PREGNANCY, CHILD BIRTH AND RELATED AILMENTS
is important to eat a wide variety of nutritious foods and get
plenty of rest when
pregnant as the baby is taking all it needs to develop and any
in nutrients can seriously affect the health of both mother-to-be
and unborn foetus. Everything a mother eats, and doesn’t eat, and
puts on her body, during pregnancy and breast feeding, can have a
profound effect on the intellect, memory and mental and physical
development of their baby.
Organic and natural, unrefined and unprocessed foods are essential and the more varied the foods the more chance of avoiding nutrient deficiencies. All the vitamins are especially important for the healthy development of the foetus especially vitamins B3, B9 and E. Other nutrients vital during pregnancy are alpha lipoic acid, choline, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids and the amino acids methionine and taurine.
Alpha lipoic acid
Alpha lipoic acid is one of the major antioxidants and one of
the few that gets past the blood-brain barrier. This makes it ideal for
both the mother’s and the baby’s brain. It helps remove mercury from the
body and though it would be ideal for a woman to have her dental amalgam
removed, most women will not do that, even though it will help them
avoid Alzheimer’s and dementia as they age. Consuming foods rich in
alpha lipoic acid as well as
chlorella (algae), coriander, raw
apples (including skin) and spirulina (algae) are a few of the main ways to remove mercury from the
Highest sources of alpha-lipoic acid in alphabetical order
Choline is a chemical similar to the B vitamins. It works with vitamin B9 (foliate) and an amino acid called methionine. Because of rapid development in foetuses and infants, there is a greater need for choline in early life. Human breast milk has high levels of choline.
Highest sources of choline in alphabetical order
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Iodine is an important nutrient for pregnant and breast feeding women to consume as it is vital for the correct development of the infant.
Highest sources of iodine in micrograms per serving listed in brackets
Chlorella, dulse, spirulina algae and kelp (1 tablespoon or 5 g) 750 µg
Himalayan crystal salt (half a gram) 450 µg
Cranberries (4 oz or 114 g) 400 µg
Plain yoghurt (8 oz or 227 g) 75 µg
Potato (one medium size) 60 µg
Milk (8oz or 227 g) 59 µg
Navy beans (4 oz or 114 g) 32 µg
Turkey (3 oz or 85 g) 34 µg
One medium sized egg 24 µg
Cheddar cheese (1 oz or 28 g) 23 µg
Gouda cheese (1.42 oz or 40 g) 14 µg
Prunes (five) 13 µg
Strawberries (8 oz or 227 g) 13 µg
Butter beans (4 oz or 114 g) 8 µg
Lean beef (3 oz or 85 g) 8 µg
Apple juice (8oz or 227 g) 7 µg
Peas (4 oz or 114 g) 3 µg
Green beans (4 oz or 114 g) 3 µg
Banana (one medium) 3 µg
NOTE: One µg is one microgram.
Recommended daily consumption
Breastfeeding women 150
Methionine (amino acid)
Foods rich in all the B
methionine, are key components of the methyl-making pathway.
Diets high in these methyl-donating nutrients can rapidly alter gene
expression and are essential, especially during early development of
the foetus, when the epigenome is first being established. The epigenome is a multitude of chemical compounds that can tell the genome what to do. The human genome is the complete assembly of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)-about 3 billion base pairs - that makes each individual unique
Highest sources of methionine in milligrams per 100 grams
Sesame seeds 1331 mg
Chlorella (dried) 1300 mg
Spirulina (dried) 1149 mg
Sunflower seeds 1033 mg
Brazil nuts 1008 mg
Chicken 859 mg
Pumpkin and squash seeds 740 mg
Quail 716 mg
Pheasant 710 mg
Beef (lean mince) 694 mg
Mackerel (tinned) 686 mg
Cod 679 mg
Lamb’s liver 664 mg
Salmon (Atlantic farmed) 654 mg
Cheddar cheese 652 mg
Rabbit 545 mg
Venison 505 mg
Turkey 495 mg
Sunflower seeds 494 mg
Eggs 380 mg
Flaxseeds 370 mg
Quinoa 309 mg
Peanuts 291 mg
Pine nuts 259 mg
Rye 248 mg
Walnuts 236 mg
Soya beans 224 mg
Wheat 212 mg
Brown rice 179 mg
Almonds 151 mg
Omega-3 (fatty acid)
The Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for the complete development of the
human brain during pregnancy and the first two years of life. The
Omega-3 fat, 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 disorders.
