Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month

It is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Women’s health topics are becoming easier to talk about, and that’s wonderful, because pregnancy and birth are topics so complex, we still do not always understand why they turn out the way they do. Once pregnant, having the healthiest possible pregnancy—and the healthiest baby—is top of mind for mothers-to-be, and makes many of us hungry for knowledge. If we lose a pregnancy or a child, that can leave a hole behind and still more questions.
If we fail to get pregnant, or have recurrent miscarriages, we need support. We should know we are not alone—close to a million babies are miscarried or stillborn each year in the US. The most common reasons for these problems are well known.
Today on the FloraHealthy blog I would like to focus on other, less-discussed, yet equally important, factors for baby, birth, and pregnancy that you might not have given much consideration to before.

Getting to know our body—our physical terrain

Women often do not fully understand why they are more or less able to conceive than they wish, or why their pregnancy was hard or easy. Tracking your cycle is an easy action to take, and learning more about the position of your uterus or your hormone levels is also possible when you actively engage your healthcare practitioner.

Hormone imbalances

Our glands are sensitive organs, and prone to imbalance. Less than optimal thyroid or insulin hormone numbers can affect our ability to get pregnant or carry to term successfully, as well as create brain fog, poor energy, and low mood. Because health care practitioners will accept different ranges for hormones, however, sub-clinical imbalances may not be red flags to all doctors.

Gathering information

Getting the results from a full thyroid panel test is much more informative than being told you are within range. Some endocrinologists have found that women have a hard time conceiving with a TSH reading over 2.0, but can conceive a healthy baby after treatment. You may hear you’re fine, not knowing you have a TSH of 3.5 or 5.5! This can make it a struggle to get pregnant. Many women spend thousands on fertility treatments at fertility clinics without becoming pregnant, without this very important test! Other women will give birth prematurely, or lose babies unnecessarily. Get checked.

Getting the right ‘baby’ fat

Moms know to get adequate protein and enough vitamins, but are less clear on fats, and unfortunately, fats are not built into our prenatal supplements. One study found 90% of pregnant Canadian women do not meet the recommended amounts of DHA! Even those who know that DHA is a critical omega-3 fat may not know that actually BOTH AA (an omega-6) and DHA (an omega-3) are critical to fetal and infant central nervous system growth and development. DHA is highly concentrated in the retina of the eye and in the brain, and used for neurotransmitters. AA is less familiar, but it is embedded in our cells, involved in cell division and signaling, and makes inflammatory and powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. Luckily, once we know we need it, we can get good quality AA from sunflower and sesame oils, as well as walnuts, flax, and some specialty oil blends. Try Flora's omega oil blends for a superior quality oil. Getting to know our spiritual, emotional, and mental terrain Understanding ourselves deeply reaps huge rewards during pregnancy and parenting and is helpful for living with loss as well. This is a good time to dig into your unique garden of thoughts and beliefs. Are there feelings of fear, shame, blame, or guilt that you can weed out? What are your hopes and expectations? What do you believe is possible for you? Why or why not? My hope is that the dialogue around women’s health issues will expand, joyfully, like a mom with a pregnant belly, and make healthy, happy, successful pregnancies more common. I would like to open up the discussion to you, so feel free to comment below.
About the Author: Dana Remedios
Holistic Nutritionist Dana Green Remedios, RHN, RNCP has a passion for helping others break through their blocks to greater health, wealth, and happiness, working with transformational mind-body tools. The Vancouver-based educator and coach answers your questions in English, French, and Spanish as a Specialist working in the Product Information Department at Flora, and is a regular contributor to the FloraHealthy blog.
Resources Flora’s DHA Omega 3+6+9 blend is one oil that could provide DHA and AA essential fatty acids. CA/US. References Zhonghua Fu Chan Ke Za Zhi. Comparison of the effect of different diagnostic criteria of subclinical hypothyroidism and positive TPO-ab on pregnancy outcomes. 2014 Nov;49(11):824-8. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Jan;99(1):E1-8. doi: 10.1210/jc.2013-2943. Epub 2013 Dec 11. The impact of gestational thyroid hormone concentrations on ADHD symptoms of the child. Clinical or subclinical hypothyroidism and thyroid autoantibody before 20 weeks pregnancy and risk of preterm birth: a systematic review. Zhonghua Fu Chan Ke Za Zhi. 2014 Nov;49(11):816-22. Greenberg J A, Bell SJ, Van Ausdal, W. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation during pregnancy. Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Fall; 1(4): 162–169. Birch EE, Garfield S, Castaneda Y, et al. Visual acuity and cognitive outcomes at 4 years of age in a double-blind, randomized trial of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid-supplemented infant formula. Early Hum Dev. 2007;83:279–284. Elias SL, Innis SM. Infant plasma trans, n-6, and n-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acids are related to maternal plasma fatty acids, length of gestation, and birth weight and length. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001;73:807–814. Birch EE, Castaneda YS, Wheaton DH, et al. Visual maturation of term infants fed long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid-supplemented or control formula for 12 mo. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;81:871–879.