We all know that a healthy pregnancy leads to a healthier baby, but are we doing enough? We are following the advice of our physician so why are we facing an epidemic of sick children. As advanced as our society is, I believe allopathic doctors miss the mark when it comes to prenatal care. There are many things our doctors are not telling us. Here are some tips (I wish I had) to help improve the health and well-being of my future children.
“We need to do a better job of preparing our bodies before conception and beyond.” - Healing Without Hurting, 2018
Resolve Infections & Get Brewing Autoimmune Issues Under Control
Get yourself checked to see if you have any chronic inflammation, a yeast infection, a urinary tract infection, Lyme Disease, or any other low-grade chronic infection. If you do have any infections, consider avoiding prescription medications, and try to have the issues treated naturally. Remember two things: we pass our poor immunity to our children in utero (newer research suggests that if a mother's immune system is activated, it can affect her child's health and brain development) and inflammation can also lead to malabsorption and malnutrition which can lead to many health issues.
Address Your Microbiome
I had no idea that being on birth control pills for 13 years would completely wipe out my microbiome, or that my years of vaccines, antibiotics and pesticide-laden foods I was eating would wipe it out as well.
Rebuild your gut with fermented foods, human strain probiotics and feed the probiotics with plenty of dietary fiber. A healthy gut is essential to your health and your child’s health as well.
The University of Virginia School of Medicine revealed in a 2018 study that autism risk was determined by the health of the mother’s gut. “We determined that the microbiome is a key contributor in determining susceptibility [to autism-like disorders], so it suggests that you could target either the maternal microbiome or this inflammatory molecule, IL-17a,” said lead researcher John Lukens of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience.”
Cut Environmental Toxins Out Of Your Life
Cut out any lifestyle habits that put toxins into your body. Avoid:
Environmental toxins you may be exposed to regularly at work or home—including second-hand smoke and industrial chemicals. Avoid contaminated air, such as industrial fumes, as much as possible. Use air filters in your home and office to trap toxic airborne chemicals.
Skincare and beauty products that contain toxic ingredients can seep in through your skin or scalp. Don’t put anything on your skin that you don’t want absorbing into your system.
Toxic cleaning products and air fresheners. Use natural products instead.
Over-the-counter medications, such as antacids that contain high levels of aluminum and other harmful ingredients.
Unnecessary prescription medications. Educate yourself so that you can weigh the costs versus benefits of medications and vaccinations for you and your baby.
Drink Mineralized Water
Drink lots and lots of mineralized water. Try to only store water in glass or stainless-steel bottles, and avoid plastic. Have your tap water tested for heavy metals, essential mineral levels, pH, and bacteria. Minerals are essential for many functions of the body, including proper detoxification.
Cleanse Your System - We Pass Toxins To Our Baby Through The Placenta
Detoxify your organs, glands, and tissues of heavy metals, estrogen-mimicking chemicals, and other toxins. Virtually all of us have toxins built up in our systems, and eliminating them is very important. These toxins can lead to birth defects, miscarriages, or illnesses in our children. Some experts advise starting a detox regime two years before conception. Drink lemon water, take milk thistle and dandelion root.
Flush Toxic Metals
You can help remove toxic metals from your body by consuming foods and supplements that contain sulfur, such as cabbage, beans, and garlic. You can also take hot clay and sea salt baths, as I elaborate on in chapter 19 of my book 'Healing Without Hurting'. Make the water as hot as you can stand, and add essential oils such as rosemary (10 drops), lavender (10 drops), or a tiny bit of tea tree oil (2 drops). Then, soak for forty-five minutes.
Warning: DO NOT perform any detoxification regimes once you become pregnant, because toxins that you release from your body could transfer to your baby. Detoxifying before you become pregnant is very highly recommended, but not after. Seek help from a qualified practitioner if a vigorous detox is required.
Learn the Risks of Vaccinations and Make an Informed Choice
Such a hot button topic. Learn the risks. All medication comes with potential side-effects and vaccinations are no exception. Adjuvants are necessary for vaccines to alert the immune response to react, but who knows what all these ingredients do to an immature brain that may not be able to handle these elements. Despite what the CDC reports, many published reports and scientific research points to an increased risk of miscarriages and elevated risks of birth defects and autism in the offspring of mothers who received DTaP & influenza vaccines during pregnancy.
