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Low carb diet in pregnancy

(33 Posts)
RTchoke Fri 14-Sep-12 20:09:12

Six months ago I cut down on carbs drastically. I now only have carbs in my breakfast porridge and in fruit and veg I might eat later in the day. I never eat bread, cereals, rice, pasta or potatoes. I have got down to a size 10 and feel great.

I am now 5 weeks pregnant. I would like to carry on eating low carb as not only does it stop me putting on loads of lbs but I feel better in myself without carbs weighing me down.

Do you think it is safe to low carb in pregnancy (remember I have the porridge and veg so I am not carb free).

Orenishii Fri 14-Sep-12 20:19:34

I've kind of done the same - I've had things like sweet potatoes, yams, butternut squash and tons of green carby vegetables. I've also had rice but limited it to once a week. But in terms of starchy processed or white carbs like bread, pasta and white potatoes - very rare.

In all honesty I'm glad because the rare occasions I've had some chips, it brought on the most horrendous heart burn (I reckon it's all those carbs turning into sugars!).

I've not felt hungry, I amped up the quality of protein and fats, and didn't do it as as strict no-no rule - just kinda worked out that way, and worked out well. We don't need processed carbs, even people think you're bonkers when you say that.

theTramp Fri 14-Sep-12 22:00:34

I wish I could do that. The only food I seem to be able to eat that doesn't make me feel sick has been potato and rice so I have been carbing like mad for the last 10 weeks. Salad and vegetables, my usual staple diet just make me feel sick.

Anyway, there's some good advice on nutrition on the NHS site. Basic rule seems to be don't try and diet, don't stress about putting on weight or not putting on weight - everyone is different and try to eat as you normally would if you can (as long as your normal diet is sensible and not crazy) but ensure you have calcium and protein. There's a book called Eating for Two which is pretty good and has lots of tasty recipes in it.

Dandelion75 Fri 14-Sep-12 22:06:31

Me too thetramp - I'm normally pretty healthy and not a massive carb eater, and my eating habits didnt change until i was about 6 weeks preg, but for the almost 5 weeks since all I have been able to eat is bread in all of its many forms (sometimes with cheese or ham, for variety!) and without it I don't know what I would have done.

If you can stick to your low carb diet then that's great, but don't force it and dont beat yourself up if you 'slip' - the important thing is you are managing to eat between vomiting and thinking about vomiting smile

BettyandDon Fri 14-Sep-12 22:06:35

I low carbed before pregnancy but my MW told me it was a no go when pregnant. I think if you are in ketosis (very low carb) then that is not good for baby as I suppose you are burning fat when during pregnancy you are laying down fat? Also puts pressure on kidneys. I'm no expert though and have sadly ballooned when eating carbs again can hardly wait to get baby out so I can quit again...

fuckityfuckfuckfuck Fri 14-Sep-12 22:11:57

I was kind of similar. I lost a shed load of weight before having my third child, and did it through low carb. BUT I wasn't on a diet as such when pregnant, wasn;t consciously doing low carb, but my eating habits had genuinely changed, so was just eating far less carbs than I was when I was overweight.
I would say though not to get too uptight about it if you find it's not working out. At 5 weeks I'm guessing you might have a couple of weeks grace before the morning sickness kicks in, and then you really will be at the mercy of your poor queasy stomach. I turned to fizzy water and apples to see me through, which then morphed into a dreadful need for scotch eggs and pot noodles.

theTramp Fri 14-Sep-12 22:12:05

Well you have good carbs and bad on a low GI diet. Squash and sweet potato good, normal pots and white bread bad. Brown rice good, basmati rice bad etc. But quite honestly in the first trimester I think whatever you can eat just eat. If you are lucky enough not to be nauseous, and I am so envious if that is the case, just enjoy eating a sensible healthy diet with a bit of every food group. And try not to pity the rest of us!

Angelico Fri 14-Sep-12 22:37:36

Eating plenty of protein and veg is good but you MUST eat carbs. Babies need carbs, just eat the good kind and don't go mad with them. Ketosis is bad news for babies - I was hospitalised overnight at 33 weeks with ketones in urine. Turned out I had gestational diabetes. Even with GD I have to eat carbs at every meal but I just eat things like wholewheat spaghetti, egg noodles, a slice of Burgen bread etc. They keep me full up and keep blood sugars stable. You might get some good food ideas on this gestational diabetes thread - a lot of it is basically good sensible eating smile

And don't be hard on yourself if all you can stomach is carbs at the start.

Secondsop Fri 14-Sep-12 22:44:06

Check with your doctor; mine said that a low carb diet was fine as the body didn't actually need them, so long as I was eating a healthy balanced diet. She said i might find I want carbs for energy but that I didn't need them for any particular nutritional reason.

Although as it turned out, the only thing I've consistently been able to stomach in pregnancy is sandwiches.

theTramp Fri 14-Sep-12 22:49:36

The body needs carbs just not lots & lots and preferably not refined. A low carb diet is a bit different to no carbs at all.

Seriously, a little of all food groups and have a read o the NHS nutritional advice if you're worried. It's pretty straightforward. Although it amuses me that it skips the first trimester. Everyone seems to agree that the first trimester and sensible eating are not fond bed fellows. Which I have personally found v reassuring.

Secondsop Fri 14-Sep-12 22:57:49

I think everyone accepts that all bets are off in the first trimester, and if you manage to eat anything approaching food then that's to be chalked up as a victory.

Badgerina Sat 15-Sep-12 07:41:14

Low carbs is fine. I know many mums who do the Paleo diet and have had super-healthy pregnancies.

It's a bit of a myth that we need carbs. White pasta, white rice, and white bread have very low nutritional value have only been eaten by humans relatively recently in our half a million year history.

