Pregnancy is arguably the first step in the cycle of life. It is a beautiful experience for most women, but it can also be a turbulent one for mother and child if all phases are not handled appropriately.
Things like endocrine disruptive chemicals [EDC’s], maternal stress and weight issues, all play a significant role in pre-natal, pregnancy, and post-natal development.
I am a Mom and a holistic pediatrician and I have seen first-hand what impact these factors have on women trying to become pregnant, expectant mothers, and post-partum. I would like to assist you to have optimum pregnancy and birth or postnatal outcome as well. As a doctor, I am keenly aware of the research and studies that have been conducted during all phases of pregnancy and how problematic these risk factors can become.
Endocrine Disruptive Chemicals
EDC’s are “an exogenous [non-natural] chemical or mixture of chemicals which interferes with any aspect of hormone action.” In other words, they are chemicals that can interfere with the production or activity of hormones in the body.
Things like pesticides; children’s items; food contact chemicals; personal products; electronics and building materials; textiles and clothing; medical tubing; and anti-bacterials, are all culprits in causing health and developmental issues in mother and child.
EDC’s are consumed by the majority of the population without them even realizing it! For example, genetically modified organisms [GMO’s], are frequently used, and are these days practically perceived as a norm, for many farmers and food production services especially wheat, soy, and corn. Food contaminations have increased dramatically over the past two decades as farming practice moved to be using more pesticides and herbicide such as glyphosate aka Roundup, coincided with the rise in birth defects, weight issues, allergies, asthma, and autism.
The problem is, when GMO’s are used in livestock and gardens, dairy and produce that we eat to fuel our bodies, are actually causing a negative effect of our bodily functions, our weight and our overall health partly by destroying our protective healthy bacterial floras.
The same can be said of farm-raised fish, as opposed to wild caught. Yes, mercury levels are an issue when it comes to certain fish, but ingesting farm-raised fish before or during pregnancy can increase certain risk factors as much as mercury.
Studies reveal “Low-level prenatal mercury exposure is associated with a greater risk of ADHD-related behaviors and fish consumption during pregnancy is protective of these behaviors.”
When a woman is trying to conceive, or is pregnant, and EDC’s exist, a host of issues can complicate what should be an amazing maternal experience.
Moreover, EDC’s are linked to breast cancer. The incidence of breast cancer has tripled in industrialized countries since 1960. Currently, statistics show EDC’s and breast cancer affect one in eight women in the United States. You might think that genetic links are a precursor to breast cancer, but less than 10% of women with the disease have that genetic factor. Greater than 50% of cases occur in women with few or no risk factors. I find these to be compelling stats.
Maternal Stress During Pregnancy [MSDP]
We all have a certain amount of stress in our daily lives, inside and outside the home. It is crucial we recognize a stressful situation and do our very best to eliminate the source of the stress, or at the very least, remove ourselves or minimize stressful situations as quickly as possible. This is especially true of expectant mothers. It’s not always as simple as that, but the more often women attempting to conceive, or who are already pregnant, remove themselves from stressful situations, the better their minds and bodies will function, and the less impact it will have on the fetus and its health outcome. Moreover, MSDP was identified as a cause of increased incidences of Attention Deficit & Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD].
It is vital for mothers who experience stress during pregnancy receive psychological and social support to reduce and eliminate the stresses to avoid any negative repercussions that can affect their babies.
Maternal Weight Issues
Obesity runs rampant across the United States, and it’s no secret that most women care more about their weight more than the majority of men. When a woman is overweight prior to conception, or and especially if they experience gestational weight gain [GWG], especially during the late stages of gestation, this can influence their child’s cognitive development, which may have lasting effects on educational attainment up to age 16!
Furthermore, another study examined maternal GWG and the effects seen in their children within the first decade of life. The researchers found that GWG was attributed to increase the risk of childhood obesity by as much as 28.5%.
With that in mind, it is important women in pre- and perinatal stages strive to maintain a healthy maternal weight to reduce the risk their children are not predisposed to becoming overweight or obese during childhood.
With that being said, women trying to conceive or expecting should drink plenty of water, eat lots of uncontaminated vegetables with some fruits and avoid processed foods and artificial sweeteners. Besides not helping with weight loss, did you know that artificial sweeteners in things like diet soda are directly related to higher infant birth weights? One study concluded that when artificial sweeteners were consumed by the mother, there was a two-fold higher risk of the child being overweight by the age of 1 year. Other studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association state children of women who gained an excessive amount of weight had more than four times the risk of being overweight at age three years.
You might think it surprising, but aspartame, for example, turns into formaldehyde at higher temperatures, like that in the human body. You may think artificial sweeteners are better than sugar, but in fact, they will actually cause the body to gain weight rather than lose it.
There are so many factors to consider when preparing to conceive a child, and these concerns grow along with the fetus throughout a pregnancy. The following points should help prepare you for a healthy, happy pregnancy, before, during and after:
Strive for a healthy weight before pregnancy
Aim for a reasonable weight gain during pregnancy
Ensure infants get adequate sleep during the first few years of life
It is my pleasure to offer you a free meet and greet to assess suitable match for future appointments to discuss lifestyle and nutritional aspects of pre-, peri-, and post-natal care, and address any concerns you may have about conception, pregnancy and post-partum to achieve your desired optimum health outcome.