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Drs. Magryta and Grey: Maternal and child health, part 1

First in a series on maternal and child health

By Dr. Chris Magryta and Dr. Erin Grey

Maternal health is of critical importance to the outcome of the mother child dyad [something that consists of two elements or parts]. There has been an explosion of information over the past few decades teaching us that the modern American diet and lifestyle choices are taking us in the wrong direction for a balanced dyad outcome. As an obstetrician and pediatrician see the world from two similar yet dissimilar ways, we have combined our thoughts to present a series of articles over the next year with the intention of causing a shift in the maternal mind toward a health-focused outcome for her pup.

We believe that it all boils down to the simple premise that what allows us to live long and healthful is the key to a healthy maternal child dyad outcome. “The Blue Zones” by Dan Buettner is a great place to start. Mr. Buettner looked around the world and tried to find a common denominator for longevity. What he found was a grouping of epicenters for humans living beyond 100 years of age. The root cause of this finding was not rocket science but simple living principles.

• These long-lived humans consumed a predominantly plant-based diet. Meat was consumed sparingly and refined foods almost never. They ate lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and seeds.

• They moved daily. They walked, raked, cleaned and performed manual labor as part of the daily ritual. The movement is a key to muscle growth, balance, hormone function and good digestion.

• They had a village belief system. Help was given and received based on need and a communal code. Love abounded.

• They lived with a purpose. This meant that they believed that their lives had a profound meaning of “why I wake up in the morning.” It was not about “I” so much as “us.”

• They destressed daily by prayer, meditation or contemplation in positive ways. This is very powerful medicine as it lengthens telomeres and protects DNA from damage.

• They stopped eating at about 80 percent of fullness. This prevents obesity and inflammation.

• They consumed stress-reducing small amounts of alcohol. (This will not be in the pregnancy plan, unfortunately.)

• They belonged to a faith-based community that supported them daily.

This is the historical script to long life. We believe it is the same for health of the maternal child dyad. Take out a piece of paper and check off how many of these principles fit your life as a mother. Are you balanced and grateful for the bundle of joy in your belly? Are you eating well and moving? If not, do not worry. Change can be a powerful thing to an imperfect system. It is never to late to shift.

Over the next year, we are going to break down different aspects of the maternal health paradigm to aid in the decision making process for you and your child to be. The keys are going to be based on the principles of preparing your body for optimal function before you conceive or at any time along the continuum of pregnancy that you find yourself on.

As a pediatrician, I am a huge fan of mothers having an accomplished and super educated Obstetrician. This is the reason for teaming up with Dr. Grey to write this series.

Dr. Chris Magryta is a physician at Salisbury Pediatric Associates. Contact him at newsletter@salisburypediatrics.com

Dr. Erin Grey is a physician at Novant Health Carolina Women’s Health Associates.


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