Passing the Healthiest Bacteria to Your Babyby Elizabeth MacDonald
Women’s gut bacteria changes during pregnancy; actually, each trimester the bacteria is altered.
Starting a pregnancy as healthy as possible is important, and effects more than just the mother throughout the pregnancy – the mother's gut health effects the growing baby, possibly leaving lifelong effects for him. The majority of women do not have a balanced gut flora (bacteria) before or during pregnancy, but there are things you can do to help work towards creating the healthiest bacteria to pass onto your baby.
(Read the first part of this article HERE.)
Things To Know:
- If antibiotics are needed before or during pregnancy, repopulating the gut with good bacteria (probiotics) and eating a healthy diet (no processed foods –stick with whole foods) will help counter-act the harmful effect of the antibiotics.
- Toxins flow from the gut throughout the body and into the brain. This poses many challenges to the nervous system. These toxins prevent normal functions and the processing of sensory information.
- Basically ANY toxic exposure can be what tips the scale and causes a chronic illness, allergies, even symptoms of autism. I’m talking about exposure to toxins through medications, pesticides, chemicals, air pollutants, etc. Our lives are filled with ample toxic exposure, but a strong and healthy gut foundation can help prevent these chronic problems from ever beginning.
As noted by Scientific American:
"Scientists have long wondered whether the composition of bacteria in the intestines, known as the gut microbiome, might be abnormal in people with autism and drive some of these symptoms. Now a spate of new studies supports this notion and suggests that restoring proper microbial balance could alleviate some of the disorder's behavioral symptoms."
It is not possible to avoid all the toxins we are exposed to. It is, however, important to be proactive is trying to avoid what we can. (Especially while pregnant!)
The following are ways to reduce exposure to help promote a healthy gut flora:
- Avoid medications whenever possible
- Seeding your baby during a c-section birth may be a great way to further introduce vital bacteria to your baby.
- Vitamin D plays a large role in a healthy gut.
- Eat real foods – and organic whenever possible.
- Eliminate processed foods (and food dyes) from your diet.
- Exercise regularly.
- Breastfeed exclusively if possible.
- Trash the plastic containers you use for food storage and avoid plastic wrap.
- Invest in a high quality water filter – don’t drink the tap water.
- Use natural cleaning products
- Use natural, organic products on your skin and hair.
- Dump the non-stick pans, pots, and baking sheets.
- Avoid spray-on sunscreens – look for mineral based versions.
- Avoid bug spray with chemicals like DEET.
- Minimize your stress levels. (Stress alters your bacteria)
- Quit smoking and avoid second hand smoke.