Bites Health Clinic

Joining our space, is an accredited dietitian Fiona McHenry from Bites Health Clinic.

Bites Health Clinic opened in 2010. They are currently situated in Sydney and have various satellite locations in Sydney. The Bubble is excited to offer the opportunity for another satellite location in the heart of Launceston.

Bites Health believe that everyone has the ability to change their lifestyles and take control of their health. At Bites, they'll find you an enjoyable, and easy way to do that. They are all real people who love food and exercise, and are also in the know with the latest food and exercise science, combining both to help you find a way of living that you love and that helps you reach your health goals!

Fiona will be able to advise on the following topics:

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a complex hormonal condition characterised by hyperandrogenism, anovulation and/or polycystic ovary morphology. In PCOS, there are abnormally high amounts of ovarian follicles. PCOS ovaries are also enlarged. PCOS is associated with hyperandrogenism (increased circulation of androgen levels such as testosterone), irregular menses, infertility, polycystic ovaries, insulin resistance, increased luteinizing hormone and decreased sex hormone. Symptoms of PCOS usually begin to occur in teenage years. Symptoms can vary in their severity and can change with age and weight fluctuation. PCOS affects between 6-18% of women at the reproductive age.

The cause of high levels of insulin and/or the male hormone known as ‘androgens’ is unclear. PCOS currently has no cure; management of symptoms is the current treatment. Altering lifestyle factors can assist in weight loss for obese and/or overweight women, which can help to relieve some symptoms of PCOS.

Bites Dietitians can provide you with dietary prescriptions (meal plans) and ongoing support to help you improve the symptoms of your PCOS. We’re also here to help you answer all the questions you may have from both a practical and an evidence-based perspective.

Eating “sugar” eg. chocolate, cakes, lollies etc does not directly cause PCOS but eating too many of these foods may contribute to weight gain.

Fertility

Fertility is the natural ability of a man and woman to produce offspring. Preconception health is the overall health status of a woman before becoming pregnant. Factors affecting fertility may be genetic, environmental or behavioural.

Having difficulties conceiving is relatively common; 1 in 6 couples experience difficulties conceiving. Infertility is usually defined as the absence of conception after 1 year of regular unprotected intercourse. However, there are modifiable lifestyle factors that can have an impact on your fertility.

Both men and women can use nutrition to improve their fertility and chances of becoming pregnant. There are different aspects of diet that men and women should focus on. Men should focus on the components of their diet that impact their sperm quality. Women can focus on consuming adequate nutrients and healthy weight management. Maintaining a healthy weight prior to conception helps to regulate hormones associated with ovulation and pregnancy, this is inclusive of whether your weight falls under and over the healthy weight range.

Healthy body weight is important for both men and women when trying to conceive. Losing 5-10% of body weight can help to regulate hormones related to sperm production and ovulation.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy is the term used to describe the period of time in which the foetus develops in woman’s uterus. Pregnancy usually lasts for about 40 weeks. Pregnancy is made up of three stages known as trimesters. In each trimester there are key milestones that the foetus undergoes as it develops from an embryo. Exercise recommendations and dietary requirements vary throughout the trimesters of pregnancy and Bites Dietitians can step you through these to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy for both mother and baby.

Nutrition is an important factor for maternal health and foetal growth and development. Foods consumed during your pregnancy will impact’s nutritional status not only whilst they are developing in utero but can form part of their life long programming.

Changes to diet at different stages of pregnancy can impact development that can permanently alter foetal metabolism and physiology. This change can increase the risk of offspring developing metabolic, cardiovascular and/or endocrine disease later in life eg. hypertension.

Nutrient demands vary throughout each trimester, and Bites Dietitians can ensure that your intake matches these changing demands. There is also certain food you need to avoid completely or eat with caution whilst pregnant. Bites Dietitians can provide you with detailed knowledge on foods that are safe and foods that are not safe to consume.

Gaining weight at the recommended levels is important for both the health of mum and baby and is associated with improved maternal outcomes such as pre-eclampsia and less chance of an instrumental birth or complications during delivery. Weight gain is expected during pregnancy however, about 50-60% of women do not gain weight within the gestational weight gain guidelines. More than often weight gain is exceeded.

The term “you’re eating for two” is a myth. Energy requirements do not increase much throughout the course of pregnancy. You are not required to increase your energy intake at all during the first trimester and as the pregnancy progresses, there’s only a 15% increase by the end of pregnancy.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. For most women, the condition will improve following delivery of the baby however for some women, high blood glucose levels remain post partum. It is usually diagnosed around 24 – 28 weeks of gestation when an oral glucose tolerance test is performed and higher than normal blood glucose levels begin to appear. Interestingly, Gestational diabetes is the fastest growing type of diabetes in Australia, affecting thousands of pregnant women. Between 12% and 14% of pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes.

