Prenatal concerns

Important: The list of concerns, below, is, by no means, exhaustive. And, because I am not a licensed medical service provider, some references here may also be flaky. The prenatal period is so important, I get the willies every time I post here. Use the information here only as suggestions to mention to your doctor (prenatal medical care is a must-have).

The basics. Prenatal care from MedlinePlus.

Vitamin A for offspring immunity and future cognitive health.

Acesulfame potassium (ace K) may cause premature delivery.

Maternal acetaminophen (Tylenol, paracetamol) use:

→ impaired reproductive health of sons and daughters
→ language delay in offspring
→ ADHD in offspring
→ Autism in offspring
→ asthma in offspring
→ offspring behavior problems

Acetaminophen doesn’t work for pain, anyway. There is little or no difference between paracetamol and placebo for improving outcomes in people with acute low back pain. Paracetamol is also unlikely to provide meaningful levels of pain-relief for the majority of people with a range of other pain conditions too, including neuropathic pain, osteoarthritis, cancer pain, acute postoperative pain and migraine.

Information on 1,101 mother–child pairs showed that acrylamide intake may result in low birth weight.

Air fresheners often contain phthalates that can cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and reproductive problems. Even air fresheners marketed as “all-natural” or “unscented” contained the hazardous chemicals.

Chemicals that are used extensively in consumer products and that have become widespread in the environment are toxic to the unborn. Some are chemicals to which children and pregnant women are regularly exposed, and they are detected in the bodies of virtually all Americans in national surveys conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention increase children’s risks for neurodevelopmental disorders. Examples are combustion-related air pollutants, which generally include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, and other air pollutants for which nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter are markers. Epidemiological, toxicological, and mechanistic studies have together provided evidence that clearly demonstrates or strongly suggests neurodevelopmental toxicity for lead, mercury, OP pesticides, air pollution, PBDEs, and PCBs.

Exposure to ambient air pollution has been associated with reduced size of newborns.

Maternal exposure to higher levels of air pollution is associated with lower IQ scores in their children. 

Barbeque fumes are a hazard to the fetus.

No alcohol while pregnant – especially in the early stages

Maternal alcohol consumption messes with offspring neurogenesis
Maternal alcohol consumption changes genes associated with stress response and circadian oscillation.
Maternal alcohol consumption increases the chance of offspring depression.
Maternal alcohol consumption increases the chance of offspring alcohol addiction
Fetal alcohol syndrome is a disaster

Teenage binge drinking can affect the brain in future offspring
Paternal alcohol consumption three months before conception can affect the future fetus’ heart. A study in mice showed brain abnormalities in offspring.

A maternal plant-based diet may avoid allergies and eczema in offspring.

A maternal plant-based diet for slimmer, leaner babies.

Anesthetic use is harmful to the fetus

Topical almond oil might cause preterm birth

Antibiotic use in pregnancy → asthma in offspring, inflammatory bowel disease, maybe birth defects.

Maternal antidepressant use may cause increased blood loss during delivery
Microwave exposure → asthma?

Vitamin B12 to avoid “floppy baby” and infantile seizures and avoid preterm birth.

An increasing number of studies demonstrate that exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) affect both the mother and the fetus giving rise to growing concerns surrounding these exposures. 

EDCs can causehypospadias in baby boys.
Phthalates causes decreased activity in offspring.
Phthalates may harm the fetus’ brain, even at low levels.
Prenatal phthalate exposure associated with autistic traits in young boys.
Phthalates can causes harm via dad’s exposure.
Phthalates attenuated the brain size and the number of proliferating neurons in zebrafish embryo.
causes hormonal abnormalities and early puberty.
Phthalates are in hundreds of products, such as vinyl flooring, lubricating oils, and personal-care products (soaps, shampoos, hair sprays).