Taurine (amino acid)
Taurine is an essential amino acid for a developing foetus and newborn babies because they cannot make it themselves and yet the development of their brain depends on it. In fact, taurine is the highest concentrated amino acid in the brain of the foetus and newborn. The foetus must obtain it through the placenta and newborns can obtain it from breast milk or formula fortified with taurine.
Taurine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that also plays a role in pre- and post-natal development of the central nervous system.
Expectant mothers consuming foods rich in fatty acids, especially omega-3, during the course of pregnancy reduce the chances of birth defects drastically. Defects related to the brain and spine can be reduced and also the deficiency of vitamin B9 (foliate) in the mother’s body can be reduced. Consuming krill oil and a handful of hemp seeds every day are advisable throughout pregnancy. Krill is very short-lived so does not have time to absorb mercury like other sea foods so is a good addition when sea food should be avoided.
Factors that can cause taurine deficiency
If a pregnant mother has chronic (even low grade) candida or bacterial imbalances this can lead to taurine deficiency.
Consuming foods with added monosodium glutamate, that is used to enhance the flavour of processed foods especially in Chinese dishes, can adversely affect taurine levels in the body.
Consuming supplements containing vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) or the amino acids beta-alanine and beta-hypotaurine can also deplete taurine levels.
Deficiency of cysteine, methionine, vitamin A, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) or zinc can lead to diminished levels of taurine. Alcohol and certain drugs, which deplete or block absorption of these nutrients, may also cause taurine deficiency.
Infection with disease producing anaerobic pathogenic bacteria which interfere with the proper functioning of bile acid and degrade taurine, thereby effecting taurine levels. A systemic fungal infection produces the amino acid, beta-alanine, which competes with taurine for re-absorption in the kidneys. This causes loss of taurine through the urine. An increase of taurine in urine actually masks a test for low taurine in the body.
Elevated levels of mercury, lead and cadmium (which create zinc deficiency), can lead to taurine deficiency in the mother and baby. Algae such as chlorella and spirulina can help to chelate heavy metals like mercury from the body.
Placental absorption of maternal taurine can be blocked if the foetus is under stress from both mercury and microbial challenges. This can set up a condition where the baby's detoxification pathways are inhibited, which could lead to neurological problems, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Taurine deficiency was found in 62% of autistic children, according to one study.
Highest sources of taurine in alphabetical order
Vitamin B3 (niacin)
Scientists have recently discovered that the regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin B3 during pregnancy can significantly reduce the risk of birth defects and miscarriage. In 2017, one in four pregnant women worldwide suffer a miscarriage and 7.9 million babies are born with a serious birth defect and over 3.3 million children under five currently die from serious birth defects annually
Highest sources of vitamin B3 in milligrams per 100 grams
Yeast extract 127.5 mg
Brewer’s yeast 40.2 mg (dependent upon source)
Rice bran 34 mg
Anchovies 19.9 mg
Chicken breast 14.8 mg
Shiitake mushrooms 14.1 mg
Peanuts 13.8 mg
Wheat bran 13.5 mg
Spirulina 12.8 mg
Venison 10.8 mg
Duck 10.4 mg
Paprika 10 mg
Sun dried tomatoes 9.1 mg
Chia seeds 8.8 mg
NOTE: The man-made synthetic version of vitamin B3 has anti-vitamin properties meaning it inhibits the absorption of other vitamins and should be avoided.
Bran is a food rich in vitamin B3 which is typically lost during the refining process. Anyone who eats high amounts of white bread, white rice, corn syrup or other refined products will not receive adequate amounts of niacin. Even though most of these foods are now fortified, it is still best to eat unrefined food products.
Regularly consuming vitamin B6-rich foods may help reduce nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
Swelling of bodily tissues (oedema) can be a sign of vitamin B6 deficiency.
Highest sources of vitamin B6 in milligrams per 100 grams
Yeast extract 4.60 mg
Rice bran 4.07 mg
Shiitake mushrooms 3.59 mg
Spirulina 3.48 mg
Sage 2.69 mg
Paprika 2.51 mg
Wheat germ 2.26 mg
Sun dried tomatoes 2.09 mg
Goose 1.83 mg
Brewer’s yeast 1.50 mg
Duck 1.50 mg
Sunflower seeds 1.35 mg
Wheat germ 1.30 mg
Garlic 1.24 mg
Buckwheat 1.23 mg
Pistachio nuts 1.12 mg
Shiitake mushrooms 0.97 mg
Turkey 0.81 mg
Venison 0.76 mg
(folic acid) and
Spina bifida is a neural tube defect that develops during the first month of
pregnancy when the spinal column does not close completely. Up to 90
% of children with the worst form of spina bifida have hydrocephalus
(fluid on the brain) and must have surgery to insert a “shunt” that
helps drain the fluid.