The exact cause of gestational diabetes is yet be defined, however, there are risk factors that have been recognised to contribute to the development of gestational diabetes. These risk factors include:

  • age (>35 years)
  • increasing insulin resistance of pregnancy
  • member of a high-risk population (Aboriginal, Asian, African, South Asian or Hispanic decent)
  • family history of diabetes
  • increased parity
  • metabolic syndrome
  • overweight and obesity.

Gestational diabetes should be treated promptly as it is time sensitive.

Bites Dietitians can help you manage and/or reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Each individual case varies, and no two pregnancies are the same. Depending on your individual circumstances, the meal plan may focus on risk reduction i.e. reducing the risk of developing gestational diabetes in high risk populations through dietary prescription. If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, management goals would be to ensure blood glucose levels are maintained, throughout the pregnancy; maternal weight gain is appropriate and nutrient intake is adequate to support optimal growth and development of your baby. Bites Dietitians can also assist in post-natal healthy eating and lifestyle strategies to reduce risk of gestational diabetes in future pregnancies as well as reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

You don’t need to cut out sugar to manage your gestational diabetes! A very common misconception for mums is that a diagnosis of gestational diabetes means restricting foods they love and at a time where morning sickness and pregnancy cravings are high, this can be a really unhelpful belief!

Post Natal Health

The Post-natal period is the time after childbirth.

Bites Dietitians can help you in a number of ways after giving birth:

Maternal recovery after birth
There are lots of events during pregnancy, complications during labour and issues post birth such as severe blood loss (haemorrhage), infection, trauma, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and hyperemesis gravidarum that can leave your body deficient in key nutrients such as iron, zinc, folate, calcium and more. Bites Dietitians will listen to your story and design a meal plan to get your body back on track and functioning at its best!

Post – Partum weight loss
Bites Dietitians can calculate your energy needs accurately and create a healthy, practical weight loss meal plan (that you can eat with one hand and/or that takes very little time to prepare!). We will tailor your plan to your needs and your baby’s needs as well if you are breastfeeding whilst you begin to work on achieving a healthy weight loss!

Breastfeeding
(see breastfeeding information below)

Infant nutrition
(see infant information below)

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can be a very difficult and emotional journey with mums just wanting to do their absolute best for their baby. Bites Dietitians specialise in post-natal nutrition are mums too and understand how overwhelming the misinformation on this topic can be! We strive to support mum and bub on their breastfeeding journey by giving you the latest evidence-based information in a practical, non-judgemental way to take some of the stress out of this time and ensure you’re optimising your nutrition to give yourself the best chance at a positive and successful breastfeeding journey! We will typically look at mum’s energy intake, macro and micronutrient intake and fluid and adjust things to optimise breast milk supply and quality. Ensuring mum’s energy requirements are being met will help to increase milk supply, keeping baby satisfied and happy! It is also very important to ensure your fluid intake is increased and this is dependent on the age of your baby, your weight, activity levels and climatic factors. When breastfeeding, certain nutrient intakes also need to be increased. Vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, Iodine and Zinc are the main ones we will look at increasing in your diet during this time.

Alternatively, some foods consumed can decrease breast milk supply if eaten in large quantities and we can guide you to make adjustments to your diet if necessary.

Commercial lactation cookies/shakes and herbal supplements that contain fenugreek should be avoided! Some of these herbs actually decrease milk supply and some can increase risk of anaphylaxis in some babies!

Faltering growth/failure to thrive

Faltering growth is when infants and/or children gain weight at a slower rate compared to others of a similar age and sex. Infants and children are of a higher risk of experiencing faltering growth if they were preterm infants or have medical conditions that affect the ability to ingest, absorb or effectively use nutrients. It can also occur in children that have an inadequate intake of energy requirements to sustain growth (maybe your child gets distracted easily, is fussy, or likes to “graze” through the day) or an adequate intake but have increased metabolic demands (you might have a very active child!).

Faltering growth can occur anytime during childhood, however, it is most common in the first 2-3 years of life. It has been characterised by either organic causes or non-organic causes. In many cases, faltering growth occurs in combination of both organic and non-organic causes. Each case of faltering growth varies greatly, but in essence, it mainly is related to nutritional intake that for some reason is not adequate in meeting the needs of the infant/child.

As faltering growth can be caused by many different factors it is usually the first thing that Bites dietitians try to establish! Bites Dietitians will assess a wide variety of factors some of which could include feeding and mealtime behaviours, types and quantities of foods being consumed, food preferences and family eating patterns. Once the cause/causes have been identified, Bites dietitians will work closely with you and your child to find strategies to manage the barriers and ensure adequate nutrition for their needs are being met and improvements in growth and development occur.

For more information on these topics, please visit the Bites Health Clinic website.

If you are interested in booking an appointment with Fiona, please contact Bites Health Clinic on 0452458146 or book online here.