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Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo applies his bestselling blood type diet plan to expectant parents and infants. This one-of-a-kind guide offers methods of maximizing health from fertility through every stage of pregnancy and the baby's first year:
About the Author
Catherine Whitney is the coauthor of numerous bestselling books on health and wellness.
Read an Excerpt
Blood Type and Fertility:
A Vital Connection
Fearly in my practice as a naturopath, I discovered, almost by coincidence, that when my female patients followed the correct diet for their blood type, fertility increased dramatically. Even women with long-standing fertility problems, including repeated miscarriages, were able to conceive and carry their babies to term.
It wasn't immediately apparent why this was so. Just a couple of decades ago, our overall understanding of genetics was still fairly limited. Like so many discoveries, observation predated the explanation. Today, we have the knowledge to explain what once appeared to be simply a happy phenomenon. I am now able to predict with some degree of accuracy which of my patients will have problems conceiving, and am able to offer blood type-specific guidelines that effectively overcome those problems. It has been one of the more gratifying aspects of my work. A Question of Compatibility
Rachel and Eric were typical of many couples who come to my clinic. I first met with them in July 1993, after they had tried for almost ten years to have a child. During that time, Rachel had become pregnant twelve times. But each hopeful beginning had ended in a devastating miscarriage within the first two months. For the last couple of years, Rachel and Eric had been treated by a physician who specialized in reproductive health, and Rachel had become pregnant twice more. But again, both pregnancies had ended in miscarriage. At thirty-seven, Rachel was running out of time-and hope.
Rachel initially heard about me from a woman she'd met in her fertility specialist's waiting room. Even though she decided to go ahead and see me, she was clearly skeptical of the concept that making changes in her diet according to her blood type could enhance her fertility. "I don't even know my blood type," she admitted. "But I guess I have nothing to lose."
I began by blood typing Rachel and Eric and found that Rachel was Type O and Eric was Type A. The result wasn't surprising. Research has shown that many of the problems associated with fertility result from some form of blood type incompatibility, either between the mother and her fetus, or between the mother and the father.
Why would this occur? Each blood type is a chemical marker called an antigen. These blood type antigens can act like barriers against foreign intruders, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. When our immune system encounters a harmful foreign intruder, it creates antibodies against it. These antibodies serve as an early warning system. The next time the foreign intruder is encountered, it will be attacked and destroyed. The antibodies we make against other blood types are actually induced early in life by bacteria and sometimes by the first foods we eat.
Blood Type O carries anti-A and anti-B antibodies and rejects anything with an A-like or B-like antigen. Type A carries anti-B antibodies, and Type B carries anti-A antibodies. Only Type AB carries no anti-blood type antibodies, which is why Type AB individuals can receive blood transfusions from anybody.
Several studies conducted over the past forty years have concluded that infertility and habitual miscarriage may be the result of antibodies in the woman's vaginal secretions reacting with blood type antigens in the man's sperm. In one of these studies, it was determined that the majority of miscarriages were of Type A or Type B fetuses, caused as the result of incompatibility with Type O mothers who produced anti-A and anti-B antibodies. What seems to be missing in many physicians' understanding of miscarriage is that these anti-blood type antibodies are often the result of provocations produced by eating the wrong foods for one's blood type. These foods act in many ways as a "bad blood transfusion," sensitizing the person against future exposure to foreign blood type antigens-including that of a spouse.
Since Rachel was Type O and Eric was Type A, there was a heightened chance that Eric's sperm could be rejected, although that didn't seem to be the case here, as Rachel was able to repeatedly conceive. More likely, the incompatibility was between Rachel and her fetus, which would occur if the fetus were Type A.
A Type O mother and a Type A father can produce either Type O or Type A offspring-although A is dominant over O. If Rachel's fetus was Type A, blood type incompatibility could not be ruled out as the cause of miscarriage.
The good news is that mixed-blood type parents can have healthy babies, even if they produce antibodies against each other's blood type antigens. How? By creating the properly balanced immune system and minimizing provocations that might compromise it.
Rachel began following the Type O diet, being especially careful to avoid foods that triggered an antigen-antibody reaction. Eric began following the Type A diet, which contributed not only to his overall health, but to the health of his semen. I suggested to Rachel that she follow the protocol for at least six months before trying to conceive.
Ten months after her first visit, Rachel became pregnant again. In her sixth month, she came to see me for a checkup. She looked wonderful. Her mood matched her looks.