Shanna H. Swan Ph.D. tells it like it is.
Food is the leading source of exposure. Phthalates have been found in dairy products, meats, fish, oils & fats, baked goods, infant formula, processed foods, and fast foods. Phthalates are not intentionally added ingredients but rather “indirect” food additives. They easily escape from food processing equipment, food packaging, and food preparation materials, and contaminate food at points all along the supply chain. This includes food-processing equipment, such as PVC tubing used in milking and to transfer milk between farms and processing plants. Phthalates are also found in some food packaging and preparation materials, such as PVC gloves used to prepare food and adhesives and printing inks on packaging.

Avoid bisphenol-A: it may affect multiple future generations via the epigenome!
Bisphenol-A affects the cholinergic nervous system.
Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure at low “environmental” level impedes both the development and metabolism of an embryo, drawing a link between BPA and later-life obesity.
Prenatal exposure to most phthalates and BPA was associated with greatly reduced odds of adrenarche and slightly reduced odds of puberty. Some phthalates and BPA were associated with increased sex hormone levels and decreased total and free testosterone levels.
Exposure to the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) during pregnancy can cause oxidative damage that may put the baby at risk of developing diabetes or heart disease later in life
Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) during pregnancy, even at levels lower than the regulated “safe” human exposure level, can lead to changes in circadian rhythms. These changes may be a contributing factor in hyperactivity seen in BPA-exposed mice.

As with BPA, there is evidence in mice that BPS is an endocrine disruptor. Maternal care of pups, including mothers’ ability to adjust to the needs of their young during early development, was impaired after BPS exposure.
BPS can penetrate through the maternal placenta, so whatever is circulating in the mother’s blood can easily be transferred to the developing child. Chemicals like BPS have the ability to lower the placenta’s serotonin production. Lower levels of serotonin can compromise fetal brain development because during this critical time in development the brain relies on the placenta to produce serotonin. Thus, developmental exposure to BPA or even its substitute, BPS, can lead to longstanding health consequences.”

Folate and genistein (salad and soy) may help offset the DNA damage caused by BPA exposure.

GMO soy, though, has more Roundup herbicide residue

maternal high blood pressure → possible miscarriage
eat enough while pregnant!, to prevent childhood obesity, especially methyl donor nutrients
cannabis cautionstillbirth, brain abnormalities, or not

→behavior and memory problems
→low birth weight→ more irritable infants
→vulnerable to stress later in life, impaired learning and memory
autism in offspring – or maybe not
psychosis in offspring
Paternal cannabis use→ widespread changes in autism candidate gene DLGAP2 DNA methylation in sperm.

A study of 11,489 children revealed that children whose mothers had used during pregnancy were more likely to have psychotic-like behaviors and more attention, social and sleep problems, as well as weaker cognitive abilities.
One-time THC exposure may produce effects similar to fetal alcohol syndrome.
In any case, choline, a B vitamin, may mitigate any hazards.

Maternal low-carb diet→ neural tube defects (brain damage) in offspring.
carnitine (or acetyl-L-carnitine or propionyl-L-carnitine) vs. gestational diabetes

  1. some cases of autism

cesarean delivery results in a similar infant microbiome as vaginal delivery.

or maybe not, which might explain some children’s maladies.

Caesarean section are more likely to be performed by for-profit hospitals as compared with non-profit hospitals.
not a cause of autism
breast feeding may help

chamomile tea warning, also applies to other potently anti-inflammatory foods

chicken vs healthy male genetalia

maternal dietary choline → a better brain in offspring (radishes, tomatoes, peas, squash)

it may act epigenetically to protect multiple generations from Alzheimer’s
Those enjoying a plant-based diet are at risk for deficiency– oh, wait, probably not! Eat radishes and other quality plant-based foods.

coffee can causes low birth weight, and my cause pregnancy loss

Too much psychostimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, or amphetamine→ mental illness.

cleaning products caution

Chocolate (or cocoa) may help prevent preeclampsia, and is good for the fetus
maternal high cholesterolfatty streaks in fetal arteries (heart disease starts in the womb)

paternal cocaine use → profound memory impairment in offspring

Coffee caution: Caffeine consumed during pregnancy can change important brain pathways that could lead to behavioral problems later in life. Researchers in the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) analyzed thousands of brain scans of nine and ten-year-olds, and revealed changes in the brain structure in children who were exposed to caffeine in utero. Elevated behavioral issues, attention difficulties, and hyperactivity are all symptoms that researchers observed in these children.

curcumin caution

cytomegalovirus infection → birth defects

Vitamin D is not much found in breast milk, so the preterm maternal vitamin D status is important.

