Still Got Pregnancy Brain and You’re Not Prego?

© Sherry Rothwell

I remember fondly the days before I had children, when I didn’t need a day timer!

I could scroll through the Rolodex of my mind and see an image of my whole week, plus the dates and times that I had plans, and with whom.

Yet, after gestating and birthing my two children, if I did happen to think to write my appointments down, it would be for nothing because I would forget to check my day timer too!

So what causes pregnancy brain?

Ironically after searching the internet in regards to pregnancy brain, I was not able to find any research linking deficiency of EFA’s (essential fatty acids) in co-relation to “Pregnancy Brain”!

If you do a little research of your own, you might find other possible contributing factors:

-like not getting adequate vitamins and minerals

-the amnesia effects of oxytocin or deficency of electrolytes due to dehydration

-decreased circulation (does the placenta gets priority over the brain)

-even elevated progesterone (contributing to fatigue)

While it is logical to attribute the aforementioned possible causes to “pregnancy brain”, among other reasons such as a mother has a lot to keep in mind (and that pregnancy is an altered state of conscious), we cannot ignore EFA’s as being a part of the bigger picture.

Given the widespread fatty acid deficiency in the Standard American Diet (SAD), along with the fact that the brain is built on fat, we must consider EFA’s in the prevention and treatment of “pregnancy brain”.

I propose that (other contributing factors aside): EFA deficient women experience pregnancy brain because of further declining levels of EFA’s (the result of giving up what little reserves they do have to baby) and finally declining into “eternally postpartum brain” due the decline of EFA levels during nursing!

According to Michael A. Schimdt, PhD (NASA researcher), “The fetal brain develops rapidly throughout pregnancy and its demand for long chain fatty acids like arachidonic acid (AA) and DHA can only be met by the mother. To achieve adequate levels for brain development, the baby essentially robs the mother of these fatty acids by taking them from the placental blood.”

Because the trend is to reduce or avoid fat altogether, and because the majority of the population consumes adulterated vegetable fats and homogenized animal fats, we are all most likely deficient in beneficial natural fats (as found in cold water fish, seeds, nuts and compassionately raised animals foods such as butter and full fat non homogenized milk etc).

Given that 60% of the brain is composed of fat, we cannot ignore the implications of declining EFA status in women of childbearing years.

Even those who are not deficient per say may very likely not have optimal EFA levels.

How does such increased demand during pregnancy and nursing impact the woman who is already deficient before becoming pregnant?

Increasing symptoms of EFA deficiency include dry hair, skin and nails, hormone imbalance, depression, mood swings, impatience, memory decline etc.

If a woman was already experiencing these symptoms preconception, can you imagine how her EFA levels would be impacted by gestating and nursing a baby or even many babies?

Baby gets those fats before you do!

Baby’s brain, vision and nerve integrity are built with EFA’s!

“Large scale hydrogenation of vegetable oils reduces omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and replaces them with trans fatty acids that interfere with omega-3 and omega-6 metabolism, inducing significant partial deficiencies of essential fatty acids.” Dr. Ralph Holman

What are you building your brain with?

Unnatural, processed and refined fats and oils (the ones that our bodies haven’t yet evolved to recognize and utilize)?

or

Essential and natural fats as nature intended (ones that we have evolved to be able to assimilate and utilize)?

Processed oils are typically stripped of essential nutrients, bleached and finally deodorized for the purpose of shelf stability, and to mask rancidity.

It sounds less like nutrition, and more like work for the liver, doesn’t it?

Could you be blocking your own brain fats?

Trans fatty acids impair our ability to synthesize the critical neural fatty acid, DHA.

If your kitchen contains vegetable shortening, margarine (whether it be non-hydrogenated or even Earth Balance), canola oil and other refined, bleached and deodorized oils or if you “eat out” a lot, then you may be primarily building your brain and your myelin sheaths (insulate nerve fibers) with artificial fats.

Don’t forget that the oils in all processed foods are in some way artificial or refined, so stick to food that is real if you want to think clearly! Hmm….sludgy, mushy myelin sheaths and cell membranes or integral, smooth optimally functioning ones?

What can a mother do to get her brain back?

Throw out all refined oils (even expeller or cold pressed canola oil which is genetically modified and not meant to be for human consumption) and replace it with cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Get rid of the margarine and other refined “spreadable when cold” artificial butters and replace them with the real thing (yes quality butter is nutritious) plus unrefined coconut oil, ghee and avocado. Add flax and hemp to the fridge to make your own salad dressings and oh, I almost forgot, make your own mayo from the quality fats such as olive or coconut oil! Add nuts and seeds to the freezer, plus eat cold water fresh fish up to 3 times per week and voila and you will have a kitchen full of healthy fats to choose from.

Supplemental Sources of Good Fat

If you already have deficiency symptoms, or for whatever reason cannot get adequate fats from your diet, then use fish oil (preformed DHA and EPA) or flax oil for Omega-3 fatty acids, evening primrose or borage oil for Omega-6 fatty acids or hemp oil for Omega 3, 6 and 9.

Adequately determine which fatty acid profile best suits your individual needs before supplementing by doing your own thorough research or investing in the services of a holistic nutritionist or naturopathic doctor.

References:

Brain Building Nutrition- Michael A. Schmidt

http://www.westonaprice.org/knowyourfats/conola.html

Go to my website www.WholeFoodsFamily.com to get your FREE 4 Part Video e-course “First Steps to Becoming a Whole Foods Family!” Learn how to upgrade the QUALITY of the foods you already eat and love, so that you can IMPROVE your diet WITHOUT changing it!

