Is It Safe To Follow Paleo Diet Healthy During Pregnancy?

Is It Safe To Follow Paleo Diet Healthy During Pregnancy?

Dieting is not just a strategy to lose weight but also to maintain it. When you are pregnant, this weight maintenance becomes a problem. The body naturally gains weight and you are unsure of how much weight to lose in pregnancy.

It is essential to eat healthy during pregnancy. It will nourish the baby developing in the womb and also maintains a good health of the mother. Paleo diet is not just an idea for weight loss but it also helps in healthy eating.

It is called the caveman style diet, which uses the same ingredients that our forefathers used to eat. Paleo diet is actually following the old hunter gathered ancestor diet. The major ingredients of this diet are natural, eliminating the farmed and processed foods.

Junk food is strictly prohibited in pregnancy. It is better to take the healthier alternatives of the food that have nutrients and vitamins, required for a good health. Paleo diet is healthy and safe but starting a diet during pregnancy may become tricky. It is unsafe to self-start a diet when you are expecting.

Completely eliminating the dairy and carbohydrates may cause a nutritional imbalance for the pregnant mother. It is unsafe for the baby to restrict dietary sources. That is why doctors don’t suggest dieting especially paleo diet when you are pregnant. Here is more information on the paleo diet for a pregnant woman.

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What are the possible risks for a pregnant woman?

Though there is not much data to support it paleo diet in pregnancy has so many risks involved. The research on women that eat high protein but very low or no carbohydrate diet tells that they often fall for a nutritional deficiency.

A research study tells that women with increased meat intake during pregnancy gave birth to babies that exhibit a higher systolic blood pressure later in life. Similarly, there are more studies that tell that eating red meat in high quantity and minimum carbs during pregnancy delay the growth of the fetus and sometimes causes the low birth weight of the baby.

The only positive thing about paleo diet is that you are not as such being calorie deficient. It doesn’t even ask you to leave carbohydrates completely. You can still eat fruits and vegetables and they include the starchy ones too which are usually banned in other types of diet.

Paleo diet encourages the person to eat healthy fats and meat that is obtained from grass-fed animals. Following paleo diet during pregnancy somehow reduces the risks attached with high protein intake, as you are eating selective type of meat.

You are also subjected to drink maximum water, which makes you hydrated when your body needs it. It is a dire need to do more research on paleo diet during pregnancy to know its long-term and short-term effects on pregnant woman and offspring.

If you are following paleo diet even before pregnancy, you may need to ask your doctor about your food choices during pregnancy. You cannot randomly start paleo diet right away but do it before you get pregnant may be a different scenario and your doctor may like to tell you how to maintain paleo diet during pregnancy.

What do you mean by rules of the paleo diet?

Like all diets, the paleo diet is a specialized diet, which aims to eat fewer calories than normal. The rule of the paleo diet is to mimic the food intake of early humans who used to hunt for their food requirement. In the Paleolithic era, which is nearly 2.5 million or 10,000 years ago from now, it was followed. That’s where paleo diet got its name.

There were no food markets, no food stores at that time. There was not even a concept of trading food. The dietary rules in paleo diet were only what was available from farming and the hunting. There was not any processed food option available.

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The food intake of that time had following things.

  • lean meat
  • fruits
  • fish meat
  • vegetables, that includes starchy tubers and roots
  • nuts
  • seeds

When you are following the paleo diet, you cannot eat any type of processed food in it. Following is the list, which is strictly prohibited in the paleo diet.

  • grains
  • legumes
  • white potatoes
  • refined sugar
  • salt
  • dairy products

What benefits paleo diet has for you?

For women that are not pregnant, benefits of the paleo diet are so many. For example, paleo diet has following things to offer.

  • It reduces the inflammation
  • It initiates your weight loss
  • It improves the glucose tolerance
  • It increases the appetite control

You may be thinking that paleo can also do the same wonders for pregnant women. But the thing is, these elements look positive on on-pregnant women. But for pregnant women, losing weight may not be a good idea by the paleo diet.

The American Pregnancy Association says that having a healthy weight before pregnancy will make you gain only 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. If your gained weight falls within this limit, it is absolutely normal. But your weight may fluctuate greatly if you are over or underweight at the time of pregnancy and before it.

Carbohydrate is essentially required during pregnancy because they are a good source of energy for a pregnant woman. The pregnant mother needs 6-11 servings of carbohydrates daily which helps to maintain her body’s energy requirements. Not just energy, carbohydrates are also a great source of the following.

  • fiber
  • iron
  • vitamins
  • minerals

The only possible exception where your carbohydrate intake may be different is when you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. If you suspect it, it is better to talk to your doctor about how to manage your diet in this situation for making the blood sugar in check.

Should you do the paleo diet during pregnancy?

All of the information suggests that you should not follow a paleo diet during pregnancy. There is no significant data to prove the exact disadvantages but the currently available studies tell that a nutritional deficiency is not ideal for pregnant women.

There is more research needed on the paleo diet for evaluating its risks and benefits for its users especially the expecting mothers. Healthy eating is very necessary when you are about to deliver a baby in a few months. In this case, restricting the food doesn’t sound like a good idea.

If you are pregnant and are worried about your increased weight, instead of losing it, follow a way to maintain it. Try to eat healthier foods that you can even select from the basic food groups. If you don’t know, basic food groups are the major categories of food that include the following.

  • Meat (proteins)
  • Legumes
  • grains
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • dairy, or calcium-rich nondairy alternatives
  • healthy fats

It is normal to crave for unhealthy, processed and junk food during pregnancy but the best is to avoid all these things as much as possible. The ideal diet is the one that has all of the following ingredients in it.

  • protein
  • calcium
  • carbohydrates
  • healthy fats
  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • iron
  • folic acid

You cannot leave carbohydrates at once like it is required in the paleo diet. Carbohydrates are required for maintaining the energy balance of the body. Also, they provide a number of essential dietary elements.

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Like carbohydrates, dairy is also required for a healthy pregnancy. It is a part of the diet of a pregnant woman because she needs calcium and other elements that are required to shape the baby’s bones.

If you are lactose intolerant or are allergic to milk, do not consume any dairy product. Rather you should eat calcium-rich other foods such as legumes, kale, sardines with bones, broccoli, and dark leafy greens to fulfill your calcium requirements. You can also take calcium supplements after consulting the doctor.



The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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