Pregnancy is such a vulnerable and exciting time for families. It is a time to be vigilant about toxin exposure, lowered stress and good nutrition and adequate rest. It is important to continue the pre-pregnancy protocol during pregnancy.
Diet, Nutrition and Supplements
Continue to forgo known allergic foods from the diet according to the IgG and IgE allergy panels, plus what vitamins and minerals you are deficient in, while maintainig a good nutrition plan.
Food choices vary by person, and nutrition plans will vary, but all will include eating a "clean" diet, free of chemicals and preservatives, organic fruits and veggetables and grass-fed meats. Most will also limit fish due to mercury content.
Consider consulting with a nutritionist and or Registered Dietician (RD) as they are very important in this phase of prevention. A great nutrition course, called Nutrition for Pregnancy by Julie Matthews an Autism Nutrition Consultant focuses on prevention of autism is available online here: http://nutritionforpregnancy.com/
In addition to a good nutrition program, a supplement protocol should also be considered. Actual amounts needed vary by patient and condition and consulatition with a medical practitioner is recommended.
Increase caloric intake as the baby develops according to individual needs. It is important to not take in empty calories but make each one count. Weight gain depends upon the mother's diet, amount of activity she engages in, what types of foods are available to her, blood sugar status or diabetes status and whether she has been ill or having multiples.
Obesity in pregnancy, a body mass of 30 or more is associated with diabetes, hypertention, infection, bleeding risk and fetal abnomalities. Most of which are known risk factors for autism. 1
Foods to avoid that may cause infections during pregnancy are non-pasterized milk, soft cheeses, pates of meat or veggies, undercooked frozen 'ready to eat' meals, raw eggs, partially cooked meats, eggs or mayonaise.2
Prenatal Vitamins, a vegan/organic source is best. They are usually free from food dyes, wheat, gluten, milk, eggs, toxins and other allergens. A multi-dose option (1 capsule 2 times per day or 1 capsule 3 times per day read the label), helps to absorb the water soluable vitamins better and the levels stay more consistant in your system. 3
Calcium and Magnesium:
Calcium and Magnesium are very important in bone growth and hormone regulation. Magnesium in general can help with sulfation and detoxification while eliminating constipation and muscle fatigue or cramping.4
Fish Oils, Omega 3's or EFA's essential fatty acids contribute to brain cell function, hormones and healthy neurotransmitters like serotonin. 4
Vitamin D is good for bone formation, hormone regulation, immune modulation and prevention of allergy and other inflammatory conditions. additional Vitamin D should be supplemented in additiona to prenatal vitamins because the RDA of 400 iu is too low to help most people maintain healthy levels. 5
Powerful Probiotics at least 50 to 100 billion CFU's help to build healthy bacteria to increase immune defense. 3
Zinc can help with digestion, cognitive function and immune regulation. "No Zinc, No Think". 4Zinc is also important in preventing viral replication.
Supplements to Avoid
Some supplements should be avoided because they could be dangerous for the baby.
Vitamin A is very important for the health of the mother and the baby but should be limited to no more than 8000iu – 10000iu per day. 6
Any medications that contain sources of A like retinols (acne treatments) should be discontinued. Talk to your medical professional about all of your medications and supplements you are taking to make sure they are safe before, during and after pregnancy.
Visit The Teratology Society to learn more about birth defects research. http://teratology.org/
Stress has been shown to alter the hormones in the body which can affect development of an unborn baby. Acupuncture, Yoga or some quiet time can make a world of difference in the health of a pregnancy.
What the newest studies have shown is that stress among other common risk factors like smoking, drugs, alcohol, poverty, poor nutrition, can influence the mental health, development and behavoir throughout the child's lifespan.7
No vaccines during pregnancy
With the danger of toxic adjuvuncts in the vaccines and the downgraded state of the mother's immune system during pregnancy, vaccines are generally not recommended.
