Epigenetics

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Last night I had a great conversation with my only pregnant-with-her-first-baby-right-now-just-like-me friend.  She’s 10 weeks farther along than I am but I tell you, it’s great having someone to talk with about the silly pregnancy stuff that J just can’t understand.
She recommended You Having a Baby by Dr. Oz (picture and link above) because it goes over a lot of interesting things like Epigenetics. Of course, being as obsessive as I am, I immediately went out to Barnes and Noble, despite the fact that I have Amazon Prime and it being $4 cheaper online, and bought it. That says a lot considering my typically thrifty self.
I’m about a 3rd of the way through the book already and obsessed with epigenetics.
In simple terms, epigenetics is the study of what genes are actually expressed. It doesn’t change the genetic makeup of cells, rather, it allows us, especially incubators like me, to influence what characteristics from the DNA structure actually manifest in the child.
We can’t determine what eye or hair color the child ends up with but we can affect what diseases the child is predisposed to, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.
For instance, how often a pregnant woman eats can effect the child’s future metabolic rate.  If the mother doesn’t eat for extended periods of time, the genetically determined metabolic rate slows preparing the body for the experience of famine outside of the womb. This was an effective method of survival when the mother and baby were actually living in a scenario of famine but in a 1st world country it results in a predisposition for obesity.
And not just for that first child but for that child’s future children.
This doesn’t mean that the child can’t end up being perfectly healthy but it does mean that what the mother does and does not eat during pregnancy can create health challenges that her children has to work harder to overcome for generations.
A few things that I am going to do after reading information from Dr. Oz (who is currently the only doctor/author who is providing epigenetics information in layman’s terms in relation to pregnancy):
2. Eat organic whenever possible. My doctor also recommended this.
3. Do not drink out of plastic bottles that have been heated (which means really to avoid plastic bottles at all since you don’t know how heated the store bought plastic bottles were during transit).
4. Do not eat food microwaved in plastic, including tupperware. Use microwave safe pyrex, glass or ceramic instead.
5. Get houseplants to clear the air of any chemicals or gases emitted by paint or new building materials (we just finished a lot of home improvement work.)
6. Switch to green cleaning products.
What do you think about epigenetics?


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