It is the biggest blessing for a mother to give birth to a healthy baby. Life becomes upside down when parents discover that their young one is suffering from Autism. Pregnancy is the most important journey, which if completed with certain cautions can help avoid such a mishap in parents’ life.
So, what exactly is autism?
Autism is an array of closely related neuro developmental disorders that appears during the baby’s early years of growth. It can hamper the baby’s ability to reach social milestones like smile, babble, learning to talk, play and interact with others.
What causes Autism?
Autism may or may not run in one’s family. It was earlier believed that autism is caused mainly by genetic defects and are hereditary. Recent studies show the correlation of many environmental factors with Autism. It can be concluded from these studies that, Autistic babies are genetically wired to have autism, but the development of disease has a lot to do with a trigger present in baby’s immediate environment. This can happen in the mother womb’s itself or soon after the baby is born. Mothers have to shield their delicate unborn and newborn babies from the harsh effects of toxins and pathogens, known to cause developmental defects in baby’s brain or central nervous system.
Tips for Mom to be, to reduce the risk of autism
Get proper nutrition
Eat a well- balanced nutritious diet while being pregnant. Very low birth weight and anemia in a newborn baby can contribute to autism.
Take the recommended amount of 400 micrograms of folic acid daily from at least a month prior to conception to help prevent neural birth defects such as Spina bifida and may be Autism.
Don’t take more than 1,000 mcg per day of folic acid unless your doctor advises you to. This is particularly important if you are completely vegetarian and do not even consume milk products. The rationale behind this precaution is that vegans are at risk of being deficient in vitamin B12 (mainly found in animal products) and taking excess folic acid will mask this deficiency leading to Anemia.
Excessive levels of folate as well as high levels of Vitamin B12 in expectant mothers seemed to raise the risk of autism spectrum disorders in children according to a recent study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. But the recommendation of folic acid supplements with diet for pregnant mothers remain the same owing to the benefits of this vitamin in fetal development. There may be other factors in high-risk mothers, like having slow metabolism or not being able to metabolize vitamins well, responsible for this correlation.
Keep yourself hydrated with enough liquids and water throughout the day. Since, Folic acid is a water- soluble vitamin, normally excess amount is easily flushed out of the system through urine, when optimum amount of water is consumed.
Multivitamins should always be taken with doctor’s consultation when you are carrying a baby.
Avoid antidepressant medicines
Some women develop depression during First trimester or later. Antidepressant pills can increase the risk of autism development in babies. Depression if left untreated can also affect the child born to a depressed mother. Medicines of all sorts should be taken as per the gynecologist advice only during the pregnancy.
It is best to maintain a healthy lifestyle and fitness regime during pregnancy. It also makes sense to stay away from sick people. Rubella virus infection is known to cause several birth defects along with autism in fetus. Congenital Rubella syndrome can be prevented to occur in babies by Rubella vaccine given to women of childbearing age or as early as women becomes pregnant.
Stay away from chemical pollutants
Healthy diet consisting of fresh vegetables and fruits is recommended during pregnancy. But, wash them properly to remove the layer of pesticides that may be present on their surface. Avoid packaged foods like microwave or oven ready meals loaded with preservatives. Look for BPA free plastic ware and bottles only for family use. Limit the use of non-stick pans. Say goodbye to your favorite strong feminine fragrance containing perfumes, moisturizers, body wash gels etc. for golden soon to be mommy months.
Do not get home painted
Avoid exposure to toxic chemicals and fumes are released from fresh paint or solvents used for painting the house while pregnant and breastfeeding.
So, please take care of all these things while pregnancy to give birth to a healthy baby. You may be able to save a child destined to become autistic by certain lifestyle changes.