Join Dr. Nicole and Functional Medicine Nutritionist Brooke for an unbiased source of information on choosing the vaccination schedule that’s right for your child. Get equipped with some of the tips on how to determine the strength of your baby’s immune system based upon your pregnancy, baby’s birth, and health during the first few months of life. This podcast is not intended to be pro- or anti- vaccine, but is intended to help arm you with all of the information needed to choose a schedule that is right for you.
Hey, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Integrative Wellness Radio. I am Dr. Nicole, and I am here with Brooke Scheller, the Functional Medicine Nutritionist here at Integrative Wellness Group. We are going to talk about a very controversial topic today, vaccination. We're really trying to bring just a very unbiased, not necessarily approach, but unbiased information about vaccination, and really when the timing is right for vaccines. In addition, just some vital information that you should be considering when you are deciding on your vaccine schedule.
I know that there is a group of people out there that are anti-vaccinators, and then there's groups of people that are very passionate about vaccination. I really understand both sides of it, and with that being said there's certain things to consider that could potentially open you up to having reactions to vaccines, and this really comes down to some things that could happen during pregnancy, into the type of birth, as well as things that can occur within the first few months of life. These are something things we're going to touch on today just to really give you some great information about some of the things to consider when you are deciding to vaccinate versus not. As well was deciding even on the schedule.
I'm really glad that you brought up the point of coming it at it from an unbiased angle because I think, like you said, there's so many different things out there. When you're looking at it from an alternative approach it's a little bit terrifying. You don't know. You want to do the right thing for you kid, and you're not really sure what that is. You might have a holistic style doctor saying, "Don't vaccinate." Then your pediatrician saying, "You must vaccinate." Then there's all these movies, and controversial articles, and things coming out. I think it's really great to just share some of this information with our listeners, and give you a little bit more in your arsenal to make the best decision for your children.
I'm really glad that you brought that up because I think that the group that are the anti-vaccinators, it's not as black and white as saying, "Do it versus don't it." The reason why I say that is most of the time if a child becomes vaccine injured it is because it's the straw that broke the camel's back. There were other things that were going on that caused them to be immune compromised in the first place, and then whatever it was, if it was the actually vaccine, if it was the timing of the vaccine, it was just something that took the immune system over the edge, and then cause some type of reaction. There's a lot of things to consider. It's not as black as white as saying, "It was only the vaccine that created X, Y, or Z." There are other things that played into it.
I think another big point is that when we were younger it was much less common, I think, to see vaccine injuries, or maybe it wasn't as much of a hot topic back then. I know when we grew up we were vaccinated. Our parents were all vaccinated. I think another big thing that we did want to touch on is the vaccine schedule because nowadays they are doing quite a bit more vaccines than they were in the past. There are certain vaccines that have multiple rounds, so a lot of parents look at as, "We were all vaccinated, and we don't have any problems, so why wouldn't I vaccinate my child?" There is quite a difference between the vaccines, their makeup, but also the schedule now versus, let's say, 10, 15, and 20 years ago.
Definitely. Especially 20 years ago, things have change a lot. The common statistic is there's about 64 vaccines by the age of 15. 55 of them are before the age of 5. Some of you listening might say, "I have my vaccine schedule in front of me. That's not accurate," but one of the things to really understand is when you are looking at your vaccine schedule recommended by your pediatrician, don't get me wrong, everybody has a little bit different of a schedule, but more importantly is as an example, one of the vaccines is called Prevnar 13. That is actually 13 doses of a vaccination, or 13 vaccines in one sitting. I think that is something that is an eye opener for people because you might look and say, "Oh, this schedule is pretty normal. It's very similar to maybe what I had when I was kid," but they are compounding many vaccines into one sitting or one visit. It's just being armed with that information to see if you do want to spread any of that out.
I think that's another point too because now they're combining a lot of vaccines that they hadn't done previously, and it's a question of, if some of those are safe to be combined together.
Of course. Of course. The biggest thing to know is there's aluminum and there's mercury in vaccines. Again, do we really know if those are things that are creating a lot of problems, or causing things like autism? I don't know if we really know that for sure. Again, there's a lot of other factors to consider, but aluminum and mercury are not great for us. They're definitely things that are toxic to our nervous system, or brain, and our spinal cord. It is something to consider when you are doing them at such a young age because there are certain vaccines that have higher levels of aluminum than others, especially the HPV vaccine, which is Gardasil, which is the three rounds for cervical cancer. Again, it's just really having that knowledge of knowing that it's not just the vaccine anymore. There is additives in there that are used preservatives.
Let's jump in to talking. I know we mentioned pregnancy, birth, and then after birth some of the signs maybe to look for to maybe changing your schedule. Let's start with pregnancy. What are some things in the mom's pregnancy that we can take a look at to give us more information on?
Well, with pregnancy I would say the biggest things are if mom is really battling some severe morning sickness. Typically that is an indicator for folic acid, B12, as well as choline deficiencies. If mom is deficient then typically baby is deficient as well, so that is definitely something that can affect the immune system once the baby is born.
