The Autonomic Nervous System of many women breaks during pregnancy and if left untreated the damage may linger for a lifetime; I call them “Broken Mommies”.

Autonomic injury is why Broken Mommies are unable to regain their pre-pregnancy health and suffer from foggy brains and poor memory, ADD, dizziness, chronic hunger and weight gain, intestinal problems (bloating, heartburn, frequent urination, constipation or diarrhea), or anxiety or depression.

These moms suffer from real physical damage that is not a normal part of motherhood, and on brain testing the damage can appear the same as a high impact sports concussion.


It all begins in the third trimester, when the mother gives 50% of her bodies’ Omega-3 fatty acid stores to her baby for neurological development. If the mother has adequate daily supplies of Omega-3 (wild fish, fish oil) and low amounts of Omega-6 (processed foods, vegetable oils), her neurological system easily recovers.

But if the mother’s diet prior to conception is deficient in Omega-3’s, this leaves her neurological system in a fragile state and prone to damage. She does not fully recover after the first pregnancy, and any subsequent pregnancies take an even greater toll.

Some women “break” after one pregnancy, others break after their second or third as they become even more Omega-3 depleted. In some moms it is the sudden depletion of Omega-3 stores that can trigger post-partum depression.

The stress of pregnancy coupled with Omega-3 depletion leads to Autonomic Nervous System damage. When the Autonomics work correctly they are “automatic” and you don’t even know they exist. The field of Autonomics encompasses almost everything that goes wrong when your body is not working “automatically” perfect like it should.

The Autonomics are the brain’s master control mechanism for the entire body. The Autonomics control every organ in the body such as the heart, bladder, stomach, intestines and kidneys. It is how the brain regulates your blood pressure, blood sugar, sleep cycles, immune system, and hormones.

The Autonomics also control many smaller functions like when your pupils dilate, hiccups, and the adrenaline that produces nightmares. Basic bodily functions that no one really thinks about until the moment they start to malfunction.

The Autonomics have 2 branches, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. One or both branches may be injured during childbirth.

If the “fight or flight” sympathetic brain commands are disrupted the mothers feel tired, crave salt or sugar, or get anxious. Mothers may get heart palpitations, tingling or numbness in their arms (hands or face), disrupted night vision, or stiff necks and severe (“migraine”) headaches. They also create adrenaline rushes that fuel insomnia, nightmares, or anger.

If the “rest and digest” parasympathetic brain commands are disrupted they affect the intestinal tract (heartburn or constipation), immune system (autoimmune disorders) and produces chronic pain syndromes (fibromyalgia).

The mothers may get sleep apnea, “restless legs”, morning nausea, night sweats/hot flashes, or power surge sensations when they should be at rest. It leaves them exhausted in the morning despite a full night’s sleep.

The parasympathetic dysfunction may also trigger small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). In the short term SIBO can trigger bladder infections, strep throat, eczema, and thyroid problems. In the long term SIBO triggers Autoimmune Disorders like Crohn’s Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Both Autonomic dysfunction and SIBO impair the immune system, contributes to obesity, and ignites the metabolic inflammation which activates our genetic weaknesses for cancer, heart attacks, diabetes, and other such diseases.

The first step to reversing Broken Mommy damage is Autonomic spectral analysis testing, a non-invasive test that takes about 15 minutes in my office which breaks down the sympathetic and parasympathetic functioning. It tells me which branches, and to what extent, have been injured and no longer works automatically.

The second part of the treatment plan may include short-term medication to allow the brain and nervous system to heal, and re-testing after 6 months to track recovery and stop medication. Many Broken Mommies also need treatment for the SIBO overgrowth. Long-term maintenance often requires a high omega-3, low omega-6 diet because once broken the moms are susceptible to Autonomic re-injury.

If you think you might be a Broken Mommy, you probably are a Broken Mommy. But you don’t have to remain a Broken Mommy. Your body and brain might just need a little medical testing and help to repair your Autonomics and achieve a healthier intestinal blend.

© Copyright 2014. Dr. Patrick M. and Jean R. Nemechek. All rights reserved.




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Joanna Marshall
Joanna Marshall
June 20, 2019 8:20 pm

I’ve just started the rifaximin and am on your protocol. I’m ok day three of Rifaximin and I have a vaginal yeast infection – itchy and discharge. Do you have any advice about why I can do about this? I’m concerned about feeding Candida.
Many thanks
Joanna Marshall

Joanna Marshall
Joanna Marshall
June 20, 2019 8:23 pm

Sorry I forgot to mention – I’m a 41 year old woman and am doing the protocol because I have had chronic fatigue syndrome for ten years
Thanks you

Joanna Marshall
Joanna Marshall
June 21, 2019 6:26 am

Thank you so much!

