by Andi

Mounting Evidence Suggests Mom’s Decisions During Pregnancy Play a Big Role in Longterm Health of Her Children

What is happening to American children? Learning disabilities and autism are at all-time highs and continue to rise. Childhood cancers, diabetes, and obesity are almost average.

What is causing all of this? 

Is there anything you can do to keep your child from becoming a statistic?

BEFORE WE ANSWER THAT QUESTION, let’s fast-forward seven years. You’re at a parent-teacher conference, discussing your child’s progress (or lack thereof). The teacher is talking and talking and with every passing statement regarding the struggles comes the affirmations not to worry, that this is “normal,” that most of the kids do struggle nowadays, that the possibility of the need for medication to keep junior paying attention only means that he will join the masses: IT’S NORMAL. You won’t be the only mom medicating her child.

You can’t stop yourself from zoning away from this conversation, remembering how it was when you were growing up…were there any kids on ADHD meds when I was in school? Oh yeah, there was that one…and then there were the special ed kids…. are all kids special ed kids now….? 

And then you remember all the conversations you’ve had with other parents since the kids had started to crawl and walk and talk, about the need for occupational and speech therapies, because if there wasn’t therapy for addressing the fine motor skills, they would never speak or learn how to write. And then there were the sensory issues and this kid will only eat chicken nuggets and that one will only eat waffles because they couldn’t tolerate any other textures. You hadn’t used these therapies…was that a mistake?

Did children need therapy to be capable of learning and focusing and progressing in life? Had you made a mistake? You start to panic, wondering how you could have missed this important part of your child’s development. How could you have known? It wasn’t that way when you were growing up! When you zone back to present day, the teacher is still talking, but all you can think about is what has caused all of these disabilities in all of these kids? Because that is what we’re talking about here: A massive amount of children suddenly need therapy and medication to function as seven-year-olds.

I Want To Make It Clear 

As a pregnant mother, the decisions you make about what to eat, drink, apply to, and expose your body to could make all the difference in the world when it comes to determining the ultimate health and well-being of your child, throughout their entire lives, in fact. This idea actually makes sense if you think about it.

So You Decided to Have a Baby

And it all just got real. 

Congratulations! You have made the first set of decisions that will forever, directly and indirectly, affect the health and life of another person. And every decision you make moving forward will be an important one. Proceed with caution! Just Kidding. But not really.

It’s not super complicated to spawn a human unless you consider the miracle of life complicated, which it is. The good news is that you don’t have to understand every process for things to go off without a hitch. Once pregnant, growing a baby becomes just another involuntary response of your body. Left as is, at the end of nine months, your body will produce a baby and you don’t have to have one conscious thought about how that happens. In fact, some women go through that process and don’t even know they are pregnant until they are in labor. Do not ask me how this is possible. I have grown and birthed five children and not a single time was it like nothing happened. Apparently, though, it happens.

Let’s just say, no matter your state of fitness and no matter what you eat, your body knows how to read the very specific set of instructions from mom and dad, use the resources available (whatever’s floating around in your blood), and build a baby from scratch as long as it is environmentally possible (as determined by your miracle-of-life-creating-body). At the end of nine months, you will give birth to a baby.

Your Body Will Now Proceed to Build a Baby From Scratch

Quickly, let’s talk about what why you’re reading this article in the first place. I’ll assume you’d like to dodge the autism/learning-disability bullet; that you would like to avoid future potential medical inconveniences; and that you are willing to do what it takes to up your chances. I’ll assume that you would like to get this right. Pulling it off and getting it right are two different things. 

Pulling it off only requires only a few small tweaks to simple existence. Your doctor will prescribe you a prenatal vitamin, may prescribe an omega supplement, and may or may not explains the dangers of alcohol and provide you with a list of OTC and prescription drugs that are considered safe and unsafe during pregnancy. And that’s pretty much it.

You now believe that you are doing everything right. Your doctor knows that it won’t take much change to produce the average outcome of the Standard American Pregnancy and that is a baby that presents as healthy. If that’s all you are interested in, follow the simple instructions of your doctor and odds are, that’s just what you’ll get: a baby that, at birth, presents as healthy.

