How Leaky Gut Can Impact a Pregnancy
If you’re planning on getting pregnant, there’s probably a lot on your mind. Maybe you’re in the early phases of discussing the process with your partner. Perhaps you’re already caught up in daydreams about decorating a nursery or have a list of favorite baby names.
In all this planning and preparation, don’t forget a crucial yet overlooked step before getting pregnant: your gut health.
Research indicates that more and more people are being diagnosed with conditions such as ADHD and autism, and these diagnoses may be linked to toxic exposure. Most of us are exposed to bacteria, chemicals, and toxins in our food, self-care products, and environments. When pregnant, these toxins are passed on to the growing baby and may cause negative side effects.
Let’s learn more about gut health, how leaky gut impacts pregnancy, and how a mother can protect her precious child from toxic exposure.
How Your Gut Works
“Gut health” is the current hot-button topic among health coaches, fitness instructors, doctors, and diet influencers. You may see a lot of gut-related content, meal plans, or detox teas online. But what’s the real deal when it comes to gut bacteria?
When most people think about the gut, they’re referring to the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. However, other important organs such as the pancreas, gallbladder, liver, and appendix are part of the complete gastrointestinal tract. In fact, your gut is in play as soon as you start chewing a meal!
The gut microbiome is teeming with millions of bacteria that help break down your food, protect the body from unwanted chemicals, and absorb nutrients from what you eat. Over 75% of your body’s immune system originates in the gut!
The gut is also linked to your brain through the gut-brain axis, where it helps produce hormones and chemicals that regulate your mood and sleep. Because of this, research is now showing a clear link between gut bacteria and mental health.
In short, your gut bacteria affects just about every area of health, from your mood to healthy bathroom habits to how often you get sick.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
The gut bacteria thrive under specific conditions, and most people are living with imbalanced or ineffective gut flora. When this ecosystem loses its effectiveness, the gut lining can get worn away. This is known as “leaky gut” syndrome. This stops the body from absorbing essential nutrients and allows invading bacteria easy entry to the bloodstream.
People with leaky gut syndrome experience symptoms such as gas, bloating, low energy, inflammation, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Celiac disease, and food allergies or sensitivities. There are also several ways that leaky gut impacts pregnancy.
Leaky Gut and Pregnancy
It’s an adjustment for a woman’s body to undergo pregnancy and breastfeeding. Without a healthy gut microbiome, a mother can’t get the nutrients her body needs to function properly.
Babies receive their gut microbiome directly from their mothers. If mom has a healthy gut, so will her baby. However, if a pregnant woman is suffering from leaky gut syndrome, it’s easy for harmful bacteria and chemicals to be transferred to her baby.
A healthy gut is also important for women post-pregnancy. Postpartum depression is common among women, and certain probiotics have been shown to fight off inflammation and improve anxiety and depression.
Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria normally inhabit the gut, but during pregnancy many women develop a GBS infection, putting their babies at risk. Other gut bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, prevent GBS from developing an infection, protecting both mother and baby. Therefore, it’s important to consult with a functional medicine practitioner before trying to get pregnant. A healthy gut can lead to a healthy baby.
You’ll also want to speak to your OB/GYN about testing for GBS. This test should be conducted at least once during pregnancy, usually during the third trimester. Give yourself enough time to identify a GBS infection and take action to control it before giving birth.
Umbilical cord analyses show that most babies have been exposed to harmful toxins while they’re still in the womb. In order to prevent these toxins from affecting the baby and heal the mother’s gut bacteria, Clare Cattarin recommends a prenatal detox. This detox program is an effective way to rid a woman’s body of harmful chemicals and toxins that damage her gut and her baby’s health.
The full Prenatal Detox program lasts 6-9 months and should begin several months before a woman plans on getting pregnant. Each detox will be specially tailored to the individual. Clare Cattarin and the Functional Health and Healing team begin this program by getting to know you and your specific health needs.
Why should a detox begin before conception? It takes 3 months for the ovum and sperm to reach maturity. The health of an egg or sperm will depend on how toxic your body is. Epigenetics – the environment in which the cell/gene lives – has everything to do with how well that gene or cell will express its function and ability to “perform”.
We can’t emphasize enough how important it is that people get as “clean” as they can three months before getting pregnant. This will give their child the best chance at a healthy life.
During your first meeting, our practitioners go through a detailed history of your health and talk through your health goals and any health concerns. This is a 2 -3 hour meeting. Since detoxes are challenging and rigorous, we also want to assess if your body and mind are ready to begin.
If Clare and our team have given you the green light to begin a Prenatal Detox, we’ll provide a physical and nutritional exam, as well as lab testing to get the complete picture
With this data, we’ll craft a meal plan that’s 100% custom to your needs and health situation. We’ll help you implement dietary changes into your current lifestyle, as well as make any recommendations for lifestyle or habit change. For example, we may recommend regular chiropractic care or daily exercise to benefit your body as you work through the Prenatal Detox and prepare for getting pregnant. Proper alignment, exercise, and body movement will boost your health and prepare you for delivery.
During your Prenatal Detox, a team member from Functional Health and Healing will work with you continuously through every step of the process. Any ups, downs, health concerns, or health wins will be monitored (and celebrated!) by us.
Don’t Let Leaky Gut Impact Your Pregnancy. Work with Clare Cattarin Today.
Functional Health and Healing is passionate about protecting women and their offspring from toxins. Read more about our Prenatal Detox and click here to begin your free care assessment.