Nutrition for your baby begins long before conception. Among “primitive” populations, a common practice among isolated groups involves the feeding of special foods to both men and women for a period of time before conception occurs. Dr. Weston Price, whose research was informed by studying these groups, revealed that these foods—including organ meats, fish eggs, shell fish, and animal fats—were rich in fat-soluble vitamins A and D as well as macro and trace minerals. Grass-fed meat, wild fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables (especially leafy greens rich in folic acid), pastured butter or coconut oil, yogurt, and kefir. All will contribute to optimum levels of vitamin A and D, as well as other nutrients and trace minerals essential for the beginning of life.
These foods will start by healing your body and enriching your developing eggs. They’ll nourish developing sperm as well. They’ll increase your fertile fluid, health to your reproductive organs, circulation and overall fertility. All of this works together to create an optimally healthy infant. According to David Williams, principal investigator for the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, “DNA expression can be altered at any age, but the fetus is especially susceptible because these pathways are very active as tissues grow and differentiate.” In other words, a mother’s eating habits, exercise regime, stress levels and environment actually have the power to shape the genes passed down are thought to impact the susceptibility of her child to leukemia, lymphoma, and neurological cancers, and possibly adult-onset cancers.1
Six Months Prior to Conception (Mom and Dad)
- Farmers market eggs (daily or every other day)
- Grass-fed beef (2 to 3x a week)
- Free-range chicken (2x a week)
- Salmon or sardines (2x a week)
- Lentils or other legumes (1-2x a week)
- Seasonal fruits and vegetables (especially broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and leafy green vegetables)
- Cow or goat yogurt or kefir (daily)
- Raw or grass-fed butter (daily)
- Properly prepared oats, rice and other gluten free grains (no wheat)
- Optimize vitamin D levels between 50ng/ml and 70ng/ml
What to Avoid
- Alcohol and smoking
- Coffee and caffeine
- Tap water (chlorine consumption can lead to miscarriage, neural-tube effects and reduced fetal growth)
- Refined sugar and artificial sugar (especially high fructose corn syrup)
- White flour
- Fast food
- Bottled or tap water: use filtered water, no plastic bottles! Mice that were exposed to BPA gave birth to mutated offspring that were at a greater risk for diabetes, obesity, and cancer as adults. But when pregnant mice were fed vitamin B12 and folic acid, the epigenetic effect of the BPA was counteracted.
- NSAID’s like Tylenol, Motrin and Aspirin: Women who took acetaminophen, while pregnant had a 37 percent higher risk of having a child who would be later given a hospital diagnosis of hyperkinetic disorder, a particularly severe form of ADHD, said the study in February 24 2014 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics. Women also had a 29 percent higher chance of having children who were later prescribed medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and a 13 percent higher chance of exhibiting ADHD-like behaviors by age seven.
Large amounts of hormones are circulating during this time, with estrogen being the most prevelant. Estrogen is responsible for inhibiting ovulation and enriching the endometrium. Along with a healthy diet, a proper supplementation program will ensure that you baby receives all its requirements.
What is Wrong with Most Prenatal Vitamins?
If you look at the basic prenatal vitamin that is recommended, you will find many concerning flaws.The FDA tested 324 multivitamin-multimineral products that targeted pregnant women or small children for the presence of lead, and found that only 4 of them, or 1% tested lead-free. Lead is of particular concern during pregnancy because it causes fetal brain damage, and limited IQ, and can lead to behavioral and learning disabilities in young children.2
Women with a slow DHFR enzyme cannot efficiently break down folic acid, which can actually block folate receptors. Therefore folate should be “methylfolate” not folic acid.
If you look at One A Day Women’s Prenatal, a very common recommendation, you will find the following food dyes: Red 40 Dye, Red 40 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake and DL-Alpha-tocopheryl Acetate – the synthetic form of vitamin E that is continually problematic in studies. What is wrong with food dyes? These food dyes have been found to inhibit mitochondrial respiration; the powerhouse of your cell that houses maternal DNA. Red 3 causes cancer in animals, with evidence that other dyes also are carcinogenic. Three dyes (Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6) have been found to be contaminated with benzidine or other carcinogens. At least four dyes (Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6) cause hypersensitivity reactions, and numerous studies found Yellow 5 positive for genotoxicity.
An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration recently acknowledged that synthetic food dyes can exacerbate the conditions associated with ADHD and other behavioral problems. While the consumption of synthetic food dyes has increased five-fold since 1955, the number of children diagnosed with ADHD increased from 150,000 in 1970, to 5.4 million by 2007.
A 2007 study in Lancet found such a strong correlation with synthetic food dyes and hyperactive behaviors in children, that they contacted the British government concluding that the harm done by artificial food dyes to children’s IQ was similar to the impact of lead on their developing brains, and that banning these additives would result in a 30 percent reduction in the prevalence of ADHD in children.
Supplements to start now, and continue through delivery and while breastfeeding:
*Contact us for the vitamin and mineral recommendations specific for you.
Vitamin A and D are two of the most important nutrients for a healthy pregnancy. Maja H. Zile, of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, found that the major target tissues of vitamin A deficiency include the heart, central nervous system, the circulatory, urogenital and respiratory systems, and the development of the skull, skeleton and limbs. Vitamin A deficiencies during the period when any of these systems begin specialization can result in abnormalities and defects.