What Are The Odds That Something Goes Wrong Later?

Unfortunately, odds are pretty good; just look around. No, that doesn’t mean you child will automatically have some issue. But, the chances of a learning disability eventually being an issue are increasing every year.

Learning Disabilities

Generally diagnosed through observation of behavior, there are no blood tests or detection of a pathogen when a child is diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, ODD, Dyslexia, Apraxia, etc. And then there is the Autism Spectrum. Again, while many instances of autism are linked to genetic mutations such as Fragile X, Down or Klinefelter Syndromes, there are still millions of cases that have no answer as to cause. 

In 2012, The CDC put the prevalence of Autism at 1 in 89 girls and 1 in 49 boys. This is up from 1 in 2000 in the 70s and 80s. WebMD says the reason for the increase is a mystery. For more on why WebMD is not a place, you should be getting medical questions answered, see this article.

Childhood cancers are increasing and obesity has skyrocketed.

The one thing I never heard in my doctor’s office was why this is, and how the things I am doing as the pregnant mother may affect the outcome. We have to be asking these questions. As humans, our bodies are being bombarded with toxic chemicals. Studies have shown that these chemicals are being found in newborn babies, many of which, we as moms have no way to avoid. And yet, according to a survey done by the Environmental Working Group, “an average woman uses about twelve personal care products each day, exposing herself to about 168 unique chemicals.” Then there are the cleaning products.

What About Food?

If you understand how chemicals in everyday products are going to affect you and your baby, it’s not hard to understand how the wrong kind of food will as well.

Because not many women go searching for ways to prevent autism or other diseases that may be linked to their lifestyles during pregnancy, I’ll leave this right here for you to do with as you wish.

But, it’s pretty simple. The substances you put in and on your body, and expose yourself to, go into your blood stream where they circulate into the womb, participating in the growth and development of your baby. How is it possible that this has zero effect on how he or she turns out? 

It’s not.

Why Don’t Humans Care More About Getting It Right?

The human being, like every other creature on this planet, has a primal survival instinct. The difference between humans and wild animals is free will. This, free will, will no doubt be the root of our own extinction.

No other animal in the wild will eat sugar and processed grain by the pound. And then switch to sugar substitutes and chemical additives to lose all the weight gained from all the uncontrolled eating. No other animal in the wild drinks the milk of another animal. No other animal in the world has an agency whose sole purpose is to declare the safety of food and drugs, another variety of chemicals humans consumed by the billions, ironically enough, to ‘fix’ the damage done by all of the other bad lifestyle choices. And, no other animal in the world can be convinced that something is safe when there is clear evidence of danger.

Despite living in the age of advancements in medicine and technology, and additives, preservatives, colors, artificial flavors and every other non-food substance declared food by the trusted agencies, humans have managed to survive in some pretty nasty environments. In other words, babies continue to present as healthy even coming from some of the most unhealthy of pregnancies. 

Your Baby Presents As Healthy

Mission accomplished, right? Well, not exactly. IF you were one of those moms that ate junk on a regular basis, chances are, you’ve single-handedly increased your child’s risk for a bunch of diseases if not just for autism, obesity, learning disabilities, and depression. But for some reason, nobody wants to think about those things, let alone plan for it not to happen. Everyone is all about right now. We’ve accepted that it’s safe to eat sugar, additives, preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, colors and other chemicals because there is no immediate side effect. And this, my friends, is the problem with the world.

So, the mom that ate junk and didn’t bother to take a prenatal vitamin (or eat the foods that prevent the deficiencies) won’t see the damage until later in life. And then, it won’t even be remotely associated with the environment her child spent it’s first 40 weeks in during pregnancy. And the American doctors won’t mention that either because since it wasn’t emphasized as of the utmost importance back when the pregnancy was occurring, how can it be the cause now?