4000 IUs/day is safe

vitamin D vs. future childhood caries
vitamin D vs. gestational diabetes

vitamin D vs. offspring allergy

vitamin D vs. future type 1 diabetes

vitamin D vs. infections and autoimmune disorders

vitamin D vs. offspring learning disability, including autism, for higher offspring IQ

vitamin D vs. offspring multiple sclerosis

vitamin D vs. neonatal tetany (siezures)

Vitamin D versus preeclampsia

vitamin D vs. preterm birth

vitamin D vs. respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis
vitamin D vs. offspring schizophrenia

vitamin D for fetal growth

vitamin D is a marker for sun exposure, either or both of which may benefit:

offspring dental health


brainy offspring

stronger offspring

dates → cervical ripening → better chance of a natural, drug-free birth
don’t take vitamin E supplements

fenugreek caution

DEET is safe vs. Zika

dental diligence → better pregnancy outcome
ginger for pregnancy-associated nausea
maternal high gluten diet → type 1 diabetes in offspring
the influenza vaccine-miscarriage study should not be cause for alarm

Maternal depression → impaired offspring immunity and attention problems.

low birth weight, or not

fish oil vs. postpartum depression – 200mg, not 800mg

minimize omega-6 oil consumption (in sunflower oil, meat)

see the post on depression

Vegan moms-to-be should supplement with algae-based DHA to improve breast milk, or just take a fish oil supplement. A bit of fish may also be OK.

Essential nutrients found in fish counteract and provide neuroprotection against mercury in fish. Eating fish during pregnancy can help provide essential nutrients to the developing fetus.

Do it for your kid: it might help prevent asthma, among many other benefits
Ω-3 fat intake might prevent ADHD.

The Ω-3 DHA is critical to the healthy development of eyes, nervous system, and brain.
Fish oil for prevention of cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder.
Fish oil for better problem solving, higher IQ in progeny.

From this video by Dr. Mike Hansen: If a pregnant woman consumes excess fructose from soda or candy, fructose will cross the placenta into the fetus with metabolic effects in the baby. Fructose also affects the baby’s taste buds which develop at 8 weeks gestation. That is why it is possible for a baby to be addicted to sugar at birth. Here is the reference used by Dr. Hansen.

maternal diabetes → birth defects

Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of pregnancy complications.
a family history of diabetes increases the risk of gestational diabetes

high blood sugar can also be due to glucosamine supplementation
high blood sugar, even without diabetes →heart defect risk
may also cause heart problems in offspring
gestational diabetes may be an offspring cognitive hazard
carnitine may help, avoid a low-carb diet, but eat a quality plant-based diet
fast food, bacon (any meat) and eggs, sweets (more) → gestational diabetes

gestational diabetes → future health problems for mom

maternal and paternal dioxin and PCB exposure is really bad news for offspring

sources are mostly meat and dairy

maternal drug use before pregnancy (which drugs?) → mom’s poor mental health

e-cigarettes may cause mental health problems in offspring

minimize electromagnetic field exposure while pregnant, more

Endocrine disrupting chemicals, especially mixtures thereof, may increase the odds of language delay in offspring of up to 54% of pregnant women.

Maternal epilepsy drugs behavioral problems in progeny.
ethinyl estradiol (EE), which is the estrogen present in birth control pills → decreased activity

in offspring

exercise while pregnant for less risk, even strenuously: it is safe

good for mom and baby
don’t suffer childbirth injuries in silence!

exercise promotes offspring brain development

exercise is anti-inflammatory – a good thing (see below)

also promotes offspring heart health
prevents newborn obesity and high blood pressure in mom
Maternal exercise may result in stronger movement skills.

less markers of ageing in offspring

Maternal exercise prevents offspring from developing diabetes and other metabolic diseases later in life.
Paternal exercise also prevents offspring obesity and type 2 diabetes
Paternal exercise for cognitive benefit in offspring.

