Some describe human like a of development as a tightly regulated symphony of gene expression, while others view the journey from conception to birth, as nothing short of a miracle. Starting with the union of egg and sperm, embryonic cells rapidly begin to divide, quickly taking on specific roles as tissue types and organ systems, driven by information encoded in our DNA, orchestrated by the interactions of genes and hormones at each and every step. As your baby’s brain and other organs grow, its body continuously responds to minute concentrations of specific hormones, messenger chemicals produced by the body that affect development, metabolism, immune response, and more.
Unfortunately, many modern chemical compounds, including certain commercial pesticides, have hormone-like effects on human development. Referred to as hormone mimickers or endocrine disruptors, even minute amounts of these chemicals can interfere with the body’s natural processes, and often have a disproportionately large effect on the development of a tiny body in utero. Atrazine, for example, is one of the most heavily-used pesticides on Midwestern U.S. crops (primarily corn), and is known to inhibit the production of testosterone (the male sex hormone) and induce the production of estrogen (the female sex hormone) in a wide variety of organisms. Sadly, 76 million pounds of this substance were applied to crops in 2003 alone.
One of the best ways to reduce your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals during pregnancy is to eat a diet consisting primarily of organic foods. But choosing to buy organic foods so you don’t directly consume pesticides is not the only, or even the most important, reason to buy organic. Even more important is the fact that farming practices are directly related to soil and water quality.
For example, many modern moms now recoil at the thought of feeding their baby with a Bisphenol-A-lined bottle or sippy cup, thanks in part to the recent media attention on the potential adverse health effects of the now infamous endocrine disruptor. But what about questioning how our food choices affects the quality of our water supply? In August of 2009, the New York Times reported that Atrazine is “among the most common contaminants in American reservoirs and other sources of drinking water,” and is now under new scrutiny by the EPA for safety. The studies referenced by the Times suggest that at current detectable levels, Atrazine may be associated with birth defects, low birth weight and early onset of menstruation.
Most parents are aware of the risks for a baby of low birth weight and birth defects, but you might wonder what’s the harm in a girl getting her period at 8 or 9 years old instead of 13 or 14? Besides psychological effects that put them at risk for depression and early sexual encounters (how many 8 year olds are emotionally prepared for the hormonal challenges of puberty?), earlier puberty significantly increases the risk for estrogen-dependent cancers. A review study commissioned by the Breast Cancer Fund in San Francisco indicates that girls that begin menstruating before age 12 may be 50% more likely to develop breast cancer than those who begin at 16 years old.
Most consumers are familiar with the recommendation that pregnant and nursing moms should eat organic for healthy babies. The choices that you make today will affect your unborn baby many decades, and eating a healthy, organic diet is one of the most important investments you can make in your unborn child’s future. See more about seo hosting services here.