Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Preeclampsia And Toximia Preventable With Good Nutrition

Many doctors will tell you they don't know what causes Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension, Preeclampsia or Toximia. While in some cases this is true, many times these potentially serious pregnancy complications can be prevented simply by getting proper nutrition during pregnancy.

Ina May Gaskin, in her book, "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth", explains it well:

"In telling you that toxemia can be prevented, I have given you the good news. The not-so-good news is that the techno-medical model of birth does not recognize any connection between toxemia and poor nutrition. The assumption about toxemia underlying this model of birth is that it doesn't matter what a pregnant woman eats or drinks, because her baby is somehow able to extract what it needs from her, regardless of how poorly she eats. One of the most important reasons for this missed connection between good nutrition and good health is that obstetricians receive virtually no training in nutrition during their medical and clinical education. Instead, they continue to be taught that the cause of toxemia is unknown and that it cannot be prevented.

"...Within the techno-medical model of care, the favorite ways of dealing with toxemia today include "treatment" by early delivery, whether by induction of labor or planned cesarean section, and the prescription of magnesium sulfate, Valium (diazepam), or calcium.

"Tom Brewer, author of "Metabolic Toxemia of Late Pregnancy," is a U.S. family practice physician who has devoted his life and career to understanding the cause of toxemia and to educating women and caregivers about how to prevent it. Between 1963 and 1976, he ran a prenatal-care project in Contra Costa County, California, for a population of over seven thousand mothers from the lowest income group in the San Francisco Bay Area. By all odds, most of the women in this population would have been considered likely candidates for developing toxemia and having low-birth-weight babies. In similar populations during the same period, the incidence of toxemia ranged between twenty and thirty-five percent. That is not what happened in the Contra Costa County project, where because of Brewer's intensive work, the women received extensive nutritive counseling during pregnancy. There, the incidence of toxemia was only 0.5 percent, with no cases of convulsive toxemia. The published results of this study convinced many midwives but few physicians or researchers, ostensibly because Brewer's work was not based upon randomized controlled trials. This research method (in which women are assigned by chance to groups receiving different treatments, whose outcomes are then compared by researchers unaware of the group to which each woman belongs) is often called the 'gold standard' of research because it is designed to eliminate bias. However, the problem with applying it to the thesis that good nutrition can prevent most cases of toxemia is that IT REQUIRES THE DELIBERATE MALNUTRITION OR STARVATION OF A GROUP OF WOMEN to be compared with a group of well-nourished women [emphasis mine]. Unfortunately, in the modern world of techno-medicine, cures and treatments involving drugs and surgery are often more researched and quickly accepted by most obstetricians than are preventative measures.

"Gardeners know that you must nourish the soil if you want healthy plants. You must water plants adequately, especially when seeds are germinating and sprouting, and they should be planted in a nutrient-rich soil. Why should nutrition matter less in the creation of young humans than it does in young plants? I'm sure that it doesn't. Farmers, ranchers, and veterinarians know that pregnant animals must be well-fed and given enough water and salt to give the best chance of survival to their young. It doesn't make sense that the human species could be the only one whose newborns have the power to extract from their mothers nutrients that their mothers aren't eating themselves.

"I know of no zookeeper who would feed pregnant animals in zoos junk food and expect optimally healthy young to be born. Common sense says that eating well is a good idea."

For more information, please see the following blog posts and site:

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