Also, if mom starts to develop really bad gastrointestinal disturbances. If mom is really having a troublesome time with her digestions, she's having a lot of stomachaches, she's maybe constipated, diarrhea, any of the above, there's something that's going on in the gastrointestinal system. It not always that it was some type of bug contracted during pregnancy. Sometimes it is that. Sometimes it's just the hormone changes activates some of the underlying issues that were already there in mom's gut. Anything in mom's gut, no matter if it's good or if it's bad, if it's probiotics, if it's bad bacteria, if it's parasites, unfortunately baby will get that as well.
Just as disclaimer, we did do a full podcast on the baby's microbiome, and how your health during pregnancy can effect that as well. For more information on that please take a listen to that podcast.
I would say the other thing is viruses. If mom does have a lot of infections, which unfortunately looking at viruses is not the most common run of the mill during blood work, but everything from different strains of herpes simplex. If it's the cold sores, or if it's the actual genital herpes, something else called HHV6, Epstein Bar Virus, walking pneumonia, all of these different things can definitely be within in mom, and then potentially be passed to baby as well. Again, no matter if it's different infections in the gut, or if it's different types of infections in the blood, the baby is already starting life with a fragile immune system. Now also this immune system that is not fully developed has to fight these different infections. This is pretty much saying this baby is potentially immune compromised, and maybe won't handle the normal vaccine schedule as well.
Just as a disclaimer, viruses don't mean that you'll even be experiencing a whole lot of symptoms. This is something that we see a whole lot. When testing people they might have some fatigue. They might have a little bit of discomfort or a little bit of muscle aches, but actually doing the testing we find that they have Epstein Bar, and herpes simplex virus, and all these different things. It doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be physically ill to have them, so keep that in mind as well.
Because they don't cause those symptoms it doesn't mean that they're not problematic. It really just means that your immune system is very, very overworked, and it will potentially open you up autoimmune conditions just because your immune system is so taxed out for such long periods of time.
Let's talk about the actual birthing process, and how that's going to effect the baby's health.
With the birthing process I know typically a lot of babies are being born within hospitals, which is totally fine, but it really depends on if we end up going C-section route, natural birth route. Going through the vaginal canal really allows the baby to get exposed to some really good quality bacteria from the mother, which then starts to build the immune system in a positive way. Unfortunately, with C-section they're not going to get exposed to the same bacteria, which then can not necessarily build their immune system the way that it normally would build. Their immune system is just going to be a little bit more fragile than a natural birth.
I would say the only downfall of hospitals is there's a lot of foreign bacteria, and just general infections within hospitals. There's a lot of different types of antibiotic resistant bacterias as well, so unfortunately being born in hospitals, you can't always be in control of those things, and potentially your baby could get exposed to different types of microbes that are not that friendly to an infant or a new immune system. It's definitely something to consider, especially if mom develops something like strep-B during her pregnancy and had to go on antibiotics, or if mom had to go on antibiotics at any point.
Through the birthing process or even through the pregnancy if mom was on antibiotics that was definitely depleting a lot of the good flora, so that means that a lot of the good, protective flora that we call probiotics was not also available to the baby, so, again, compromising of the immune system. The last thing I would say with the birthing process is really the skin to skin is so important because we mentioned the different types of beneficial bacteria in the mom's vaginal tract, but in addition mom does have really beneficial bacteria on her skin that we do want the baby to be exposed to as well to start, again, further building that immune system.
Great. Once the baby is born obviously mom can assess at that point, and look at their pregnancy, their birthing process, but then after the baby's born the first few months of life are really crucial as well. What are some of things that mom can look for? Whether that's the baby's habits or certain things in the environment that could be putting them at risk for a deflated immune system?
I think that a lot of things that we're going to mention right now are things that are deemed normal. They're deemed no big deal, but they're all signs. They're signs to say that there's something going on, and it's something that should be explored. This is everything from having a colicky baby, a baby that's crying a lot, a baby that is dealing with some type of gastrointestinal distress. If it's loose bowel movements, if it's discolored bowel movements, if it's constipation. Also, different manifestations of the skin. We might start to see eczema, different types of rashes, or very frequent diaper rashes. We might see hives. We might even see trouble breastfeeding. Maybe the baby is not tolerating the breast milk very well, and that is something that is really a huge sign saying that there's something going in this baby's gastrointestinal system, and this really can come back to different types of pathogens, bad bacteria, bad parasites, whatever it is that could already be in the baby's gut. Trouble breastfeeding, mainly for the baby to not be able to digest the breast milk is really a big warning sign to say there's something else going on.
Then allergies, of course. If you are breastfeeding that's one thing, but if you choose to do formula and your baby is having issues with dairy, or they're having issues with soy, or whatever it is that is an immune system reaction, so that means, again, the immune system is being triggered it is being taxed out. These are things that, really, you need to not brush off. You need to consider them as warning signs to say there is some type of imbalance in the baby's immune system. It's definitely really important to address them sooner than later.
I think it's really glad that you mentioned that a lot of these are deemed really normal. We see women all the time, babies having hives. They see the dermatologist, they get a cream, and no big deal, but it's definitely an indicator that could be something potentially going on inside alluding to some of the exchanges in the immune system.
