Katey Weekes


What is your role at your organisation and what is your main area of business / practice?

I am a Naturopath and the owner/creator of Peachy Natural Health & Fertility. As the sole practitioner within my business my main areas of practice are fertility and IVF support, high risk pregnancy, postnatal care, and women’s health.

How did you get into your area of expertise and why do you stay?

I started out in the industry as a remedial and sport massage therapist, working with professional athletes and performers. Naturopathy was a natural transition when I felt restricted in treating my patients without herbs and supplements.


When I graduated, like most people I was seeing a range of conditions and I still do because people rarely present with just a singular diagnosis.


One of my major influencers into the specialty of women’s health was my mother. I was raised by this powerhouse midwife who went on to work in the fertility and IVF specialty for many years. I was privileged to spend time in clinic with IVF specialists, in andrology and embryology labs as well as observing collections and transfer procedures. It gave me first-hand experience in what the most common fertility issues are for both men and women how I could help, even as part of a team. I stay because I can see what we do makes such a difference; I simply love it and feel drawn to knowing and understanding more about supporting people during this time of their lives. That is what drives me and allows the work to flow naturally.

What has been the main focus or outcomes of your research/work over the past year?

Over the last year my main focus has been on practitioner and patient education and increasing the reach of information to as many as possible. I have provided fertility and reproductive education for pre-teen and teens for years now and love empowering that part of the community as women and men of our future. I also provide consulting services and education to IVF nurses around herb and nutrient interactions with medications as well as individual and group mentoring for practitioners. I’ve learned a lot and am still learning from the amazing practitioners and researchers in our field and want to share that with those wanting to specialise in this area of practice.

How has your field changed in the past 5 years?

With the global pandemic, the last 2 years, in particular, have certainly been challenging for people; with many more trying to conceive as their plans changed.


We are also gaining more knowledge about persistent organic pollutants, including plasticisers and the devastating effect they have on endocrine health, whether you are trying to conceive or not.


Even with all the technology and knowledge we have, fertility rates continue to decline in Australia and with people conceiving later in life, we are learning more about the genetic flow on affects for that offspring – especially the male factor influences on the development of conditions like autism. I’m also seeing more and more women explore the area of egg freezing.

What new areas are emerging? What do you predict will happen in the next 5 to 10 years in your particular field?

I know it is controversial but no doubt we will start to see an emergence of the impact of COVID. We hear terms like ‘COVID babies’ or ‘generation C’ for those conceived and born during this time.


It will be interesting to see the long-term flow on effects not just for those that did contract COVID but for those that experienced intense and chronic stress from the loss of a job, extensive lockdowns or separation, or loss of a loved one.


Just like the genetic impacts of pandemics past, we will not avoid some negative effects this time around.

From your session what do you want practitioners to learn / take-away or be more confident in?

I’d love practitioners to feel more confident and connected to the biochemistry and the ‘why’ part of prescribing rather than just knowing a dose and applying it to every patient. Fertility is so much more than hormones, oocyte count and sperm quality. There are so many dynamics and energetics at play and in our practice we have the opportunity to nourish that profoundly. I’ll be tapping into some out of the box interventions and show how much of a direct impact you can have on fertility by supporting mental health.

What is the number one-way natural medicine practitioners, can make a difference for their clients?

This is a big question, but for the purpose of my symposium presentation it would be to provide a safe place where they feel supported, heard and nurtured. Use your intuition to identify what each patient needs. Give them ALL the technical information to reassure them but also know that something as simple as identifying a positive aspect in their case and taking a moment to highlight that or reflect that back to them can make or break their outcomes. Application of the science means nothing without the right bedside manner.

What are the questions you get asked the most often in your field, and how do you answer it?

I get many but I guess one of the more common ones I get during preconception and pregnancy is ‘can I still have coffee?’ People are very reluctant to give up their coffee, no matter how badly they want to conceive.


Currently, the Australian Government and the World Health Organisation does not recommend consuming any more than 300mg per day. This is still a really high intake of caffeine and I believe this needs urgent re-evaluation.  


Most patients are well educated and aware of the impact of caffeine on cortisol, hormone metabolsim and inflammatory pathways. So, I usually talk to the impact on their bub-to-be.


Some studies show that even 100-200mg day (1 shot of coffee) increased the risk of miscarriage, foetal growth restriction, low birth weight, as well as increase the risk of cognitive development impairments and increased weight and obesity in the offspring.


Caffeine moves freely across all biological membranes including the blood-placental barrier, however, there are no enzymes to metabolise it in either the foetus or the placenta.


A newly published review showed that early foetal caffeine exposure can affect maternal uterine fluid environments which can impact the development of the embryo and induce adult-onset diseases. Mid- to late pregnancy intake can increase maternal glucocorticoids and influence the foetal HPA axis. This can disrupt neuroendocrine metabolism and lead to the development of metabolic conditions such as hypercholesterolaemia later in life.


It is also believed that conditions, such as metabolic syndrome and cardiomyopathies, resulting from maternal caffeine consumption can be transferred to the second and third generations.

By this point, most are willing to reconsider their morning brew and find an alternative.

Fun Fact for the Readers: Tell us who inspires you / or who your professional idol is and why?

Obvious early influencers include pioneers like Francesca Naish and Ruth Tricky whose books I immersed myself in while studying. I very much look up to and still learn from some of the speakers alongside me in this Symposium like Rhiannon and Leah as well as women’s health crusaders like Jane Hutchens and Lara Briden. I’m inspired by women that lift other women to succeed and I’m conscious to surround myself with great minds and kind hearts while making sure I do my best to be that as well.

The speaker Q&As are presented by Oborne Health, a platinum sponsor of ATMS’ Fertility Symposium 2022.