Ah, on this Mother’s Day we should all be thinking about relaxing, enjoying a day off, doing whatever WE want, and maybe getting a nice meal (that we didn’t have to cook). But research that came out this weekend has me thinking– about how Moms get a lot of the blame (or credit- to spin it positively) when it comes to their children who wind up with celiac, another autoimmune disorder, or a different ailment all-together.
Not fair? I agree. Read on and you’ll see what I mean.
Moms Gluten Sensitivity could lead to Child’s Psychiatric Disorder
The study just published on Friday, out of Sweden and from Johns Hopkins is actually published in Swedish here. But several other entities have explained the study — in English, including the Huffington Post and PsychCentral.com. Basically the new researched looked at neonatal blood samples from 1975-1985 and found that “children of women with high levels of antibodies to gluten — meaning they had a sensitivity to it — have almost a doubled risk of later developing a psychiatric disorder,” explained the Huffington Post article.
Of 764 blood samples studied, 211 went on to develop schizophrenia or a similar psychiatric disorder, the study said. PsychCentral.com quotes researcher Robert Yolken, M.D., a neuro-virologist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center as saying, “Our study is an illustrative example suggesting that a dietary sensitivity before birth could be a catalyst in the development of schizophrenia or a similar condition 25 years later.”
You can read much more on this research on the aforementioned links.
And if Mom has Celiac Disease….
Celiac disease could impact all kinds of other things– what some of this research doesn’t explain is whether they are talking about diagnosed celiac disease treated with the gluten free diet or undiagnosed celiac (which we all know causes a host of health problems).
In 2009 a study published in the July 6 edition of Pediatrics (which no longer has the 2009 article posted), it explained that children of mothers who have autoimmune disorders like type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease have up to a 3 times greater risk for autism. Doctors said in the US News.com HealthDay article published on July 6, 2009, not to be alarmed if you’re a parent or an expecting parent with an autoimmune disease…that “the large majority of people affected by an autoimmune disease do not have children with autism.”
A 1999 Danish study was a little more clear and optimistic about getting diagnosed with celiac before having babies. It said if a mom has undiagnosed celiac, there is a greater chance of having a child with lower birthweight and also a higher risk of intrauterine growth restriction– which is defined by the National Institutes of Health as poor growth of a baby in the womb during pregnancy. But if you have been diagnosed (and presumably on the gluten free diet), the “birthweight was similar to controls and no increased risk of low birthweight was seen”. The study suggested that this shows how treatment for celiac in women is important to prevent fetal growth restrictions.
Then there is the risk of infertility in women with undiagnosed celiac. A study published in The Journal of Reproductive Medicine last year looked at infertile women. Of 191 studied, four were diagnosed with celiac. Within a year of going gluten free, all four were able to get pregnant. One researcher, Janet Choi, MD, is quoted in ScienceDaily.com, “Diagnosing celiac disease in an infertile woman would be particularly beneficial if the low-cost (and low-risk) therapy of pursuing a gluten-free diet could improve chances for conception.” Here’s the way I read it — and I am not a doctor — if you’re having infertility issues, get your blood tested for celiac and see if that shows any sign of the disease. You may not need to go through tons of infertility treatments in order to conceive…you may just have celiac –which is much easier and less expensive to deal with.
Handling Gluten After the Baby is Born
Then of course Mom may have to be concerned about gluten after the baby is born. This is particularly an issue for people with a history of celiac in their family. About.com’s Nancy Lapid wrote comprehensively about this topic in February of 2009. The article talked about timing the gluten introduction into your child’s diet, which could lower the risk of developing celiac disease. Right now introduction during 4-6 months of age seems to be the latest thought on the subject along with ongoing breastfeeding. You should always consult with your doctor on the subject.
Happy Mother’s Day!
On Mother’s Day, I couldn’t help but write about this — even though it doesn’t seem overly uplifting. It just seems like we’ve been given a raw deal with all of this celiac-related stuff apparently sitting on our already burdened motherly shoulders.
So for now, lift the burden, enjoy the day. And maybe this information will help you or someone you care about in the future! Happy Mother’s Day.