A maternal high-fat (fast food) diet (HFD) creates problems that last generations.

Excess fat from a mother’s high-fat diet triggers immune cells to over-consume serotonin in the brains of developing males, leading to depression-like behaviors in the offspring.

brain damage in unborn child
ADD in offspring
→ Slower learning in offspring
higher breast cancer risk for generations
diabetes in offsping
→ mental health problems in offspring

A maternal HFD + obesity makes preterm weight loss a must!

A maternal HFD reduces beneficial gut microbiota for offspring.
A maternal HFD impairs the gut barrier during pregnancy→ reduced placental oxygen levels.
But now, a mouse study supports adequate fat in the maternal diet to reduce the chance of Alzheimer’s in offspring.

Paternal fast food (high fat) diet → metabolic abnormalities in offspring

also breast cancer in rat progeny

why this happens

Fast food, bacon (any meat) and eggs, sweets (more) → gestational diabetes,

→ offspring immune problems, even eye problems

deleterious genetic and epigenetic changes,

and substance abuse

maternal exercise may help avoid some of these problems

Intermittent fasting is not recommended for those who are pregnant.

Excessive fluoride intake might be a concern for offspring IQ, but those studies may have not considered other problems.

Microplastic particles from maternal fish consumption can cross the placental barrier.

Old age at paternity → severe genetic diseases, and pregnancy complications.

Maternal folate (folic acid) intakeless risk of offspring obesity and psychological problems

lower risk of offspring leukemia

Folate is best gotten from plants and beans: There’s a Goldilocks effect with folic acid. Too little is not good, too much is not good; you have to get it just right.
Consume high-folate foods even before trying to conceive.

Fresh air vs. preterm birth
maternal fructose consumptionhyperglycemia, hypertension, and pathologic kidney and liver changes (sugar is 1/2 fructose, honey also has lots)

a vegetarian diet vs. pregnancy-related hypertension

maternal fruit consumption for brainier offspring

Garlic and raisins and a wholesome diet versus premature birth.

A good diet also aids offspring immunity.

A low glycemic index diet for a better pregnancy outcome and to help with gestational diabetes. For people with gestational diabetes, eating a low GI diet may reduce the risk of macrosomia. This is a condition that results in larger-than-average babies, which can lead to numerous short- and long-term complications for both the person giving birth and the baby.

glycol ethers cause birth abnormalities

glyphosate caution, more, more, more, more, more, more

see the Avoiding Parkinson’s post for countermeasures

Herpes (HSV-1) infection can spread to the fetal brain during pregnancy, resulting in an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disabilities and neurological deficits.

a healthy, diverse gut microbiome may prevent the development of type 1 diabetes

heart disease can start in the womb

Homocysteine is an intermediate metabolite implicated in the risk of placenta-mediated complications, including preeclampsia, placental abruption, fetal growth restriction, and pregnancy loss.

maternal chronic inflammation:Homocysteine is an intermediate metabolite implicated in the risk of placenta-mediated complications, including preeclampsia, placental abruption, fetal growth restriction, and pregnancy loss.

→ less working memory in offspring
psychiatric disorders
→ developmental delays in offspring

Changes in fetal microglia caused as a result of maternal inflammation could contribute to the development of schizophrenia, autism, and other psychiatric or developmental disorders.
see the two inflammation posts
third trimester anti-inflammatory drug and foods caution

maternal influenza and other infections are hazardous to the fetus and impact maternal care

get a flu shot and see the immunity post

Maternal iodine intake is important.
maternal iron status is important for avoiding pregnancy complications and for brain development.
A maternal ketogenic diet is bad news.
Prenatal lead exposure → neurodevelopmental disorders – even tiny amounts

Prenatal lead exposure → alcohol dependence disorder.

