined to find a more natural approach to anything on the market, which was difficult over 30 years ago with no Dr Google! What I did discover was that all of the body’s systems are linked: you need to nourish the body both physically and emotionally for it to work at its optimum level, and this is never truer than when it comes to fertility. I discovered acupuncture and found that it really helped me as a natural relief to many of the pregnancy ailments I was experiencing, and it was especially helpful for me throughout the difficult time postnatally with my son. Soon after this I trained in acupuncture with a focus on pregnancy and brought this onto the NHS at Warwick Hospital where I was working at the time. If I can help other women navigate those early days to avoid going through what I did then that’s so important to me.
What would be your top tip for anyone wanting to work as a midwife?
It is such a rewarding career though it is hard work – I feel so proud to have had this vocation and would tell anyone wanting to work as a midwife to go for it!