Preconception Counseling

Medical Academy Pediatric Special Needs Conference, Tampa FL, Oct 3-5, 2013

 

I had the privilege of attending a conference where I met many practitioners from the US, Jordan, Egypt, India, and other countries worldwide in the pursuit of finding ways to help our pediatric special needs population. 

 Many of the attendants as well as the speakers of the conference have been personally affected with their kids on the spectrum.  It was inspirational to see the collaborative spirit in which research and clinical applications were shared. 

 With the vast amount of material covered, I wanted to post some helpful highlights.

One of the areas of prevention regarding autism is optimal preconception counseling.  Many times, as physicians, we don’t have the opportunity to see women in this phase.  The physical and mental health of the mother is vital to the health of the infant.

 Suggestions:

  1.  Prenatal vitamins—to assess whether your prenatal vitamins are the right type, assess your methylation status (MTHFR).  With this SNP’s (single nucleotide polymorphisms) or gene mutation analysis, you may need specific types of folate (L-MTH-folate or folinic acid) and B12 (methyl or hydroxyl-cobalamin).  Elevated homocysteine, an inflammatory marker, and a marker associated with miscarriages can give you clues to this mutation.
  2.  Assess thyroid status—hypothyroidism is associated with infertility, depression and depressed immunity.
  3.  Optimize immune status— assess Vitamin D levels, zinc, ferritin, gut health for dysbiosis, leaky gut, food allergies, etc.
  4.  Minimize toxins—eating organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats, wild sources of low mercury containing fish, etc.  See Environmental Working Group for the dirty dozen.  Their SkinDeep Cosmetic safety database is an important resource for products that don’t contain pthalates, parabens, etc.
  5.  Exercise and stress reduction—sweating out toxins via exercise is another way to minimize your load, create healthy endorphins, modulate mood, optimize appropriate weight and promote stress reduction.  Meditation, yoga and other mindful techniques are very helpful for stress reduction.
  6.  Consider waiting at least 2 years before conceiving again.  It takes time to recover from the effects of a prior pregnancy.
  7.  For a history of postpartum depression, high doses of EPA fish oil has been helpful.  Freeze dried encapsulated placenta has also been anecdotally shown to be helpful.  Methylated B vitamins, including higher dose folate has been shown to be helpful in those with methylation problems.

 

On November 24, 2013, posted in: Uncategorized by
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