Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Mothers who swim during pregnancy increase their child's risk of eczema and asthma, scientists warn

This is just theory.  No facts at all

Pregnant mothers who regularly attend swimming classes may be increasing the risk of their child developing an allergic condition.

Scientists believe that commonly-found airborne chemicals, such as chlorine from pools and compounds found in cleaning products could be behind the five-fold increase in inherited allergies during the past 50 years.

Exposure to these chemicals may be altering an unborn child’s immune system, leaving them more sensitive to conditions such as eczema, asthma and hay fever.

The warning comes from a report in the British Journal of Dermatology that looks at the growing prevalence of these ‘atopic allergies’.

One theory, known as the ‘hygiene hypothesis’, is that an excessively clean lifestyle has resulted in a generation of children developing immune systems unfamiliar with many germs.

As a result, when they are later exposed to new irritants their body is more likely to have an allergic reaction.

However, experts from the St John’s Institute of Dermatology in London and the University of Manchester are investigating whether exposure to everyday airborne chemicals ‘during critical windows of pregnancy/early-life development’ have also contributed to the rise.

‘High-level exposure to volatile organic compounds in the domestic environment either during maternal pregnancy or in early life, is associated with development of childhood atopic disease,’ says the report.

‘Similarly, sustained exposure to airborne chlorinated chemicals from swimming pools during childhood has been associated with the development of atopic allergy.’

Dr John McFadden, consultant dermatologist at St John’s Institute, said further investigation was needed.

‘We in the science world are still struggling to find the exact cause of this rise,’ he said. ‘We have not proved anything, we are not saying this is the cause, this is a hypothesis, but we do know we are using far more chemicals than we did 50 years ago, whether it is in personal care products or processed food.’

Dr McFadden said the  findings should not change  the advice currently given  to soon-to-be mothers, but  the link required further study.

‘It is conceivable, but not proven, that persistent low-dose exposure to chemicals can have some effect on the immune system,’ he said.

Expectant women are encouraged to continue exercising during pregnancy, and swimming is recommended by the NHS as water helps support their additional weight.

Elizabeth Salter Green, director of CHEM Trust, which campaigns against the overuse of manmade chemicals, said: ‘It is well known that the foetus developing in-utero is extremely vulnerable to chemical exposures.

‘Simply put, in-utero growth, including neurological wiring of the brain and the development of the immune system, rely on chemical messengers – hormones – being at the right level at the right moment of development.

‘Therefore the theory that our increasing exposure to worrying chemicals is [affecting] those natural chemical messengers, leading to alteration of immune response and development of atopic allergies, via cleaning products, personal care products and volatile chlorinated chemicals in swimming pools, is highly plausible.’

The research is the latest to blame chemicals found in everyday products such as washing-up liquid and shower gel for a surge in allergic reactions.


Eating McDonald's gave me TRIPLETS! Vegetarian who was told she would never have children gives birth to three babies after turning to a daily diet of meat

Pregnant women often have powerful cravings as their bodies tell them what their babies need.  This lady certainly did

A lifelong vegetarian told she would never have children has given birth to triplets after she started eating meat.  Laura Dixon, 34, turned to IVF after trying for ten years to  get pregnant naturally, but during her second cycle of treatment she  suffered a miscarriage.

When she became pregnant during her final round of IVF, she was warned she had a high risk of another miscarriage or a dangerously early labour.

So she started eating three portions of meat a day to increase her intake of iron, vitamin B12 and protein to improve her chances of a healthy pregnancy.

Mrs Dixon, who had never eaten meat, tucked into chicken, bacon and sausages every day and at 35 weeks gave birth to identical boys Max and Mason and daughter Mia.

Naturally slim, she piled on more than five stone gorging on chicken, bacon and burgers as well as a daily McDonald's breakfast and a sausage and egg McMuffin.

Her meat cravings became so strong she was tucking into three portions of meat a day with a Marks and Spencer chicken and stuffing salad sandwich her favourite snack.

The high protein diet carried her pregnancy through to 35 weeks when she gave birth to identical boys Max and Mason, and daughter Mia.

Ms Dixon, a PA from Essex, said: ‘When the sonographer found a third heartbeat I remember shouting “oh no” and crying - thinking I'd lose them all.  ‘After losing one baby to a miscarriage, I thought I would never be able to carry three.  ‘But then my hunger kicked in and despite never eating meat, I craved it. I ate about six meals a day.

‘It all seems like a blur now. I just remember the cravings were so strong that I would wake up in the night and make my husband go and get me a McDonald's.  ‘Several times my husband had to go up to Nandos for chicken and chips with me.  ‘Eating meat definitely helped me get all the protein you need when you're pregnant.  ‘I think it could be one of the reasons I managed to carry all three to full term.’

Ms Dixon was diagnosed with endometriosis and polycystic ovaries which doctors told her would stop her getting pregnant.

She underwent two laparoscopies in a bid to correct the problems but both were unsuccessful.

Her first cycle of IVF failed when she developed dangerously swollen ovaries and treatment had to be abandoned.

She became pregnant during the second cycle using frozen eggs but miscarried at eight weeks.

During the third IVF attempt she got ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome but decided to proceed at her own risk and two fertilised eggs developed.

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome can occur after taking medications that stimulate the ovaries.  It causes the ovaries to swell and produce too many follicles.  Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and bloating.

In severe cases it can be life-threatening as it can cause a blood clot in an artery or vein, kidney and liver dysfunction and breathing difficulties.

However, on her 33rd birthday Mrs Dixon and her husband heard three little heartbeats and on Mr Dixon’s 33rd birthday doctors told them they were expecting identical boys and a girl.

Max was born weighing 3lb 12oz, Mason was 5lb 4oz and Mia weighed 5lb 15oz - all three were born by C-section within a minute of each other.

The triplets, now 14 months, were allowed home from hospital just two weeks after their birth.

Medics believe Mrs Dixon’s protein boost will have contributed to her successful pregnancy.

Nutritionist Jo Travers, who runs The London Nutritionist, said: ‘There is a lot of evidence that women experience taste changes throughout the pregnancy, which in turn can alter their preferences as they progress through the trimesters.’

Since becoming a mother Ms Dixon has continued to go to McDonald's - but has reverted to her vegetarian diet and only has a veggie-wrap and fries.


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