Question: My sister is pregnant and she and I have been reading your book How to Raise an Exceptional Child. We have two questions. One is, can a child be trained to enjoy healthy foods even though children usually reject them in favor of empty carbs and other unhealthy foods?
Almine’s Answer: Absolutely…Make sure those are the only options available at home so that the child cultivates healthy food habits before the temptations to do otherwise presents itself at school.
Question: When should my sister stop working during her pregnancy?
Almine’s Answer: The goal is to eliminate as much stress as possible during pregnancy. Here’s why: The telomere compound, which sits at the end of the chromosome and protects the genes, gradually shortens with stress. Studies show a correlation between psychological stress and the damage to telomeres. In addition, diseases that result from the shortening of telomeres are: diabetes, Alzheimer’s, obesity and arthritis.
The idea that “DNA tends to unravel under states of extreme stress” is no longer a mere theory. A study found that mothers with prenatal stress have offspring who have shorter telomeres as adults. Stress during pregnancy produces offspring with shorter than average telomeres. The ramifications of this are quite significant and may explain why some individuals are disadvantaged when it comes to fighting off disease. Whether an individual suffers from psychological stress or a long-term depression, it inevitably results in damage to the telomeres. Furthermore, a stress-free prenatal period produces babies that tend to have a healthier and less disrupted sleep cycle. So, I heartily recommend taking a leave of absence from your job as soon as possible.