The shunt stays in place for the lifetime of the person. Other
conditions include full or partial paralysis, bladder and bowel
control difficulties, learning disabilities, depression, latex
allergy, social and sexual issues.
Factors that can cause spina bifida
A previous neural tube defect pregnancy increases a woman’s chance to have another approximately 20 times.
High temperatures in early pregnancy (prolonged fevers and hot tub use).
Lower socio-economic status causing malnutrition.
Maternal insulin-dependent diabetes.
Race/ethnicity. It is more common among white women than black women and more common among Hispanic women.
Use of certain anti-seizure medication (Valproic acid/Depakene, and Carbamazapine/Tegretol).
To prevent spina difida in a baby, eat at least one portion of the following natural foods which are rich in vitamin B9 both before conception and throughout the pregnancy (raw or steamed is best where possible):
Highest sources of vitamin B9 in micrograms per 100 grams
Yeast extract 3786 µg
Brewer’s yeast 2340 µg
Basil 310 µg
Wheat germ 281 µg
Sunflower seeds 238 µg
Soya beans 205 µg
Spinach 194 µg
Lentils 181 µg
Chick peas, pinto beans 172 µg
Shiitake mushrooms 163 µg
Parsley 152 µg
Black beans 149 µg
Peanuts 145 µg
Navy beans 140 µg
Asparagus 135 µg
Turnip greens 118 µg
One µg is one microgram.
Other sources of vitamin B9 in alphabetical order
NOTE: Because vitamin B9 can be destroyed by prolonged heat, one good way to ensure enough is consumed is to grow sprouts of the natural foods listed above and consume at least one handful raw per day. See
Micro-diet Sprouts to find out how easy it is with just a
jam jar and a daily rinse of water.
Vitamin D levels must be maintained during pregnancy as low levels can be responsible for autism developing in the unborn child. Consuming foods rich in this vital vitamin during pregnancy can reduce this risk. Some deep sea fish and crustaceans may be contaminated with mercury therefore taking one krill oil capsule (1000 mg) per day or other sources of vitamin D may be preferable during pregnancy. Krill oil is so short-lived and dwells higher up in the oceans so it does not get contaminated with mercury which can be harmful to the developing foetus.
Highest sources of vitamin D per serving
Maitake mushrooms - 70 g: 786 IU
Rainbow trout - 85 g or 3 oz: 540 IU
Cod liver oil -
1 teaspoon: 440 IU
Mackerel - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU
Salmon - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU
Halibut - 85 g or 3 oz: 196 IU
Tuna - 85 g or 3 oz: 228 IU
Sardines - 85 g or 3 oz: 164 IU
Chanterelle mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 155 IU
Raw milk - 1 glass or 8 oz: 98 IU
Egg yolk - 1 large: 41 IU
Caviar - 28g or 1 oz: 33 IU
Hemp seeds - 100 g or 3.5 oz: 22 IU
Portabella mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 6 IU
One IU is the biological equivalent of 0.3 μg or 0.3 micrograms.
Hemp seeds can provide another nutrient vital to the
vitamin E. Premature babies are usually low in vitamin E.
Neonatologists often put these babies on lung machines and
respirators to help them breathe. Sometimes, too much oxygen can
cause oxidative stress because oxygen can produce free radical
damage when it is administered through respirators. Vitamin E helps
premature babies fight off oxidative stress damage to the heart,
lungs and eyes and defend against destruction of red blood cells
that can lead to anaemia. Vitamin E is best absorbed, through
natural foods rich in this nutrient, by the mother and transported
to the foetus.
Highest sources of vitamin E in milligrams per 100 grams
Wheat germ 149.4 mg
Hemp seeds 55 mg
Hazelnut oil 47 mg
Almond oil 39 mg
Sunflower seeds 38.3 mg
Chilli powder 38.1 mg
Paprika 38 mg
Rice bran oil 32 mg
Grape seed oil 29 mg
Almonds 26.2 mg
Oregano 18.3 mg
Hazelnuts 17 mg
Flaxseed oil 17 mg
Peanut oil 16 mg
Hazelnuts 15.3 mg
Corn oil 15 mg
Olive oil 14 mg
Soya bean oil 12 mg
Pine nuts 9.3 mg
Cloves (ground) 9 mg
Peanuts 8 mg
Celery flakes (dried) 6 mg
Spirulina 5 mg
Dried apricots 4.3 mg
Bell peppers (red), olives and salmon 4 mg
Jalapeno peppers 3.6 mg
Anchovies 3.3 mg
Broccoli, chicken, chilli peppers (sun-dried), dandelion greens, egg yolk, duck, goose, pecan nuts, spinach, tomatoes (tinned or pureed) turkey and turnip greens 3 mg
Avocado, beef, bilberries, blue berries, butter, chicory greens, cinnamon (ground), halibut, herring (pickled), mackerel, marjoram, mustard greens, pistachio nuts, poppy seeds, sardines, sesame seeds, Swiss chard, trout, tuna, turnips and walnuts 2 mg
Asparagus, kiwi fruit and parsnips 1.5 mg
Black berries 1.2 mg
Chlorella 1.1 mg
NOTE: The recommended daily allowance is 22 IU for adults. One IU is the biological equivalent of 0.3 μg or 0.3 micrograms.