Calcium supplements may lower lead levels.
Lead in pregnant and nursing women’s bloodstreams readily crosses the placenta and into breast milk. Sources include Mexican candies and hot sauces.

Exposure to metals such as nickel, arsenic, cobalt and lead has been associated with problems at birth such as preterm birth and low birth weight in babies, and preeclampsia in women. Those metals may disrupt the endocrine system. The disruptions may contribute to health and disease risks for the offspring later in life.

See this Long-Term Cognition post for information on lead exposure.

Garlic can be recommended for the treatment of mild-to-moderate lead poisoning.

maternal licorice consumption → offspring cognitive hazard

keep cool during labor

Cow’s milk → infant iron deficiency, obesity (more), and twins

maternal meat consumption → offspring stress, high blood pressure, and obesity

→ gestational diabetes

barbecued meat is hazardous for a fetus

Maternal mercury concentrates in the placenta and fetus.
maternal multivitamins are likely useless

just eat a good diet, and take folic acid (folate) and vitamin D
maternal niacinless chance of birth defects? Food sources

maternal nut consumption → less chance of offspring nut allergies

paternal alcohol consumption → fetal alcohol syndrome

Maternal obesity

obese infants and obese adults via epigenetics.
preeclampsia for mom
obesity, cerebral palsy, and heart problems for offspring when mature
→ ADHD and behavior problems in offspring

→ less intelligent offpring
maternal obesity, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or smoking→ complicated pregnancy

→ heart disease in offspring later in life

→ neurological problems if the infant is premature
restricting weight gain while pregnant is safe for mom and kid.

Both NMN and exercise may reduce the negative metabolic consequences of maternal obesity in the offspring. Both interventions reduced the amount of body fat in mice, and led to some improvement in glucose tolerance and markers of mitochondrial function.
About weight gain in pregnancy.

paternal obesity

→ IGF2 hypomethylation
→ obese offspring
→ increase breast cancer risk (in mice)

Maternal obesogen intake→ obesity in offspring.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are ubiquitous obesogens.
See the Obesogens post.

PDBE flame retardants → offspring cognitive deficits and hyperactivity

dietary sources include meat and especially poultry

mobile phone caution, more

An increasing number of studies demonstrate that exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) affect both the mother and the fetus giving rise to growing concerns surrounding these exposures.
Maternal intake of phthalates, even in dad, are bad news (bisphenol A is one of them).
EDCs may cause miscarriage.

Mushrooms vs. gestational diabetes.
piperonyl butoxide prenatal caution, more

persistent organic pollutants (POPs) (includes pesticides) →

possible autism
high risk of miscarriage
poor lung function
insulin resistance at age 5
may affect multiple generations
low level chlorpyrifos exposure→poor brain development
the best protection is a maternal and paternal vegan diet

a carefully-chosen plant-based diet that supplies lots of folate

maternal polyphenol intake may protect the embryo’s brain in the case of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).
maternal positive thinking →better math and science ability in progeny
strong non-ionizing radiation, such as from radar installations→ genetic alterations
soda → preterm birth, more

calorie-free soda contain aspartame (Nutrasweet):

→ preterm birth
→ brain abnormalities

soy, more promotes healthy cardio health in offspring

pregnancy may not be the cognitive threat once thought to be the case

synthetic progestin → poorer offspring cognitive function?

adequate maternal protein is important for a number of reasons – in rats.

a vegan diet may be adequate for humans and obesity

a high protein diet, especially of animal origin → obesity in offspring, even grandkids

Cannabis in pregnancy → preeclampsia

salmon consumption → less protective antibodies

high maternal saturated fat consumption → less fetal beta cell development (type 1 diabetes)

→ type 2 diabetes in offspring
also increases the chance of morning sickness

morning sickness treated by ginger and, last resort: cannabis

The prenatal spoken environment is important.
Do not smoke tobacco – see the (h-z) long-term cognition post for help on quitting

