What Can Be Done to Prevent Autism Now? - During Pregnancy

Author // Maureen H. McDonnell, R.N.

Article Index
What Can Be Done to Prevent Autism Now?
Prior to conception
During Pregnancy
During the newborn and infant stages
All Pages

During Pregnancy:

  1. Continue a high-quality organic diet that eliminates, or greatly reduces, sugar and other processed foods.

  2. Continue to take a comprehensive, natural and easily absorbed multivitamin with at least 1,800 milligrams of calcium and 800 mg of folic acid. You might want to consider adding 2,000 IU or more of Vitamin D. Continue (or begin) taking a mercury-free source of omega-3, fish oil and probiotics.

  3. If possible, avoid dental work while pregnant—especially the removal or insertion of amalgam fillings.

  4. If possible, avoid antibiotics and other over-the-counter and prescription medication. There is no pharmaceutical drug on the market that has been proven safe for pregnancy. A new study, published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, shows that antidepressants are especially dangerous to take during pregnancy.

  5. Continue an exercise program to improve circulation and stimulate peristalsis. Intestinal motility slows as a result of pregnancy hormones, so, in order to continue having good bowel movements, daily exercise is essential. In addition, take good sources of fiber, such as ground flaxseed, psyllium husks, bran, nuts, whole grains and seeds.

  6. Eat a diet that contains at least 80 grams of protein per day. High-quality, organic, lean sources of protein include turkey, chicken, nuts, meat, eggs and whey protein powder for smoothies. Divide them up into four or five 2-ounce servings.

  7. Always have a protein-rich snack on hand for any dips in blood sugar.

  8. Avoid the flu vaccine or any other immunizations. If you’re RH negative and require Rhogam, ask to see the package insert to make sure there is no thimerosal in the vaccine.

  9. If you get sick, rest. Drink lots of hot water with lemon; take extra vitamin C, and possibly use echinacea drops. (Do not use goldenseal during pregnancy.)

  10. Interview midwives and or obstetricians until you find one who makes you feel comfortable and empowered. Home birth is an option that is not right for everyone. However, a 2005 study published in the British Medical Journal found that natural birth, at home, with certified practicing midwives is safe for low-risk mothers and their babies. The study followed 5,000 mothers in the U.S. and Canada, and found that these home births with low-risk mothers had much lower rates of medical interventions when compared to the intervention rates for low-risk mothers giving birth in hospitals.

  11. Avoid unnecessary ultrasounds—which may include all ultrasounds. There are no conclusive studies showing that ultrasounds are safe in pregnancy. Of greater concern are the studies showing how prenatal ultrasound affects brain development. Even standard, routine ultrasounds are not medically necessary and have not been shown to improve birth outcomes. Issue No. 22 of Pathways has an informative article on the potential relationship between ultrasound and autism.

  12. Minimize intrusive procedures during labor (such as induction with Pitocin, pain meds, epidurals, forceps, C-sections and early cord clamping) by researching them and discussing with your midwife or doctor which procedures you wish to avoid, if possible, and which ones you wish to have be part of your labor and birth experience. Pathways No. 21 has an article that relates many of these often unnecessary procedures to an increased risk of autism.

  13. Choose your birth care providers wisely. Rather than selecting a provider or place of birth because of insurance coverage, select providers who will support your philosophical core beliefs about birth. Decisions made about “necessary treatment” vary drastically between home birth midwives, birth center midwives and obstetricians. Define your values and beliefs, and then seek a provider accordingly.

  14. Start childbirth classes early. Seek classes outside of the hospital, with independent groups that offer support and knowledge about natural birthing. Additionally, finding a birth-support doula is essential for a better birth outcome. The perceived need for medication can be eliminated with proper breathing and relaxation techniques and adequate support during birth. Additional information on natural labor and birth procedures is available in Pathways No. 24.

  15. There is a higher risk of autism in cesarean-delivered babies. So, although it’s tempting to think of skipping labor, labor is actually mother nature’s way of preparing the child for life outside the womb. The baby’s neurological function is enhanced by naturally passing through the birth canal and through cranial molding.

  16. Walk during labor, and stay in an upright position or on all fours for pushing and delivery. This will greatly maximize your pelvis’ ability to easily open and birth, minimizing the need for doctor assisted pulling, the forceful use of forceps, and vacuum extraction. Any form of pulling and rotation to the baby’s delicate spine in labor may have a lasting affect on her future nerve system function.

  17. Interview several pediatricians during your pregnancy to find one who accepts your views on health and is open to discussing and giving careful consideration to invasive care with drugs and vaccines. Today, many parents are seeking providers outside of the typical allopathic model, choosing instead holistic practices that offer safer, more natural options to achieve health and well-being.

  18. Continue regular chiropractic care on a weekly basis with a doctor who caters to pregnant women. This will optimize both your nerve system function and your pelvic biomechanics in preparation for an easier, safer birth.