"The flu shot has the highest levels of thimerosal of all vaccines—as much as 25 micrograms of mercury, more than 10 times the safe limit for an infant. Its package insert has this disclaimer, “It is also not known whether influenza virus vaccine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman...” These blatant inconsistencies in our public “health” policies are frightening."8
The influenza vaccine has been shown to be ineffective in a large study of pregnant women. 9
In an ongoing study published in 2009 and updated this year entitled "Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults," scientists said they found no plausible substantiation that the flu vaccine prevented death or hospitalization from flu-related complications and only marginally reduced the number of days of lost work attributed to the illness. 10
Research for yourself and make an informed decision. Safe Minds created a good resource for vaccine information awareness: www.smartvax.com
Avoid Mercury and Dental Amalgams
There is a lot of focus on mercury and it's role in autism and other developmental disorders. Reasons for this are clear: Mercury has detrimental effects on the immune system, internal organ function and the brain. This has been proven is several instances including Pink's Disease caused by mercury based tooth powder. 11
Mercury is the world's second most neuro-toxic element. Mercury is naturally occurring in the environment, but also occurs in man made sources such as the mercury used as a perservative in vaccines, and mercury in fish and dental amalgams. Historic mercury use was not properly disposed and it is now present in the soil and the ocean. Mercury that cannot succesfully be discarded by the body accumulates in fatty tissue and disrupts many of the body's natrurally functions. Symptoms of mercury toxicity range from sensory disorders, speech and hearing problems, cognitive problems, and unusual behaviors. 12
Avoidance of all known sources of mercury is vital prior to conception, during pregnancy and when breast feeding. Avoid fish, High Fructose Corn Syrup 13 14 vaccinations, getting any new dental amalgams with mercury or improper removal of them. Removal of amalgams should be done at least one year before pregnancy.
Do not have ANY dental work done to disutrb the mercury during pregnancy if you have silver amalgams. 3
Dental amalgams (silver fillings) consist of 50% mercury along with a combination of other metals. Mercury vapor from amalgams can vary from 1- 3 micrograms/day to 27 ug/day. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with continuous exposure at the higher level it is extremely unhealthy. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the exposure to mercury vapor can increase to over five times those levels when you add in teeth grinding, gum chewing, and drinking sodas. 15
Common sense to decrease these levels are using softer tooth brushes, stop chewing gum, and use a straw when drinking acidic foods or carbonated beverages.
For a listing of safe dentists go to http://www.holisticdental.org/find_holistic_dentist
Stop using fluoride.
In the 1940's and 50's fluoride was added to drinking water believing it would be beneficial to preventing tooth decay. Modern research has since proven that fluoride has minimal benefit when taken internally and its ability to fight cavities when applied to teeth is being questioned. In fact, it has been shown to cause multiple problems including reducing intelligence in children, causing tooth defects called dental fluorosis and transporting other toxins such as lead from the water pipes across the blood brain barrier.16
Fluoride is an endocrine disruptor and that it can cause reduction in thyroid function in many individuals. 17
A study demonstrated that "transient" thyroid deficiency in pregnancy can result in permanent changes in the brain similar to those seen in autistic brains. The study goes on to suggest that the rise in autism cases could be linked to hypothyroidism of the mother due to environmental exposure of thyroid toxic agents. 18
Not only does fluoride damage teeth it can harm the nervous system, thyroid and multiple body systems. Use filtered water and find a fluoride free toothpaste.
Read more about fluoride on these links:
Avoid High fructose corn syrup
In January of 2009, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy published a listing of several foods used by many Americans that showed 17 out of the 55 foods that contained High Fructose Corn Syrup also contain the neurotoxin mercury.
This included Coca Cola Classic, Nutrigrain Cereal Bars and multiple other common foods. Since then, Yoplait yogurt has removed their content of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Read labels, if a product is questionable, call the manufacturer, research any testing that has been done on the product. Labels are not just for calories anymore. Knowledge of the ingredients listing are very important in keeping a clean, nutritious diet. 13 14
Limit the number of Ultrasounds to those that are medically neccessary. Some studies have shown a reason to believe that ultrasounds can interfere with brain development and may lead to speech issues. The safety and efficacy remains unknown. Even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says, “While ultrasounds have been around for many years, expectant women and their families need to know that the long-term effects of repeated ultrasound exposures on the fetus are not fully known.” 8
RhoGam Rho(D) Immune Globulin information
The Rhogam shot works by stopping the production of antibodies to the Rh positive blood of a baby. If these were not blocked then the antibodies would cross the placenta into the baby's bloodstream and damage the blood cells which can be fatal. Rh incompatibility occurs when the mother is a negative blood type such as O Negative or A Negative and the developing baby has a positive blood type such as O Positive or A Positive. This happens when the father is a positive blood type. If the father is a negative blood type then the baby cannot have a positive blood type or Rh incompatibility so you won't need the Rhogam injection. If the mother has a negative blood type and the husband is positive, then the mother must get the Rhogam injection. 19
The Rhogam formula no longer contains mercury in the United States but in other countries please read the label to check for thimerosol. When mercury was in the Rhogam it usually had at least 25mcg of mercury per shot, if you had multiple pregnancies through the years, that is a considerable amount of mercury intoxication for the mother and the fetus that is trying to grow critical brain cells.