If ultrasound destroys sperm, why is it safe for a fetus?

“Bill Gates has funded a new technology that uses ultrasound to cause infertility in men, a type of “ultrasonic birth control” that destroys testes production for up to six months. Today I dare to ask the question that makes many new parents uncomfortable: If ultrasound destroys normal testes function, how can it be safe for a fetus? ”

http://www.naturalnews.com/028853_ultrasound_fetus.html

Chemicals in shampoos and toys ‘could lead to low birth weight’

“Chemicals widely used in shampoos, toys, hairspray and cosmetics could harm the growth of unborn babies, a new study suggests.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/5624161/Chemicals-in-shampoos-and-toys-could-lead-to-low-birth-weight.html

Do we clamp the umbilical cord too soon?

 USF researchers: Early clamping may interrupt humankind’s first ‘natural stem cell transplant’

http://www.breakthroughdigest.com/medical-news/do-we-clamp-the-umbilical-cord-too-soon/

e-book “Nurturing the New Family”

The intention of this book is to help women and families explore self care during pregnancy and postpartum in preparation for motherhood! Discover the secrets of ancient postpartum rejuvenation therapies and how they can increase your vitality and reduce aging! Included is a special section for the community including how we can all come together to honour, uphold and support new families, and why in doing so, we all benefit! The book also features sections highlighting the father’s role in pregnancy and birth and exposing the new father to the universal needs of pregnant women, new mothers and the feminine spirit!

http://nurturingfamily.homestead.com/index.html

The Birth Survey

What a fantastic resource! Love it!

Here is a quote from their site:

Every woman should have the opportunity to:

  • Have a healthy and joyous birth experience for herself and her family, regardless of her age or circumstances;
  • Give birth as she wishes in an environment in which she feels nurtured and secure, and her emotional well-being, privacy, and personal preferences are respected;
  • Have access to the full range of options for pregnancy, birth, and nurturing her baby, and to accurate information on all available birthing sites, caregivers, and practices;
  • Receive accurate and up-to-date information about the benefits and risks of all procedures, drugs, and tests suggested for use during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period, with the rights to informed consent and informed refusal;
  • Receive support for making informed choices about what is best for her and her baby based on her individual values and beliefs.

http://www.thebirthsurvey.com/index.html

Vaginal Birth Better for Breech Babies Says Canadian Doctors

While this is really great, we must remember that vaginal birth has always been better in general for breech babies…mothers have been carrying this truth in their hearts and midwives have been holding this truth in their hands ….. and it was true long before the The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada said it was.

Why are we as a culture more willing to consider this truth now than before? We cannot continue to have blind faith in authorities and experts, especially when it defies both logic and intuition. What other limits are being placed on pregnant women just because medical associations are uniformed about birth physiology?  Question all limitations!

http://ecochildsplay.com/2009/06/19/vaginal-birth-better-for-breech-babies-says-canadian-doctors/

You can now LISTEN to “Expect the Best When You Are Expecting”! Online Childbirth Classes

Just a quick note to let you all know that we have uploaded the completed set of  audio recordings for each Module of “Expect the Best When You Are Expecting”!

So if you don’t enjoy reading at the computer or just prefer to listen and learn while you make dinner, “pick up the house” or while going for a walk, this option is now available for you!

Baby Born “in the caul” (in the waterbag!)

Hello world!

Welcome to the Online Childbirth Classes Natural Pregnancy Blog!

This blog is intended to be an engaging and empowering forum to revive the natural pregnancy, birth and mothering movement!

We intend to offer engaging, progressive and sometimes even provocative conversation to expand your mind and heart to new possibilities in health, pregnancy, birth and mothering!  We offer you information about all the alternatives.  We don’t give you a “watered down” version of true informed consent, but we tell you the truth, as it is currently known from the physiological birth perspective!

We hope to inspire and encourage your confidence, as you continue on your path of self directed prenatal care and natural childbirth. Come here often to explore the possibilities in the natural, physiological and undisturbed birthing paradigm!

We welcome explorations in all birthing realms- from “home like” birth in the hospital to unassisted childbirth! Our definition of a FREEBIRTH is a woman feeling empowered to make any choice that feels right to her at any time in her birth journey. Whether that means choosing in labour to stay at home- when a hospital birth was originally intended….. to choosing to call in support and nurturing or go to the hospital- when a homebirth or unassisted birth was originally intended.

We are supporters of physiological birthing in the hospital, at homebirths with Midwives and in  Unassisted Childbirth.

We offer this place as a sacred space, where we can all explore and celebrate both our uniquenesses and our similarities and universal experiences as integral members of womankind. We aim to help you expand your birthing visionquest and to explore pregnancy as a journey of self actualization. We encourage you to go deep and embrace the fullness of your embarkation into motherhood, whether this is your first child, or one of many children!

Please don’t hesitate to share your journey with us or ask us questions. As doulas, we know the medical paradigm and as Mothers we have both given birth in the care of Midwives. In addition, we have first hand experience giving birth unassisted, or  “assisted by great spirit- the Midwife of all Creation”!

We intend to share with you from our heart as mothers, rather than as “experts”. Please feel free to share intimately, openly and honestly.

While we encourage lively conversation to learn and grow together, this is not a place of  debate for the purposes of making someone else wrong.  Communicating our differences with respect is essential and nothing less will be tolerated. In the spirit of consensus, we ask that all remain mindful of this intention and suspend our judgments and personal positions aiming instead toward that which serves the highest good of all!!

Natural Birthing Class Online