"Everything seems to be going well, Doctor," Rachel beamed at me. "I feel good, Eric is ecstatic, and we're both taking it step by step. We've never gotten this far before, so we're just trying to relax and enjoy every second." It was clear that Rachel was thrilled, but she was also very nervous. Now, in addition to her previous miscarriages, she was worried about her age and the possibility of her fetus having Down's syndrome or some other developmental disorder. Her obstetrician recommended amniocentesis, which is common for women over age thirty-five. I advised against it, because the procedure carries a risk of miscarriage, there was not a family history of Down's syndrome, and their religious beliefs had convinced them that any child is a gift from God, so abortion was out of the question. After talking with Eric, Rachel decided to forgo the amniocentesis. In January 1995, Rachel and Eric gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby girl they named Rebecca.
Even though Rebecca was blood Type A, Rachel had been able to create a welcome environment in her womb. Rachel and Eric assured me that they would continue to make the blood type diet a part of their lives-and a part of their daughter's life when she began eating solid food.
Not for Women Only
Naftali is a Blood Type O patient I "inherited" from my dad, who had been his physician since he was a boy in the years following World War II. Naftali had contracted a very high fever either from a viral or bacterial infection when he was young, which had apparently damaged the cells in the testicles responsible for manufacturing sperm. Naftali and his parents are Hasidic Jews originally from Eastern Europe, and the family had very limited medical care immediately after the Holocaust.
Fertility is a big issue in Naftali's community, and as the son of a renowned rabbi, he was expected to produce an heir. Consequently, this caused a lot of stress for him and his wife.
Pious Jews do not easily consent to semen analysis, since semen is viewed as a precious seed. However, when it comes to health, Judaism is a remarkably flexible religion, and after much consultation Naftali was allowed to have his semen analyzed.
Result: Naftali's semen had no sperm in it.
When I began working with him I could only promise to do my best. Naftali's wife had no fertility problems, but would be following the diet for her blood type, which was AB. I began Naftali on the basic Type O diet, plus a few herbal supplements, and he followed it assiduously. Six months later we again tested his semen.
Result: Semen showed one sperm cell, nonmotile (not able to move).
Well, anyone else might have been discouraged, but this man was relentless. If any individual could do the program perfectly, it was Naftali. "One cell!" he exclaimed. "It's working!"
Four months later Naftali came in with the good new that his wife was pregnant, and they have since had another child. I cannot tell you the final results of his sperm count; the rabbis have now decided that since his "seed" is viable, it cannot be tested anymore. Why tell you this story? Because you might think that following the blood type diet is only for females.
But this is not true. Fertility is a joint endeavor.
I'm not trying to give infertile couples unrealistic hopes. Obviously, blood type incompatibility is not the only cause of infertility. Nor does the blood type diet magically resolve all fertility problems. But it's just common sense to approach pregnancy in the optimum state of health. Following a dietary regimen that is geared precisely for your blood type seems an excellent choice for enhancing your system's response to the many stresses involved in bringing a child to full term. And there is no question in my mind that you can minimize the risk of incompatibility with the right diet.
Why Diet Matters
So, what does diet have to do with fertility?
Simply put, there is a chemical reaction between your blood type antigen and the food you eat. That's because the proteins in foods have antigens as well, and these antigens are similar to the blood type antigens. If you eat food that contains a foreign antigen, your immune system will create anti-blood type antibodies to it, and it will be rejected by your system.
These antibody reactions can dramatically affect your health-weakening your immune system, increasing inflammation, disturbing your digestive processes, and upsetting your metabolic balance. They can also be a factor in infertility or miscarriage when a mother and father have opposing blood types or when a mother is carrying a fetus of an opposing blood type.
It stands to reason that the best way to minimize the chances of blood type incompatibility is to eat foods that are right for your blood type and avoid foods that trigger an antibody or antigen reaction. To this day my wife, Martha, credits her easy pregnancies and the delivery of two healthy daughters to the fact that she "lived in the land of the beneficials." That is, she ate the foods that were most beneficial for her blood type.
Ramona, Type B, is a case in point. Ramona was in her early thirties and about 50 pounds overweight. She had been unable to conceive after nearly six years of trying, and I was her last stop on the way to a fertility clinic. In addition to her weight problem, Ramona had problems with recurrent urinary tract infections and persistent allergies. Ramona's husband, Franklin, was Type A, and it appeared that an antibody reaction to his sperm was being exacerbated by Ramona's infections and allergies.
I have found that most of the problems Type Bs have with infections and allergies can be resolved with a change in diet. There is a direct connection between our digestive activity and our immune system. In fact, more than 50 percent of all immune function occurs in our digestive tracts.
Ramona's weight was an impediment to fertility as well. Obesity can disrupt a woman's menstrual cycle, change her hormonal balance, and interfere with fertility. Most of the overweight women I've treated in my practice have histories of menstrual irregularity.
