Improving Your Gut Sense in Pregnancy - Page 2

Author // Stephen Marini, D.C., Ph.D.

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Improving Your Gut Sense in Pregnancy
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Breastfeeding Issues

What issues should be addressed regarding breastfeeding? Evaluate the pregnant mom’s history, microbiomewise. Was she often on antibiotics as a teenager? Was she breastfed? Did she use birth-control medication for a long period of time? Was her diet such that it promoted dysbiosis? That will dictate how proactive and reactive that practitioner needs to be in terms of getting that pregnant mom ready for a healthy baby.

The colostrum also plays a huge role in laying down the foundation for a healthy immune system, establishing a healthy gut flora but also providing the neonate with the interleukins, immunoglobulins, lactoferrins, T-cell help, etc., bringing its immune system to a healthy balance. The neonate emerges from Mom with an immune system that’s a bit immature, but just being exposed to that normal bacteria in the colostrum helps kick-start the immune system.

The colostrum, and thereafter the breast milk, have prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics are oligosaccharides, carbohydrates that the good bacteria in that baby’s GI tract want to eat. So Mom will selectively feed the good bacteria, and selectively eliminate the bad bowel bacteria. She provides the probiotics and prebiotics (a.k.a. synbiotics) her baby needs. Human milk prebiotics are also referred to as the HMOs (human milk oligosaccharides). One fucosyllactose is a specific HMO which binds to bad bacteria and allows that bad bacteria to go right out of the baby. In fact, they’ve isolated and synthesized that oligosaccharide from mothers milk and use it for the military. One of the bad bacteria that servicemen and -women are exposed to is campylobacter, which can cause pretty bad diarrhea issues in barracks. When GIs are given this oligosaccharide— as when babies are breastfed—the campylobacter go right out of their system.

Another important protein found in breast milk, lactoferrin, possesses very potent bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal properties conducive to keeping bad bacteria from growing. Lactoferrin is produced during pregnancy, as well, and serves different functions. It helps Mom with any iron needs, and plays a role in correcting vaginosis. It naturally gets rid of dysbiosis in Mom’s birth canal without her even knowing it. A maternal infant group in Catania, Italy, is actually giving pregnant women recombinant lactoferrin: 100 to 200mg, twice a day before meals. They’re following the changes in the bacterial population in birth canals, and see improvements to the birth canal microbiome. Lactoferrin even affects cervical length by funneling the birth canal, thereby preparing for the birth process.

Chemical Communication

During the neonatal period, moms are pretty tuned in to what their babies need. There’s a feedback mechanism in which cytokines in the baby’s saliva communicate to Mom what that baby needs, including in his or her GI tract. Additional feedback comes through Mom’s senses as well. For example, every time Mom changes her baby’s diaper, her sense of smell can detect the presence of abnormal bowel activity, which triggers Mom to provide synbiotics in her breast milk. Obviously, it’s important for Mom to be on a diet that provides what she needs for her breast milk, and to maintain continued contact with the infant.

In six months or so, if a baby can tolerate cow’s milk, get organic, grass-fed, raw milk and convert it to yogurt. Some people shy away from raw milk, but statistics show that there have been maybe 100 cases or so of raw milk toxicities or problems in the United States per year, as compared to 4 or 5 times that amount of problems in pasteurized milk. Pathways issue 28 has a great article addressing raw milk in pregnancy. If the baby cannot tolerate cow’s milk, goat’s milk is an option, or even vegetable hydrolates that can be converted to yogurt from the added cultures. To get the baby’s healthy GI tract microbiome reinforced begins obviously with the breast milk, then progressing to yogurt, then to kefir. Pregnant women are also urged to eat fermented foods daily to maintain their healthy microbiome.

Where do vaccines fit in to all of this? Certainly if a baby’s GI tract is dysbiotic—and it seems we have an epidemic of that—the neonate’s immune system will also be out of balance. You certainly don’t want to vaccinate an individual who has a messed up bowel and immune system. A compromised immune system is a contraindication to vaccination. The combination of a dysbiotic bowel, an imbalanced immune system and vaccination contributes to the plethora of immune system–based health issues we face today. Dr. Natasha McBride evaluated her autistic patients and discovered 100 percent of them possessed a messed-up bowel. She believes that vaccinating children with dysbiosis explains the phenomenal rise in the autism rates in the past 20 to 30 years, as well as the dramatic increase in other psychological problems.

Neuroscience, Genova, Metametrix, and U.S. Biotek provide holistic practitioners with user-friendly kits that assess the gut and birth canal microbiome, the balance and function of the major T-cell subsets, and their interleukins, food sensitivity panels, heavy metal levels, and neuroadrenal chemicals. These assessments provide practitioners with baseline levels in which to evaluate imbalances and monitor the rebalancing outcomes. A dysbiotic bowel and the vaccination process together are very dangerous. We must focus on acquiring and maintaining healthy bowels, healthy birth canals, breastfeeding, and avoiding the indiscriminant use of antibiotics and vaccines. Providing parents with these informed choices can have an amazing effect on the future health and well-being of humans.

Pathways Issue 40 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #40.

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