15: Hormones & How to Have a Healthy Baby

Balancing hormones- pregnancy health- raising healthy kids with Chris Kresser

Chris Kresser is a licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of integrative medicine. He researched to find his own health answers after conventional medicine wasn’t able to help his chronic disease and he now works to help others improve their health and their lives through better nutrition and lifestyle.

I’ve always been incredibly impressed by Chris’ research and work and I quote him often. I am so excited to share his research and work with you in this episode. If you are “pregnant or may become pregnant” this episode is incredibly important for you!

Natural Fertility

If you are pregnant or may become pregnant, you need to hear this informationChris became especially interested in fertility and hormone health when he and his wife had trouble conceiving and his research led him to unconventional answers about diet, lifestyle and stress. They went on to conceive and have a healthy (and beautiful) daughter and it is now a mission for him to help other couples do the same.

Chris created a whole course on this and I highly recommend it. You can find out more about it here.

Resources we mention

Does Pregnancy Diet Matter?

Chris talks about the developmental origins hypothesis, or the idea that the diet of the mother (and father) before pregnancy and during pregnancy (for the mother) have an impact on the lifelong health of the child.

He talks about some amazing statistics on how birth weight and health at birth correlates to risk of heart attack and other problems. Babies with low birth weight were at increased risks for these problems, but babies born with a healthy weight and at full term had a lower risk.

We also delve in to a subject that I find fascinating: the link between the mother’s gut bacteria and the baby’s lifelong health. Research is now showing that babies culture their gut bacteria and set the blueprint for gut health during the birthing process when they come in contact with mom’s flora.

When this doesn’t happen (c-section) or when it is altered (antibiotics), it can have a lasting effect on baby. Obviously, both of these things are sometimes unavoidable, but it is important to understand the role they have when making birth choices.

Essential Foods and Nutrients

Chris talks about specific foods and nutrients that traditional cultures have included in pregnancy diets for years and that research is now showing are still important.

Foods like healthy fats, organ meats, broth, fermented foods and an abundance of vegetables all play an important role in a baby’s development in the womb and deficiencies in any of these can have drastic consequences.

Women are often told by their doctors to eat a high fiber, whole grain diet and avoid fish (especially certain types) and other foods. Chris talks about how the benefits of seafood consumption far outweigh the risks and how seafood naturally contains selenium which helps negate mercury absorption in the body.

Folic acid is considered an important nutrient during pregnancy, but we talk about how this is the synthetic form that many women are not even able to absorb, and how the natural form, Folate, is better. Some women need to take it a step further (if they have the MTHFR gene mutation which inhibits their ability to properly use folate) and take 5-MTHF, which is a methylated form.

Chris talks about resistant starch and prebiotics and how these play a role in gut health and are just as important as probiotics for a healthy gut.

Other Topics

We also talk about protein and starch requirements during pregnancy, how to recover from contraceptive use and much more. Don’t miss this episode! Listen on iTunes or Stitcher or watch the video below.

Thanks as always for listening to the Wellness Mama Podcast. If you’re enjoying these interviews, please subscribe via iTunes or Stitcher and leave a (5 Star!) rating and review if you haven’t already!

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Reader Interactions

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Reader Comments

  1. I was given antibiotics for my first delivery. I was told it was just precaution as my temp has stayed elevated for over an hour or something like that and they thought it could be Chorio. They then put my baby on the meds for the first 48hrs of life. I WISH I would have had this information then. There is so much about that birth experience and the time that child was an infant I wish wholeheartedly I could change. I have had to try an correct some issues with him that Im sure stem from his birth. Things like his “itchy bumps” as he calls them or eczema to the rest of the world, night terrors with day time hour long tantrums, and occasional upset tummy. It wasn’t until I started to look into Paleo for myself about 7mo ago that I learned about gut health. Now to get him to be less picky about food so he will eat the things that can help him hopefully heal is my real challenge. Thank goodness for my blender and “Hulk” smoothies as well as the magnificent minds that come up with “breads” that are okay once in a while.

    I have read some info talking about how the appendix may play a role in keeping gut flora in balance so I am curious about how not having one can affect my children at birth??

    • Yes, I have seen something about that as well. If indeed the appendix does play a role in passing on that good gut flora, then not having one would affect it.

      • Just wanted to add to this discussion…
        I read the appendix helps with gut flora by giving the good bacteria a place to go when sickness or other intestinal stress happens. Once the trauma is over, the bacteria come back out of the appendix and repopulate the gut. I *think* I read this in the GAPS book, but I read so much that I don’t trust myself with giving citations off the top of my head 🙂

  2. Wow! both my favourite bloggers together. loved this interview. so helpful even though i was eating well during my first pregnancy and pre-conception and still am while breastfeeding my two year old, there were still so many thing i didnt know.
    i am trying to conceive my second and hoping it will happen soon. the first one happened at attempt #1 as i had been primal for 2 years before that and was in excellent hormonal health.
    this time around i am up and down thanks to still breastfeeding and hoping it wont get in the way of conceiving.
    thanks for this!