In addition to her excess weight, Ramona's dieting history was a factor. She admitted that during the past ten years she had frequently tried to lose weight by going on extremely low-calorie diets. That was a significant piece of information.
When you go on a very low-calorie diet, you are telling your body not to get pregnant. Nature is very smart. It has endowed us with automatic signals designed to guarantee the survival of our species. One of these is related to nutrition. In times of famine, women's reproductive abilities shut down-nature's way of preventing the growth of a population during a period when mothers do not have the fat stores to nurture more children. Modern women who follow starvation diets are inadvertently triggering that protective signal.
Ramona's challenge was to lose weight in a gradual, healthy way, while also improving her immune function by avoiding foods that made her more vulnerable to allergies and infections. Numerous studies of blood Type B cells have conclusively demonstrated that specific foods caused hemolytic (blood cell-destroying) and allergic reactions-among them chicken, corn, lentils, peanuts, and buckwheat. Not surprisingly, chicken was a staple of Ramona's diet. I created a diet plan for her that would substitute beneficial foods for problem foods-for example, turkey and lean venison instead of chicken, rice instead of wheat, and abundant green vegetables instead of problematic beans. I also encouraged Ramona to begin including daily servings of low-fat dairy foods. Most Type Bs thrive on dairy, and cultured dairy foods such as yogurt and kefir are instrumental in the health of the intestines and the prevention of infections.
I also put Ramona on an exercise program specifically designed for Type B-a combination of moderate aerobic activity and calming exercises such as yoga. This combination has been shown to dramatically reduce stress and promote fitness for Type Bs. Chronic stress itself is a factor in obesity and also interferes with ovulation and fertility.
In my experience, when people follow the blood type diet, they lose weight naturally, without having to significantly lower their calorie levels, and this happened with Ramona. Within six months on the diet she had lost 35 pounds, her allergic symptoms had disappeared, and she had had no further problems with urinary tract infections. She continued on the program, and on the first-year anniversary she and her husband decided she was ready to try conceiving. This time Ramona got pregnant with relative ease. During her pregnancy we continued to adapt the Type B diet to her special needs, and she delivered a healthy baby boy.
Ramona likes to talk about her "miracle baby." I agree that life is a miracle, but I also believe that we have the power to help miracles happen by listening to the wisdom of our bodies.
The Genetic Power of Blood Type
Blood type is the most powerful genetic connection you have with your ancestors and therefore plays a vital role in reproduction. Your blood type is the key to your body's entire immune system. Blood type determines and controls the influence of viruses, bacteria, infections, chemicals, stress, and any other invaders and conditions that might compromise your immune system.
Like the color of your eyes or hair, your blood type is determined by two sets of genes-the inheritance you receive from your mother and father. It is from those genes commingling that your blood type is selected at the moment of your conception. Like genes, some blood types are dominant over others. In the cellular creation of a new human being, the A gene and B gene are dominant over O. If at conception the embryo is given an A gene from the mother and an O gene from the father, the infant's blood will be Type A, although it will continue to carry the father's O gene unexpressed in its DNA. When the infant grows up and passes these genes on to its offspring, half of the genes will be for Type A blood and half will be for Type O blood. Because A and B genes are equally strong, you are Type AB if you received an A gene from one parent, and a B gene from the other. Finally, because the O gene is recessive to all the others, you are Type O only if you receive an O gene from each parent.
It is quite possible for two Type A parents to conceive a child who is Type O. This occurs when the parents each have one A gene and one O gene, and both pass the O gene on to their offspring. In the same way, two brown-eyed parents can conceive a blue-eyed offspring if each carries within them the dormant recessive gene for blue eyes.
Both of my parents are Type A. I presume that I received an A from each parent (making me genotype AA) because my two daughters are both Type A. My wife Martha is Type O and can only have two Os, so it is certain that our daughters are genotypically AO.
--from Eat Right 4 Your Baby by Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo with Catherine Whitney, Copyright © 2003 by Hoop-A-Joop, LLC, published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., all rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher.
