Is a paleo pregnancy safe primal diet pregnant nutrition-min

Is a Paleo Pregnancy Safe?

Many of the emails I get concern pregnancy, babies and children. It seems Paleo is becoming increasingly popular amongst those trying to conceive and expectant mothers keen to give their baby the best possible start.

I’m commonly asked if Paleo is safe during pregnancy and for breastfeeding mothers. Whilst I don’t have children and am certainly no expert, I always find these types of questions surprising, given that pregnant women have only been eating the current western diet (SAD) for about 33 generations. Of that it’s probably only the last two or three generations that our diet has “progressed” to include the vastly altered wheat most foods contained today, industrial seed oils, HFCS, soy and many of the other horrors that pass for a “balance diet” today. Shouldn’t the question be “Is it safe to eat a Western diet when pregnant”

Is a paleo pregnancy safe primal diet pregnant nutrition-min

There are so many drugs and products for pregnant women – are they really necessary given that women have been having babies for thousands of years without needing any of these? It also seems that infertility and other such problems have only increased in recent years.

It must be very difficult for a woman to take a Paleo approach to pregnancy and bringing up a Paleo baby – when so many medical professionals are resolute about conventional wisdom

I was really interested to see Chris Kresser has produced a Paleo “Healthy Baby Code” that will answer all of the questions Pregnant women – or women hoping to conceive. He’s pulled together all of the research into a complete guide with videos, MP3 recordings and PDF transcripts to explain everything about having a healthy baby

If you’ve got any tips, stories or advice about Paleo pregnancy or anything baby related, please share it here – you never know how much you might end up helping someone out!

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3 replies
  1. Pip
    Pip says:

    You are so right – the question should be ‘is a western diet safe during pregnancy?’ The fact that we have automatic testing for gestational diabetes suggests to me that dietary common practice leaves a lot to be desired…

    As a new mother, nutritional medicine student and a paleo/primal/WAPF/wholefood follower, I’d say this is definitely what we should be aspiring to pre-conception/pregnancy/breastfeeding. And it’s not only about the nutritional density of what we’re putting in our bodies, but the food/personal care products/environmental toxins that this way of life minimises, that is so important at this time in our lives.

    However, you may have noticed I said ‘aspire’. I’ve had a good diet for years, and a super clean one for the 12 months before I fell pregnant, and with all the links to nutrition and morning sickness, I felt pretty bulletproof. Then, from weeks 6-16, I had knock-you-over, 24/7, can’t keep anything down ‘morning’ sickness. (Grass fed) meat and (organic) vegetables, previously the core of my diet, were now the source of overwhelming nausea and I couldn’t stomach them.

    Devastated that at the time in my life when I wanted to be the poster girl for diet perfection, giving my unborn child all the nutrients they could ever need, all I could keep down was the odd bit of toast and vegemite. A salada here and there. Awful, nutrient empty carbs.

    (BTW I came across a great blogpost recently abut the role of magnesium in morning sickness, which I can’t find right now – definitely worth googling for, was a blogger within the paleo sphere)

    So I had to make peace with doing the best I could – and if that meant toast and vegemite, then I had organic sourdough bread and organic butter on it. Other tips I have if you are unlucky enough to find yourself in this situation – I made buckwheat pancakes in coconut oil and would freeze them, heating and eating them first thing in the morning, I’d cook white rice in bone broth and I’d mix unhulled tahini with sweet potato to get a palatable meal with a calcium hit. It was some consolation that a naturopath advised me that my stellar pre-pregnancy diet meant I had all the stores I needed to ensure my baby was getting a full supply of nutrients despite my basic diet – I would be depleted but could work on building me up when I could eat again – which is what I did)

    If you are lucky enough to eat your usual paleo-esque diet, I’d recommend the following – be aware of the different nutritional needs at different stages of pregnancy so you can adjust your food accordingly (Nina Planck’s book, while not paleo, offers a simple wholefood approach to nutrient needs across the trimesters). You may also find that you need to snack or graze while pregnant even if that’s not what you normally do (small portions of protein work best to keep nausea at bay and energy up)

    I’m now breastfeeding and eating quality high fat and protein diet with plenty of coconut oil and supplementing with fermented cod liver/butter oil. And the ‘experts’ will tell you that there’s no link between diet and breast milk. but I’d beg to differ. My daughter has suffered none of the ezcema, cradle cap, etc that many newborns suffer, and while this may be pure luck, I’d suggest that a mother’s diet that mimics that composition of the milk can’t be anything but beneficial!

    Reply
    • Suz
      Suz says:

      It’s fantastic to hear an account of a Paleo mum Pip. Do your “mum friends” ask about your diet? They must notice how healthy your daughter is and wonder what you do differently?

      Reply
  2. Emma
    Emma says:

    I’ve been suffering irregular periods all my life (no doubt caused by polycystic ovaries). Getting pregnant was never going to be easy, but for the last 3 years I hoped it might just happen, but of course it didn’t.

    In June/July time I made two significant changes in my lifestyle. I gave up wheat and started exercising more. Turns out that by the end of July, before I’d gone more fully paleo giving up sugar and all other bad stuff in August, I was pregnant.

    I’m certain this is no coincidence.

    Thank you.

    Reply

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