November 10, 2013
By Barbara Loe Fisher
It was 1977 when I found out I was going to become a Mom. I instinctively knew I needed to be careful while I was pregnant, especially during the first two trimesters when the major organ systems of the fetus develop at a rapid rate. In the 1960’s there had been a lot of publicity about babies dying or being born without arms or legs because women had taken a drug (Thalidomide) for morning sickness in the first or second trimester of pregnancy1 and I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to protect my health and the health of my baby before and after he was born.
Mothers to be in my generation were told to take extra vitamins and eat nutritious food but, most of all, to avoid anything that could harm the developing fetus like alcohol, cigarette smoke, medications, radiation, household cleaning products and other toxic exposures. Some of us were aware of the risks of heavy anesthesia during delivery and signed up for Lamaze classes to prepare for a drug-free birth, which many obstetricians discouraged, and we chose to breastfeed, even though a lot of pediatricians were pushing formula and bottles back then…
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There is a lot of wisdom to be gained from individuals that have witnessed changes in standard health recommendations over the decades without a vested interest. I once heard the suggestion, “If you want to be good at something then study from those who are successful at that particular skill.” This quote sounds like the obvious but how often do “experts” rely on a biased, financially lucrative view or put trust and base their word on organizations that with a small amount of research prove questionable? I would think when giving health advice to pregnant woman that it should truly be the best and proven healthy advice.