Prenatal Origins of Adult Disease
I want to alert you to an important article in USA Today entitled, “Aging Well Starts in the Womb: Mother’s choices have lifelong impact”. This cover story alerts expecting moms to their critical biological and psychological role as mothers to their unborn child in the womb. New research in prenatal programming has illuminated the astonishing fact elaborated by Jack Shonkoff of Harvard University: “What 21st century medicine is telling us is that if we want to change adult health, we have to look in babies even before they are born”. According to Peter Nathanielsz, MD, Ph.D., there are critical construction periods in the wombs that affect long-term heath and mental health into adulthood. He states in his book, The Prenatal Prescription, that the fetus passes through more biological milestones in utero than at any other period.
A mother’s choices are important. Poor nutrition, stress, exposure to toxic chemicals, alcohol, and cigarette smoke, drugs, and even caffeine can create a “toxic womb” environment f that can put the baby’s body and brain into protection mode versus growth mode. This condition increases the chances of lower birth weight or premature birth. It also increases adult predisposition to heart disease, liver disease, obesity and depression. This adverse exposure can also put a baby’s nervous system on hyper alert which will affect later learning outcomes with increased risk of ADHD. The pregnant mother needs to learn about these facts and take responsibility for her choices of food, emotions and environmental conditions to assure a healthy child into adulthood.