Preventing Autism

Photo by Lance Neilson
A friend of mine recently started volunteering at a local kindergarten. As we enjoyed brunch last week, she described her typical day - chasing down the kids with behavioral issues like autism and ADHD while the teacher tries to keep the rest of the class from falling behind. She was exhausted and frustrated by the situation - a sentiment many of my friends who work in early education (or have school-age kids) share. These parents and educators wonder, "What can we do to stop this (or make it better)? And how did this happen?"

Traditional medicine struggles to address chronic conditions, from behavioral disorders like autism to the obesity and diabetes epidemics that are so rampant today. However, this is precisely the type of situation where an integrative approach really works. We look "upstream" and address the problem at its root. More and more research points to the preventability of illnesses like these - and much of that prevention occurs in the womb.

Science has identified a plethora of prenatal factors that can contribute to the development of autism:
  • Folate deficiency before & during pregnancy
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Stress during the prenatal period and maternal neurotransmitter health
  • Exposure to toxic metals like lead or the mercury used in dental amalgams
  • Maternal inflammation. Inflammation can stem from stress, toxins, lack of exercise, or an improper diet high in sugar, processed foods, oxidized fats, and unidentified (or ignored) food sensitivities
  • Older (35-40+) mother or father
  • Not enough time between sibling births (child-spacing less than 3 years apart)
  • Genetics - though these genes are influenced by environmental factors
So how do we use this information to help slow the spread of autism? Now that we have awareness, how do we take action? The first secret is not to become so overwhelmed that you don't do anything. Pick one of the above bulletpoints and make a couple of changes. You don't have to tackle it all at once. (And of course, a good prenatal nutritionist can help make this process much easier.).

Also, you may have noticed that some of these factors actually come into play before you conceive. Compared to the people of traditional cultures (who spent years eating special pre-pregnancy diets before conceiving), we do very little today to prime our bodies for pregnancy. But I'm aiming to change that with the upcoming launch of my online coaching program, Priming the Bump. This program is perfect for those of you who want to boost your fertility naturally and prepare your body to deliver a healthy baby. If this sounds like you, be sure to check out Priming the Bump - and bring your partner, friends or family.

Armed with the right tools, parents can regain control over these diseases by attending to diet and lifestyle - and that's exciting news for families who've felt helpless.

Hungry for more? 

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