Increase Levels of Glutathione
Eat Sulfur-rich foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Eat foods high in selenium, such as Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, shellfish, meat, poultry, eggs, mushrooms and onions, and herbs such as cinnamon and cardamom that have compounds that can restore healthy levels of glutathione. Talk to your physician about N-acetyl cysteine (N-AC) injections or supplements; Liposome capsule supplements are best because they protect the glutathione from the digestive process and allow it to absorb into the body.
Eat a Nutritionally Dense Diet, Avoid Extreme Diets and Avoid Toxic Foods
Eat carefully, and increase your intake of healthy protein and mineral-rich foods such as kelp, small fish, and organic root vegetables. There are a variety of ways to ensure a healthy diet. The following strategies are among the most important.
Any diet that is without balance has the potential to cause health problems. For example, don’t live on protein drinks, as they lack many vital minerals. Even a strict vegetarian diet is typically deficient in zinc and other essential nutrients that help detoxify the body. Such a diet can also be deficient in vitamin B12 and amino acids, which are vital for your baby’s brain health. If you’re committed to a vegetarian diet, you must take extra special care to ensure you’re getting all of the nutrients you and your baby need through vitamin supplements and foods that address these potential deficiencies. Also, take digestive enzymes—and chew your food well—to ensure you’re digesting and absorbing nutrients properly.
Avoid processed and chemical-laced foods. Our mainstream food supply is so processed and refined that many vitamins and minerals essential to health are stripped away, while chemicals and preservatives that are bad for you are added.
Avoid tuna, marlin, swordfish, tilefish, grouper, bluefish, Chilean sea bass, shark, king mackerel, and other large fish are known to contain high levels of mercury, which is poisonous. Fish containing the least amount of mercury include anchovies, sardines, flounder, haddock, herring, wild caught salmon, sole, squid, shrimp, scallops, and clams.
Whenever possible, buy organic foods. In a comparative study between organic and conventional tomatoes. “A farming experiment at the University of California, Davis, has found that organically grown tomatoes are 70-97% richer in certain kinds of flavonoids than conventionally grown tomatoes. The increased flavonoid levels could stem from the difference in how organic and conventional tomatoes are fertilized.” Plants grown without fertilizers and pesticides react to the environment by building their defenses. The result means higher levels of antioxidants, benefiting the tomato and the consumer. These powerful antioxidants increase detoxifying enzymes in the body.
The Soil & Farming Association reviewed the evidence and concluded that organic produce is far superior than its conventional counterparts in nutrient levels, overall quality and food safety. That makes sense because, in modern mainstream farming, one crop is grown over and over on the same piece of land, depleting the soil and its nutrients. Also, toxic sprays damage microorganisms that help the plants absorb minerals from the soil.
Don’t forget that primitive man consumed five to eleven times the amount of the essential minerals most of us get from mainstream food. When food is low in essential minerals, the body absorbs and makes use of more toxic metals.
Another reason to eat organic is that conventional foods contain a lot of synthetic pesticides which are considered neurotoxins. Our primary exposure to these chemicals comes through our diets. According to Rodale News, pesticides in food are linked to ADHD in Kids and Phil Landrigan, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Community and Preventative Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City agree. “People who switch to an organic diet knock down the levels of pesticide by-products in their urine by 85-90 percent.”
Warning: Steer clear of organic foods, herbs, and supplements from China, which is one of the most polluted nations on Earth with high levels of toxins, including lead, cadmium, and arsenic routinely appearing in its foods. Look for the USDA “certified organic” logo to ensure you’re buying authentic organic food.
Make Sure Nutrient Levels Are Optimized & Take Whole-Food Vitamin/Mineral Supplements
Vitamins and minerals are essential for boosting your energy and keeping you feeling your best. In contrast, chemicals add toxins to your system that may remain in your body for decades and lead to a variety of illnesses. Bio-available, whole-food prenatal vitamins with adequate amounts of minerals will help both you and your baby. Avoid prescription prenatal vitamins and ones bought at big-box stores like CVS.
Eat Organic Foods High in B Vitamins
B is for the brain. Eating foods high in vitamin B such as meat, legumes, seeds, nuts, fruits, and dark leafy veggies are essential for a healthy mind and body. If you are looking to supplement, use a B complex vitamin with methylated b’s for higher bioavailability. B vitamins work synergistically, so taking a complex is better than taking b vitamins individually.
