Integrative Health Coach • Classically Trained Chef • Certified GAPS Counselor

Clean Up Your Body Before Conception

The toxic load placed on humans begins early and often. Did you know that babies are born with more than 250 toxins found in the umbilical cord? That is a huge toxic load to be born with. No wonder we are seeing so many childhood disorders.

If you are planning to conceive, it is helpful to clean up your body and environment before conception. Consider a cleansing diet or a fast about nine months before you think about getting pregnant. Change the food you are eating to organic, look at your cleaning chemicals, food storage containers and cookware. Minimize your toxic load before you conceive and you will minimize your unborn child’s toxic load.

For those women who are having trouble conceiving, changing your diet and lifestyle can sometimes significantly influence fertility. Many women have had success conceiving and giving birth to healthy babies by understanding which nutrient dense food the body needs.

The goal of any expectant mother is always to have a healthy child. That is why doctors prescribe prenatal vitamins. But good health for your baby actually begins before you conceive.

Did you know that you can significantly influence the health of your child if you change your diet six months before you conceive? Giving your body the correct nutrients and rebalancing your body before you begin to nourish a baby can make a big difference in the health of your baby. It can avoid all kinds of childhood illnesses and can even influence things like facial bone structure and crowded teeth.

A significant but little understood issue in children’s health is digestive system health. A baby in utero has a sterile digestive system, in other words, no good or bad flora in their digestive tract. The first good bacteria the baby is exposed to is through the birth canal where they take on the flora of their mother, which is good if the mother has a healthy balance of good to bad bacteria: 85 percent good to 15 percent bad is a good ratio.

Unfortunately, most of us today have the inverse; 85 percent bad to 15 percent good. This is due mostly to our modern diet too heavy in sugar and refined grains with little to no fermented foods. Fermented foods that contain probiotics (good bacteria) help to feed the good flora. Sugar and refined grains feed the bad bacteria.

How about babies that are born by cesarean section? What is the first bacteria they are exposed to? All the bacteria in the delivery room. Not good. In fact, doctors can determine if a 10-year-old was born by cesarean section based on their digestive system flora.

In the early part of our life the ecology of our digestive system is created. Antibiotics disrupt this delicate balance and can be very detrimental in early childhood. Research indicates that antibiotics given in early childhood can change the ecology of the child’s gut for life. This doesn’t mean that antibiotics should never be used, it means that they should only be used when absolutely necessary and in conjunction with support for the gut through probiotics.

Why is the balance of bacteria so important? The digestive system affects every system, cell and organ of the body. The digestive system’s job is to provide nutrients, through food, to every cell in the body. We know that the balance of gut bacteria influences digestive health; diarrhea and constipation are indicators that the flora is not balanced. The gut also affects brain function, regulates our moods and behavior and can contribute to learning disabilities, anxiety and depression. It is also linked to autoimmune disease, heart disease and cancer.

It is helpful for the mother and father to rebalance their digestive system flora before conceiving, but if that has not been the case, there are options to help your baby have a healthier balance. Breast feeding is the best thing for babies, even if mom’s flora is out of balance. Supplementing with a baby probiotic can help and making wise choices for baby’s first foods is very important.Once upon a time, baby food was prepared naturally by the mother, grandmother and family members. Food consisted of fresh meat, good fats and vegetables cooked and mashed with broths or gravies and then served to the baby. Homemade broths were always a mainstay of an infant’s diet, very nutritious, easily digested and very healing for the gut. In America, that diet has been replaced with high sugar juices, grains, cereals, processed foods and processed dairy products.

There is so much we can do to ensure the health of our babies. Unfortunately, most of us don’t realize how much influence we have over this. We take our prenatal vitamins and hope for nine months that our babies will be healthy.

What we need to understand is that we can start to influence the health of our babies nine months before we conceive. We also need to know that it is never too late to start feed our babies the right foods to make them healthy. That’s something we can all do, even if our babies aren’t babies anymore.


Originally published in The News Herald column Food for Thought by Theresa Edmunds.

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