Volume 5 Issue 4

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Page 25 of 63

Page 26 | Abby's Magazine - I was overjoyed when I realized I was pregnant with each of my four beau ful children. I am one of those weirdos who loves pregnancy. Well, at least a er the morning sickness finally subsides! Then I felt radiant and excited. But along with the joy always came these nagging worries about my baby's health and safety. And an enormous sense of responsibility. Was I ea ng the right foods? Ge ng enough nutrients? Was I being exposed to anything that could harm my baby? Too o en those anxie es would catch up with me in the middle of the night a er a trip to the bathroom to pee (if you've been pregnant you know what I mean!) and keep me awake staring at the ceiling un l sleep finally won the mental ba le… Some amount of worry during pregnancy is a natural part of the process – pregnant women face a lot of changes and unknowns. As a midwife and physician I have listened to the fears and concerns of countless pregnant mommas – we all have them! I address many of these in my now classic book The Natural Pregnancy Book. While I admire the inherent wisdom of nature, I think glass bo om bellies would have been a much smarter design so we could actually see our kids while they were in there and feel assured that all the parts were in the right place! Realistic New Concerns Unfortunately, these days, pregnant mommas are faced with a whole new set of quite realis c concerns about the harmful things to which most of us are exposed to in our environment. Just yesterday, for example, I received a medical journal ar cle with the tle Does Cancer Start in the Womb? Altered Mammary Gland Development and Predisposi on to Breast Cancer due to in Utero Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors. 5 Important Tips from a Midwife-MD Protect Your Baby's Health EVEN BEFORE BIRTH! While I'd love to simply reassure you and say don't worry, the reality is that our environment is filled with so many "new to nature" chemicals – environmental contaminants our bodies have no idea how to use, process, and eliminate, that in fact, sadly, we do need to have a high level of concern for what we are exposed to during pregnancy. Not too long ago it was believed that the placenta protected babies in the womb from chemicals to which the mom might be exposed. But a study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in collabora on with Commonweal, found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants, including consumer product ingredients, and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage, in umbilical cord blood from a random selec on of babies born in U.S. hospitals. It is now known that both baby and mom are awash in a sea of chemical exposures. And most frightening is that we have no idea what the impact from this chemical stew is on our bodies. We know that a developing baby's chemical exposures are greater pound-for-pound than those of adults and that these chemicals have a more profound impact on the developing brain and organs. Further, physiologic systems that naturally detoxify chemicals are s ll immature in the developing baby, thus toxins may linger longer or have a more detrimental impact than in adults.

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