It is a blessing for a mother to birth a healthy baby. Life becomes shattered when parents discover that their young one is affected by Autism. Pregnancy is a vital journey, which if completed with certain cautions can help avoid such a mishap in parents’ life. Many environmental factors have been correlated with Autism. Many studies conclude that, Autistic babies are genetically wired to be autistic, but the development of disease is generally associated with some triggers present within the baby’s immediate environment. This may happen within the mother’s womb or soon after the baby is born. Mothers need to shield their delicate unborn and newborn babies from dangerous effects of toxins and pathogens, known to cause developmental defects in the baby’s brain .
What is autism?
Autism is an array of closely related neuro developmental disorders ( ASD- Autism Spectrum Disorders ) that appears during the baby’s early years of growth. It can hamper the baby’s ability to reach social milestones like smile, babble, learning to talk, play and interact with others.
Causes of Autism?
Autism may or may not run in one’s family. It was earlier believed that autism is caused mainly by genetic defects and are hereditary. Recent studies show the Excessive levels of folate as well as high levels of Vitamin B12 in expectant mothers seemed to raise the risk of autism spectrum disorders in children according to a recent study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. But the recommendation of folic acid supplements with diet for pregnant mothers remain the same owing to the benefits of this vitamin in fetal development. There may be other factors in high-risk mothers, like having slow metabolism or not being able to metabolize vitamins well, responsible for this correlation.
Tips to Pregnant mothers to minimise chances of developing Autism :
A well- balanced nutritious diet during pregnancy is a must. Very low birth weight and anemia in a newborn baby are associated with autism.
Take the recommended amount of 400 micrograms of folic acid daily from at least a month prior to conception to help prevent neural birth defects such as Spina bifida and may be Autism.
Don’t take more than 1,000 mcg per day of folic acid unless your doctor advises you to. This is particularly important if you are completely vegetarian and do not even consume milk products. The rationale behind this precaution is that vegans are at risk of being deficient in vitamin B12 (mainly found in animal products) and taking excess folic acid will mask this deficiency leading to Anemia.
“Multivitamins should always be taken with doctor’s consultation when you are carrying a baby.”
Keep yourself hydrated with enough liquids and water throughout the day. Since, Folic acid is a water- soluble vitamin, normally excess amount is easily flushed out of the system through urine, when the optimum amount of water is consumed.
Avoid antidepressant medicines
Some women develop depression during the First trimester or later. Antidepressant pills can increase the risk of autism development in babies. Depression if left untreated can also affect the child born to a depressed mother. Medicines of all sorts should be taken as per the gynecologist advice only during the pregnancy.
It is best to maintain a healthy lifestyle and fitness regime during pregnancy. It also makes sense to stay away from sick people. Rubella virus infection is known to cause several birth defects along with autism in the fetus. Congenital Rubella syndrome can be prevented to occur in babies by Rubella vaccine given to women of childbearing age or as early as women become pregnant.
Stay away from chemical pollutants
Healthy diet consisting of fresh vegetables and fruits is recommended during pregnancy. But, wash them properly to remove the layer of pesticides that may be present on their surface. Avoid packaged foods like microwave or oven ready meals loaded with preservatives. Look for BPA free plastic ware and bottles only for family use. Limit the use of non-stick pans. Avoid using perfumes, moisturizers, body wash gels etc.
Don’t get your home painted
Avoid exposure to toxic chemicals and fumes are released from fresh paint or solvents used for painting the house while pregnant and breastfeeding.
Please take care of all these things while pregnant to give birth to a healthy baby. You may save a child destined to become autistic by these lifestyle changes.