|My son Rory! :)|
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Epigenetics and your child's future
A common misconception (that I myself believed) amongst most is that our DNA is structured and determined for life.
I want to introduce you to Epigenetics.
Epigenetics is defined as the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.
To better explain this: our genes are like an ‘on and off switch’ [like a light switch on the wall]. The choices we make in our every day life can activate these genes by turning them on or off.
Positive lifestyle choices = proper nutrition (giving your body what it can UTILIZE to function), exercise (we are MEANT to MOVE!), sleep
Negative lifestyle choices = smoking, eating toxic foods, chemical products in the home, sedentary lifestyle.
Many people think that because they aren’t experiencing pain or symptoms at this exact moment, they are healthy. It can take YEARS for signs/symptoms to show up…and by the time something like heart disease or cancer is detected…it’s either too late or in the very late stages making it more difficult to reverse. This is why it is so incredibly important to formulate your life around positive choices that will allow your body to express itself and heal 100% of the time. When your body is healing ALL THE TIME…you are fighting cancer, preventing heart disease, lengthening your life span ETC ETC. If this already doesn’t seem incredibly important for a mother-to-be, then let’s go further and talk about how it can impact your soon to be developing child à à à à
A woman’s body is literally like a home for a developing child. Would you move into a home that only had a foundation but no walls or roof? Absolutely not. So why would we think that a child would want to inhabit an environment that isn’t going to provide the best resources for growth and development? Think about it…the body is so incredibly smart that it rejects a growing child (miscarriage) if the environment isn’t ready for it. I know it’s a sad occurrence but isn’t this an amazing phenomenon in a way??? The body is trying to tell you something!! It’s not ready and something needs to change! And the change isn’t drugs and hormone treatments and forced fertilization…it starts with mom [and even dad! Which I won’t get in to in this blog but it should be noted that dad can have fertility issues as well that can be dealt with without drugs or hormone treatments].
Environmental factors are what influence our epigenome. It’s not a matter of CHANCE when certain genes are expressed and we experience chronic diseases. It’s almost IMPOSSIBLE to ignore the data and research that link a poor environment with infertility and miscarriage. The main offenders that prevent a woman from being able to get pregnant include: chemicals, physical trauma (subluxation to the spine and nervous system), and emotional stress.
Chemicals can come from our food source [unfortunately]…GMO’s, pesticide-laden foods, ingredients that I can’t even pronounce…etc. Nutrition plays a huge role in a woman’s epigenetics. You NEED to be consuming foods that your body can utilize and do something with. Doesn’t it make sense when you think of food as the building blocks that create the cells which essentially make your baby? Do you want your baby to be made from McDonald’s French fries or from REAL food that God put on this Earth for us to consume?
I also think most people blow off how detrimental stress is to our body. I’m one to know because I became extremely sick and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis back in high school because I was under a tremendous amount of stress. Something like losing your job can alter your epigenome and negatively effect your health. A poor relationship or negative self perception are other examples of stress.
Physical trauma and subluxation to the spine can stem from an accident, repetitive movements, scoliosis, etc. What this means is that your brain cannot properly communicate with your body (reproductive organs). There’s a disconnect somewhere within the nervous system and your chiropractor can check you for any subluxations to get your brain communicating with your body and functioning at 100%. This is the first and most important step prior to getting pregnant AND having a healthy pregnancy. What do you think controls the development and growth of that little nugget in your uterus? Your Brain!!!!
All in all…”lifestyle is even more important to our health and well being than we first believed, and these lifestyle related epigenetic changes affect more than just you - they affect your future children.
Some of the switches in your epigenome can be inherited - that means it isn’t just your genes that you pass down; the effects, good and bad, of your lifestyle have an influence on the future health of your children.
Not only will poor lifestyle choices like smoking and overeating shorten your own life, they may predispose your children - even before they are conceived - to disease and a premature death”
I’m currently working to get my diplomate to work with pregnant women and children through the ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association) which is where I get most of my information. I’ve been completing the 14 seminar series since I first got pregnant. My son is now 8 months old and I’m so thankful for what I know. The reason I get out of bed in the morning is to educate women about what they DON’T KNOW. Because you don’t know what you don’t know. It heavies my heart when mothers tell me that they wish they would’ve known about something like eating right, exercising during pregnancy, home birth, vaccinations, etc. and now they regret their decisions. I want EVERY mother to feel confident in her decisions raising her children because she did the research and educated herself. Pregnancy, giving birth, and raising a child are an absolutely empowering experience and it’s something special that God designed for us women to be able to do. We need to move away from being told by the medical community that we don’t know what we are doing …or we are incompetent…or someone else needs to interfere with this beautiful process…and we need to LEARN…we need to educate ourselves…we need to empower each other…and we need to TRUST the body and our maternal instincts. I 100% believe that my pregnancy and labor were so amazing and my son is the wonderful being that he is due to my choices PRIOR to getting pregnant. I live a 5 essentials lifestyle (nutrition, exercise, minimizing toxins, mindset, and chiropractic adjustments) and have lived it for a couple years now. Prior to this change in my life, I believe I wouldn’t be as fortunate as I am today.
Dr. Marcia from the ICPA seminars put it in a great way: (paraphrased) “A baby isn’t eating what mom eats or living off of what mom is doing during her pregnancy…you can think of it as baby is eating and growing from mommy’s pantry – what she did prior to pregnancy”. I’m thankful for the lifestyle that I’ve been living…considering that my pregnancy was unexpected. 50% of pregnancies are unexpected and it saddens me that women are in such unhealthy conditions and getting pregnant. We need to change the health of this nation not only for our own good…but for our future generations. A developing fetus doesn't have a choice...that choice is up to mom - this is where the next generation of healthy children begins and I'm here to help mothers who want to make a change :).
Some action steps I'd take and questions that I'd ask myself if I were in your position:
-Get checked by a chiropractor. Go to www.maximizedliving.com and look for a Maximized Living office in your area. They will teach you about the 5 Essentials lifestyle that I previously mentioned.
-Evaluate what you are eating. Are you buying organic? Are you buying packaged products that contain ingredients which are not really FOOD? (If you can’t pronounce it or it sounds like a chemical…don’t eat it)
-Are you in a stressful environment? Is there something you need to change (living situation, relationship, job…) prior to bringing a child into this world?
-Are you getting enough sleep? Your body does up to 85% of its healing while you are asleep.
-If you are on any medications…can you talk to your doctor about weaning off these medications [no medication is SAFE for a developing child] and see the wonderful effects with living a 5 Essentials lifestyle?
-What’s going on with your mindset and your self talk? Check out some of these articles and webinars on Ever Better Life. Even schedule a free consultation via phone if this is an area that you struggle with!