3 Reasons Why Every Future (and Current!) Mother Should Test Her DNA
With science making progress on understanding our genetic makeup, DNA ancestry tests are suddenly all the rage. There are countless videos out there about people’s reactions to discovering their real heritage. But just in case you didn’t know, 23 and Me and Ancestry offer an insight into the locations of your family’s origins based on what they find in your DNA. Just spit a small amount of saliva into a plastic tube provided by the kit, and ship it back to the company. In about six to eight weeks, they will send your results either by mail or email.
But what does this have to do with motherhood? Quite a lot, actually. What most people don’t know is that you can get even more detailed results on your genetic makeup. You can run your test results through a website called Promethease that will analyze every little detail for a small fee. The results can be terrifying, yet empowering. If you plan on being a mother, or if you’re on the fence about taking a DNA test, the following reasons might be that final push to get it done.
You Can Be Prepared for Any Future Illnesses
You may have a good handle on your family’s medical history, but you may not know how likely you are to develop a life-threatening disease. For example, you may learn that your risk of heart disease is much higher than you thought, so you can make adjustments to your lifestyle and doctor visits. This can be especially helpful for people who don’t know their family history that well, if at all. Not all of us are blessed to have been able to know our parents and grandparents, and what their general health is or was like. When you run your DNA results through Promethease, you can be confident that no stone will be left unturned, because your health is hardwired into those small strands of DNA. Potential or soon-to-be mothers can learn a lot from this, because it gives a snapshot of the possible hereditary health risks.
You Can Discover Any Life-Threatening Gene Mutations
Most gene mutations are discovered externally, such as the look or behavior of someone with Down Syndrome. However, there are gene mutations that live inside many of us, no matter how healthy we appear. One in particular I would like to focus on is the MTHFR gene mutation. According to this article, the MTHFR gene mutation is a very common occurrence in women, in which the MTHFR gene cannot break down folic acid into folate and absorb it. Folate is vital for proper cell formation, as well as mental and emotional health. The lack of folate in the body can cause a slew of health problems, ranging from autism to cancer. This wide range is due to there being several types of this mutation. Scientists are slowly researching this topic, so information is very limited at the moment. If you test positive for this mutation, go to your doctor immediately to decide on treatment. Some versions of this mutation have very easy, simple fixes.
A DNA Test Can Help Prevent Miscarriages and Birth Defects
A very unfortunate side effect of the MTHFR gene mutation is that a carrier will most likely have difficult pregnancies. When we are unable to absorb folate, a woman’s body is not an ideal place for a child to grow. This results in very early miscarriages, preeclampsia during pregnancy, or birth defects like Spina Bifida. What’s so astounding about this is that doctors do not consider the mutation as a possible problem until a woman has miscarried several times. It’s considered a last resort despite it being very common. Luckily, there are very easy fixes for some MTHFR mutation carriers. For example, the L-5-MTHF gene mutation can be fixed with an activated vitamin B12 supplement instead of a regular B12 supplement. An activated B12 is beneficial for this mutation because it is the vital folate that the body will actually absorb. There are many accounts of mothers having healthy pregnancies after taking this supplement, when they were struggling for years prior.
Get Tested Sooner Rather Than Later
Even if you are not planning on having children for a while, I would urge you to go through with the test if you can afford it. You may be surprised at what you find. There may be answers to health problems that you’ve been dealing with for years, or you may discover that you’re 25% Native American. The possibilities are endless! That is what’s so beautiful about this test. Everything about who you are and what makes up you as a person, is all intertwined into these small protein strands we call DNA. And every strand is completely unique. There’s no other strand out there like yours. When you’re ready, test your DNA to learn a little more about yourself and your genetic future.
Breanne is the owner of Honey, Sage, Rose Water and Time, where she offers content writing services for the lovers of all things natural and healthy. She publishes weekly content on her website’s blog to help other people discover their own natural lifestyle. In her spare time, Breanne likes to crochet, dance ballet, and write young adult fiction. Check out her personal blog about a fantasy trilogy she wishes to publish one day.