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Case Study Issue 137: Nutritional Preconception Care - John and Tracy

by Maria M. Griffiths(more info)

listed in case studies, originally published in issue 137 - July 2007

John was getting concerned. His father had traced the family tree back to 1645, which made John the last in the Birkett line. Initially, when John married Tracy, they wanted a small family so Tracy went on the contraceptive pill, but as it gave her some health problems, including raising her blood pressure, after trying condoms, they decided to let nature take its course. The next two years proved to be very trying times in their personal lives. Compounding this, they both wanted a baby, but in the two years of trying, Tracy hadn’t conceived.

They decided to try IVF. An initial sperm analysis proved that John had a low sperm count; nevertheless, they were encouraged to go ahead. The first IVF failed. Tracy was told that her eggs were small and of poor quality, yet they were encouraged to go ahead again. This too failed, but in the process a major medical complication occurred, which led to Tracy having keyhole surgery and blood transfusions. Two eggs however survived, and once again Tracy was encouraged to proceed with an assisted pregnancy. Two  IVFs and three intrauterine insemination (IUI)s later, both John and Tracy felt that enough was enough, and that the amount of medication now in her system certainly could not be healthy for any baby. They went back to trying for a baby the natural way, but without success.

By now John was 46 and Tracy was 38 years-old. They had heard about the work of Foresight from a friend, as well as Foresight’s success rate with sub-fertile couples. Foresight is the Association for Pre-conceptual Care, formed by Belinda Barnes in 1978 with a dual objective. Firstly, to safeguard the health of the unborn child by promoting preconception care. Secondly, to promote the study of aspects of the environment upon preconception health.

Preparing for pregnancy can do much to ensure the safety of the future child by optimizing the health of both parents before conception. This maximizes the chances of a healthy sperm, ova and uterus, and thus a pregnancy leading to the birth of a perfectly formed and healthy baby.

Since healthy parents produce healthy babies, planning for one has to start early, before conception, and to this end Foresight has worked for 27 years to put together a thoroughly researched preconception

Having contacted Foresight, John and Tracy duly received the Foresight Preconception Questionnaire, Preparing for Pregnancy booklet and instructions for sending hair samples back to the Foresight Laboratory for hair mineral analysis. Foresight has its own laboratory for analyzing mineral, trace minerals and heavy metals in hair samples, and works with the results to create a tailor-made programme for each individual person.

Once John’s sample was analyzed, the results were cross-referenced with the completed Preconception Questionnaire. The questionnaire revealed that John was a smoker but never smoked at home, and the home was a smoke free zone. John was strongly advised to stop smoking and Foresight’s anti-smoking information was sent to him, explaining the hazards of smoking on the health of babies. Foresight provides dietary guidelines in Preparing for Pregnancy, which it strongly advises be read and applied.

John’s questionnaire revealed that he was suffering from a variety of health related issues. A possible blood sugar imbalance with irritability, insomnia, fatigue and dizziness, and an overloaded immune system may have been responsible for on-going ear infections and asthma. Regular contact with Herbicides, microwaved foods, paint stripper and other pesticides may have been partially responsible for his overall poor health.

John did not have heavy metal toxicity, but his analysis did show below recommended levels of calcium, magnesium, cobalt manganese, selenium and zinc. A Foresight vitamin and mineral programme was devised to rebalance the deficiencies, and John faithfully followed the programme.

Tracy did not smoke, but worked in a heavily smoke-polluted environment and was absorbing cadmium. Her cadmium levels were elevated well above threshold levels when her hair was analyzed. Tracy did not drink alcohol either, but she too was suffering from ill health: PMS, fibroids, digestive disorders, she had poor peripheral circulation, catarrh, headaches, fatigue and dizziness.

Tracy’s hair mineral analysis revealed extremely low levels of zinc and selenium. Chromium levels registered lower than recommended. The other minerals were acceptably balanced. The striking results were that of cadmium, and demonstrated the danger of being in a smoke-filled environment. Although she was not smoking, high levels of copper had been registered; copper is associated with contraception and miscarriage.

Both parents-in-waiting were advised to be diligent in adhering to their programme, and to retest the hair after four months.

Four months later, in July 2004, Tracy’s cadmium levels fell to 0.1 above acceptable levels; her copper dropped significantly from 40.03mg/kg to 28.36 mg/kg. Zinc levels rose from 135.00mg to 162.02mg/kg and selenium rose from 0.61 to 1.82. On March 7, 2005 Lucy was born; the Birkett line restored.


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About Maria M. Griffiths

Maria M. Griffiths Dip ION BANT NTC registered Practitioner FEDANT (Federation of Ante natal Educators) works from three clinics, Woman’s Nutrition Clinic, Lewes, with Dr Alan Stewart, Living Elements Clinic, Sidlesham, and her practice The Family Nutrition Clinic in Felpham, West Sussex. She also works at Foresight, giving Nutritional support and advice. In addition to her clinic work with patients, Maria also teaches, lectures, appears regularly on radio, and contributes to various magazines and journals, as well as writes a bi-monthly column on nutrition for the local press. She may be contacted via

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