Zeynep Uraz, BSc, ND is an associate professor at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) – her alma mater. She teaches Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Integrative Fertility. She also leads the fertility-focused clinical program at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic. Dr. Uraz shares her path to naturopathic medicine with a focus on fertility.
Why did you choose to become a naturopathic doctor?
“I often hear from students that their parents took them to a naturopathic doctor growing up, and they were raised in a very “naturopathic” household. That was not my story. I first heard about naturopathic medicine as an undergrad. When I learned about the principles of naturopathic medicine, I knew immediately that becoming an ND was the path for me!”
What topics in naturopathic medicine are you passionate about?
“I work at a large integrative fertility clinic in Toronto, where my practice is entirely focused on fertility care. There are so many ways in which naturopathic medicine can make a difference in fertility, starting with the principle of preventive medicine. Working with patients in the preconception period can have a profound impact on pregnancy outcomes and long-term health outcomes for the baby and even future generations.
In addition, working with patients who are trying to get pregnant is greatly rewarding, because they are often highly motivated to make recommended changes. While I definitely use the principles of motivational interviewing in my practice, I find most patients are ready for change, which makes my work so satisfying. I work with patients to optimize their diet, physical activity, weight, stress and sleep. I provide acupuncture as well. Based on the evidence, we know that a specific preconception diet (the “pro-fertility diet”) is associated with significantly higher pregnancy rates in couples undergoing assisted reproductive technologies (ART). That, combined with various other changes really gives patients their best chance of pregnancy alongside ART (or of course, naturally!).
Dr. Uraz also dedicates her time to naturopathic research. “My husband and business partner Dr. Alan Vu and I conducted a pilot study involving group-based naturopathic fertility care. We presented our findings at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’s annual meeting in Vienna last year. We are looking forward to future research opportunities to grow the body of evidence to support naturopathic management of fertility. I also speak regularly at conferences on the topic of integrative care and fertility. My goal is to help colleagues provide the best possible fertility patient care.”
Finding fulfillment as an ND and educator
“My absolute favorite thing about being an ND is the ability to spend a lot of time with my patients and get to know them. I am always humbled by what people will share with me, as well as their willingness to be open and let me walk alongside them on their fertility journey. It is such a privilege to be a part of this difficult time in their lives. Every day I am humbled by the strength and perseverance of my patients. And of course, getting baby pictures, or hearing that a patient is pregnant is one of the best things ever!”
As an educator, “I love the passion, excitement and optimism of naturopathic medical students. It’s heartening to see these future members of the profession be so dedicated to learning.” Dr. Uraz adds that curiosity, self-reflection, critical thinking, and empathy are some of the best qualities of future ND students.
Learn more about Dr. Uraz