When you are planning a pregnancy or discover you are pregnant, there are some factors that could put more strain on mum and baby and may make baby more/less likely to have atopic/autoimmune conditions.
Not all of these things will be will be a concern for everyone, but some are often things we can support with minimal effort to try and eliminate them as a risk factor.
Lots of people are unaware of the importance of our adrenal function and supporting our adrenals. Adrenals are probably a factor if you are stressed, fatigued, cramping or startle easily.
Our adrenals regulate our stress hormones and can be supported with electrolytes balance. Many use the “adrenal cocktail” to help support their adrenal function and electrolyte balance, others do take specific adrenal support supplements like adrenal cortex.
During gestation, if our adrenals are taxed, there is research that shows our foetus’ adrenals compensate for our lack and can be put under stress in utero. So if we can avoid putting stress on baby as much as possible this is important. Gestational adrenal function can have a programming effect on life long adrenal function.
Liver function can be really impacted by gestation, according to Dr Ben Lynch in the Dirty Genes Summit most women 80+% are deficient in phosphatidylcholine during pregnancy, which is essential to liver function, bile production and is linked with peri-natal gallbladder inflammation. We can get it easily in diet from egg yolks (the looser the better), lecithin powder or a lecithin or phospholipid capsule. Making tea from dandelion flowers is also supposed to be a good way to get lecithin if you enjoy foraging!
Supporting bile function is important as it is the body’s way of disposing of toxins and hormone waste in our stools. If we have insufficient bile production, or sluggish liver function impairing flow, then our bodies can recycle up to 80% of the bile and all that goes with it. Dietary fibre is important as it binds to bile so we can eliminate it and all the toxin/hormone waste. Supporting liver function with herbal teas can also be beneficial though it is best to double check any herbs for suitability and historical use during gestation. Herbs/teas like dandelion, burdock, fennel and milk thistle are all great for supporting liver function and bile flow.
Our liver health is also responsible for our bodies ability to detox, so avoiding additional toxins especially during gestation like those found in amalgam fillings and vaccination can reduce the toxic burden our infants inherit.
Eating a wide range of prebiotic foods to diversify your microbiome is pretty much good for everyone, as are probiotic rich foods like ferments (though these can cause issues for those who are histamine intolerant). Especially with the ongoing research on the impact of over sanitation and the loss of microbial diversity. Lots of research presently supports the use of probiotics to reduce the risk of allergies in infants. Lactobacillus Rhamnosus is specifically linked with reducing IgE hypersensitivity, and Lactobacillus Infantis’s highly linked with infant gastro health.
To further support your microbiome during gestation you can ditch the antibacterial hand soaps/gels, reduce or eliminate SLS containing products.
If you get ill you can prophylactically use raw garlic to support your immune system and reduce your risk of secondary infections which more commonly need antibiotic treatment, many also find garlics antimicrobial properties can treat many infections that antibiotics can be given for.
If Candida/thrush/yeast overgrowth is an issue it is important to address this as soon as possible, because we pass on our microbiome in utero, birth, lactation, and Candida can be stubborn to shift, and have an enormous impact on gut health and the balance of our microbes.
Everything above could probably be put under adequate nutrition…
Most peri-natal supplements contain folic acid which is associated with increased risk of allergies, it is there to reduce the risk of midline defects including spina-bifida, but folic acid is the cheapest least bioavailable form. Many with a history of allergies and midline defects (tongue/lip ties) have genetic mutations (inc.mthfr) which mean they are unable to utilise this form, and the cheapest B12 form (cyanocobalamin). Both of which are essential for our bodies ability to detox as well as cell repair and function. So where possible it is best to get them from diet or supplement them as their more bioavailable forms which include methyl-folate, methyl-cobalamin and/or adenosylcobalamin,
If you have amalgams, or believe yourself to be high in heavy metals for other reasons, it can be additionally beneficial to do what we can to stabilise or toxic burden during gestation and lactation to minimise what we pass on.
The Andy Cutler Chelation (ACC) method is widely accepted in online Facebook forums as a safe method to remove the burden when you are ARE NOT pregnant or lactating. This method has been used by thousands of parents and adults over the last few decades with great results, and had a core 4 supplements to stabilise toxic burden while nursing. These four supplements are recommended for anyone with amalgams during lactation/gestation, and especially for anyone who has any unavoidable damage to amalgam fillings during this perinatal period also. It is not safe to get amalgams especially during gestation or have them removed unless it is an emergency situation.
These 4 supplements are zinc, vitamin c, vitamin e and magnesium. Most of us need these things anyway though they recommend quite high doses split through the day. These supplements and are also associated with increased immune stability, supporting the bodies natural resilience to illness. Zinc is a common deficiency in infants with allergies, especially reflux, it improved immune stability and appetite. Vitamin C has a pseudo-antihistamine/mast cell stabilising effect, and supports the immune system. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and protects our cells from free radical damage. For more info on their recommended dosage see the maybe it’s mercury post below or consider joining the Andy Cutler Chelation Fb group.
Avoiding inflammation when your baby is in its foundational development is logical, though not necessarily widely researched or understood. Avoiding foods you know are your own triggers, which can sometimes include foods that we crave and feel addictive toward, can be helpful. Avoiding people who are ill and vaccines which purposefully irritate the immune system is also a wise decision. It is also worth noting those who have recently been vaccinated may be in the shedding period if they had live vaccines (like the nasal flu vaccine).
With a history of allergies there can be an increased risk for siblings to have allergies, and some limited research has suggested that avoiding common allergens being transmitted through breastmilk for the first 3-6m postnatally can be protective.
