Advice Column, Baby, Pregnancy, Pregnancy & Baby, Recently

Demystifying pregnancy optimises health outcomes for mum and baby

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  • Category Advice Column, Baby, Pregnancy, Pregnancy & Baby, Recently

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be overwhelming given the vast amount of information available to expectant mothers. Fortunately, with advances in personalised medicine and a holistic approach involving the use of the individual’s genetic and epigenetic information (how your behaviours and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work) to tailor therapy or preventative care, expectant mothers can make smarter choices and discover more effective solutions to optimise their health and the health of their baby during pregnancy.

Personalised medicine allows for targeted therapies and preventative treatments that take advantage of a variety of observations relating to a pregnancy. It’s about providing precise care and proactive intervention for each individual pregnancy. By understanding the health disposition of a pregnant woman using her unique genotype, the right diet, lifestyle, supplementation and medication can be prescribed, increasing the chances of a healthy pregnancy and optimal birth outcome. 

The GrowBaby genetic test for mums-to-be from South African genetic testing company, DNAlysis Biotechnology, is designed to help them better understand the functioning of key biological pathways that influence maternal and foetal health, and how these relate to the major birth phenotypes.

“The report provides valuable insights into how to optimise health outcomes for mum and baby using gene-based personalised diet, supplement, and lifestyle interventions. It provides mums-to-be with more information than ever before about their babies before they are born — and even before they become pregnant. This is through the knowledge that mum’s health has a significant effect on the health of the fetal environment and thus eventually the child as well.” says Helen Gautschi, research and education manager at DNAlysis.

“With a precision medicine approach to pregnancy management, we can empower today’s expectant parents on their pregnancy journey and give physicians the tools to provide optimum care,” says Gautschi. 

By improving the health of mum and baby through these interventions, it becomes possible to increase chances of optimal birth weight of the baby, avoid early term delivery, and ensure that delivery is as stress free as possible.

“Having a heathy pregnancy with optimal birth outcomes is a miracle every time because there are so many factors involved,” says Claire Julsing Strydom, dietitian and co-founder of Nutritional Solutions. 

“The GrowBaby test gives you insight as to where you can manage or negate risks, even before pregnancy. If a woman struggles with vitamin D metabolism, for example, we know there is a higher chance of miscarriage. The test gives us an in-depth blueprint of how the mother will potentially carry the pregnancy and how we can prevent adverse birth events. In terms of chronic disease, we know that those first thousand days from conception to age two are critical, that’s why it is beneficial for women who are planning to have a baby to do the test, so they can see what their risk profile looks like, and manage it accordingly,” says Julsing Strydom.

For the mother, it becomes possible to ensure optimal weight gain, and stabilise blood glucose levels to decrease gestational diabetes risk, prevent or decrease the risk for preeclampsia and gestational or pregnancy-induced hypertension, decrease the risk for miscarriage or pregnancy loss, balance biological pathways to decrease risk for developmental conditions, and carry to full term. Together, all these factors play a vital role in ensuring lifelong health for the child.

“The GrowBaby test can be done before pregnancy, to ensure that the mother’s health is optimised before she falls pregnant, or it can be taken during pregnancy to help provide the best outcomes,” says Gautschi. “It’s also advisable for women who have experienced a stressful pregnancy in the past, including a miscarriage, and are seeking to enhance their chances of having a healthy pregnancy with optimal birth outcomes.”

Visit https://dnalysis.co.za to find an accredited practitioner or buy a DNA test online. A practitioner from the DNAlysis accredited network will guide you through the process.

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