After 35 years promoting preconception healthcare for both prospective parents as the best way to ensure a beautiful, bright, happy, healthy baby, the so-called ‘Blockbuster Medical Breakthrough’ by the Victor Chang Institute leaves me frustrated and for once almost lost for words.
Let me explain. My work in the area of preconception health was inspired by the work of UK-based Foresight - Association for the Promotion of Preconceptual Care. That initial inspiration led to a best-selling, 4-book series with co-author Francesca Naish, recently 2 updated, simplified books, ebooks and 3 associated mini ebooks (all published by Penguin Random House). The recommendations for both prospective parents are simple:
- In place for a minimum period of 4 months prior to conception
- Abundance of ALL essential building blocks
- Absence of ANYTHING that is potentially toxic.
ALL essential building blocks is the key I want to emphasis - singling out one nutrient, in this case Vitamin B3, suggesting it is the holy grail to prevent miscarriage and heart defects does nobody any favours.
Here is an excerpt from The Natural Way to Better Babies - Preconception Healthcare for Prospective Parents. This was my first book with Francesca Naish, published in 1996, it is still in print and explains the importance of all vitamins, essential trace elements, amino and fatty acids - singling out one has the capacity to cause deficiencies in others! Of course you’ll also read that the link to deficiencies of B-complex vitamins and miscarriage, heart defects (and more) is hardly new!
My frustration? The importance of preconception healthcare as a way to transform the health of the next generation is undisputed. The research is clear. For a family to enjoy a lifetime of better health, their journey must start before conception. Foresight ’s work (established in the UK 40 years ago) has involved researchers & research institutions from around the globe.
- Professor David Barker physician, epidemiologist and originator of the Barker Hypothesis stated that ’Preventing heart disease & type 2 diabetes needs to begin before a baby is even conceived.’
- In 2006 the US CDC stated ‘If you want to prevent any damage to the baby while the foetal organs are being formed, you need to take action before that time.’
- Professor Rodney Dietert from Cornell University, Health Scientist and Author and many others have identified a raft of health issues that can be linked to the disturbed seeding of the infant microbiome with a delivery by Caesarean yet C-sections are now performed at many times the rate of the WHO recommendations.
The foregoing snippets are just the tip of a massive iceberg. So how about a visionary government committing to a program that not only encourages but rewards prospective parents for following a preconception program? Believe me, throwing a bit of extra vitamin B3 into a supplement is not the answer!