TIC TOC TED TSA TDAH/H/H As3,14 TOP-là HPTDR* - Maman Très Spirituelle
March 31, 2019 11:03 pm

[…] suis permise de brasser large dans le titre de mon article. Il parle même d’un symptôme de « broken mommies » (mamans cassées). C’est bon à savoir, pour toutes celles qui, comme moi, ont le burn-out […]

January 7, 2019 3:54 pm

Dear Dr Nemechek, post-giving birth my thyroid is having trouble converting to T3, and my cortisol is very low. I’ve been prescribed both but my cortisol is so low that taking the T3 makes me more hypothyroid, so I stopped. The hydrocortisone gives me the worst headache of my life, so now I’ve been prescribed dexamethasone which I haven’t started yet. Thorne ACE gives me heart palpitations due to potassium and aldosterone being low. I thought the thyroid issue was due to low iodine, but feel worse since doing the iodine protocol and have since stopped. I feel like I’m… Read more »

Sarah Angeline
Sarah Angeline
July 5, 2018 5:38 pm

Hi Dr Nemechek, I have one high functioning aspergers kiddo and one with red flags who I both recently started on your protocol ( you from the bottom of my heart for making this info available to the masses). I was recently diagnosed hypothyroid after my 4th baby and I feel like I may be one of the “broken mommies” you describe. My question is, how do I get my Dr on board with issuing a prescription for rifaximin? Is it recommended for an adult to use inulin? Thanks!

April 11, 2018 2:39 pm

Good day,

Where can I find the protocol guide for adults?

Many thanks,

March 9, 2018 8:24 pm

Dear doctor! I have taken Rifaximin for diagnosed SIBO this January and have been on EVOO and fish oil for oved a year now although on your recommended doses since December (thats when I heard about your protocol). Now, after IVF (blocked tubes), I just found out I am pregnant. I have few questions. First, how much oils should I take now? Second, if I get SIBO relapse, do I use rifaximin or inulin? And third, what should I do about prenatal vitamins? Btw, I am Hashimotos 15years now. I am 32. Thank you in advance for your help! Best… Read more »

February 13, 2018 10:45 pm

This article is exactly what I’ve been experiencing over the past 2 years since having my last child. I am seriously considering scheduling an appt. with you, but am wondering if I should schedule it now knowing we are also looking to do fertility treatments (FET’s) also this year or wait to see you until after a possible pregnancy? If we get pregnant, could you still treat me or is it best to wait for treatment until after pregnancy?

February 13, 2018 10:34 pm

Hello, I’ve found a great recipe for eggy bread. It soaks up 2 tbsp of olive oil, which is perfect dose. Is there a problem using heated olive oil, versus drinking it?

January 10, 2018 5:25 pm

Dear doctor !
After reading about the broken mommy I find I’m suffering a lot , doctors are tested me a lot everything is normal but I’m not normal doctor what u suggest me
I’m suffering from fibromyalgia and I’m following your protocol from two weeks, inulin,evo and Fo.
Doctor I can’t effort Skype session pls i will be very thankful for ur suggestion and reply.

Laura Lee
Laura Lee
December 19, 2016 8:53 am

I had a traumatic brain injury while 8 months pregnant with my twelve year old son. I had cancer a year after he born and I am scared of doctors but I feel like if I don’t get treated soon i won’t last much longer. I’m wondering if you do phone consultations.

Patrick Nemechek, D.O.
Patrick Nemechek, D.O.
December 19, 2016 1:48 pm
Reply to  Laura Lee

Yes we do but we are limited by states laws. We can discuss the case but I cannot prescribe medications,
lab tests, etc unless you are seen face-to-face. You can find more info at

September 24, 2016 9:14 pm

All of this sounds very familiar. It describes my life. Delivered my 5th child a year ago and haven’t felt ‘right’ since. It’s very disturbing and frightening to be honest. My primary care physician seems to be at a loss…can’t seem to find anything “wrong” with me..but there is.

July 25, 2016 3:30 am

I have to children 14 & 9 About to years ago I started having every symptom listed above. My doc has checked me for an Autoimmune disorder which came back negative. She has checked my horimones and Thyroid which all came back normal… this is very interesting. Where to go from here?

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