Birth Defects and Hyperemesis Gravidarum

I have been preparing my body to try to conceive for a year. My fist pregnancy was a disaster, with hyperemesis gravadarium, a birth defect, and polyhydraminos. I’ve been doing a lot of research on how to prevent these problems. It’s been so difficult dealing with my son’s health problems that we waited a long time to have another child. I don’t want myself or a future child to have to suffer these things. Here are some of the things I have done.

I have made sure my body composition and nutritional status are optimized. By using a gram of DHA and EPA a day, getting my vitamin D levels above 70ng/mL, and the paleo diet.  Last time I didn’t eat fish and I didn’t supplement with vitamin D and was careful to avoid the sun.  Sadly I took advice from my doctor, which was the wrong advice. The paleo diet has helped me to have great hemoglobin/hemocrit levels.  I have been dealing with anemia for years and am happy that’s gone.  The paleo diet also gives me the right amounts of fats, and minimizes the pro-inflammatory omega 6 fats and maximizes the omega 3 fats.

Last pregnancy I had borderline gestational diabetes. I wasn’t given the test results because I was in the hospital in premature labor right after the test. So I have worked hard to get my insulin under control.  A low carb paleo diet is just what the doctor ordered.  Along with weight training, high weights and intensity once a week. These both increase  insulin sensitivity.  I’ve checked my blood sugars and they look awesome.

I didn’t know I had narcolepsy last pregnancy.  Which make taking phenergan 3x a day for 5 months while working 50 hours a week total hell.  I ate like crap and could barely keep it together.  Now I eat healthy. I have been gluten free since January 2012 and have been able to ditch the daytime stimulant, only needing Xyrem at night.  So my narcolepsy is under better control. Without the stimulant I don’t get insomnia at night either so it’s a much more normal routine.  However the stimulant may have been a factor in my recently diagnosed adrenal insufficiency, so I’m glad I got rid of it several months ago.

The diet, fish oil and vitamin D have been great for reducing inflammation. I’m also using a low dose of helminthic therapy and probiotics.  Saccharomyces boulardii and Prescript Assist and water kefir. My son also uses them and they have helped his gut issues dissappear.  I no longer have IBS and I love that. It’s important for women to pay attention to their vaginal flora because bad organisms promote inflammation and can cause prematurity and complications.  Candida, HPV, trich, bacterial vaginosis, and group B strep are all bad news in pregnancy. Fortunately I have my own microscope and can look at some of my vaginal flora, and I plan on monitoring for GBS and using vaginal probiotics especially if any bad guys are found. Pap smears and vaginal cultures will also be used for monitoring.

I got my DTaP shot last year and am contemplating a flu shot.  Better safe than sorry.  I will not be getting any vaccines during this pregnancy.

Hyperemesis can be controlled by a low-carb diet according to one fertility doctor. I am torn on this because a low-carb diet can cause gene methylation and cause offspring to become obese. I will experiment with how high I can go while still not taking meds.  My son has similar symptoms as fetal alcohol syndrome and I can’t help but wonder if the phenergan is behind that.  My doctor also offered me Zofran, but to me this seems way worse, as it acts on serotonin in the brain. Not a good thing for a developing fetus.  I plan on using no meds and if I have to going on TPN or feeding tube rather than meds. Some moms who’ve had to use Zofran might think I am over the top here, but after seeing my son hve developmental delays and seizures, nothing is worth risking that. Also I have read that dehydration makes the nausea 10 times worse, and IV rehydration can reverse this, so I’ve already gotten my doctor to agree to saline IV’s if the nausea gets bad.

Avoiding food toxins and other toxins is also a great way to avoid hyperemesis.  The book Pregnancy Sickness explains how high toxin foods such as vegetables cause nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, and gives a nice list of the best and worst foods for the first trimester. Most of these toxins are tetrogenic, including ginger, which most clueless people say to use for morning sickness.  It will be hard to eat a low-carb and low food toxin paleo diet but I will try. Burt meat is another toxin and revolting to pregnant women, so a good solution is boiling meat.  And keeping a charcoal mask handy.

I’ve gotten my doctor to agree to put me on disability, and this will reduce stress, which is tetrogenic.  I absolutely could not do my current job while off my sleep meds.  I would put people at serious risk, and myself too. For most, narcolepsy gets worse during pregnancy.  It’s part of a programmed fatigue designed to keep women from ingesting food toxins.  Thanks evolution!

Finally, I’ve been milk free since March and need to do a blood test to see if my folate antibodies are gone.  Either way the high doses of folate I am taking are covering me.  And the Pregnancy Sickness book says dads should take vitamin C 3 months before conceiving.

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