There Is No I Told You So When No One Ever Did

Why did no one emphasize how important the pregnancy environment was back then? Emphasize being the operative word here, because in all likelihood your doctor did mention something, it just wasn’t emphasized as the most important thing you can do. 

Why?

Don’t look at me. I do not know the answer to that.

So the question here is: Do you want to have a baby that presents as healthy or a baby whose risk for all the most common diseases and disabilities has been dramatically decreased? It really is up to you.

Getting It Right

FIND A FUNCTIONAL OB/GYN

The Functional Ob/Gyn will guide you through pregnancy with a primary focus on decreasing odds of developing diseases through maintaining the best environment possible inside the womb. This is because the Functional Ob/Gyn understands how your environment will affect your baby, both now as well as throughout life. 

STOP EATING JUNK

This one is pretty simple. Read labels. Don’t eat things that aren’t food. Also, Anything that does not contribute to your overall health, and now, the overall health of your baby is junk.

Bottom line: Eat real food. Easy.

And that about covers junk.

GO ORGANIC

Sometimes real food is contaminated with junk. In other words, foods without ingredient labels contain junk if they are not organic.

Conventional milk, meat, and eggs will generally contain hormones and antibiotics and can be fed GMO feed. Sometimes animals are fed things their bodies were not meant to digest (cows were meant to eat grass, not GMO-corn). As animals are what they eat, so are we what we eat and therefore what they eat. Organic milk, meat, and eggs don’t contain any junk and are better, nutritionally, for you and your baby.

Conventional fruits and vegetables will generally contain pesticides and herbicides and can be genetically modified. Organic fruits and vegetables don’t contain any junk and are better, nutritionally, for you and your baby.

Take A Prenatal Vitamin with FOLATE, not Folic Acid

Folate is required for cell division. Pregnancy is literally constant cell division and therefore a pretty huge amount of folate is necessary. Folate also prevents neural tube defects. These are red flags that folate is extremely important before and during pregnancy.

Folic Acid is the synthetic alternative to folate. Synthetic means man-made-chemical. I can point you in the direction of evidence that folic acid can be harmful, or I can just ask, why would you take a synthetic when you can take the real thing? I’ll warn you right now if you google folic acid you’re going to find articles like this one misleading you about the benefits. While it does correctly identify folic acid as a “form of folate,” it fails to specify that it is a synthetic chemical and that recent studies have found that it can be dangerous if not just ineffective.

ASK YOUR DOCTOR about the difference between folate and folic acid. If he/she does not know the difference (it happens), run for the hills!

VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENT

Vitamin D deficiency is actually pretty common and negatively impacts the long-term health of children born to deficient mothers.

Low Vitamin D during pregnancy has also been linked to high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, miscarriage, pre-term delivery, c-section, and postpartum depression.

If you’re not already getting at least 4000 International Units of Vitamin D, please make an effort to find out why it’s so important during pregnancy as well as in general.

OMEGA-3 SUPPLEMENT

This is another nutrient that we as a population are generally deficient in, and one that our bodies cannot make enough of to adequately support the development of a baby’s growing brain. Its importance during pregnancy cannot be emphasized enough. Omega-3 has been studied and shown to improve intelligence with kids who were supplemented, outscoring kids who were not, in rule learning, vocabulary and general intelligence testing between ages 3 and 5.

Studies have shown that supplementation of Omega-3 (DHA) in a pregnant mother’s diet improves infant development of hand-eye coordination, motor skills as well as attention span. Can it be a coincidence that these are also some of the developmental delays observed in kids diagnosed with ADHD and other learning disabilities/delays?

AVOID CHEMICAL FILLED PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS

You can make your own perfectly safe and healthy personal care products. Use oils like coconut, almond, jojoba, olive and avocado mixed with your favorite essential oils for moisture. Recipes for mixtures that include beeswax and cooking can be found all over the internet; I prefer the most simple of mixtures which would include one or more of the mentioned oils and one or more of my favorite essential oils (I’m not trying to make life more difficult than it has to be, nor am I good at following a recipe, but if you want to, you can find some recipes herehere, and here). Coconut oil alone right out of the shower is an excellent moisturizer.

