CFS and Pregnancy
As I see it, there are three issues to consider when thinking about chronic fatigue syndrome and pregnancy.
- Pre-conception care.
- The effect of pregnancy on one's health during pregnancy
- Arrangements for the extra burden of work during and after pregnancy
1. Pre-conception care. By paying attention to diet, supplements, toxic stress and hormonal imbalances, one can ensure the best possible outcome to pregnancy. Much of this has been established by the pioneering group Foresight and I thoroughly recommend you have a look at their website Foresight - The Association for the Promotion of Pre-conceptual Care. Healthy babies can only be achieved through attention to the above factors and there is never a more important time in one's life to be disciplined about these things than prior to pregnancy. If the problem is just chronic fatigue syndrome and nothing more (as if that is not enough!), then one should have already in place the nutritional supplements that I recommend as standard, one should be working hard at getting a good night's sleep on a regular basis, eating essentially a Stone Age Diet, or better still a PK (Paleo-ketogenic), diet, which is of low glycaemic index, and be aware of the toxic problems which can contribute to chronic fatigue syndrome and can certainly be a problem pre-pregnancy. Below you will find links to relevant articles on this website; for information about toxic problems, please also have a look at the section "Toxic Problems: Pollution and Poisonings" from the list on the left
If the mitochondrial support regime has been started, then this should be continued unchanged throughout pregnancy. None of these supplements have any deleterious effects in pregnancy - indeed, one would expect them to improve matters!
Also see What to do to ensure a healthy child.
2. The effect of pregnancy on energy levels generally. This I find is completely unpredictable. Some women feel at their best when they are pregnant and some at their worst. I simply have no way of predicting how one will react. The most important thing to bear in mind is that for those people who have thyroid supplements, their thyroid requirements will increase during pregnancy. Since the level of thyroxine in the blood has profound effects on the developing baby, then it is essential that this is monitored closely and I recommend blood tests at least every month initially until levels are stable. Indeed, for anybody considering pregnancy, it would be a good idea to get thyroid function checked before conception.
3. Energy requirements. Obviously, the business of being pregnant, giving birth and caring for a new baby is going to greatly increase energy demands. It is so important to be realistic about what can and cannot be done and put plans in place for help. I have had one patient, who was very severely afflicted, who was able to get help from Social Services so that she could cope with her baby.
Also be prepared to be very disciplined with the baby. Modern parents are far too indulgent. Lay down strict rules about sleep, rest and feeding regimes so that you can get your break from the baby. Be very prepared to use a playpen so that you do not spend your life chasing round after the toddler and making sure that they do not get into trouble.
- Nutritional Supplements
- CFS - The Central Cause: Mitochondrial Failure
- Stone Age Diet - this is a diet which we all should follow
- Ketogenic diet - the practical details
- My book The PK Cookbook - Go Paleo-ketogenic and get the best of both worlds.
- Sleep is vital for good health
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