Beyond standard care
Why is this new outlook so important?
As your baby is growing inside of you, his/her telomeres (DNA caps) are being formed. Having these telomeres grow as long and strong as possible in the womb gives your baby the best opportunity for the longest, healthiest life. Research is now showing that shorter telomeres are linked to more susceptibility to disease throughout our entire life. Stress from more processed and fast food, lack of sleep and exercise, and long work hours and commutes surrounds us as parents today. An article in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded that babies born to mothers who have undergone higher stress during their pregnancy tend to have shorter telomere lengths at birth. Another AJOG article linked short maternal telomeres with increased risk of preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction.
This information should not cause you to lose hope! There are many things future moms can do to balance the negative impact that life's stressors cast upon us. The nutrients we give our child, both in utero and in early years of life, are instrumental in proper development, especially development of the brain. Therefore, the environment of the pregnant woman, the umbilical cord blood, and her breast milk are all immensely important.
Much research has been done in the last few years proving that what mom eats , and after pregnancy (if mom is breastfeeding) will have a direct impact on the baby’s long term health. This is because certain nutrients may “turn on” particular genes and “turn off” others, causing some genes to be expressed and others to be silent. A term called explains this phenomenon and refers to the fact that our genes are not our destiny. We have immense control through lifestyle behaviors to activate specific genes and suppress others for desired physical results, both for our unborn child and ourselves.
How our prenatal experts can help…
Our preconception and prenatal programs will consider the following important factors:
- Antioxidants are vital for healthy development of the newborn brain. When we at Women’s Specialty Healthcare looked at antioxidant levels in the cord blood of newborn babies using Spectracell’s Micronutrient test, we found them to be extremely low. Traditionally, our soil was rich in antioxidants and nutrients so both mother and baby could obtain them this way. The toxins in our food supply were low so the demand for strong detoxification in the newborn brain was not needed. Today, in our modern society of pesticides, contaminants, and formulas full of sugar and high fructose corn syrup, this is not the case. Russell Blaylock M.D. a neurosurgeon describes ‘immunoexcitotoxins’ in our processed diet of today that can cross into the newborn brain and cause damage that can lead to learning problems or more. Advanced clinical testing for antioxidant status can help determine which diet or lifestyle changes are needed to maximize ample storage and replenishment of these protective nutrients.
- Methylation, a chemical reaction in our body requiring the enzyme MTHFR is extremely significant in the detoxification process. If a woman has a mutation in the gene that codes her MTHFR enzyme, she can have a suboptimal detoxification process. Significant clinical repercussions such as miscarriage or possible learning disabilities in her children can occur. A blood test (genetic test) can be done to determine whether this mutation is present in the mother and/or the father. If present an appropriate personalized treatment protocol can then be formulated to minimize the impact of this mutation on her pregnancy and child.
- New literature has documented that have also been linked to learning problems and other neuro-developmental disorders. Monitoring blood levels of sex hormone binding globulins, insulin, and other metabolic factors in our preconception program can help identify at-risk women and allow us to correct this balance prior to pregnancy.
- The gut flora, or intestinal bacteria, is instrumental for optimal digestion in all of us. Maximizing a pregnant mother's intestinal health ensures her ability to obtain important nutrients to pass to her baby from her diet and supplements. These intestinal bacteria, are actually passed from the mother's milk in breastfeeding to the infant and colonize the infant’s intestinal lining. Remember a baby’s intestine is sterile at birth. This process will help the baby digest food and absorb necessary nutrients to maximize brain development. If we don't ‘feed’ these bacteria our newborn can be affected. We will help you develop a diet rich in pre and probiotics to help colonize yourself and your baby with the ‘good’ bacteria needed for optimal health and development. We also offer stool testing that can also determine intestinal health of a woman before and during pregnancy.
- Dad’s health prior to conception also has a direct impact on baby’s future health and development. This fact is not well known by most people. Our preconception programs offer advanced clinical testing for future dads to enable them to improve their nutrient and health status before conception.