Nutritionist Madeleine Whyte On The Nutrition/Fertility Link (Part II)


Today, I am pleased to share part II of my interview with Madeleine Whyte. Madeleine is a qualified and certified clinical nutritionist. Having completed a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutritional Medicine, her mission is to guide clients in attaining vibrant health using food as medicine. Madeleine is passionate about helping clients to decode their bodies’ messages and uses simple, tradition-based natural remedies to heal from the inside out. Madeleine is currently living and practising in the Northern Rivers.


Do we really need to eat for two?  What is the healthy range of weight gain during a pregnancy? Does this change for each individual? 

MW: This is one of the biggest pregnancy myths! For the first trimester it is unlikely that you will need to consume any extra kilojoules. The second trimester however, is when the fetus really begins to grow so adding an extra 1400kJ during this period and an extra 1900kJ in the third trimester will ensure healthy weight gain. The total healthy weight gain for the entire pregnancy is between 11.5-16kg. This is for an individual within the normal weight range. These ranges will vary if you were over- or underweight before the pregnancy and if you are carrying twins so consult a health care practitioner to ensure you are on track.


Can cortisol levels impact fertility?

MW: Cortisol is a hormone produced by our adrenal glands when we are stressed.

Whether we are anxious about a work deadline or being chased by a tiger, our bodies can not tell the difference. As a form of protection, the body diverts energy and blood flow away from non-essential processes (i.e. digesting food and reproducing) and directs it to processes which enable the body to escape the danger. Over time, this becomes a problem as our hormones become imbalanced and fertility begins to diminish. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it, the body is protecting our offspring from being born into dangerous conditions. Getting your stress under control is therefore essential in ensuring you are at your most fertile.

What do pregnancy cravings mean? Are we lacking something in our diet that the body naturally craves, can hormones be blamed or is it that we are craving things our growing babies need?

MW: All of the above! Cravings can be a result of hormonal changes, underlying deficiencies and specific nutrient requirements during this time. Just ensure it is not an excuse to go crazy, overindulging on unhealthy foods. Even if you are craving healthy foods, it is important not to excessively indulge in any one particular food. This over exposure may lead to an unbalanced diet and potential allergies in the child.


Question ten

Can you share with us your favourite pregnancy supporting dinner recipe? 

MW:  Iron is such a biggie during pregnancy. Low iron levels can cause fatigue, emotional instability and risk of excessive bleeding at the birth. Furthermore, low postpartum iron has been correlated with an increased risk in post natal depression. This meal cheap, super easy, is high in iron, blood sugar stabilising proteins and fats, antioxidants and probiotics. Its the perfect, all encompassing meal!

Beef stew with fermented vegetables

Serves 4 (or 2 with leftovers!)


0.5kg organic beef chuck

2 brown onions, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 stalks celery, sliced

2 carrots, chopped in chucks

2 potatoes, chopped in chunks

2 parsnips, chopped

2 zucchinis, chopped

250mL tomato passata

250mL water



2 Bay leaves

1 bunch parsley chopped

Fermented veggies (I always have a jar of raw sauerkraut on hand)


  • Sauté onion, garlic and celery till soft
  • Add beef and slightly brown.
  • Add all other ingredients except the zucchini and parsley and simmer for 1 hour
  • At 45 minutes, add the zucchini.
  • Turn off heat and stir through parsley.
  • Serve with a small side of fermented vegetables.

You don’t need to follow this recipe exactly. Change the veggies to make it seasonal, add more liquid to make it soupier or less to make it stewier.

Thank you so much for your wisdom, Maddy.