Omega 3 can also be anti-inflamatory and is linked to reduced autoimmune risk. (see risk factors link below). Though for those with pyrrole disorder, which can be common with those who have a family history of neurological disorders, omega3 can be inflammatory and they may need GLA. So it is important to be aware of how your body responds to things and not just take things because some find them helpful, there is an acceptation for every rule, which can include you. For more info on pyrrole disorder please see the links below.
If you are concerned about in utero exposure you may find a diet like a rotation diet allows you to eat a balanced diet with moderation so you don’t indulge or eat specific foods in an abundance, which some anecdotally connect with infant sensitisation. It’s worth noting a baby’s immune system begins developing and functioning in utero from around 18 weeks gestation.
Some stick to gut healing or top allergen free diets during gestation, anecdotally they are claimed to be helpful to some. But everyone has different contributing factors so no pregnancy or individual is identical.
Those who suspect mthfr mutations may also want to look into detail about any pain relief in gestation and labour especially as some are linked with higher risk in those with mthfr mutations (nitrous oxide), or are shown to increase the risk of neurological disorders (incl. ASD/ADHD) like acetaminophen/paracetamol.
Proper sleep and breathing exercises can help many improve their health and reduce stress on the body and can take almost no effort at all.
Above all else take care of yourself, your only live each experience once, be that pregnancy lactation or anything else, try and cherish what you can while looking after yourself and aspiring toward the best outcomes.
Blessings, hope and health from TED mum.
As ever I am a mum collating my thoughts, on things I have read, as I understand them. For more see “The Disclaimer”.
I have tried to find as many links as I can, but many of these factors I have read about in different places over the years we have been an allergy family, so I haven’t been able to duplicate all of them.
How are adrenals linked to allergies?
ACC core 4 and supplement suggestions:
Folate and increased risk of allergies
Nitrous Oxide and MTHFR:
Acetaminophen, children and ASD
Acetaminophen, pregnancy and ASD
Autoimmune risk factors:
2 thoughts on “Pregnancy 🤰”
This is so helpful- I am so thankful for all of your research!!
I had a few questions that I’m hoping you could answer:
1) we are hoping to get pregnant again soon but my gut is still not where I’d like it to be. I saw that you mentioned anecdotal reports on gut healing diets being helpful for some but I was surprised that it wasn’t a bigger part of your article. Is it because there isn’t much research on it? Or do you think if I actively support my adrenals, liver, focus on pre and probiotics and avoid triggers that we will be in a good spot? My first was a TED baby and I am overwhelmed at the thought of having another with a toddler.
2) I know you recommended lactobacillus rhamnosus as being an important strain. Do you have any specific overall probiotic recommendations that you like? Seeking health/Klaire Labs, biomeology? Another that I haven’t mentioned?
3) adrenal cocktail being a mixture of orange juice, collagen powder/cream of tartar and sea salt?
Thank you so much!!! I am so thankful for any insights you can provide!
1) Gut health can be quite transient during healing and pregnancy can impact it further. There isn’t a huge amount of research on it, and I would imagine part of that is a result of how individual protocols can be and the time that it takes for progress to become visible being so dependant on where someone’s health is when they start. Gut healing as a term is flung around a lot but it can be really hard to quantify and mean different things to different people depending on where their gut was when they began.
I think when it comes to the bigger picture of whole body health adrenal function – and the electrolytes needed to support it – also support the gut and immune system. Research shows those who have over taxed adrenals during pregnancy’s unborn infants adrenals can become taxed to help compensate for the additional burden on the mother, given the role of stress and adrenal function on whole body health it seems prudent to prioritise the tools our adrenals need. Not only are electrolytes key for adrenal function but they play critical roles in almost all body systems, they become depleted during reactions and insufficiency can result in the more tangible muscular cramping common in pregnancy.
Liver health is also extremely key for digestion, detox pathways and optimal immune system function.
Pre- and Pro- -biotics lay the foundation for the gut microbiome, as does avoiding personal triggers and when possible inflammatory foods, because reactions and inflammation both negatively impact gut health.
I think in a round about way adrenal, liver, biome support and avoiding triggers are all key for gut health, whilst also being integral for overall optimal body health.
2) L. Rhamnosus is one of the most well researched linked with reduced allergy risk so it is easy to point to as a good idea, but also think focusing on diversity is important too – when possible. Personally, I’ve had great experience with Seeking Health especially their HistaminX which is good for those with histamine intolerance or following a lower histamine diet. Klaire Labs is a good option, we used them before seeking health. I was really fortunate to receive a sample of biomeology when Yasmine was wanting to try international shipping and I’m really excited by the formulation and I’m hoping to try the infant one around when my own baby is due in October. Smidge (formerly “Gut Pro”) is also a really well established low allergy brand, well tolerated in the corn allergy community. Personally, I try to optimise my microbial exposure through ferments when possible and supplement with specific supplements when needed. I have intermittent histamine sensitivity issues and my ferment tolerance can be inconsistent. I try to short ferment (with probiotics or coconut kefir) more sugary fruit (like pineapple) to minimise blood sugar spikes, and small amounts of sauerkraut brine to supplement my biome without exceeding my bodies ability to break down histamine.
3) Adrenal Cocktails are typically a source of vitamin C (like OJ/fruit juice/ascorbic acid), potassium (coconut water/cream of tartar) and sodium (salt/bicarbonate). I would say magnesium is also very important too, despite not being included.
Other things I’ve discovered since expecting this time, mitochondrial support can really help fertility – Dr Jolene Brighten has spoke on it regarding her post severe CV later in life pregnancy.
There are lots of nutritional caveats most people underestimate during pregnancy – Lily Nichols book “Real Food for pregnancy” goes into great depth of nutrients that are essential, often undermined (iodine/choline/glycine etc) and how to source them from diet or supplementation if diet isn’t possible.
I hope this helps,