Paleo Diet During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

5 min read

Pregnancy is an exciting as well as a scary phase in any woman’s life. An expecting mother is nervous about the various restrictions that come with pregnancy and ensures she does all that’s in her power to keep the unborn baby safe and healthy. Diet during pregnancy is one of the most discussed topics for any expecting mother. So what about the paleo diet during pregnancy? Is the paleo diet safe? How can one go about this? Read on to understand more about the paleo diet.

paleo diet

What is the Paleo Diet?

The paleo diet, also known as the caveman diet, consists of foods that our predecessors used to consume. These foods comprised naturally occurring fruits, vegetables, and a lot of red meat that were not processed or grown in farms at that time. This diet is rich in naturally occurring vitamins and minerals and ve cxry low on the glycemic index, as it not only cuts out artificial sugars but also grains. As a result, the carbohydrate intake is also very low in this diet, thus helping in losing weight faster than on regular diets.

So, is the paleo diet safe? It most certainly is, according to many nutritionists.

Can You Try Paleo Diet During Pregnancy?

While the paleo diet can be very healthy and rewarding, starting any new diet during your pregnancy may not be the best idea. The simple reason is, pregnancy causes a lot of changes in the body and so do diets. When you start something new during pregnancy, you may not be able to identify a problem if one were to occur, easily.

A healthy pregnancy requires not only vitamins and minerals but also carbohydrates, which are low in a paleo diet. However, if you are at risk of gestational diabetes, a paleo pregnancy diet plan may be good as you will be asked to reduce your grain intake to reduce your glycemic index.

That being said, if you are not new to paleo, you can continue with paleo pregnancy foods after getting a go-ahead from your medical professional. Your doctor might alter your diet to suit your current health condition and also give you a paleo diet pregnancy meal plan to ensure you don’t lose out on essential nutrients.

pregnant women with bowl of veggies

Paleo Diet During Pregnancy:

Coming to an important question- is there a paleo diet pregnant women can follow? Are there any changes to the paleo diet during pregnancy? The answer is no, not unless your doctor feels your intake of a certain food item should increase.

A paleo diet in pregnancy should ensure the pregnant woman does not miss out on essential nutrients due to restricting or avoiding certain food items. One can always find alternate sources but the key here is to take professional help in identifying those sources. One must ensure they don’t eat too much of any particular food or food groups during pregnancy, to ensure a well-rounded diet.

Benefits of Paleo Diet During Pregnancy:

Were you on the paleo diet before getting pregnant? If so, continuing this paleo diet during pregnancy can be advantageous to you in a number of ways. Some of the benefits of a paleo diet during pregnancy are:

  1.  Reduced consumption of grains will reduce your glycemic index thus making a paleo diet during pregnancy a good option for those suffering from or at the risk of gestational diabetes.
  2.  It encourages you to eat more fruits and vegetables that are a natural source of many essential nutrients, thus making the paleo diet during pregnancy closer to nature rather than increase dependency on supplements.
  3.  Natural foods are easier to digest and are rich in fiber. A paleo diet during pregnancy can help with all constipation and digestion issues most expecting mothers face.
  4.  As the calorie intake is less without compromising on essential nutrients, a paleo diet during pregnancy can help expecting mothers to reduce the weight gain that is a part of pregnancy.
  5.  Pregnancy cravings can sometimes make you go off the charts when it comes to highly processed foods (junk, fast foods, etc). Following a paleo diet during pregnancy can help you keep those cravings under control.

Are There any Risks of Paleo During Pregnancy?

A paleo diet during pregnancy has both advantages and disadvantages. Some of the risks an expecting mother might face due to a paleo diet during pregnancy are:

  1.  A loss of essential nutrients provided by grains in addition to carbs and glucose.
  2.  Digesting red meat may be difficult owing to a reduction in physical activity as pregnancy progresses and other digestion issues that come with pregnancy.
  3.  Milk and milk products are a great source of calcium for both the expecting mother and the growing fetus. Paleo diet during pregnancy compromises this important intake.
  4.  Unprocessed meats have a risk of bacterial infection which is not safe for a pregnant woman.
  5.  A paleo diet is known for its impact on weight loss.  Sudden weight loss can increase the fatigue of a pregnant woman.
  6.  Hormonal fluctuations and imbalance are normal in pregnancy. A paleo diet during pregnancy can worsen this situation as it cuts back on many food items and also leads to an increase in cravings.

pregnant women drinking milk

Paleo Diet Modifications for Pregnant Women:

Paleo and pregnancy can go hand in hand with some minor changes. Some of the modifications you can adapt to your paleo diet during pregnancy, after consulting your nutritionist are:

  •  Reducing intake of unprocessed meats and substituting them with other lean proteins.
  •  Including milk and milk products for an easy source of calcium and other essential minerals that can be easily absorbed by the body.
  •  Including legumes for additional protein intake as well as increasing the variety of foods consumed.

A paleo diet pregnancy can be both advantageous as well as risky. Since each pregnancy is unique, how a pregnant woman reacts to a paleo diet during pregnancy also varies. It is advisable to not only consult your obstetrician but also a good nutritionist to help you come up with a well-rounded paleo diet pregnancy meal plan that does not compromise on important nutrition for both mother and baby.

A paleo diet chart for breastfeeding mothers can help you continue with the diet even after delivery. In a way, this will put your baby on a paleo diet since birth. If that is what you want, you can always follow a baby paleo diet since birth to ensure your baby gets all the essential nutrients for growth without any compromises.

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