Get Enough Magnesium, Zinc, Iodine & Other Minerals
In September 2017, the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research concluded that “low levels of minerals such as magnesium, zinc and iodine in pregnant women can lead to anemia, malnutrition, hypertension, pre-eclampsia, labor complications, maternal death, miscarriage, preterm delivery, fetal growth restriction, and even diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
According to a 2007 article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, zinc deficiency may be a hidden cause of genetic defects: “Genetic birth defects may be caused by faulty DNA or by faulty gene expression. Even if one’s DNA is perfect, the synthesis of proteins from that DNA can be faulty. For example, zinc is required for a key enzyme in gene expression, RNA transferase.”
Get Enough Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids provide numerous health benefits including reducing blood pressure, decreasing inflammation, improving joint and bone health, bettering skin, and enhancing mood and focus. EPA and DHA have also been associated with proper fetal neurological development.
Top sources for omega-3 include small fish such as sardines and/or quality small fish supplements free of pesticides. Other sources are ground flax seeds and flaxseed oil, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, ground chia seeds, primrose, borage, grape seeds, and coconut oil, walnuts, kidney beans, black beans, and canola oil. Just be cautious about canola oil, due to possible GMO.
Get Tested for the MTHFR Gene Mutation
Did you know that taking folic acid could be a lousy idea? Synthetic folic acid is recommended to pregnant moms by OBGYN doctors for proper brain development of their unborn child. However, this practice may be wreaking havoc on the brain health of our children. Simple blood or saliva test could prevent a miscarriage and could prevent babies from developing birth defects, neurological problems, and other medical issues.
Interestingly, 40%-55% of us carry the mutated gene(s) and the correct dose, and if the proper form of this essential nutrient is not supplemented, many health problems can arise. This mutation(s) inhibits the body’s ability to regenerate folate with the help of vitamin B12." When a person is identified as having this genetic mutation, their physician will often recommend replacing synthetic folic acid with folate and methylated B12 vitamins.
According to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association on February 13, 2013, “Women taking folate before pregnancy were 40 percent less likely to have a baby later diagnosed with autism, according to a 2014 study.”
On October 12, 2011, the same journal stated, “The use of folate supplements in early pregnancy was associated with a reduced risk of severe language delay in children at age three years.”
Get Tested for Pyrrole Disorder
Symptoms of pyrrole disorder include anxiety, mood swings, aggression/bad temper, poor tolerance of stress, and hypersensitivity to light, sounds, tastes, and/or touch. A simple urine test can detect this problem. If zinc and vitamin B6 are dumping into your urine, it means these nutrients aren’t being correctly metabolized in your body. Both are essential for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Exercising and sweating at least thirty minutes a day, it will keep you physically healthy, emotionally balanced and will help sweat toxins out of your system.
Get Enough Sleep
When you get eight to nine hours of sleep daily, you’re giving your body the opportunity to detoxify, heal, and rebuild. Getting proper rest is critical to achieving optimal health.
Get A Handle Of Your Stress
Take good care of yourself so that your pregnancy can be as stress-free as possible. Natural therapies such as bodywork, psychotherapy. Craniosacral therapy, chiropractic, and energy work can greatly facilitate digestion and alleviate stress.
Delay Umbilical Cord Clamping
In 2012, Mark Sloan, M.D. wrote a fascinating article in Science and Sensibility. He explains how immediate cord clamping leaves nearly one-third of stem cells in the placenta which play a crucial role in the development of the immune, respiratory, cardiovascular, and central nervous systems, among many other functions.
There is also growing evidence that suggests that delaying cord blood clamping by a few minutes may be extremely beneficial for both pre-term and full-term babies. JAMA Pediatrics released a randomized clinical study in 2015 that concluded, delayed cord clamping improved fine-motor functioning and social skills at age four years of age, especially in boys. And, allows for more blood transfer between mother and child increasing the infant's iron storage and increased immunity – which is both essential for healthy brain functioning.
I didn't know that when I opted to bank my children's cord blood to potentially help them in the future that I may have done them a disservice. Attendants that come to bank the cord blood usually cut the umbilical cord within 30 seconds of birth to capture "enough cord blood" for the cord blood bank. I didn't realize that this was not desirable, nor did I know that I may have been robbing them of their stem cells, blood, and much-needed oxygen during those critical minutes when they were transitioning to breathe on their own.
Seek Out A Functional Medicine M.D. or Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
Always seek help from a qualified functional medicine practitioner or naturopathic physician. They address the underlying causes of disease using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.
Learn more about my family's healing journey (including everything that has worked for me and many of my clients) in my book Healing Without Hurting. And to receive more info on how you and your family can overcome ADHD, apraxia, anxiety and more without medication SIGN UP HERE.