One of the things that I didn't mention, which I feel like is very common is reflux. The reflux is something that is almost deemed to be pretty normal in young babies, but the reflux, again, is showing some level of gastrointestinal distress. It's not normal that the baby would be spitting up, especially if its projectile, or discolored, or anything like that. Again, take it as a warning sign and explore what it potentially can be.
Right, and this isn't meant to be instilling fear in you at all, but just to take a little bit deeper of a look, and not just deem it as something that's normal and something that happens to a lot of children. Potentially seeking out some type of healthcare just to take a deeper dive.
Of course. The biggest thing is with a lot of the things that we're talking about, gastrointestinal issues, colic, whatever it is, a lot of the routes or a lot of the recommendations that are made are Band-Aids. It's like, "Okay. Well, let's put the baby on some type PPI or proton pump inhibitor if they're dealing with reflux," or if there's eczema or hives, "Let's put a cream on it." We're not really looking to say, "What is the cause? Is there something else going on? Let's get to the root, nip it in the bud, and just be able to move on." We put this Band-Aids on these things, and the later on we start to see other issues with our kids. Maybe their immune system isn't the best. Maybe they're getting chronic ear infections. Maybe they're getting strep throat all the time. Maybe they have behavioral issues. It's way too common that these things are happening nowadays. I'm not saying the only culprit is going to be these different types of infections. They are part of the puzzle, so there's other things also that could be going on.
What are some of those other things that maybe could be effecting the baby in the first few months of life maybe environmentally?
A lot of the things we mentioned are really the symptoms that you'll see, but environmentally I would say one of the biggest things to consider if your child is having some abnormal symptoms is, do you live in a moldy home, or is your child being exposed to mold? Mold, unfortunately, is one of the most detrimental things to the immune system. Maybe your birth was amazing, your pregnancy was fantastic, but then still your child is having some issues, and that definitely can be due to mold exposure at a very, very early age.
An interesting statistic as well ... I am the first born, so thanks mom for what I'm about to say. One of the things that has been found in some of the research is that the first born gets 80% of mom's mercury load. I found that to be a very interesting statistic, again, because I am first born. I ended up having pretty bad mercury issues when I did my testing later on in life. I do contribute a lot of it to fish, and eating tons of sushi, and things like that, but I found that to be rather interesting. If you are the first born, or your first born is having issues just know that if there mercury undiagnosed in your body it could've potentially effected the baby, and, again, compromised their immune system.
This has definitely been a lot of information. Looking at a lot of different areas of baby's health. When mom is getting started on this process where would say that she should really start with making these decisions?
Well, I guess, first and foremost is working with your pediatrician, and see what the recommended schedule is for vaccination. Getting the whole picture. Again, as that example that we used before, something like the Prevnar 13 technically is 13 viruses in 1, so you are going to get a lot more exposure than maybe you realize because it listed as a single vaccine on the schedule. Diving a little bit deeper into the recommendations, and then from there just taking into consideration, how was your pregnancy? How was the birth? How is your baby now acting as an infant? Is the baby really healthy? Is the baby having any issues? Is the baby having colic, or having the gastrointestinal discomfort, or having any skin issues, or having trouble breastfeeding? These are all things to take into consideration.
After you take inventory on the pregnancy, the birth, and then also just how your baby is functioning, you'll be able to make a better decision on if vaccinating is right for you, and/or if you want to work with your pediatrician on a different schedule. I think this is really just intended to give you the knowledge that I think a lot of people don't talk about because, again, there is ... Don't get me wrong, if you have a child who is vaccine injured you're obviously very passionate about not wanting anyone to go through that process because it's difficult. To really see your child decline in front of you, I'm sure, is not an easy thing. The thing is, is you have to consider what were some of the underlying things that were happening at that time that opened your child up to having that type of reaction.
I think that a lot of people can relate because we do hear of some children that have a negative reaction, and then we hear of kids that are totally fine. As just the lay person we might be like, "I don't know what's right," but if you do know that your pregnancy was really tough, you had a really tough birth as well, and one the things we didn't mention is fertility treatment. If you did end up going through fertility treatment, and we do have a podcast on this that goes a little bit deeper, but if you did go through fertility treatments it's maybe because your body wasn't well-equipped for a healthy pregnancy. That could, again, potentially have some impact on your baby because maybe your baby doesn't have as many nutrients that was not passed from you, or maybe your baby was passed some of the different microbes in your gut, and those things, again, will compromise the immune system. Taking all of this information into consideration so that you feel empowered, and you also feel knowledgeable enough to go in and speak with your pediatrician about what is right for you and your family.
As always, we like to offer a free 15 minute consultation with all of our podcasts because a lot of women might have more specific questions on their baby's health, about specific things that they've experienced. We definitely run a lot of really great testing and do a lot of different things to help mom, and children, and babies get the best information to stay well-equipped, and work with their physician on that vaccine schedule. If that's something that you'd like to set up you can visit IntegrativeWellnessGroup.com, and we'd be happy to chat with you for a few minutes about it. As always, thank you for listening. We would love it if you would subscribe to us on iTunes, and please feel free to write a rating and review. Talk to you next time.