What to avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding
Alcohol: Drinking during
pregnancy can increase the chance of miscarrying and have devastating effects on the baby's development causing low
weight at birth, slower learning and emotional and physical
Regular drinking can cause the baby to to be born with foetal
alcohol syndrome (FAS) which can cause facial deformities, problems with physical and emotional development and poor memory or a short attention span. Women, who drink alcohol and work night shifts during pregnancy are more likely to miscarry. If either partner drinks alcohol it can reduce the chance of conceiving a child.
Aluminium and fluoride are independently bad for the brain of a developing foetus and the combination of them both makes the damage far worse. Drink filtered of bottled mineral water, use fluoride-free natural toothpastes and avoid aluminium-containing deodorants.
Anti-depressant medications: Taking antidepressants during pregnancy increases the child’s risk of autism by 87 percent.
additives and sweeteners,
Blue cohosh (herb)
Blue vervain (herb)
Cats claw (herb)
Cheese that is mould-ripened, such as brie and camembert, and
soft blue-veined cheeses, such as roquefort, aren't safe to eat in
pregnancy. Unpasteurised milk and soft cheeses (especially if made
from sheep and goat's milk) as these could contain listeria
Listeria can cause an infection called listeriosis that
may harm the unborn baby. Hard cheeses such as parmesan and
pecorino, even if they have been made with unpasteurised milk, are
safe to eat, as the risk of listeriosis in these is low.
cosmetics and toiletries, such as perfumes, deodorants, hair spray, hair
shampoo, toothpaste, etc. contains chemicals that are dangerous to a foetus
and nursing infant such as phthalates. See Hygiene and Health to find out how to make natural powerful cleaners from plants which are free from hazardous toxins.
Chinese rhubarb root is not recommended for long term use and not suitable for pregnant or breast feeding women or children under twelve years of age.
Coffee and any other caffeine beverages such as fizzy drinks. Drinking lots of caffeine on a regular basis in pregnancy has been linked to miscarriage and babies who have a low birth weight.
Dandelion root (herb)
prescribed medication and
recreational drugs can seriously damage the foetus both
mentally and physically during development and should only be taken
in extreme cases with the health practitioner's advice. Dextromethorphan, the major ingredient in most cough
medicines, has been shown to cause birth defects and foetal death in
chicken embryos exposed to concentrations relative to those
typically taken by humans. Researchers found that dextromethorphan
causes defects so early in the development of the embryo that in
many cases the woman wouldn’t even know she is pregnant. Researchers
feel that a single dose is capable of causing a birth defect and
that, ultimately, it could be the cause for a woman to have a
Eggs: Avoid eating raw or runny eggs, as they may contain
salmonella bacteria. However, eggs that have the British lion
quality stamp are less likely to contain salmonella, as they come
from hens that have been vaccinated against salmonella. In any case
it is advisable to cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm, as
this destroys salmonella bacteria. There is a substance in the raw egg whites called avidin that is a glycoprotein that binds with vitamin B7 (biotin) preventing its absorption therefore restrict consumption of the egg whites during pregancy or consume extra foods rich in vitamin B7.
Fish and shellfish:
Some types of fish and shellfish may have high levels
of dioxins and PCBs. These are sea bream, turbot, halibut,
dogfish (also called rock salmon or huss), crab
and sea bass. Limit these fish to two portions a week. Oily
fish is a good source of vital vitamins, minerals and protein, but
as oily fish can also contain environmental pollutants (PCBs), it's
best not to eat it more frequently than twice a week.
Women who may become pregnant, pregnant women and nursing mothers
should avoid eating too much deep sea ocean fish and shellfish. For foetuses, infants and children, the primary health effect of
mercury is impaired neurological development. Mercury exposure
in the womb, which can result from a mother's consumption of fish
and shellfish that contain it, can adversely affect a baby's growing
brain and nervous system and have impacts on cognitive thinking,
memory, attention, language and fine motor and visual spatial
skills. especially avoid marlin, shark, swordfish and tuna as they can
contain unsafe levels of mercury. Consuming coriander or algae such as powdered chlorella or
at the same time can chelate any
heavy metals present in foods and are a rich source of essential
vitamins and minerals often lacking in land-based crops.
