2

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First pregnancy, how many carbs do I need, what's the paleo verdict

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 18, 2013 at 1:25 AM

I am 29, and recently found out I'm pregnant - around 6 weeks now. I've been following a paleo diet (trying to restrict carbs - including most fruit and grains for a desired 15 lb weight loss) along with cross fit for 4 months. Now that I'm pregnant, I'm not sure WHAT to do...I'm reading all the paleo pregnancy books...and there's different information on how many carbohydrates the baby needs. Peggy Emch recommends sweet potato, plantain, and occasionally white rice with aims to keep carbs slightly above 100g/day. Nina Planck recommends staying away from all starch and sugar. Any suggestions on what I should be doing? I'm about 10lbs heavier than my ideal weight, but still in the healthy zone (before pregnancy), but would like to stay as fit and healthy as possible. Help!

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on June 18, 2013
at 03:35 AM

And in any case, I wasn't recommending ketosis. She can stay low carb without being in ketosis. For most folk this is in the 50-100 gm/ day range.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on June 18, 2013
at 03:32 AM

Did you even read the link, James? Plenty of women have healthy pregnancies while in ketosis. Calorie restriction is the problem, not ketosis.

34f00c7b4e5738cf04ead1a012a14ed1

(996)

on June 18, 2013
at 02:44 AM

True, but strawberries are much better for my tastebuds.

5dd50f78f47b8848d93724d6eb38d4c1

(907)

on June 18, 2013
at 02:00 AM

Please stay away from irresponsible advice like this. Ketosis is not recommended in during pregnancy even by low carb guru's. Do you really think a diet that mimics starvation is optimal for a growing fetus?

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on June 18, 2013
at 01:50 AM

Liver is even better for folate!

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4 Answers

2
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on June 18, 2013
at 03:39 AM

My midwives were awesome paleo enthusiasts, and when I was trying to figure out my carb load we settled on a goal of 100-175g. Some days it was more, some days less. I've got a healthy, happy baby snoozin' in a swing right here next to me. Don't lose sleep tracking it incessantly, maybe just a check-in sample day here or there.

There is no consensus though about a number that is right for every woman and baby. Babies are not hot house flowers who need mothers to eat perfectly (quality certainly matters, but there is a lot of flexibility). At six weeks you haven't entered the no man's land of food aversions yet, they can rock the faith of anyone who thinks they have their diet figured out. That little baby is going to be in the driver's seat soon, and I think it is best to just eat intuitively at that point. Don't be surprised if you experience bouts of meat and green vegetable aversions, they actually help to protect the baby from excess protein and possible exposure to plant toxins that could be harmful to development.

I really like Cate Shanahan's quote from the safe starch panel debate. "Food is information." You can be low carb if you want to be, but it is important to mindful that you are programing your baby to exist in the world represented by food exposure in utero. If your whole family is going to be lowish carb forever, they will be fine. Like Dragonfly said, the fear of ketones during pregnancy is is unfounded, the level of ketones in the blood of pregnant women with diabetic ketoacidosis is hundreds of times higher than what a baby would be exposed to during occasional dietary ketosis. However, there seems to be evidence that low carb pregnancies can increase the chance of childhood obesity, I'm guessing because small children are sugar fiends, and there becomes a mismatch between what their genes were programmed for and their food environment.

1
34f00c7b4e5738cf04ead1a012a14ed1

(996)

on June 18, 2013
at 01:48 AM

Congrats on the baby!

If you're good at listening to your body, it will let you know what you need.

I'm currently pregnant @ 33 weeks, and I feel miserable keeping my carbs low. But then again, even when I wasn't pregnant I did better with potatoes and fruit. Experiment and see.

I don't think there's any reason to restrict your fruit since you no longer need to be concerned with losing weight. Obviously, the goal isn't to put on as much as you can, but fruit still has nutrition! A pint of strawberries has a quarter of your daily folate needs. :)

34f00c7b4e5738cf04ead1a012a14ed1

(996)

on June 18, 2013
at 02:44 AM

True, but strawberries are much better for my tastebuds.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on June 18, 2013
at 01:50 AM

Liver is even better for folate!

0
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on June 18, 2013
at 01:42 AM

Congrats!

From my experience as a pregnancy coach, some mamas feel good on lower carb, others seem to need more. Several of my clients have been able to stave off morning sickness by keeping their carbs very low.

Your baby doesn't need carbs. Babes do just fine on ketones.

Keep your carbs where they are & see how you feel. Add more if you feel you want them. There's no one answer for everyone, since we all come with different metabolic histories.

I have a blog post that many be helpful: http://www.sondrarose.com/optimal-pregnancy-nutrition

And just in case: http://www.sondrarose.com/preventing-pregnancy-nausea

5dd50f78f47b8848d93724d6eb38d4c1

(907)

on June 18, 2013
at 02:00 AM

Please stay away from irresponsible advice like this. Ketosis is not recommended in during pregnancy even by low carb guru's. Do you really think a diet that mimics starvation is optimal for a growing fetus?

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on June 18, 2013
at 03:35 AM

And in any case, I wasn't recommending ketosis. She can stay low carb without being in ketosis. For most folk this is in the 50-100 gm/ day range.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on June 18, 2013
at 03:32 AM

Did you even read the link, James? Plenty of women have healthy pregnancies while in ketosis. Calorie restriction is the problem, not ketosis.

-1
09cb98c3f027fbc9f7041222c78dcc59

(2)

on June 18, 2013
at 01:44 AM

Obviously stay away from all sugars. For carbs, I'd say have a sweet potato a day.

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