Paleo Pregnancy - what did you really eat? and what was off limits?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 15, 2013 at 10:53 PM

I'm 9 weeks pregnant, with my first child. Conventional medicine tells pregnant women to avoid deli meats, smoked meats and fish, raw eggs, raw fish, raw beef - including sushi and oysters, carpaccio, etc, caffeine > 200mg, alcohol etc. But so many of these foods are paleo superfoods...

Curious to hear, amongst the paleo community, what advice did you heed and what did you ignore? And is it safer to eat some of these foods after the first trimester? I've been craving sushi and oysters especially...but just want to hear what paleo women avoid and eat. Thanks!!



on July 15, 2013
at 11:12 PM

I was reading this article the other day http://www.westonaprice.org/traditional-diets/inside-japan "Soups made of fish, including the organs and bones, are considered strengthening foods and good for anemia. Carp soup is traditionally given to women after childbirth. It is made from the whole carp, including the head, bones, eyes and all the organs except the gall bladder, and cooked four to eight hours with barley miso and burdock root. It is eaten four days in a row after the birth of the child." Yum.

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4 Answers



on July 16, 2013
at 07:14 AM

Sushi really should not be a problem as long as you don't buy it from some place sketchy like a gas station deli, or somewhere that the holding temps seem off. All sashimi must be deep frozen long enough to destroy parasites, many OBs aren't aware of that. Sushi was one of the only animal foods I could stomach first trimester. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20042060

I also went through a lox phase, and ate an entire sleeve of Trader Joe's Lox while stuck in traffic on the way home from the store.

I ate oysters too, especially cooked into chowder. Early pregnancy might not be the time to scoop them straight up off the beach and slurp them right out of the shell, but steamed should be fine.

Ceasar Salad, made with raw egg yolk salad dressing was a wicked craving for a while there, I had to have it every day for a week. I just made it at home with pastured eggs.

I also went through a cobb salad phase, and absolutely had to have blue cheese. I was reassured by a midwife that all the blue cheese in the US has been pasteurized, so hopefully not problematic for pregnant women.

With deli meat I played the quality game. Local co-op grassfed roast beef, I didn't even think twice. Turkey or ham from a normal grocery deli I would nuke for 20 seconds, let cool and then eat it. I also ate a fair amount of proscuitto, it usually called to me as a late night snack.

From the beginning I drank small amounts of beer (2 ounces or so) whenever we'd go out to dinner, so not that often, but I found it somewhat helpful to ease the nausea and get my appetite up when morning sickness was really bad. I'd have a small glass of wine or cider here and there (about once every week or two) after the 20th week.

I drank a cup of coffee every day for the first 9 weeks, and then it repulsed me and made me break out in cold sweats, so no coffee for a while until I started craving decaf iced americanos mid-pregnancy.

I ate liver too, which the March of Dimes freaks out about.

I avoided fake sweeteners (which get the green light in unlimited amounts for some reason, eek). I avoided fast food restaurants. I avoided transfats. I avoided vegetable oil. I tried to avoid low fat dairy, but TJs strawberry kefir had other plans for me, yum.

Maybe I just got lucky, and listeria isn't anything to take lightly, but I think many of the food recommendations come from a place of fear rather than science, and the way they are hysterically shoved down our throats causes more stress than is necessary to grow a healthy tiny human.



on July 16, 2013
at 05:13 PM

I ate deli meats, raw cheese, rare beef, homemade mayo made with raw eggs, drank raw milk, drank coffee, and took the occasional swig of wine while cooking. I didn't eat seafood while pregnant (hubby is allergic, so I don't ever cook it). This was the best pregnancy (the other two were not Primal) and healthiest baby.


on July 16, 2013
at 03:32 AM

The reason for avoiding these foods is the risk of listeria which won't kill you but harms the child because the mother gets really sick. My wife ate sushi with our first child just picking a place we trusted and not eating alot of it.

Fish is ok just choose one that is on the lower mercury scale which I cannot remember at the moment.


on July 16, 2013
at 06:48 AM

Those rules weren't around when I had my first children and they are pretty healthy. However I've never really gone in for the foods listed raw. I wouldn ever want an egg raw for example or raw fish. I never much liked alcohol so was happy not to drink when pregnant and that was certainly also advised even back when I had my first children.

If you crave oysters perhaps have tinned smoked ones which I do sometimes have. Try fresh crab - we like to buy them whole and scoop out the middle. If you feel like raw fish perhaps try smoked salmon.

I would say the main advice is avoid alcohol and smoking and drugs. The rest is probably sensible but not quite so essential.

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