Avoid all raw fish and raw shellfish, such as
oysters. Smoked salmon is considered safe as the curing process
listeria bacteria. However, if it hasn't been completely
cured or frozen before being consumed, listeria bacteria may remain. To still obtain the vital omega-3 fatty acids found in sea food, krill oil is a good alternative. Krill is very short-lived so does not have time to absorb mercury like other fish and molluscs etc so is a good addition when sea food should be limited because of mercury contamination/
Genetically modified (GM) crops and seeds contain the chemical glyphosate which have recently been linked to birth defects in birds, pigs and other animals and obviously could also be a great risk to the human foetus so should be avoided. Read more about
or Chinese knotweed (herb)
Land caltrop (herb) can cause foetal miscarriage and must be avoided by pregnant or breast feeding women.
Lifting more than 20kg (44lbs) during pregnancy (especially during
the first trimester), obesity or being underweight increases the
risk of miscarriage.
Marshmallow root (herb)
Meat, except for liver, are safe to eat, as long as they have been
cooked well. Take extra care if cooking barbecued meat, or
microwavable ready meals that contain meat. Processed meat should be
avoided such as parma ham, because of the small risk of listeria. Pate, whether made from meat, fish or vegetables, may contain listeria bacteria, which can be harmful to the baby. Heat-treated or UHT pate is safe to eat, as long as it is not made from liver.
Mousse, homemade ice cream or mayonnaise from
delis or restaurants, as these may contain raw egg. Always check
that salad dressings and ice creams are made using pasteurised egg.
Phthalates are substances added to plastics vinyl to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability and longevity.
Phthalates are metabolised in humans once ingested or absorbed through
the skin. In pregnant women, phthalates pass through the placenta to be
absorbed by the foetus. In nursing women, phthalates are found in breast
milk, which means infants are ingesting these chemicals as they develop. In
male foetuses and infants the phthalates have been shown to cause testicular
atrophy and a reduced sperm count, among other serious health problems.
Plums and prunes
Potatoes: When potatoes are stored they develop black spots which are caused by the fungi Aspergillus and Fusarium. The mytotoxins created by these fungi are aflatoxin and fumosium. In pregnant
women, who consume large amounts of potatoes, the two mytotoxins have
been incriminated as a cause of spina bifida.
Sage should be avoided during pregnancy but may help to reduce excessive lactation when breastfeeding.
tobacco can lead to early birth and an underweight baby and may lead to learning difficulties and a lowered immune system for the child because nicotine constricts the blood vessels and oxygen in the body is replaced by carbon monoxide.
Table salt: Use Himalayan pink crystals or unrefined sea salt.
antibacterial chemical triclosan (found in hand washes, soaps and toothpastes etc)
can react with the chlorine in water to produce chloroform gas. Researchers
believe that over time, inhaled chloroform can result in depression, liver
ailments and even cancer. It must be especially be avoided when pregnant.
Vitamin A (retinol):
High levels of
vitamin A consumption can cause birth defects so excess
shellfish are best avoided during pregnancy.
Do not attempt
raw juice therapy when pregnant without
consulting a health professional.
During the first trimester (three months) of pregnancy or if breast feeding especially avoid the following:
Throughout the pregnancy and when breast feeding, try to avoid any foods with additives such as aspartame, refined and processed foods, coffee, fizzy drinks, sugar, table salt (use Himalayan pink crystals or unrefined sea salt), white flour and white rice (choose whole grains and brown or wild rice).
Only eat the following fruit and vegetables if they are organic because of the risk of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides:
Mange toute peas
During the third trimester of pregnancy, it has been found that sleeping on the back may be a potential cause for still births. It is best to try to go to sleep on either side rather than laying flat on the back. This may be because the pressure of the unborn baby could restrict blood vessels that are feeding it oxygen etc. Using pillows to bolster the back and between the knees, when going to sleep, can help to keep the sleeping position. It is not damaging if you end up on your back when you wake as long as you went to sleep on one side or another as you will spend most of your sleep in this position.
Pregnancy related ailments
Flying when pregnant
If the pregnancy is straightforward, flying is not harmful to the mother-to-be or her baby. Although everyone who flies is exposed to a slight increase in radiation, there is no evidence that flying causes miscarriage, early labour or a woman's waters to break. However, the side-effects of flying can be swelling of the legs due to a build-up of fluid, nose and ear problems caused by changes in air pressure and motion sickness making any pregnancy nausea a little worse.