Maternal smoking may cause schizophrenia, tourette syndrome, and also obesity.
The obesity connection is really strong, as shown by this meta-analysis of 229,000 births, and also  this systematic review and meta-analysis of 39 studies of 236,687 children from Europe, Australia, North America and South America and Asia.

may cause inability to regulate behavior and ADHD
may cause obesity in projeny
may cause addiction in progeny

Second hand smoke in pregnancy → irregular heartbeat years later

adverse pregnancy outcomes
abnormal lung changes in the fetus
miscarriage in offspring as adults

even prior to pregnancy

Just 10 cigarettes during pregnancy can harm offspring.
paternal smoking may affect multiple generations via epigenetic changes

may lower sperm count in offspring
may cause heart defects in offspring

vaping is not much better craniofacial birth defects
Vitamin C may help reduce the damage to offspring lungs.

low maternal protein poor insulin secretory response

spirulina → infant seizures

Maternal SSRI antidepressant use → possible offspring depression, and language and cognition deficits. Also respiratory distress my develop in projeny.

Maternal prenatal stress → mitochondrial dysfunction in progeny.

Maternal stress may also cause possible miscarriage.
Maternal stress infects offspring via vaginal microbes
Offspring neurogenesis takes a hit also.

possibly offset by offspring consumption of resveratrol or statins

maternal sugar consumption, in excess, is bad. This includes high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Maternal sugar consumption → preeclampsia
allergy and allergic (atopic) asthma in progeny
maternal HFCS consumption →obesity in projeny

music heard just before birth is remembered – so make it good!

music therapy may also benefit mom: less pain and depression

teenage fatherhood is fraught with genetic peril

Vaccines do not cause autism when administered during pregnancy.

Water needs increase during pregnancy to support fetal development and maternal health. Offspring height and weight are affected.

wheat intake and too much protein → low birth weight, small head circumference

adequate dietary zinc → healthy fetal development
avoiding stillbirth

Offspring Obesity


maternal artificial sweetener consumption→ obese offspring

Obese and carnivore mothers (more, more, more, more, more) and obese fathers (or who simply eat a lot of sugar) beget obese kids, who then live shorter lives.

Maternal obesity even affects grandchildren.

Paternal under-nutrition may also cause offspring obesity (in mice), but not if the father mouse supplements with antioxidants and vitamins.

obesogen caution, more

obesogens often are persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including pesticides.
See the Avoiding Diabetes post for pesticide information.
See the Obesogens post for a list of obesogens.

eat organic when expecting, and no fast food!

limit corn and canola oil when expecting to prevent childhood obesity

minimize n-6 fatty acids (such as corn oil) for less chance of newborn obesity

perfluorooctanoic acid → reduced fetal growth, obese daughters, and is cardiotoxic

  non-stick cookware, microwave popcorn bags

maternal junk food diet causes junk food addiction in the baby

the maternal diet shapes offspring taste preferences (kale: yum!)

a paternal high-fat (fast food) diet → offspring obesity and insulin resistance

maternal smoking → offspring obesity

Maternal stress → preterm birth and faster ageing in progeny.

zinc support for healthy birth weight


Preterm Neurological Health

acetaminophen neurological disorders

acrylamide caution, more, more

air pollution → less emotional regulation in offspring

no alcoholic drinks

aged mothers and/or fathers may be causative of offspring ADD

antidepressants → ADD (or not) language disorders, and later: anxiety

aspartame may affect spatial cognition

maternal diabetes, second-hand smoke, and mercury cause ADD

Mediterranean diet  and vitamin D vs. gestational diabetes

bacon and eggs may cause maternal diabetes
mercury content of fish, by species

no alcohol, more, even for fathers

barbeque smoke causes weight deficit and small head

Autism causes (other than genetic causes): it is complicated, involving microexons

and genetic variability (or epigenetic) predisposition)

random mutation risk may be minimized by following recommendations about telomeres in this Longevity post

maternal use of acetaminophen (paracetamol, Tylenol)

aged fathers and mothers

Shown in mice.
Shown by a study of 132,000 Israeli adolescents.

