“The best way to be a good mother is to be a good you.”  I love, love, love this quote from my wise friend, Beautiful Elizabeth. This goes for all stages of motherhood, including before conception.  A woman’s health and her environment before, during, and after pregnancy have a lifelong impact on her family, community, and world.  There’s plenty that both a man and woman can do to get ready to have the healthiest baby possible.  For the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging on specific START SOMEWHERES for the critical months before pregnancy.  Let’s talk briefly today about the exciting world of epigenetics.

Epigenetics is the study of the intricate interaction between environment and genes.  It’s a young field of endeavor, beginning in about the late 1990’s.  Parents hope for the best but often worry about the worst.  We want our children to have all of our best traits and none of our unfavorable ones.  The great news about epigenetics is that a positive, healthy environment can actually activate or “turn on” good genes and “turn off” bad ones.  You can START SOMEWHERE today to tip the scales away from genetic weaknesses with simple, positive lifestyle strategies.  

Many factors affect gene expression, but the three most common ones are:

  1. The mother’s diet and nutrition
  2. The mother’s environment
  3. The mother’s emotions

I’ll be exploring primarily the first two in the upcoming weeks.  Having a healthy father also has a huge impact on the physical health of the child.  This is important information that I’ll also research and bring to you.

Our specific genetic code is like the instruction manual that tells the cells how to build proteins.  Proteins are the building blocks of muscles, hormones, digestive enzymes, and nearly every cell and organ in the body. Only about 5 percent of the genes actually give instructions and are known as “coding genes.”  The remaining 95 percent act as on/off switches and are considered “non-coding genes.”  They change the interpretation or expression of the 5 percent. This is great news!  This is where lifestyle can have an impact. Robert Sapolsky, who is a Stanford University Professor of Biological Sciences, compares the human genome to a hundred-page book.  He says that the first 95 pages are instructions on how to read the last 5 pages.

We are so wonderfully made!  It reminds me of Psalm 139:14

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”  It is great to know that we are not bound by our genetics; we have choices regardless of what age we are.  Lifestyle and habits make a huge difference.

Epigenetics is applicable to any person, at any age.  If pregnancy is in your future, you can maximize your chances of having a “welcoming womb environment” and the healthiest baby possible.  I highly recommend the website TheBetterBabyBook.com for excellent information.  Stay tuned here at StartSomewhereWellness.com as we dive into simple strategies that can positively impact your future.  Thanks for joining me today as we explored the exciting world of epigenetics.

The Exciting World of Epigenetics

The Exciting World of Epigenetics