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Eczema and Asthma: What if we educated and supported the 'mothers to be'?

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

We have an increase in childhood eczema and asthma.

These have always been on the increase over the last few decades but in the last decade these conditions have exponentially increased.

Although there are some life saving medicines, such as asthma steroid inhalers, oxygen, magnesium sulphate inhalation, the steroid creams to alleviate that 'maddening itch' what about the root cause? What about getting to the 'bottom' of the condition?

Did you know mother's mental-emotional and physical well being during pregnancy can be linked to these conditions?

The health of the mother during pregnancy impacts the baby's well being, so much so that the baby can develop eczema and/or asthma even acid reflux and 'fail to thrive'.

It is important for the 'mother-to-be' to look after herself first and foremost. This is not about 'fluffy' self care techniques, spa days, being selfish, this goes beyond that. The mother's nervous system feeds the baby's nervous system. If mum is in 'fight flight' the baby developing in the womb picks this up and is in 'fight flight'. If the baby is bathed in an environment that is 'flooded' in adrenaline or cortisol then he/she has a greater chance of developing any of the 'itis' conditions. 'Itis' referring to inflammatory conditions.

  • asthma is inflammatory (inflammation of the air ways)

  • eczema is inflammatory (inflammation of the skin)

  • acid reflux is inflammatory (inflammation of the gut)

Is it any wonder that the adrenals (the stress glands) produce the steroid hormone, cortisol when one is stressed in larger amounts and this very 'cortisol in synthetic form' is used to 'treat' eczema (steroid creams) and asthma (corticosteroid inhalers). Did you know that when a mother is stressed, the developing baby's adrenal glands can start supporting the mother in the final trimester? Could this result in conditions in the newborn that end up requiring adrenal support as in the form of steroid creams (eczema), steroid inhalers (asthma)?

The health of the 'mother-to-be' is of utmost importance.

What is a mother to do?

It is easier said than done, but to take time out, to rest, to slow down is important. This cannot be provided in a pill, but the baby's wellbeing depends on the mother's wellbeing. It is important for mum-to-be to listen to her own body, get enough sleep, connect with people that make her feel happy, make her feel cherished and feel loved. Mother's wellbeing is vital.

Once the baby is born, so much goes on, so fast within the first few hours. Those first few hours are vital. The following are health boosting....

  • looking after mum, be it by the partner, or her extended family or best friend

  • skin to skin contact with the new born

  • breast feeding

  • holding/cuddling the baby

  • talking/coo-ing with the baby

These all make the baby feel safe. He/she has just entered their fourth trimester. This fourth trimester is the 'artificial' womb, that means warmth, cuddles, sound of mother's heart beat, sound of mothers voice, seeing mothers face, being close to mum.

All the above help the baby learn to regulate, his/her nervous system and therefore the 'vagal tone'. The vagal tone is the 'tone' of the vagus nerve. A 'wandering' nerve that plays a critical role in feeling safe. The baby is absolutely dependent on mum during his earlier time earth side. When the baby cries, he/she needs to know they are safe, they are cared for, they are loved, this helps them learn to regulate their vagal tone, so they grow up resilient. Resilient, meaning the ability to bounce back from 'stressors'.

Did you know that FACE TO FACE social connection strengthens the 'tend and befriend' parasympathetic system AND engages the vagus nerve which then improves the vagal tone?The parasympathetic nervous system is the 'rest and digest' part of the nervous system, the other branch if the sympathetic nervous system which is the 'fight-flight' section.

So, when the baby looks at mum's face, mother's facial cues are either soothing the baby or having the opposite effect. Is mum 'present' or is she pre-occupied? Is he/she safe?

A strong vagal tone is a healthy vagal tone

So by engaging this vagal tone, by learning how to eventually self-regulate, the likelihood of dis-ease is reduced. A strong vagal tone is ANTI-INFLAMMATORY. A poor vagal tone in pro-inflammatory.

Rest, be well, breathe, sleep, nourish the body with whole foods.

To WHOLEness!

From the team at The New School Of Nutritional Medicine

Learn about the Founder & Principal of the New School of Nutritional Medicine, Dr Khush Mark PhD HERE.

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