maternal exposure to fine particulate air pollution (like diesel exhaust)

Air pollution may injure via nitric oxide.
especially for those genetically at risk
young children may develop autism when so exposed

maternal asthma as well as some asthma treatment drugs, more

excessive vitamin B12 – especially in combination with excessive folate

brominated fire retardants – avoid by eating only plants

chemotherapy drugs
pregnancy complications

Low maternal vitamin D

Maternal vitamin D may increase newborn vitamin D. In vitamin D-deficient male fetuses, an enzyme which breaks down testosterone was silenced and could be contributing to the presence of high testosterone levels. Vitamin D plays a critical role in brain development and that giving vitamin D supplements to mice during pregnancy completely prevented autism-like traits in their offspring. Children born to women who had low blood levels of vitamin D while pregnant more than double their risk of autism.

having a first-degree relative with epilepsy

maternal diabetes, including gestational diabetes

glyphosate exposure – from Roundup herbicide

altered gut bacteria

unusually high or low levels of certain pregnancy hormones

maternal inflammation

Indicated by animal models and brains of autistic kids.
Indicated by a study in Denmark of T17 immune cells.
The inflammation hazard has been shown in mice.

bacterial infection

Pieces of bacterial cell wall may cross the placenta and enter developing neurons, altering fetal brain anatomy and cognitive functioning after birth.maternal inflammation.

maternal fever and influenza: get a flu shot and/or check the Immunity post
especially in the second and third trimesters
all of the above involve maternal immune response

high paternal intelligence

maternal autoimmune disease

maternal valproic acid intake

Indicated by a study of 528 pregnant women between 2000 and 2004.
curcumin to the rescue?

Cow casomorphins (from milk) may play a role in a disease such as autism.

MTor overactivation causes spine pruning defects in mice, so controlling mTor might prevent some cases of autism. MTor is covered in the Cancer Causative post.
maternal pesticide exposure (probably messes with genes)

such as organochlorine chemicals
remedy with dietary folate?

maternal poultry consumption
maternal preeclampsia
maternal SSRI use, or not, wait – it (probably) does

induced labor – or not

maternal tobacco smoking – even by the maternal grandmother


maternal stress

Maternal stress can be made worse by genetics.

folic acid deficiency or excess

maternal genital herpes infection

lack of adequate nutrition

these chemicals

Chemical exposure can be made worse by genetics.

maternal obesity

Shown by a meta-analysis of more than 500,000 mother-child pairs.

Shown by a meta-analysis of nine studies.

paternal obesity

Exposure to a common pesticide chlorpyrifos synergizes with a frequent autism-linked gene mutation to increase autism risk.

maternal serum phthalates (mono-(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate (MEHP), di-(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate

mono-(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate (MEHP), di-(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate (DEHP)

in PVC flooring, children’s toys, and cosmetics and lotions

bisphenol A (BPA) exposure

maternal weak thyroid


mercury (or not)

dairy consumption

added fructose (or sucrose)

Pharmaceutical and air pollution is also suspected , more

polycystic ovarian syndrome – so minimize chronic inflammation: see this post

preeclapsia – see above for ways to avoid preeclapsia
preterm birth
Maternal intake of proprionic acid (?) from, mostly, processed food.

mitochondrial mutations

mitochondrial health is in the energy post

Electromagnetic radiation

Scan low-birth weight babies

maternal zinc deficiency

Consume folate (lots of salad), and sulforphane.
Maternal multivitamins (if a healthy diet is too hard) may also help.
The apparent “increase” in autism diagnoses may be a artifact.