Long-haul flights of four hours or more can increase the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, when a blood clot forms in the leg or pelvis, and pregnancy increases this risk even more. Having regular drinks of water can help prevent against deep vein thrombosis. Pregnant women should wear loose clothing and comfortable shoes, take regular walks around the plane and do exercises in their seat every 30 minutes. Avoiding drinks containing alcohol or caffeine and wearing elastic compression stockings can also help.
If a pregnant woman has an increased risk of going into labour before her due date, has severe anaemia, sickle cell disease, has recently had significant vaginal bleeding or has a serious heart or lung condition she should avoid flying altogether.
If more than 28 weeks pregnant, a woman should take her pregnancy notes, documents confirming her due date, a European Health Insurance card and any medication plus a letter from her medial practitioner. Many airlines have their own rules on when pregnant women can fly. For women with multiple pregnancies it is safest to fly before 34 weeks. A women can go into labour anytime after 37 weeks.
Food allergies during pregnancy
Many people are unaware that they may be intolerant to certain compounds in popular food products such as wheat found in so many processed foods these days. During pregnancy it is wise to consider reducing or even eliminating these compounds as they can cause nutrient deficiencies, low birth weight of the infant and even miscarriages. Two of the nutrients that can be reduced by a food allergy are vitamin B9 and vitamin K. Both of these are especially vital to the healthy development of the foetus.
There are seven common compounds known to irritate the intestinal lining which can lead to a leaky gut where undigested proteins (including bacteria proteins) can escape into the blood stream and the absorption of nutrients, vital for healthy foetal development and the mother's health, is compromised. The undigested proteins, that have escaped into the blood stream, then trigger an immune response against them as they do not belong there, and then other similar protein tissues, which are part of the body (or the unborn foetus), are also attacked. Some bacterial and viral infections, such as herpes and influenza can cause damage to cells which can
also increase susceptibility to allergic reactions to the following components in food.
The seven compounds to be most aware of
A1 casein protein (in cow's milk and dairy products)
FODMAPS (carbohydrate intolerance)
Glycoalkaloids and steroid alkaloids (in vegetables from nightshade family such as aubergines, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes)
Gluten (in barley, rye, spelt and wheat)
Lactose (in cow's milk and dairy products)
Lectins (in beans especially navy and soya beans, dairy products (when cows are fed grains), grains especially wheat, some seeds and vegetables from the nightshade family such as tomatoes and potatoes)
More information on each of these and other compounds that can cause allergies and healthy alternatives can be found in the Food Allergies section.
False labour pains
Drumstick leaves: Boil a handful of
drumstick leaves with two teaspoons of coriander seeds. Then strain and add a teaspoon of honey and drink one glass. If the contractions are false, the pain
Cinnamon: Take half a teaspoonful of cinnamon powder with water or milk as and when required. If the pain persists, consult a health worker or go to a hospital.
Real labour pains
Black cohosh can be used during labour and delivery to ease
pain but should be used with caution as it can cause an allergic
Blue vervain can hep to stimulate the uterus during labour but too much
can cause vomiting.
Drumstick leaf juice is very beneficial for pregnant women as it can
help them overcome sluggishness of the uterus, ease delivery and reduce post
Maqui berry is a Chilean 'super fruit' which contains the highest amount
of antioxidants and anti inflammatory compounds than any other known natural
food which can reduce pain and inflammation. The leaves are astringent and
have cleansing properties. It is used by the
Mapuche Indians of southern Chile
during child birth.
Motherwort can stimulate uterine contractions and is a uterus tonic both
just before and during childbirth.
Rhesus disease is also known as
haemolytic disease of the foetus and newborn All pregnant women should
know both their own blood type as well as that of their unborn baby. When
the mother has rhesus-negative blood (RhD-negative) and the baby in her womb
has rhesus-positive blood (RhD-positive) the mother's immune system sees the
baby as "alien" and switches to "destroy" mode because these two blood
groups are incompatible, Women who are RhD-negative can receive the anti-D
inoculation to stop them making antibodies that could attack the baby or
choose to have an abortion if they are too frail to risk stopping their
system from making antibodies.
cells from a rhesus positive baby get into the rhesus negative mother's
bloodstream, her blood will react as if the baby's blood is a foreign
substance and will produce antibodies against it. This is not usually a
problem in a first pregnancy with a rhesus positive baby. However, the
antibodies that the mother produces stay in her blood, and if she has
another pregnancy with a baby who is also rhesus positive, her antibodies
can cross the placenta and attack the blood cells of the unborn baby. This
can cause 'haemolytic disease of the newborn'.
