Please read the chapter The Families in the GAPS book. This chapter will explain to you what GAPS family is. The information here aims to add to what is already discussed in the book.
Parents who have a child with autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia or any other GAPS condition are quite rightly concerned when planning for a new baby. Nobody wants to produce another child with physical and mental problems. In order to give yourself the best chance to produce a beautiful healthy baby it is important to start thinking about it before conception. If you are already expecting a baby, it is best to start making changes straight away.
The most important change to make before conceiving is in both the parents’ diet. The nutritional status of prospective parents is one of the most important factors in producing healthy offspring. Once the pregnancy begins, the mother must continue with her healthy diet. The father does not have to, but if he does, he will be in a much better state (physical and mental) to support his wife though the pregnancy and childbirth.
If there are no serious digestive problems present, allergies, chronic fatigue, lethargy or any other typical GAPS symptoms in the partners, then I recommend following the full GAPS diet for 4-5 months prior to conception.
If there is pronounced GAP Syndrome in any of the parents, particularly in the mother, follow the whole GAPS nutritional protocol until you are much healthier and feel that you are ready to conceive and go through pregnancy.
If you are already pregnant go straight into the Full GAPS Diet. However, read carefully the section on the Introduction Diet and follow the recommendations for introducing fermented foods, as they need to be introduced gradually (if you never had them before).
To learn about the diet, please read the GAPS book and the relevant pages on this website. Here I will add a few important points.
• Religiously avoid all processed foods (all packets and tins), soft drinks, sugar and food additives. Avoid eating out! Eating out will make it impossible for you to avoid harmful processed fats and oils, chemical additives, poor quality proteins and carbohydrates and many other dangers for your future baby. Make fresh food at home from fresh ingredients.
• Remember, that about 85% of everything you eat on a daily basis should be savoury - made out of fresh meats, fish, eggs, good quality dairy, vegetables and natural fats. Sweet things: baking (with nut flour and dried fruit), honey and fruit should be limited to snacks between meals.
• Consume homemade meat/bone stock on a daily basis as soups, stews or hot drinks. Meat/bone broth will provide your baby and you with countless benefits: strong digestive and immune systems, strong bones and muscles, and good stamina. Consume gelatinous meats around bones and joints after making the stock with them. Drinking warm meat stock (with some live yoghurt/kefir added) will help with sickness during pregnancy.
• Please pay particular attention to the fats you consume, as they are the main agents that balance our reproductive hormones. Consume only natural animal fats (butter, cream and fats on meats), cold pressed good quality olive oil or coconut oil; consume more fats than usual as your baby will need that very much.
• Introduce fermented foods gradually. Fermented foods are not optional, particularly in pregnancy! They will insure proper digestion and absorption of nutrients, provide your baby with B vitamins, vitamin K and many other benefits.
• Do your best to find raw organic dairy products from a local farm: the nutritional value of raw milk, butter, yoghurt, cheese and cream can never be compared to their commercial pasteurised processed counterparts. If you cannot find unpasteurised organic milk, do not drink milk at all: instead every single day consume plenty of organic butter and fermented dairy – live natural whole yoghurt, kefir, traditionally produced cheese, sour cream and crème fresh.
• Eat liver and other organ meats regularly. Liver is the richest source of folic acid (not to mention many other nutrients) and will prevent many common problems.
• If your digestion is normal you can have potatoes, sourdough bread and whole grains cooked at home in moderate amounts. Remember that all these carbohydrates must be consumed with good amounts of natural fats to slow down their digestion and improve their nutritional value: let people say about you - “She likes a bit of bread with her butter!”
Apart from good food, you may want to take a good quality probiotic at a maintenance level. However, if you consume plenty of fermented foods on a daily basis, you may not need to take any commercial preparations.
Take good quality cod liver oil at a maintenance level. Don’t forget to eat small oily fish (not farmed) on a weekly basis.
Other relevant issues to consider before and during pregnancy
1. Reduce general toxic load on your body and as a result on your baby.
Everything toxic a pregnant woman is exposed to gets into her foetus. In our polluted world majority of babies are born with a considerable toxic load, which undermines their constitution and makes them vulnerable physically and mentally. Avoiding common pitfalls will allow you to produce a baby with smaller toxic load and hence stronger constitution. Please read the chapter Detoxification in the GAPS book, particularly the part about reducing the general toxic load (page 207). In order to have a successful pregnancy it is essential to keep your body toxin free.
Avoid all man-made chemicals as much as possible: personal care products, make-up, perfume, hair dies, domestic cleaning chemicals, carpet pesticides, dry cleaning, professional chemicals, household paints, etc. Pregnancy is not a good time to re-decorate your house or buy new furniture as these things will bring a plethora of toxic chemicals into the household - toxic for your baby. Avoid going to toxic places such as hair dressers, chlorinated swimming pools, shopping centres and hospitals and anywhere with chemical smells.
Avoid dentists like a plague! Most materials they use are toxic. If you absolutely have to have a filling, avoid amalgams, ask for a white filling.
Avoid taking drugs. Avoid medical tests, unless it is something absolutely essential: tests lead to drugs and medical procedures.
Think very carefully what in your immediate daily environment may negatively affect your baby: radiation, pollution, high voltage masts, poor quality water, etc.; take steps to avoid these problems.
2. Enjoy your pregnancy!
From the moment of conception your baby must become your priority. Everything else has to take a second place. So, no matter what you are planning to do, your first thought must be - “How will that affect my baby?” Whether this is a job, a holiday, a trip to visit family or friends – everything has to be done (or cancelled) from the point of view of doing the best for your baby. Do not overexert yourself and do not try to do too much.
Stress is not the event itself, but the way we react to it. So, try to control your reactions to life situations. Be calm and philosophical. Sense of humour can do wonders in stressful situations. Avoid people who make you feel inadequate, guilty or sad. Seek company of people who make you happy and good.
Good sleep is essential. Make your bed soft and comfortable so you can sleep well, particularly in later stages of pregnancy. Every afternoon take a nap: this is not optional for a pregnant woman! Plan your day in such a way that you can have your afternoon rest, even if you do not fall asleep.
Daily walk in the fresh air is another essential for a pregnant woman. Walking at a comfortable pace in pleasant natural surroundings is the best exercise.
3. Prepare for birth and breastfeeding!
It is essential to prepare your birth canal for the baby, which is something women used to do in traditional societies. In order to prepare the birth canal you need to populate it with beneficial flora. To do that every day after your bath or shower apply a handful of your homemade yoghurt or kefir all over your genital area, as well as all over your breasts and armpits. Let the kefir or yoghurt dry on you before dressing up. Once a week insert a capsule of a good quality probiotic into your vagina at bedtime (alternatively you can use a piece of cotton wool soaked in kefir or yoghurt as a tampon, inserted into the vagina for a few minutes). As those areas get populated by beneficial flora, they will be protected from anything pathogenic, and when your baby goes through the birth canal it will acquire beneficial flora from you. Populating your breasts and armpits with good bacteria will help to prevent mastitis and supplement your baby with probiotics, so carry on with this procedure after your baby is born.
When your baby is born, please look at the page New baby.