Archive for the ‘Pregnancy’ Category

In the News: Gender bending chemicals raise risk of cancer and infertility in unborn boys

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

An alarming report published and released by the government recently suggests that chemicals in food, cosmetics and cleaning products may be ‘feminising’ unborn boys and increasing their risk of cancer and infertility in later life.

It appears that so called ‘gender bending’ chemicals – which block the action of the male hormone testosterone, or mimic the female sex hormone oestrogen, and which are found in everyday substances – may be linked to increasing rates of birth defects and testicular cancer and to falling sperm counts. These chemicals may be harmless on their own, but their cumulative effect could have devastating consequences for a developing foetus and women trying for a child are urged to avoid them.


Research is preliminary and ongoing, but ‘gender bending’ chemicals that all pregnant women are urged to avoid include:


          Parabens found in cosmetics, creams, lotions and deodorants.

          Phthalates found in shower curtains, solvents, vinyl flooring, PVC and plastics.

          Tricloslan found in soap, toothpaste and chopping boards.

          Bispehnol A found in clear plastic baby bottles, tin cans and mobile phone castings.

          PCBs found in electrical circuits, paints and brake linings.

          Linuron/diuron found in herbicides used to control weeds on roads and farms and forests.

          Vinclozolin, a fungicide found on imported fruit and vegetables.

          Prochloraz, a fungicide used on fruits and vegetables.

          Procymidone, a fungicide found in beans and breakfast cereals.


Until more is known about the effects of these chemicals my advice to all pregnant women is to keep cosmetic use to a minimum, choose unscented products, stop using perfume and avoid colouring hair, gardening and DIY. You can go to Natural Lifestyle Products or call 9845 8800915 to get a brochure showing which cosmetics, toiletries and household products are available that do not contain these ‘gender bending’ substances.

In the News: Folic acid supplements cuts risk of premature births by 70%

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

A new study suggests that thousands of premature births a year could be prevented if women made sure they took folic acid – a form of vitamin B – not just when they get pregnant, but also in the run up to pregnancy. In the UK around 45,000 babies are born prematurely each year and they have a higher risk of breathing problems, life threatening infections and learning and other disabilities (with the most premature babies being the worst affected) than those babies born at full term.

Researchers from the University of Texas found that women who took the supplement for at least a year before conception were up to 70 per cent less likely to give birth prematurely. Pregnant women are already advised to take folic acid from when they stop using contraception until 12 weeks into pregnancy to cut their babies’ risk of developing birth and spine defects, such as spina bifida, but this new study makes it clear that they should consider taking it long before they try to start a family.


The study tracked the pregnancies of almost 35,000 women. Some of the women had taken folic acid for at least a year before becoming pregnant, others for shorter periods of time and others not at all. Over 1,600 women gave birth to premature babies and it was found that taking folic acid for more than a year cut the odds of the baby being born before 28 weeks by 70 per cent and the chances of birth between 28 and 32 weeks by half. Using the supplement for less than a year had a smaller effect. Researchers speculate that folic acid cuts the risk of infection, a common cause of premature births.


In my opinion all women should take 400mcg of folic acid a day – the amount advised to prevent spina bifida in pregnant women – from well before they plan to start a family. (It’s contained in that amount in the Fertility Plus for Women supplement I use in the clinic.)

In the News: Stress linked to asthma and allergies in children

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Women who are stressed in pregnancy are more likely to have babies who suffer from asthma and allergies (according to a study from Harvard Medical School in Boston and presented earlier this year at the American Thoracic Society International Conference in Toronto).

Researchers found that unborn babies exposed to stress before birth have increased tendencies to react to allergy triggers such as dust mites. It is thought that the developing immune system of unborn babies can be changed by maternal stress, probably through stress hormones, like cortisol. The results of the study held true regardless of a mother’s race, class, education or smoking history. This research supports the notion that stress can be thought of as a kind of social pollutant that can influence the immune system.