If getting a Rhogam injection, be sure check the injection packaging information to confirm it is mercury free. 3
Pitocin, an artificial form of the labor hormone oxytocin can be used during labor. It has been shown to increase blood pressure in both mother and baby and decrease the blood supply to the placenta due to strong overlapping contractions. There are many in the medical field that believe it is a potential risk for autism. 8
Vaginal Delivery vs. C-Section
Ceserean sections (c-sections) vs. vaginal labor: Studies have shown the benefits of vaginal labor go further than just being an easier recovery for the mother. Often times a c-section is assoicated with highter risk of allergies, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, asthma and leukemia. 20 21
Labor helps the baby transition successfully from inside to outside the womb by "triggers lung-liquid re absorption" which helps with air breathing after birth.22
This process activates the innate immune response in the newborn making labor "immunologically beneficial to the newborn". 23
1 Autism Research Institute. (2013). Minimizing Risks. Retrieved from http://www.autism.com/index.php/prevention
2 Tiran, D. (2011). Nutrition. In S. Macdonald & J.Magill-Cuerden (Eds.), Mayes' Midwifery 14th Edition(Chapter 17). London, UK: Bailliere Tindall Elsevier.
3 McCarthy & Kartzinel. (2009). Healing and Preventing Autism, A Complete Guide. New York, NY: Dutton.
4 Bock, K., & Stauth, C. (2008). Healing the New Childhood Epidemics, Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies, The Ground Breaking Program for the 4-A Disorders. New York: Ballantine Books.
5 Hollis & Wagner (2006).Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy: an ongoing epidemic. Am J Clin Nutrition, 84(2), 273.
6 (1987) Teratology Society Position Paper: Recommendations For Vitamin A Use During Pregnancy TERATOLOGY 35:269–275
7 W. Schlotz, D.I. W. Phillips. (2009). Fetal origins of mental health: Evidence and mechanisms. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 23 905–916
8 Ohm, J. (2009). Common Obstetrical Procedures and Their Link to Autism. Pathways Magazine, Pregnancy Issue 21.
9 Black SB, Shinefield HR, France EK, et al. (2004). Effectiveness of the influenza vaccine during pregnancy in preventing hospitalizations and outpatient visits for respiratory illness in pregnant women and their infants. 21:333-339.
10 SmartVax.com. (2013). Vaccine Decisions to Make During Pregnancy. Retrieved from http://www.smartvax.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=143
11 Claire, R., Martin, J. & Taylor, T. (2012). Fight Autism and Win, Biomedical Therapies That Actually Work!. Rochester, NY: JRT Publishing.
12 Cutler, A. (1999). Amalgam Illness diagnosis and treatment, What you can do to get better, How your doctor can help. (1st ed.). Sammamish, WA: www.noamalgam.com.
13 Green Right Now, Sustainable Living. (2009). List: Foods with Detectable Mercury. Retrieved from http://www.greenrightnow.com/welcome/2009/01/30/list-foods-with-detectable-mercury/
14 Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. (2009). High fructose corn syrup's not-so-sweet surprise: mercury!. Retrieved from http://www.iatp.org/blog/2009/01/high-fructose-corn-syrups-not-so-sweet-surprise-mercury
15 Levine, J. The Doctor Oz Show. (2013). Toxic Teeth: Are our dental amalgams safe?. Retrieved from http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/toxic-teeth-are-our-amalgam-fillings-safe
16 Xiang Q, et al. (2003a). Effect of fluoride in drinking water on children’s intelligence. Fluoride 36: 84-94; 198-199.
17 National Research Council. (2006). Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards. National Academies Press, Washington D.C. p. 189-224.
18 Roman, G. (2007). Autism: Transient in utero hypothyroxinemia related to maternal flavonoid ingestion during pregnancy and to other environmental antithyroid agents . Journal of Neurological Sciences, 262(1-2), 60-70.
19 Kendrion Biopharma. (2013). Understanding Rh-Negative. Retrieved from http://www.rhogam.com/understanding-rh-negative
20 Cardwell CR, Stene LC, Joner G, Cinek O, Svensson J,Goldacre MJ, et al. (2008)Caesarean section is associated with an increased risk of childhood-onset type 1 diabetes mellitus: ameta-analysis of observational studies. Diabetologia, 51, 726–35.
21 Pistiner M, Gold DR, Abdulkerim H, Hoffman E, Celedon JC. (2008). Birth by cesarean section, allergic rhinitis, and allergicsensitization among children with a parental history of atopy. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 122, 274–9.
22 Olver RE, Walters DV, Wilson SM. (2004). Developmental regulation of lung liquid transport. Annu Rev Physiol, 66, 77–101.
23 Chung-Min Shen, Shih-Chang Lin, Dau-Ming Niu, Yu Ru Kou. (2009). Labour increases the surface expression of two toll-like receptors in the cord blood monocytes of healthy term newborns. Acta Paediatrica, 98(6), 959-962.