Table of Contents
|Introduction: A Personal Word from Martha D'Adamo||1|
|1||Blood Type and Fertility: A Vital Connection||5|
|A Question of Compatibility||5|
|Not for Women Only||8|
|Why Diet Matters||9|
|The Genetic Power of Blood Type||10|
|The Rh Factor||11|
|Eat Right for Your Baby||12|
|2||Your Pregnancy: A Naturopathic Primer||15|
|Get Started Before You're Pregnant||15|
|A Word to Dad||18|
|Your Pregnancy: The Three Trimesters||20|
|First Trimester Basics||20|
|Common First Trimester Conditions||20|
|Morning sickness and nausea||20|
|Food aversions and cravings||22|
|Medications to avoid during pregnancy||24|
|Herbs to avoid during pregnancy||24|
|Second Trimester Basics||26|
|Common Second Trimester Conditions||26|
|Blood sugar imbalance||27|
|Hemorrhoids and varicose veins||27|
|Third Trimester Basics||28|
|Common Third Trimester Conditions||30|
|Lack of appetite||30|
|Shortness of breath/fatigue||30|
|Indigestion and heartburn||30|
|High blood pressure||30|
|Urinary tract infections||31|
|Dads Take Note: Stress and Weight Gain||31|
|Labor and Delivery Basics||32|
|3||The Type O Pregnancy||37|
|The Type O Diet||37|
|Before You Get Pregnant||52|
|Pre-pregnancy Diet Strategies||53|
|Pre-pregnancy Supplement Guidelines||56|
|Improve Your Emotional Health||57|
|Pre-pregnancy Exercise Guidelines||58|
|Your Pregnancy: Type O Three-Trimester Plan||59|
|Labor and Delivery||93|
|4||The Type A Pregnancy||95|
|The Type A Diet||95|
|Before You Get Pregnant||110|
|Pre-pregnancy Diet Strategies||111|
|Pre-pregnancy Supplement Guidelines||112|
|Improve Your Emotional Health||114|
|Pre-pregnancy Exercise Guidelines||115|
|Your Pregnancy: Type A Three-Trimester Plan||116|
|Labor and Delivery||151|
|5||The Type B Pregnancy||153|
|The Type B Diet||153|
|Before You Get Pregnant||168|
|Pre-pregnancy Diet Strategies||168|
|Pre-pregnancy Supplement Guidelines||172|
|Improve Your Emotional Health||173|
|Pre-pregnancy Exercise Guidelines||173|
|Your Pregnancy: Type B Three-Trimester Plan||174|
|Labor and Delivery||211|
|6||The Type AB Pregnancy||213|
|The Type AB Diet||213|
|Before You Get Pregnant||228|
|Pre-pregnancy Diet Strategies||228|
|Pre-pregnancy Supplement Guidelines||231|
|Improve Your Emotional Health||232|
|Pre-pregnancy Exercise Guidelines||232|
|Your Pregnancy: Type AB Three-Trimester Plan||233|
|Labor and Delivery||268|
|7||The "Fourth" Trimester (After the Birth)||269|
|Easing Postpartum Discomfort||269|
|Handling Postpartum "Blues" and Depression||270|
|Getting Back into Shape||271|
|The Type O Mother||271|
|The Type A Mother||275|
|The Type B Mother||279|
|The Type AB Mother||282|
|8||A Healthy Start for Baby||287|
|Breast-feeding Diet Strategies||287|
|All Blood Types||288|
|Type O Mother--Breast-feeding Power Foods||292|
|Type A Mother--Breast-feeding Power Foods||292|
|Type B Mother--Breast-feeding Power Foods||293|
|Type AB Mother--Breast-feeding Power Foods||293|
|Starting Solids--All Blood Types||294|
|9||The Type O Baby||297|
|Type O Baby Health Issues||297|
|Type O Remedies for Common Conditions||297|
|The Type O Baby Diet||299|
|Type O Beneficial Baby Foods--First Year||300|
|Type O Avoid Baby Foods--First Year||301|
|10||The Type A Baby||303|
|Type A Baby Health Issues||303|
|Type A Remedies for Common Conditions||303|
|Ear Infections/Overproduction of Mucus||303|
|Colds and Congestion||303|
|Eczema-like Skin Rashes||304|
|The Type A Baby Diet||305|
|Type A Beneficial Baby Foods--First Year||305|
|Type A Avoid Baby Foods--First Year||307|
|11||The Type B Baby||309|
|Type B Baby Health Issues||309|
|Type B Remedies for Common Conditions||309|
|The Type B Baby Diet||310|
|Type B Beneficial Baby Foods--First Year||311|
|Type B Avoid Baby Foods--First Year||312|
|12||The Type AB Baby||315|
|Type AB Baby Health Issues||315|
|Type AB Remedies for Common Conditions||315|
|Ear Infections/Overproduction of Mucus||315|
|Colds and Congestion||315|
|The Type AB Baby Diet||316|
|Type AB Beneficial Baby Foods--First Year||316|
|Type AB Avoid Baby Foods--First Year||318|
|Appendix A||Blood Type Friendly Recipes for Mom and Baby||321|
|Appendix B||Resources and Products||417|
|A Final Note||431|