If you are someone who wants to prepare for a healthy pregnancy, this information is for you. With autism rates increasing, it seems that no family is immune from a possible diagnosis. In addition, other chronic health conditions are plaguing this generation of children, such as ADD, ADHD, asthma, allergies and diabetes. It has become a firm belief among a large portion of the community that both genetics and environment play a part in receiving a diagnosis of one of these disorders. I hope that you will find this information helpful as you start the journey of bringing a healthy new life into this world.
There is evidence that women with auto-immune related disorders have an increased risk for having an autistic child. Autoimmune testing can be done to determine this and proper treatment and lifestyle changes can be made ahead of time, if needed.
Get your Thyroid checked. Undiagnosed hypothyroidism in a mother can cause developmental delays in her child. Testing must be done correctly to ensure there are no issues and treatment is not warranted.
It is helpful to know your genetics, specifically with regard to knowing how your methylation pathways are functioning. An MTHFR mutation can cause miscarriages and blood clots. It can also keep you from breaking down the very important folic acid that you need during pregnancy. This is important for detoxing your body, so that you don’t pass on a bunch of junk to your new baby. Testing can be done via blood test from your doctor or a simple saliva sample using 23andme.com for $99 + shipping.
If you experience any symptoms of Pyroluria, it would be wise to test for this. Symptoms of pyroluria express themselves when the body is under any sort of physical or emotional stress. Pregnancy and/or breastfeeding is very stressful on a woman’s body. Knowing if she has pyroluria, she can supplement zinc, B6 and Omega 3-6-9 accordingly. Otherwise, you risk being copper toxic, fatigued and a having a case of postpartum depression.
Knowing your vitamin D level is important for immune function as well as proper growth and development of your baby. A blood test can determine your level, which should be above 50. In addition, the 23andMe test provides you with genetic information on your vitamin D receptor known as VDR. A mutation here can result in chronic low levels of Vitamin D.
According to the CDC, Lyme Disease is diagnosed in 300,000 people each year. Many people don’t even know that they have it or that it can be transmitted through sexual intercourse or passed down from mother to child. It is a common co-morbid condition among Autistic children, so it is good to be tested for it through Igenex Labs beforehand.
Prenatal vitamins are very important before, during and after pregnancy. Unfortunately, not all are created equally. Be sure to choose a prenatal vitamin with the active form of folate, also known as 5-HTMF. Folic acid is synthetic and those with an MTHFR mutation have a hard time utilizing it. In fact, folic acid can actually make you folate deficient, which is dangerous for mom and baby. Below are some vitamins with the active form of folate.
If you have ever taken antibiotics, the amount of healthy flora in your gut is likely lacking. Taking probiotics during pregnancy is not only healthy for you, but also healthy for the baby, as the baby obtains his/her mother’s gut flora through nursing. Good gut flora is necessary for a healthy functioning immune system and may reduce a baby’s chances for allergies. Below are some suggestions for probiotics.
In studies, children born to mothers who took fish oil during pregnancy scored higher in verbal intelligence, motor skills (eye/hand coordination) and social development than those who did not. The most important element is DHA, which is the primary element of the brain. It is crucial for brain development. It is absolutely necessary to purchase fish oil from high quality providers. A few high quality options are listed below:
Eat wild Alaskan salmon
Consider going gluten and/or dairy free, or at least limiting your intake of these items. These foods are difficult to digest and are in the top 10 of most inflammatory foods to consume.
Consider the Paleo diet.
Absolutely go GMO free!! Genetically modified foods are being found to be dangerous. Recent research has found that the modified DNA of these plants is not being broken down in the body, but rather entering the human circulation system in their entirety. Scientists do not know what this means yet, or how it will effect us down the road. Being that GMO foods have only been around for 20 years and independent research is now surfacing about its negative effects, it is best to stay away from all sources of GMO foods.
Eat seafood. Five of the most commonly eaten seafoods that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish. Do not eat Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.
Personal Hygiene and detoxing
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change. We consume, absorb, inhale and expose ourselves to exorbitant amounts of pollution every day. In recent studies, more than 200 chemicals have been found in umbilical cord blood, meaning that our helpless babies are being subjected to things like flame retardants, PCBs, PFCs found in non-stick coatings, and organochlorine pesticides, all of which are linked to serious health conditions.
Being that water is extremely important in your every day life, start there. Chlorine is most likely in your tap water and is dangerous to your health. Be sure to not only filter your drinking water, but your shower and bath water as well. Please see my information on Chlorine for more info.
Fluoride in also cause for concern, but that’s a little more tricky to remove your drinking water. See more information on Fluoride here. It is a known endocrine disruptor, which can cause issues with thyroid function. Consider fluoride-free toothpaste.
The ingredients found in conventional deodorant/antiperspirants are highly questionable, and studies have shown there are cancer risks to using them. Consider a more natural deodorant. I highly recommend Primal Pit Paste.
According to the FDA, dental amalgams release low levels of mercury vapor that can be inhaled. According to the EPA, mercury is extremely dangerous for a developing fetus. If you are planning well in advance, consider having your amalgam fillings removed a year in advance of trying to get pregnant, allowing your body to detox during that year. ***DO NOT have any dental work done to amalgams immediately before pregnancy, during pregnancy, or while breast feeding.**
Please also review my section on Detoxing Your Home to limit your exposure to VOC’s, chemicals from your kitchen cabinets, your furniture and even your mattress.
Visit EWG’s website for healthy living tips.
Here are some ideas on how to cleanse/detox your body before conception from The Healthy Home Economist.
Generation Rescue – Before Pregnancy
Dr. David Berger – Minimizing Autism Incidence