The term Perinatal generally refers to the one to three months prior to conception. A woman might be advised about healthy diet and exercise habits during perinatal health education and would likely be encouraged to take a prenatal vitamin supplement during a time when she is trying to conceive.
The summary of potential risks associated with autism in the last post suggest that there are two basic groups of health tips for reducing risk of autism perinatally or prenatally:
- tips for avoiding toxins from the environment; or for reducing internal production of toxins that are a result of the stress response, or are due to undiagnosed metabolic defects;
- and tips for increasing intake of healthy nutrients; or strategies for identifying and treating any undiagnosed metabolic defects or low-grade chronic infections that may be causing nutrient imbalances or deficiencies.
This first set of tips will focus more on avoiding toxins from the environment and includes primarily recommendations that are already standard for perinatal or prenatal health.
For a woman of reproductive age:
- Don’t have unprotected sex after drinking a Rum and Diet Cola that is sweetened with aspartame/Nutrasweet.
- Don’t have unprotected sex after drinking a Rum and regular cola either or any other beverages that contain alcohol.
- After drinking a Diet beverage that is sweetened with aspartame/Nutrasweet, don’t have unprotected sex with a male partner who has been drinking alcohol in excess. (A male’s alcohol intake during the few days prior to sexual relations may increase a baby’s risk for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome so it may also be involved in the infant’s risk for autism – more research is needed but in the meantime we do know conclusively that alcohol and Nutrasweet isn’t good for fetuses. Males produce sperm throughout their lives while women develop a large number of eggs during the fetal stage which are then released one or a few at a time each month throughout her reproductive years, approximately from age 10-12 through age 45-55. A woman’s health habits during a pregnancy with a female fetus will be affecting the health of any potential grandchildren that the daughter may have later in her life.)
- A regular cola or root beer may be better choices for beverages to drink before having unprotected sex. Brominated vegetable oil may be a food additive in citrus flavored beverages such as Mountain Dew and the chemical is in the same group as the flame retardant polybrominated diphenyl ethers which have been associated with brain development problems in children, fertility problems, and increased risk for hypothyroidism and cancer.[http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/20130129/brominated-vegetable-oil-qa?page=2]
- If you are a woman with leprosy being treated with thalidomide then do your best to not have unprotected sex, possibly invest in a longterm family planning method such as an IUD or Essure for use during the treatment with thalidomide.
- If you are a woman being treated with valproic acid for bipolar disorder, migraines or for some other reason then do your best to not have unprotected sex, possibly invest in a longterm family planning method such as an IUD or Essure for use during the treatment with valproic acid.
- If you are a woman being treated for autoimmune disease, hypothyroidism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, or depression then it may be a good idea to not have unprotected sex at least while your disease is in a more severe stage. It might be a good idea to invest in a longterm family planning method such as an IUD or Essure for use while you’re being treated for a severe chronic disease or mental illness. Rubella, cytomegalovirus, stress, and allergic reactions have also been associated with increased risk for autism, so avoiding unprotected sex during acute sickness, stress, or allergy flair-ups might also be a good idea.
- In case you missed the theme – try to avoid having unprotected sex unless you are healthy and toxin free and your partner is also – it is not easy to grow a baby. And if you are in a relationship with someone who is not willing to discuss or plan for a safer pregnancy then it may be worth ending the relationship or seeking help. [http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-sexassault-coercion-idUSKCN0R42CD20150904] (In the U.S. call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for support and referrals: 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY), http://www.thehotline.org/ )
The perinatal time period is a time to prepare a healthy and welcoming environment so the egg and sperm will be able to successfully implant as a healthy little zygote (the fetal stage where the egg and sperm have combined into a single cell). “One-half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended.” – Population Connection [From a handout: “Our Mission At Population Connection is Critical!,” 15AK-1l]
If we hope to reduce the rate of children born in the U.S. who later develop autism, and it is a problem that develops during the early weeks of pregnancy, then we really need to reduce the rate of unintended pregnancies. If autism is able to be prevented in the first week of pregnancy then women will need to either always be healthy and ready for an unexpected pregnancy (because rapists wouldn’t want their
love power-and-domination-child to be autistic, surely?) or women will need to plan and prepare before trying to become pregnant so that their body will be as healthy and as ready to receive the implantation of the zygote as possible.
/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./