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Preventing Harm Before, During, and After Pregnancy

While the causes of autism remain elusive, there are steps parents and parents-to-be can take to foster a healthy environment before and during pregnancy and in a child’s first years. During a presentation to the NAA NY Metro Chapter in collaboration with Beth Israel Medical Center’s Department of Developmental Pediatrics, Nancy O’Hara, M.D., of the Center for Autism and Integrative Health, in Wilton, CT, provided a broad overview of preventing harm and fostering a healthy environment before, during, and after pregnancy.

Dara Berger, Co-Chair of the NAA NY Metro Chapter’s Parent Mentoring Committee, introduced Dr. O’Hara and spoke of the help and guidance she received from Dr. O’Hara on her journey to have a second child after her first child was diagnosed with ASD.

Dr. O’Hara covered a wide range of topics, including oxidative stress, nutrition, vaccination, and interventions. She said that this generation of children is sicker than previous ones and that early intervention, particularly during the first years of life is critical in preventing further harm.

She explained that prevention should begin before a woman decides to get pregnant. Checking the medical history and the physical condition of the mother and first-degree relatives to look for potential risks is a first step in creating a good foundation and addressing potential problems. For instance, a woman with 6 or more amalgam dental fillings should consult with a dentist well-trained in removing amalgams and consider replacing her amalgams with less toxic fillings at least 3 months before becoming pregnant.