Not long ago I remember reading a famous pop singer quoted as saying she was "living off of mac 'n cheese" during her pregnancy.
Oh, if I could've had her ear for just 10 minutes!
I would have told her that her child's health begins with hers, that stuff can happen, that the choices she was making in regard to her body and how she was nourishing it (or not) could have a significant impact on the health of her unborn child.
I am passionate about this because my son has had issues—intestinal and neurological. Most, if not all, have stemmed from the health of his gut during the first two years of life.
I remember the "aha" moment when I learned that while in the womb a baby's gut is sterile; the gut has yet to be populated with bacteria (good or bad). As a baby is being born (vaginally), it ingests fluid from the mother's birth canal—essentially his mother's flora. This means that the bacteria in the birth canal actually begins the process of populating the baby's gut. And from what I understand, if your gut flora is out of whack (an overgrowth of candida or yeast for example)—it's very likely you will pass that same imbalance (dysbiosis) on to your child.
This is the kind of information I failed to arm myself with.
For one, I didn't know that it was out there, and two I optimistically thought that "it'll all be fine, another doughnut won't hurt!" All this coupled with the fact that my body was still taxed from the pregancy and birth of my first (my kids are 17 months apart) created the perfect storm. It set my son up to start life with an ailing gut and from there to be prone to vaccine injury and food allergies. It was, and has been, a domino effect. We have worked for three years to restore his intestinal health and subsequent overall health. We have made great progress, but permanent damage may have been done. And that is what grieves me most. He may never have normal hand strength, normal balance. Some things in life may be a struggle for him. And though I've stopped beating myself up over it, I wonder if some of it could have been prevented.
So, if I had it all to do over again I would have approached pregnancy in a more thoughtful, more educated way. I would have sought the coaching of a holistic doctor. And, my reading would have gone beyond "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and those baby name books. I would have read more books like the soon-to-release Beautiful Babies: Nutrition for Fertility, Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Baby's First Foods by nutrition educator Kristen Michaelis.
True, pregnancy has its risks, but many are preventable. And that is why I wholeheartedly believe that arming yourself with quality information is so so so important and why I think this is an invaluable book.
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The book discusses how certain foods can prevent pregnancy, how eating a low-fat diet can make you 85% more likely to be infertile, what to do if breastfeeding doesn't work for you, how babies can't digest cereal, and gives step-by-step instructions on how and when to introduce your baby's first foods. Beautiful Babies lays out everything you need to know about having a healthy pregnancy and nourishing your growing baby.
If you or someone you know is considering pregnancy, is having a difficult time conceiving, or has just given birth—you might want to pre-order a copy today.