Haemolytic disease of the newborn can be very mild, but in a small number of
babies it can be more serious and cause the baby to be stillborn, severely
disabled or to die after birth as a result of anaemia and jaundice.
The most common time for a baby's blood cells to get into the mother's
blood, causing her to produce antibodies, is at the time of birth. However,
this can also occur at other times, for example during a miscarriage or
abortion, or as the result of having an amniocentesis, chorionic villus
sampling, vaginal bleeding, or turning the baby’s head down (external
cephalic version). These events are called 'potentially sensitising
injections contain a medicine called human anti-D immunoglobulin. People
whose blood type is rhesus positive (RhD positive) have a substance called D
antigen on the surface of their red blood cells. People whose blood type is
rhesus negative (RhD negative) are missing this antigen. Whether a person is
rhesus positive or rhesus negative is determined by their genes.
Anti-D prophylaxis is offered routinely to pregnant women who are rhesus
negative, unless they already have anti-D antibodies in their blood. (This
is tested by a blood test at the start of the pregnancy.) Rhophylac
injection is given as a single dose between 28 and 30 weeks of pregnancy.
The treatment is offered regardless of whether a sensitisation event has
occurred, in order to be absolutely certain that the mother does not develop
antibodies against the baby.
After the birth, a blood sample will be taken to test the baby's blood
group. If the baby is rhesus positive, the mother will be given a further
injection of anti-D immunoglobulin. (This is called postnatal anti-D
prophylaxis.) Another dose of anti-D immunoglobulin will also be given after
any sensitising event that occurs during the pregnancy.
Babies can be
safely breastfed after having this injection. There are no known harmful
effects on the nursing infant.
Anti-D prophylaxis may not be necessary for rhesus negative mothers if there
is certainty that she will not have another child following the pregnancy,
for example if she is to be sterilised after the birth. It will also not be
necessary if the father's blood type is also rhesus negative, as genetically
this means the baby cannot be rhesus positive.
Anti-D immunoglobulin may also be used if a rhesus negative individual is
given a blood transfusion of rhesus positive blood. This is to prevent the
individual forming antibodies against the transfused blood.
medicine is given within two to four weeks of having a live vaccine, such as
yellow fever, BCG or oral polio, the anti-D immunoglobulin may interfere
with the immune response to these vaccines. This could make them less
vaccines are needed after having an anti-D injection, they should be
postponed until three months after the last injection of this medicine has
Alleles are different forms of a gene. They can be dominant or recessive.
There are four basic blood types, O, A, B, and AB. Blood type is determined
by the alleles inherited from parents. For the blood type gene, there are
three basic blood type alleles: A, B, and O.
We all have two alleles, one
inherited from each parent. The possible combinations of the three alleles
are OO, AO, BO, AB, AA, and BB. Blood types A and B are "co-dominant"
alleles, whereas O is "recessive".
A co dominant allele is apparent even if
only one is present; a recessive allele is apparent only if two recessive
alleles are present.
Because blood type O is recessive, it is not apparent
if the person inherits an A or B allele along with it. So, the possible
allele combinations result in a particular blood type in this way:
OO = blood type O
AO = blood type A
BO = blood type B
AB = blood type AB
AA = blood type A
BB = blood type B
You can see that a person with blood type B may have a B and an O allele, or
they may have two B alleles. If both parents are blood type B and both have
a B and a recessive O, then their children will either be BB, BO, or OO. If
the child is BB or BO, they have blood type B. If the child is OO, he or she
will have blood type O.
Coconut oil (pure cold pressed) can help to stop stretch marks occurring
if applied to the stomach everyday. Use a teaspoon to scoop some into the
palm of one hand then rub fingers into the coconut and it will become liquid
due to the heat of the hands. Then rub this all over the stomach. It is
readily absorbed and has
properties and is good to consume whenever oil is required in cooking.
Honey is another good healer for cars and stretch marks. Melt some in a pan over very low heat, cool then spread onto the areas where stretch marks are. Leave for ten minutes then wash off.
St John's wort: When rubbed onto the belly and breasts during pregnancy, the oil of St John's wort may help prevent stretch marks and topical application is also useful to treat haemorrhoids and aching, swollen veins that can also occur during pregnancy.
Swelling feet during pregnancy
It is important to rest with the feet up as often as possible during pregnancy.
In the case of swelling of feet during pregnancy, go for a medical check-up
and follow the doctor's advice as it could be a sign of an underlying condition that needs treatment. You can also do the following to reduce swelling:
Fennel: Boil one teaspoon of dark brown sugar and two teaspoons of fennel together in a glass of water until it is reduced to one half glass. Strain and drink three times a day till the swelling disappears.
