The Initiative

 

Leading researchers are publishing groundbreaking studies demonstrating the epigenetic effect lifestyle has on gene expression.  Not just throughout life, or during the prenatal period, but during the actual birth process itself!! [1]

These effects are transgenerational, meaning they are influenced by the lifestyle of one generation and expressed in the next.

 

Using an analogy to help explain epigenetics, consider the blueprints to a new home.  Once drawn, they don’t change.  Nor does your DNA.  However, the choices regarding who the contractor will be, or the quality of the lumber, the strength of the nails or screws, the pattern of maintenance care, and where it is located are all dependent upon the choices you make.  Each choice significantly impacts the quality, in resale value and durability, of the home.

 

Your body is equally impacted by your lifestyle choices.  Whether you eat foods that grow, engage in meaningful activities, are active, think good thoughts and get restful sleep all impact how appealing you are when attracting a mate and ultimately determine how fast you will age. 

 

Epigenetics is essentially the state of your DNA.[2]  Like clothing, you can get dressed up for a wedding or dress down for the beach.  Yet who you are hasn’t changed.  In life, you can either sit on the couch and grow soft or exercise and grow firm.  Either way, you’ll eventually look different in a mirror, called phenotypic plasticity.  This plasticity is a constant remodeling process that researchers are finding significantly impacts every cell in the body, most especially the reproductive cells.[3]

 

Life decisions impacts the reproductive cells determining viability and competitive edge in the selection process of sperm and eggs.  The winners form a new person who is immediately influenced by the lifestyle of the mom.  If you exercise, oxygen demand is altered.  If you smoke, cells become damaged. 

 

The cumulative effect shapes the embryos development.  By 6 months, a baby girl has a million eggs in her ovaries.  Yet the mom’s lifestyle during the third trimester and the birth process itself are so crucial in egg selection, that once born, half of all the eggs are dead, and those surviving have the opportunity to one day become her grandchildren.

 

Few thoughts, concepts and ideas are that impactful.

 

Our hope and goal is to connect with like-minded people who:

 

  • value the importance of an old-school birth;

  • who recognize that we are in the midst of a childbirth crisis;

  • who passionately want to help seed the mission of our virtual event; and

  • who are willing to invest their time helping to create a solution capable of impacting future generations.

 

The mission of the initiative is to clearly define the critical ingredients necessary for a normal, natural childbirth, relate how those factors impact the genetic expression of the infant, determine the epigenetic impact of the childbirth process AND correlate the resulting impacts these interventions have on the genetic expression of both the infant’s reproductive cells and subsequent generations as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Dahlen, H.G., Kennedy, H.P., Anderson, C.M., Bell, A.F., Clark, A., Foureur, M., Ohm, Je.E., Shearman, A.M., Taylor, J.Y., Wright, M.L., Downe, S. (2013). The EPIIC hypothesis: Intrapartum effects on the neonatal epigenome and consequent health outcomes, Medical Hypotheses, 80, 656-662.

 

[2] Berger S.L., Kouzarides, T., Shiekhattar, R., Shilatifard, A. (2009). An operational definition of epigenetics. Genes Dev, 23(7), 781–783.

 

[3] Odom, L.N. & Taylor, H.S. (2010). Environmental induction of the fetal epigenome, Expert Rev Obstet Gynecol, 5,  657-664. 

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