If You’re not the DIY-type (not everyone is), check out the Blissful Miss Natural Product Guides for moisturizers, body lotions, sunscreens, deodorants, shampoo & conditioners, makeups, and toothpaste. 

AVOID CHEMICAL FILLED HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS

Like moisturizers, you can make your own common household cleaners. It’s a little more important to be able to follow a recipe if you intend to make household cleaners. Here are some chemical-free recipes for the common household cleaner.

Again, if you’re not the DIY-type, you can find safest cleaning products here.

AVOID LAWN AND GARDENING CHEMICALS

THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. Using yard chemicals during pregnancy (let alone at all, especially around children) is one of the most dangerous things you can do. It’s just not worth it. 

Please note that this is the same stuff that is sprayed on non-organic food.

If maintaining the perfect lawn is that important to you, please consider these.

AVOID C-SECTION

Physical and mental implications for the mom aside, the c-section has been proven to have major effects on the child, short and long term. From the moment labor starts, babies born by c-section will miss out on some very important benefits of being born vaginally. Those who are born by scheduled or elective c-section are deprived of even more due to the complete lack of participation in the labor process. From the hormone release triggered by being squeezed with every contraction, to beneficial bacteria she is covered with on the way out, the butterfly effect starts even before your child joins the oxygen-breathing world. Being born by c-section will have played its role, and believe it or not, it’s a big one.

The most important thing a c-section baby miss out on is labor and delivery. Despite some very ridiculous claims by some very selfish doctors, labor and delivery are not dangerous at all to babies. The hormones you release during labor trigger a responsive release of hormones from your baby. This will help clear your baby’s lungs of amniotic fluid, increase blood flow to brain, heart, and kidneys, increase baby’s energy, and facilitates the important bonding instinct. When your baby is traveling down the birth canal, she is also being coated in the beneficial bacteria from mom. This bacteria is the first to make up her gut microbiome, which has recently been confirmed as one of the most important parts of the human immune system. This lacking of gut colonization right at birth explains why babies born via c-section are more likely to develop allergies.

Babies born via c-section have a significantly higher risk of developing diabetes and asthma. Mothers exhibiting postpartum depression related to c-section have children who often exhibit developmental and/or behavioral problems. Babies born via c-section are five times more likely to develop allergies including food allergies, which can be deadly.

Being more likely to develop allergies may not seem like a big deal, but I have personal experience with c-section as well as food-allergic children and trust me when I say, along with all of the other risks c-section poses, you would rather not. See my post on The C-Section Epidemic for more on my experience.

There’s a Reason For Everything

Who hasn’t heard that, believed it, contemplated it, reasoned it away and then wondered: Is there really a reason for everything? More and more, when it comes to health when seeking answers, Doctor reassures us: There is no reason for this; it just happens. And most important, it’s not your fault. And we accept it because it makes us feel better. Factually, this is the wrong answer and discourages us from taking responsibility for our own health and the health of our children. It is not your doctor’s job to make sure you and your baby are healthy, it’s yours.

As a society, we are coddled by the health care system. Because, in a world of supply and demand, we have demanded it. You don’t want to go to the doctor and hear, this is all your fault, or be told you could have prevented this! You want to be comforted, and so you are. Not only is the American Doctor there to tell you what you want to hear, they have all the band-aids. Whatever ailment you present with, well there’s a pill for that.

Should you be responsible for your own health? What about the health of your children? Being a person already, there is no question that some of the instances of illness will be genetic, out of your control, and you will have no way of knowing if you are at risk. You may never be able to pinpoint an answer in some cases. But do you have the power to prevent some things from happening? What about when you are the sole decision maker from the minute of creation? Then do you?

Absolutely.

Will you?

*Disclaimer*
There are no guarantees that avoiding any environments, behaviors, foods, etc. will keep your child from being affected by one of the mentioned illnesses. We can only do our best. Odds increase and decrease based on your choices. You decide. Information in this article is not intended as advice. Sources for this article are on the following page. 

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