  3. Great Webinar! Just wondering specifically about resistant starches. Do you think that eating resistant starches cooked in foods, and eating them while hot is effective? I noticed that rice has to be cooked and then cooled. But can it then be reheated to consume?
    I eat gluten free and although I know I should limit my intake of gluten free bread products, it would be awesome to know if some of the starches used in them are resistant starches!

  4. I am a huge fan of you BOTH! One question I have after listening is how does one know if they have the MTHFR gene mutation? I feel so blessed to know this information preconception. Thank you for this knowledge.

    • There is a blood test you can order from Spectra Cell, but my doc recommends women take the methyl form either way. I take 1000 mcg of MTHF and 400 of folate a day.

  5. Awesome podcast! I love it when all the information for a certain topic like pregnancy is brought together so concisely. I also follow Chris and really enjoyed this. Primal Mark has a recipe for liver pate I plan on trying as soon as I get some livers from my farmer 🙂

  6. What a great interview Katie! Thanks for doing these information packed podcasts! I love them:)

  7. My husband and I are starting our conception process and am so grateful for all this information! My husband is taking supplements recommended by his doctor to increase his sperm health and count. The supplements include Vitamin C, D, E, Zinc, Selenium, and Folic Acid. I’m so excited that he’s taking this initiative and don’t want to discourage him especially since he’s invested in these vitamins (ConceptionXR). So, I’m wondering if it’s detrimental to our trying to conceive for him to take these or if I should let him keep taking them and give him a pat on the back. 🙂

    • Those are all nutrients that are good for male health and if his doc suggested them, he should probably stick with them…

  8. Hello,
    Thank you so much for sharing this valuable and informative information.
    I am definitely considering Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code Course, I was wondering when the 25% off code expires, I could not find a date on this page.

    Thank you,
    ~Jayna Temple

  9. Also, wondering about the best form of supplemental folate or L-5MTHF. In looking at supplements, the Thorne brand has MTHF, but their Basic Prenatal says their Folate is a derivative of L-5 methatetrahydrafolic acid. Is the latter different from folic acid? And what is the proper dosage? Is there a way to overdose if also getting folate from leafy greens?

    Thanks!

  10. I confess that both times I was pregnant I let the ” limit your fish consumption’ speech given to me by my OB/GYN go in one ear and out the other. I craved seafood morning noon and night with sides of sliced avocados and I gave in. I also craved lots of fresh coconut. At that point in my life I was uneducated about wholesome nutrition so in my next pregnancy I will be more cautious of where my seafood and fruits comes from but I fully intend to eat lots of seafood. I should mention that I did give birth to two beautiful, healthy, chubby little babies and I don’t want to come off as a bragging pompous mama but my girls have always done exceptionally well in school and I definetly think that my prenatal diet played a factor in that. It’s nice to know that I didn’t just luck out with healthy babies and that I was doing something good for them in utero even though I did feel guilty at times because I was going against doctor’s orders.

  11. Great interview — I really love Chris Kresser and his passion and vision for helping women and families (and ultimately, the next generation). I’ll definitely be passing the link along. 🙂

  12. I would really like a recommendation for a great prenatal vitamin. We had a healthy baby that will be 2 in October. I’ve been taking the same PV for five years and are ttc now.

  13. Hey Katie, I listened to this episode with Chris and it was very eye opening. I am wondering if his program would be beneficial to me? I have pcos and have yet to conceive.

  14. Thank you so much! What are your thoughts about raw fish? Would this still fall in the “more benefits than risks” category?

  15. I also would love a prenatal recommendation as Kacey asked for!

  16. Thank you! So informative!! I went out and got some folate after listening ha. We are TTC and I have been taking a prenatal gummie vitamin that has 800 mcg of folic acid. My question is…is it safe to keep taking my prenatal vitamin (it also contains Omega 3 & DHA) and also take 800 mcg/day of the folate? Will any excess just be flushed out? Any input is appreciated! Thanks!!

  17. I wish I had this information available to me sooner. Good thing is that now I can make a difference on my son’s life and the next time I get pregnant. I enjoyed this podcast.

  18. Is something wrong with your site? I can’t get any of your podcasts to play or download here or on stitcher! Disappointed because I love your podcasts! Please help!

    • Make sure your browser is updated and it should play without issue on the site. Stitcher stopped working some time ago and they haven’t been responsive to getting it fixed…

  19. Thank you for all you do, I’ve learned so much from you! So I have an interesting question for you… my baby was born almost en caul (my water broke right as he was coming out)! It was very cool, but I was wondering if this impacted his opportunity to have the “probiotic gulp” as he was still in the sac while coming through the birth canal. He’s a healthy boy so far, but this is something I wonder about! Thanks!

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