Recently it has been discovered that the omega-3 fats are necessary for the complete development of the human brain during pregnancy and the first two years of life. The omega-3 fat and its derivative, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), is so essential to a child’s development that if a mother and infant are deficient in it, the child’s nervous system and immune system may never fully develop, and it can cause a lifetime of unexplained emotional, learning, and immune system health-issues. In addition, the DHA in animal-based omega-3 fats will prevent the vast majority of premature deliveries.3 There was a California Proposition 65 lawsuit against CVS pharmacy, GNC, Solgar and seven other national brands for selling fish oil laced with PCB’s, which are one of the most dangerous environmental pollutants. PCB’s are strongly tied to cancer and multiple birth defects. 4,5
The largest randomized controlled trial to date from the Medical University of South Carolina took 256 pregnant women and separated the group into two groups, 2,000 and 4,000 IU daily starting 3-4 months of pregnancy. A control group of 400IU was not allowed because the ethics committee felt that this would endanger the women and their newborns. This is the amount women take with just a prenatal vitamin! The results showed that the 4,000 IU group had 2.4 times higher of having an infant in the 50th percentile of birth weight compared to the 2000 IU group. Lower vitamin D levels were predictive of preterm delivery, infections and other complications.
Contains the good bacteria bifidus, which is passed on from the mother to the child and is important for a strong start (immunity) in life.
- Never skip meals (small meals throughout the day to keep blood sugar steady)
- Add one extra small meal or 300 calories to your current diet
- 70-80 grams of protein per day
- Vitamin A from animal food should not warrant toxicity concerns, it is extremely important for proper development (studies that show teratogenic effects have been based on synthetic A. Natural vitamin A is found in eggs, butter, yogurt, kefir, beef, lamb, liver)
- Vitamin D from the sun (15-30 minutes of full sun 2x a week or vitamin D supplementation)
- 30-60 mg of iron per day (found in meat, fish, poultry)
- 1200 mg of calcium per day (cow and goat diary)
- 400-800 mcg of folate per day (Found in mushrooms, spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, peanuts, legumes, strawberries, and liver)
- 2 Tablespoons virgin coconut oil daily in smoothie or cooking
- Raw organic fruits and vegetables, and fermented ones like sauerkraut for enzymes
- Filtered water throughout the day. Add lemon, orange, and cucumber slices for electrolytes
FOODS TO AVOID
- Processed meat- Avoid processed meats that contain nitrites. Avoid hot dogs and luncheon meats, including deli ham, turkey, bologna, and salami — unless they have been reheated until steaming hot. These foods are prone to Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria that causes listeriosis, which may result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or other serious health problems.
- Avoid swordfish, shark, tilefish, king mackerel, limit canned albacore tuna fish. All of these are high in mercury.
- Raw or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood (like raw oysters, clams, sushi), and eggs (including eggs in cookie dough and cake batter).
- Certain allergy foods: If food allergies run in your family, it is a good idea to minimize exposure to these foods, like gluten/wheat, peanuts, shellfish or corn.
- Avoid brie, feta, Camembert, Roquefort, blue-veined, “queso blanco,” “queso fresco,” and Panela. These foods are also prone to Listeria monocytogenes.
Common complaint: I have morning sickness, I’m constipated and I’m tired!
Solution: The problem can be from taking the wrong kind of iron, inadequate folic acid, magnesium and inadequate probiotics.
- Continue the same diet, and add a probiotic and split the 1 B-complex 4x a day if not already doing so. For example, take 1 B-complex at 8:00am, 12:00, 3:00 and 8:00pm to prevent morning sickness.
- Peppermint, ginger, fennel and anise, made into a tea or swallowed as a supplement, can help alleviate nausea and heartburn.
The fetal liver assumes some of the placenta’s duty as a filter and the fetus also begins to synthesize fats from carbohydrates and stores carbohydrates and iron. The last part of this trimester and the beginning of the third is when fetal bones start to thicken.
Common complaint: I’m getting leg cramps!
Solution: Continue the same diet, emphasizing calcium rich foods. Leg cramps are a sign of inadequate calcium intake. Switch to a chewable calcium and up magnesium.
The fetal brain growth is rapid and the baby is developing subcutaneous fat. This is when high quality eggs are very important along with vitamin E. Daily consumption of eggs ensures adequate lecithin, A, D, cholesterol, saturated fat, EPA and DHA, all crucial for brain development.
Common complaint: I’m getting acid reflux!
Solution: The stomach gets pushed up which can cause discomfort. Taking chewable calcium magnesium (1 per meal) can give much needed relief and ginger or peppermint tea as needed.
Labor and Delivery
During labor, digestion stops. It is important before labor begins to be consuming small frequent meals so that you do not have a full stomach.
1. Is Your DNA Your Destiny? Healthy Living Wellness. November Issue, Pg 184.
2. FDA Finds Lead in Vitamins. http://tinyurl.com/67nkpt3. Finnegan, John, The Facts About Fats, Celestial Arts, 1993
4. Environ Sci Technol, 2009 (Oct 15); 43 (20): 7946-51. http://tinyrul.com/y78q6n8
5. Ann Ig, 2008 (May); 20 (2 Supple 1): 59-64. http://tinyurl.com/y78q6n8