By Christine Maggiore
HIV Positive and Having Children Naturally
I’ve been HIV positive for 10 years and just recently started the drugs. Since I’ve been on the drugs, my viral load is undetectable and my T-cells are now 739. I am thinking of stopping treatment because I want to have a baby. The obstetricians look at me like I’m crazy because I ask questions about natural childbirth and breastfeeding. They tell me I will be hurting myself and my baby by doing the things most health-conscious women do. I really don’t have anyone to turn to for another opinion.
I know you had two children by natural childbirth many years after you tested
positive and that you breastfed them both. Can you help me understand my options
and recommend any books that I can read about natural childbirth? How are your
Potential Mom in Conflict
It’s not easy to find alternative information on HIV and AIDS and childbirth. I mailed you a package of materials specific to your concerns that I hope will help with your decisions. You can also find more information by visiting the MOMM website at www.informedmomm.com
It is widely acknowledged that pharmaceutical AIDS treatments are quite toxic and create a number of serious adverse effects. If you read the fine print in the drug ads you’ll see that most have been tested for only a short time, some not at all, none are tested against placebos, and no one knows the long-term consequences of taking them, especially during pregnancy. Recent studies reveal that the children of mothers who took AZT during pregnancy have high rates of DNA mutations — a condition that usually leads to cancer.
According to the AIDS orthodoxy, the primary reason for taking the drugs is to lower “viral load.” However, the viral load test doesn’t actually test for the presence of HIV virus, and detectable levels of the genetic material viral load measures have been found in people who test HIV negative. According to the scientific literature and the experience of many HIV positives, low “viral loads” don’t necessarily correspond with high levels of T-cells or with good health.
Most popular ideas about the drugs — that they specifically target the virus, that they have been shown to improve clinical health or prevent illness, that they are responsible for lowered AIDS cases, decreased deaths or improved survival rates — are not correct. While the drug’s ability to produce actual health benefits remains in question, the side effects are well known and can be grave. Bone death, heart attacks, strokes, liver failure, sudden death, diabetes, psychotic behavior, and physical deformities are a few.
Recent studies published in respected mainstream medical journals show the new drug combos shut down vital functions of the immune system and block production of proteins that alert to underlying infections. Rather than producing more T-cells, they coax existing T-cells out of the lymphoid tissue into the blood where they can be counted by T- cell tests.
Mainstream doctors urge the use of AZT and other AIDS drugs during pregnancy to decrease the chances of your child testing HIV positive, but there is much conflicting information and many questions about this practice. A 1994 study of HIV-positive testing women who took AZT during pregnancy and positive women who used no AZT showed that 8% of babies born to the drug-treated mothers tested positive compared to about 20% of the babies born to untreated mothers. This widely celebrated trial was sponsored by AZT’s manufacturer and its favorable results have never been duplicated.
A similar trial published a few years ago by another pharmaceutical manufacturer showed more than 20% of babies born to AZT-treated mothers tested HIV positive while their drug allegedly cut this amount to just over 10%. Another independent study showed that the lowest number of all (7%) occurred among babies born to HIV-positive mothers given nutritious diets, proper prenatal care, and adequate amounts of vitamin A. It’s important to note that none of the trials examined the health outcomes of the babies involved, and that HIV-positive test results do not indicate that the mother or the child is actually infected with HIV.
The current standard of care for HIV-positive expectant mothers includes IV infusion of AZT during labor, mandatory Cesarean-section delivery, six weeks of AZT for the baby regardless of their HIV status at birth, and formula feeding.
AZT, like several other AIDS drugs, is a cancer chemotherapy, and as noted in a recent pharmaceutical promotion by Amgen, “Cancer chemotherapy destroys your ability to fight off infections . . . because it kills your white blood cells.” T-cells are a type of white blood cell, and according to the conventional wisdom, AIDS is caused by the destruction of T- cells.
According to John Robbin’s book “Reclaiming Our Health,” natural childbirth in a non-hospital setting is 17 times safer for both mother and child than a hospital birth. Barbara Harper’s book “Gentle Birth Choices” confirms this information and outlines a variety of natural birthing options.
Regarding breastfeeding by HIV-positive mothers, infectious HIV has never been directly isolated from breastmilk and several mainstream experts note that breastmilk contains certain enzymes that neutralize viruses including HIV. A recent study comparing formula-fed and breastfed babies of HIV-positive mothers showed breastfed babies tested positive less frequently than babies denied mother’s milk. The health benefits of breastfeeding include profoundly reduced rates of childhood illnesses, immune dysfunction, bowel disorders, respiratory infections, bacteremia, meningitis, diabetes, malignant lymphomas, and increased IQ.
You can find more information on HIV and breastfeeding at the the research foundation, Another Look, on www.anotherlook.org
In my personal opinion, having a child requires an incredibly strong commitment to life, and accepting the notion that HIV causes AIDS and taking toxic AIDS drugs in response conflicts with that commitment. If I thought for a moment that HIV caused AIDS and I would need to spend my life on harsh pharmaceuticals with toxicities incorporated into my DNA, that my own breast milk was lethal, and that I wouldn’t be around to see my children grow up, I never would have had a family.
My kids are vibrantly healthy, exceptionally bright and beautiful. I love being a mother and cannot imagine my life without them.
Please check out the material we sent and let me know what you think.
For more answers to your questions, visit the Alive & Well website at www.aliveandwell.org
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