‘With our technology, every time a woman dies, it’s a medical error.’

 Recent reports have uncovered some alarming statistics regarding maternal mortality rates in the United States. While these numbers are on the decline in every other developed nation, pregnant women in the US are at greater risk of dying than they were in recent years. We know that undiagnosed celiac disease has a significant impact on maternal health and fetal development, and we must identify expectant mothers (and fathers) who have the potential to reap remarkable benefits from a simple diet change.

This issue is especially important to the Gluten Free RN as a mother herself – as well as an emergency ER nurse certified in PALS, NLS and pediatric emergency nursing. She shares the stories of women who had difficulty getting pregnant or maintaining pregnancies as a result of undiagnosed celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, and explains how a mass screening could work to prevent such intense suffering.

Listen to learn how adopting a gluten-free or Paleo diet can help women carry their babies to full-term and deliver healthy, thriving children!

What’s Discussed: 

Nadine’s mission to get women tested for celiac disease prior to pregnancy

  • Allows to absorb nutrients during pregnancy (including prenatal vitamins)
  • Can deliver healthy, thriving child

 The story of Alice Bast

  • Suffered miscarriage and still births
  • Multiple doctors couldn’t provide answers
  • Vet gave idea to test for celiac disease
  • Founded the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

 The necessity for a mass screening of men and women

  • Identify HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 gene carriers
  • Genes of both parents affect fetal health
  • Ratio of women to men with celiac disease is 1:1
  • Ratio of women to men diagnosed with celiac disease is 3:1

 The increased risks for pregnant women with undiagnosed celiac disease

  • Miscarriage
  • Still birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Failure to thrive in children
  • Pre-eclampsia/eclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure)

 The role men play in infertility

  • ED, low sperm count and low libido may be attributed to undiagnosed celiac disease
  • Symptoms include deficiencies in zinc, magnesium and B vitamins as well as anemia and osteoporosis

 The argument that a mass screening for celiac disease is too expensive

  • The cost associated with undiagnosed celiac disease is much higher
  • Consists of medical costs from complications
  • Also includes decreased productivity and morbidity/mortality
  • Study published in Science Digest found that 42,000 children may die annually due to undiagnosed celiac disease

 Conditions that indicate high risk for celiac disease

  • Chronic GI issues
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Vitamin/mineral deficiencies
  • Secondary hyperparathyroidism
  • Unexplained elevations in liver function
  • Down, Turner or Williams syndrome
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Lupus
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease

 Sam’s story

  • Delayed puberty (didn’t get period until 17-years-old)
  • Diagnosed with celiac disease at 19
  • Doctors warned she would probably never have children
  • Raising two healthy boys

 Why Nadine is concerned about the current generation of children

  • Higher rates of autoimmune diseases, cancer and learning disabilities

 The appropriate diet to promote maternal health and proper fetal development

  • Gluten- and dairy-free
  • Paleo is best
  • Humans have enzymes to break down meat proteins
  • Humans do not have enzymes to break down grain proteins
  • Avoid wheat, barley, rye and oats
  • Embrace meat, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds

 Deficiencies that can be corrected to promote healthy pregnancy

  • B6 and B12
  • A, D, E and K (the fat-soluble vitamins)
  • Magnesium RBC
  • Zinc

 The US maternal mortality rate compared to other developed nations

  • Rising in the US, declining in other developed nations
  • 28 deaths for every 100,000 births in 2013, up from 23 in 2005

Resources:

“Maternal Mortality Rate in US Rises, Defying Global Trend, Study Finds” in The New York Times

“Focus on Infants During Childbirth Leaves US Moms in Danger” on NPR

Beyond Celiac: Alice Bast

“Reproductive Changes Associated with Celiac Disease” from the World Journal of Gastroenterology

“Celiac Disease and Reproductive Health” from Celiac Disease: A Comprehensive Review and Update

Connect with Nadine: 

Instagram

Facebook

Contact via Email

‘Your Skin on Gluten’ on YouTube

Books by Nadine:

Dough Nation: A Nurse’s Memoir of Celiac Disease from Missed Diagnosis to Food and Health Activism

Posted by Nadine Grzeskowiak, RN

Nadine is a 'food is medicine’ activist and is very proud of her work to educate all people about the power of food in health and wellness. Nadine is an expert consultant, professional speaker with over 1500 lectures to date, author of DOUGH NATION: A Nurse's Memoir of Celiac Disease From Missed Diagnosis to Food and Health Activism, podcaster, mom and former emergency/trauma/critical care nurse. Nadine is co-authoring her next book on the science of celiac disease.

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