March 5, 2013
A new double-blind study that was published on line in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that pregnant women who consumed DHA (an omega 3 essential fatty acid) had larger babies, a longer gestation, and fewer preterm births.
In the study, 154 healthy women were randomly assigned to consume 600 mg of DHA per day during the second half of pregnancy and 147 women were assigned a placebo.
After the researchers adjusted for maternal education, socioeconomic status, prior pregnancy, smoking and other risk factors they discovered that the babies of the DHA mothers weighed nearly a half a pound more, were longer and had slightly larger head circumferences. And in the group of mothers on placebo, 5% gave birth at 34 weeks or less, whereas among the DHA group, only 0.6% gave birth early. The lead author, Susan E. Carlson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Kansas, says that is a dramatic reduction in preterm labor as compared to the general population.
There were no side effects reported.
Most Americans consume too much of the other essential fatty acids (omega 6 and omega 9) and not enough of the omega 3 (which DHA is classified as). So balance here is key. DHA is rich in sea foods and meat however I do not advise pregnant women to consume these foods in order to get DHA, as they also contain high levels of toxins (heavy metals and other environmental toxins that get stored in the animal fat).
I will often recommend the vegetarian source of DHA available on the market today, that is derived from algae. One easy way for a pregnant woman to be sure she has the right balance of essential fatty acids, including DHA is by consuming 1-2 tablespoons per day of Udo’s DHA Oil Blend while avoiding vegetable based cooking oils and packaged foods that contain oil, like chips and crackers. Just be sure to keep the Udo’s DHA Oil Blend refrigerated and do not cook with it. Always keep it cold as the fatty acids are vulnerable to heat sources.
March 19, 2009
The MOTHERS act has been introduced once again to the US House of Representatives and the US Senate. This bill is concerning as it would mandate the federal government to screen all new mothers for “psychiatric” conditions. It parallels the “Teen Screen” phenomenon where schools began screening kids to see if they were at risk for suicide. It appears like a good idea on the surface however, it opens the door for over-prescribing potentially lethal psychiatric medications with questionable justification. If you follow the money trail, it leads straight to the pharmaceutical industry, and new moms and teens are both huge markets that have, until now, been virtually untapped.
In my practice, I see many patients who have been prescribed psychiatric medications, feel disconnected from who they really are, and have grown extremely frustrated with the process of trying to get off the medications, with little if any support from their prescribing psychiatrist. I often learn that these patients felt better before taking the medications and are now left confused and totally disenchanted by the Healthcare system that offers no answers once a patient decides that his or her antidepressant is causing more harm then help. Had they come in prior to taking the medications we would have worked together to find the underlying cause for the sad or anxious feelings. Oftentimes it is due to a multifaceted condition called Sickness Syndrome Depression that is best treated with natural medicines. Sometimes it can be related to adrenal stress, or compromised immune function, or an amino acid imbalance or other nutrient deficiency. Sometimes, and especially in new moms, it is simply due to a hormonal imbalance that can be easily and safely corrected through natural, nutrition -based medicine. Patients are able to eventually break free from the psychiatric medications, but it is a long and committed process that takes time, energy and patience.
To gain a better understanding of the consequences of allowing this bill to pass, click here.
To see and hear one woman’s story about being misled by the psychiatric field and losing her child as a consequence, click here.
To sign a petition urging congress not to pass the MOTHERS act click here.
In the spirit of doing what is best for the patient,
September 23, 2008
There is a new coalition that has been formed that is committed to educating brides-to-be about the importance of nutrition for moms, even before they get pregnant. The “Commitment Project” is an initiative designed to encourage brides-to-be to make a vow of health to their future children. They commit to taking a daily multivitamin with 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid, an essential B-vitamin that helps build and maintain healthy cells, particularly in developing fetuses.
This is a true gift to our future generation who will need all of the support they can get, as they face a world with more environmental toxins, less-nutritious food, and more stress. Nutrition during pregnancy makes a huge difference in the health and vitality of infants. Things like Vitamin D, folic acid and a comprehensive multi are powerful supporters of a healthy pregnancy, for mom and baby.
In my medical practice, women who are thinking about getting pregnant or are already pregnant receive a foundational nutrition plan that includes high quality essential fats, prenatal vitamins, vitamin D3, coconut power (for immune support), quality protein and chlorophyll-rich greens.
Healthy children will make for a healthier planet.