Even though everyone knows that pregnancy is nine months, some people usually don’t stop to think about how long that is. A lot can happen in nine months! That’s the difference between New Year’s Day and getting all spooky with Halloween decorations.
It’s also a long time for women to be taking extra special care of their bodies. While movies and TV would have us believe that pregnant women can go ahead and eat whatever they want, real life doctors and nutritionists strongly advise against that.
Depending on the individual, you may already be following a diet or meal plan when you become pregnant and it’s worth wondering, “Is it safe to continue this way?”
Below, we’re going to run through four different meal plans and diets to let you know what’s safe and what’s not.
The keto diet has really taken off in the past few years and this ultra high-fat, low-carb diet plan shows no signs of slowing down. It’s been sworn by many and has helped thousands of people lose weight. But the question still remains: is it safe during pregnancy?
The short answer is: no, it is not safe during pregnancy. Even though there haven’t been any studies, this should support the notion that it’s unsafe because of how risky it would be. With the diet, your body is taught to use ketones instead of glucose and that just won’t work while growing healthy babies.
Glucose is the primary energy source for a baby’s growth and without enough glucose, it could be serious.
If you’re not familiar with paleo, the premise is about as simple as it gets: eat like a caveman. The idea is if it’s not natural, you shouldn’t be eating it. That means no processed foods, no grains, and almost no farmed foods. There are people who also beat their chests and marvel at fire while finishing dinner.
Paleo has been adopted by plenty of athletes, most notably cross-fitters, but is it safe during pregnancy? The answer is not really yes or no.
The paleo diet is positive in a lot of ways. You’re eliminating junk food and processed foods, but consuming high amounts of red meat and fish, especially later in the pregnancy could lead to reduced fetal growth or low birth weight.
It does have some positives, like reduced inflammation and improved appetite control. Most doctors suggest women gain 25-35 pounds during pregnancy and a paleo diet can certainly help. But, just like anything, it should be done in moderation. It’s best to speak with your doctor about the specifics.
Verdict-Safe, but in moderation and with doctor’s advice
The Mediterranean diet, unfortunately, doesn’t mean all the pasta, paella, and gyros you can handle but instead relies on lean meats, nuts, olive oil, fish, and more natural foods. Just like other diets, you’ll be cutting out junk food, sugar, and processed foods.
The Mediterranean diet, by all accounts and studies, seems to be safe and encouraged for pregnant women. The biggest advantage to the diet is the reduction in the odds of gestational diabetes, which has doubled in the number of pregnant women over the last 20 years.
The diet has also had a number of other benefits, such as improved sleep, better heart health, and controlling weight gain. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to follow and their are countless wonderful recipes.
The only risk is eating too much fish, which you should consult with your doctor. Other than that, it is quite safe.
Verdict-Safe, but watch the fish intake
The ultimate low-carb diet that has been around for a few decades, the Atkins diet is another diet that has helped millions shed a few pounds. For that reason alone, it is not recommended during any stage of pregnancy, from conception to breastfeeding.
While you should be cutting out sugars and refined carbs, cutting out natural carbs means lowering the amount of glucose. As we learned before, glucose is important for the growth and development of your baby.
Once again, while some parts of the diet are safe, such as later phases which encourage more protein consumption, you’re not going to want to follow this one to a T.
Verdict-Unsafe, except for specific stages