The best things to eat are loads of fresh vegetables, meat, fish and healthy oils.

Orenishii Sat 15-Sep-12 08:03:12

Badgerina yes, paleo! That's what DH and I do! We even only have grass fed meat to avoid having corn. I was doing the Eating for Fertility thing pre TTCing which flips the food pyramid around:

A strong base of good quality proteins of meat and fish, then the good quality fats and vegetables, then the super narrow bit at the top for carbs. The eating for fertility guy - Chris Kressler - explained that if human evolution was an American football field, white breads, pastas and the concept of eating "carbs" in this way would be the very last 100 yard line. I've been fine - I told my MW what my diet was (diet as in - what I eat all the time, not to lose weight), she was very impressed, I've had a very healthy pregnancy and not been especially hungry.

Vegetables provide their own natural carb content so if you are eating a varied diet of protein, fats and vegetables, you're not actually on a low carb diet. There's loads of good paleo recipe books - Everyday Paleo and The Primal Blueprint are awesome!

Midgetm Sat 15-Sep-12 08:21:10

I ate like that Pre pregnancy, like many others though I was drawn like a magnet to carbs in the first trimester. I never ate bread but suddenly a sandwich was my food mecca. Making your carbs count is more important. Limiting then too much can be bad and lead to ketones which is bad for the baby so just be sensible and ensure your weight gain is slow and steady.

panicnotanymore Sat 15-Sep-12 09:20:53

Don't forget that whole grains are our best source of folic acid and other B vitamins which are vital in pregnancy. The fibre also come in very handy! I don't think it is a good idea to cut them out as dietary sources are better than supplements. I agree that refined carbs are of limited nutritional value.

DolomitesDonkey Sat 15-Sep-12 09:24:31

Yes, of course it's fine and in fact how you should eat to avoid GD. As you are clearly familiar with the concepts of low GI, you don't really need anyone telling you that you need to eat bread for the sake of your baybee. ;)

DolomitesDonkey Sat 15-Sep-12 09:28:13

Free range scrambled eggs would give you more pure B-vits. Cereals are often "fortified" with B-vits, this means they're added, so you may as well take a vitamin tablet or get the vitamins directly from the source itself.

DolomitesDonkey Sat 15-Sep-12 09:28:38

Scrambled eggs with spinach sorry!

theTramp Sat 15-Sep-12 09:33:39

Just the thought of eating eggs makes me want to ne sick.

Taking refined foods like sugar, White bread etc out of the equation for a moment - a little of all food groups is good. The issue is over eating certain things, whether that's fats, carbs, sugar or salt. And as noted elsewhere in the first trimester, when the nausea hits, eat what you can and try not to be hard on yourself.

CityDweller Sat 15-Sep-12 10:04:28

I was paleo for 5 months before getting pregnant. All went well until 6 wks pg when my entire diet made me gag as did any cooking. sad Now I just eat what I can, which is often grains. But, I've noticed I'm totally lactose intolerant now (wasn't before pg). Interestingly, I read that low-carbers were more prone to morning sickness. But i've also read of others who've kept pure paleo throughout pg.

OP, as you're not that low carb (porridge packs a lot) I think you'll be fine. There are different theories on healthy pg diet - eg the perfect health diet (paleo + safe starches) says limit protein. Weston Price says soaked grains etc When I can get my eating back on track in 2nd tri I'll try to get back to eating more paleo, but with rice and potatoes and some goat/sheep dairy.

Secondsop Sat 15-Sep-12 10:42:02

citydweller I read something slightly different about morning sickness, namely that high protein can prevent it. Unfortunately the last thing I could face in the first trimester was chicken etc!!

fotheringhay Sat 15-Sep-12 12:38:20

Agree with Badgerina and Orenishii - "It's a bit of a myth that we need carbs. White pasta, white rice, and white bread have very low nutritional value have only been eaten by humans relatively recently in our half a million year history." This also fits all my research on diet from having a bowel disease (which was fixed by the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, highly recommended!)

Apart from lots of fruit & veg, I avoided carbs during my first pregnancy and felt incredibly healthy. I think it suits some bodies more than others though. And because I wasn't having stodgy cards I didn't get constipated at all (also ate lots of dried fruit!) and had no problems with the dreaded first post-birth poo grin

fotheringhay Sat 15-Sep-12 12:39:27

(sorry there were lots of poo/bowel references in that post!)

panicnotanymore Sat 15-Sep-12 13:15:07

I'm against cutting anything out, generally, not just when pregnant. A balanced diet is important for all manner of reasons. Refined carbs though aren't necessary, if you like them they won't do you any harm in moderation, if you don't, you don't need them.

I avoid morning sickness by keeping blood sugar constant, so regular balanced meals. If I eat rubbish, like cake, I get a blood sugar spike and slump and feel very sick. If I eat something like a chicken casserole with potatoes - no spike, no slump, feel fine.

I guess the only thing that matters to any of us right now is eating the best diet possible for the baby.

theTramp Sat 15-Sep-12 14:16:27

I'm a bit confused by all the references to carbs as being White read, White rice- carbs are more than just refined carbs. Squash, sweet potato, brown rice, potato - all carbs.

I'm a vegetarian so tend to rely more heavily on carbs as a filler than meat eaters would, but honestly since week 5 my diet has gone to pot. Last night I had cheese & bean toastys which was a result because no nausea afterwards and the meal didn't feature potato. I can't wait to get back to salad with a little squash, artichoke hearts, humous and a little crumbled feta. But if I ate that today I'd feel rough as old boots for the next 12 hours. I'm way too much of a wuss to eat healthy & cope with the sickness if potato means no sickness. Shameful but true smile

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