Take a handful of
coriander seeds and boil in a cupful of water until it is reduced to half.
Strain and drink it twice a day for three days.
Corn silk: A decoction made from
corn silk (the tassels of silk from the ear of maize) can help in reducing swelling of the feet. Boil a large handful of corn silk in a glass of water. Drink 1-2 glasses. This is not dangerous.
Swelling of bodily tissues (oedema) can be a sign of vitamin B6 deficiency. See Highest sources of vitamin B6 above
Toxoplasmosis from cats
Toxoplasmosis gondii parasite is found in cat's faeces more often than not and especially if they have caught and eaten rodents, mice or birds. Protective gloves must be worn when cleaning cat litter trays or gardening in soil where cats may have defecated. Pregnant women must especially avoid touching cat litter trays or contaminated soil, water or sand as this parasite can be transmitted to the unborn foetus and cause major defects including neurological disorders, blindness and deafness and in rare cases death and still birth.
There are other ways to become infected by this parasite. See
Toxoplasmosis to learn more.
the blood volume increases and the pressure from the growing uterus
on the mother's inferior vena cava, puts pressure on the veins in
the legs. It’s already harder for the blood to return to the heart
from the legs because of gravity, but add to that the increase in
progesterone, which dilates the veins and causes the blood to pool.
Varicose veins usually
develop in the legs but can also show up in the vulva or as haemorrhoids,
which are a type of varicose veins.
pregnancy can increase varicose veins and cause haemorrhoids, so drink lots
of bottled mineral water, limit salt intake and eat high fibre foods.
Natural remedies for constipation
Apple cider vinegar contains pectin, a water-soluble fibre that promotes bowel movements. This makes it a great natural treatment for constipation. Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink it three times a day. Add apple or grape juice to the mix to make it more palatable.
The diet should include the following to help treat varicose veins
Vegetables: tomatoes, beetroot, carrots and watercress.
Fibre: amaranth, barley, brown rice, oats, psyllium husks, quinoa, rye and teff.
Fruit: berries especially blackberries, cherries, dates, grapes, oranges, papaya, raisins and tangerines.
Herbs: borage as a tea.
Spices: black pepper and nutmeg.
Foods rich in the B vitamin complex can help to reduce varicose veins. See Vitamin B complex.
Vomiting during pregnancy
Cardamom: One glass of
freshly squeezed lime juice with a pinch of
cardamom powder taken as and when required. This is safe for both unborn baby and mother.
Powder or grind in a coffee grinder three to four cloves and soak in a glass of water for half an hour. Strain and drink this water as and when required
for morning sickness. This is not harmful and has no side effects.
Other natural foods that can relieve morning sickness
Fibre-rich foods: amaranth, barley, brown rice, oats, psyllium husks and rye.
Fruits: blackberries, papaya, mango and mosambi juice.
Herbal teas: chamomile, ginger, lemon balm, peppermint, slippery elm and spearmint.
Spices: black pepper, nutmeg and paprika
Eating vitamin B6-rich foods may help reduce nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
See Highest sources of vitamin B6 above
Care after the birth of a baby
Breast milk production
Some women experience problems with producing adequate milk to feed
the new infant. Breast milk is vital for new babies as it contains
all the nutrients necessary for healthy development
breast milk in nursing mothers.
Drumstick leaves can be boiled in water and sea salt, the water drained and the leaves
served with ghee (clarified butter) to lactating mothers to
increase breast milk.
help mothers with milk production. Bring to the boil 6
ounces of bottled or filtered water. Add one tablespoon of dried
motherwort and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Drink this tea two to
three times a day. It has a bitter taste but
honey can help to disguise this.
can help to reduce excessive
Swede (rutabaga): Regular consumption of
Swede increases milk production capacity in
Caesarean section aftercare
aloe vera gel on the scars after a
caesarean section can stop infection occurring and help with healing.
Weight loss after pregancy
Between three to 12 months after birth is a
critical time for women to lose as much of the weight gained in
pregnancy as possible in order to avoid health problems that can
high blood pressure,
heart disease. See the Obesity and Sports Nutrition links below to see how to lose weight safely. It is important not to lose weight rapidly or go without important nutrients especially when breast feeding.
WARNING ABOUT MESH IMPLANTS
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) are conditions that typically plague women after a hysterectomy, menopause or childbirth. Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when a woman’s pelvic muscles weaken and the pelvic organs (including the bladder, rectum and uterus) drop into the vagina. Transvaginal mesh is a net-like implant used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence in women. The product design and implantation technique contribute to serious complications, such as mesh erosion, mesh contraction and organ perforation.