maternal gut bacteria protects the developing brain

bisphenol A and other phalates disrupt the developing brain antisocial behavior, and ADD

paternal pthalates → hobbled embryonic development
pthalate sources include shampoos, nail polish, and vinyl flooring
see the Cancer Causative post for additional information on phthalates

vegan breast milk to avoid neural and carcinogenic toxins

vitamin C for fetal brain development and later neurogenesis

maternal cannabis caution

cell phones and beepers may interfere with the fetus sleep/wake cycle

chlorpyrifos exposure is bad news

get sufficient choline

choline makes for more intelligent babies

choline prevents spinal cord defects

vitamin D for less chance of ADHD in offspring
maternal depression abnormal brain structure in offspring – see the Depression post

meat, fish (more), and dairy vs. neurological health via endocrine-disrupting chemical pollutants

coffee makes smaller brains more

diesel exhaust → child lethargy

vitamin E for brain development

maternal ecstasy use → offspring as adults with memory problems

epilepsy drugs → birth defects
Keep the maternal dietary Ω-3/Ω-6 ratio high to avoid ADD in offspring.

Sources of Ω-3 fats are fish oil, flax seed, and nuts.
Sources of Ω-6 fats are meat, dairy, and vegetable oil.

get sufficient folate/folic acid – it may prevent autism

folic acid supplementation caution get it from salad!

get sufficient iodine – 1/8 tsp of kelp is sufficient (from the label on my Thorvin powdered kelp)

about iodine

adequate maternal ironbetter offspring brain

lead from black tea (more than green tea) is a concern

obese moms beget dumb kids (maternal exercise for a smart kid! (more)), pesticides vs. IQ, manganese vs. IQ

maternal zinc and PUFAs for a bigger brain

maternal junk food → childhood mental disorders

maternal meat consumption → infant exzema

obesogens in meat → childhood obesity – even in grandchildren

maternal cured meat consumption → pediatric brain tumors

prenatal mercury caution, avoid most fish (more, more) and corn syrup

causes ADD

chlorella vs. mercury in the brain

prevents any cognitive benefit from exercise throughout adult life

fatty acids from fish may overcome the deleterious effects of mercury in fish

algae may be less risky

mercury containing amalgam tooth fillings are not hazardous

beware of mercury in (most!) fish – get tested, then wait a year to conceive if contaminated.

maternal multivitamin intake may reduce the threat of autism in offspring
parental obesity → developmental delays, offspring anxiety

phosphatidyl choline for offspring cerebral inhibition → less behavior problems

omega-3 fatty acids for a better brain

fish caution (use algae-derived “fish oil”, also Now Foods claims to test for such contamination in their fish oil supplements)

farmed salmon caution, seafood caution

pesticides (organophosphates) cause neurological abnormalities, more, more

cucurmin (from turmeric) to the rescue?

see the Avoiding Diabetes post for more on pesticides

a maternal plant-based (antioxidant-rich) diet

→ better offspring brain
→ because heart disease can start in the womb

avoid quaternary ammonium compounds – maternal or paternal exposure

used as disinfectants and preservatives in household and personal products such as cleaners, laundry detergent, fabric softener, shampoo and conditioner, and eye drops

maternal rice consumption→ infant arsenic overload

Maternal fish consumption can also raise arsenic levels.
Arsenic is an endocrine disruptor. How to remove arsenic while cooking rice.

adequate maternal sleep for offspring neurological health and to avoid premature birth
adequate paternal sleep for better quality sperm

maternal stress affects future generations and may cause low birth weight

also may cause bad gut bacteria, and affect the nervous system of progeny

paternal stress →

offspring blunted stress response, less resilient offspring, and depression

anti-psychotic medication caution

it may be best to ditch Teflon pans altogether, — especially if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or have young children. PFOA in particular is tied to problems with kids’ development. That’s because this chemical is considered an endocrine disruptor, meaning it interferes with the body’s hormone system.



choline supplementation  and fish/flax/chia/walnuts/purslane (omega-3 fatty acids) vs. schizophrenia

Ω-3 and Ω-6 (polyunsaturated) fats are both important

Wheat, cats, aged fathers, maternal stress, maternal viral infection, maternal hypothyroidism, fetal stress and childhood trauma may contribute to schizophrenia, but not cannabis.

By Otto

I am a health enthusiast, engineer, and maker.


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