Paleo Diet During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?
It is important for a pregnant woman to consume a healthy diet to take care of her health and also the baby inside her womb. If you are expecting, you must be aware that a healthy diet plan provides all the essential nutrients to give you energy, to bring about proper foetal development, and prepare your body for labour and childbirth. Many women might even consider following a certain diet, such as the Paleo diet, which is believed to be beneficial during pregnancy. But, is that really so? Read on to find out!
What Is Paleo Diet?
Paleo diet or Caveman’s diet stresses on the food that our ancestors and forefathers used to eat. The ingredients of this diet comprise everything that is natural. It is free from anything that has been grown in the farms or processed.
Can You Try Paleo Diet During Pregnancy?
Paleo is a very healthy diet to follow during pregnancy as it stresses on the intake of protein and no grains. It also includes the consumption of natural oils like olive oil and omega–3 fatty acids that are required to keep the mother’s as well as the unborn baby’s nervous systems healthy.
Iron is essential during pregnancy since anaemia is a major and common issue among pregnant women. It also aids in the development of muscles, which is very crucial during delivery. A pregnant woman can get enough iron by consuming meat prescribed in the Paleo diet.
The diet also prescribes fruits and vegetables, which are essential to prevent gestational diabetes. Moreover, it doesn’t include unhealthy foods, such as pizzas, burgers, etc., which makes it beneficial for pregnant women.
Benefits of Paleo Diet During Pregnancy
Paleo diet, with a few modifications here and there, is believed to be a very healthy diet during the pre-natal stage of pregnancy. Some of these benefits are listed below:
- The diet includes several vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are necessary for a healthy pregnancy.
- Paleo diet increases your chances of conceiving by decreasing the homocysteine levels in the blood.
- The Omega-3 fatty acids that are present in the diet act therapeutically during the ante-natal stage. They aid the development of the foetus’ brain and eyes. They also help prevent pre-natal and post-natal depression.
- The diet helps prevent anaemia during pregnancy due to the presence of a significant amount of iron in it. Moreover, it prohibits the intake of grains which contain phytates and do not allow the absorption of iron, calcium and zinc.
- The diet has a low-glycemic index which keeps the blood sugar levels balanced. This prevents pregnant women from developing gestational diabetes.
- Paleo diet restricts the intake of processed and fast foods, which are not good both for the mother, and the unborn baby.
- The chances of suffering from bloating and acidity, which are two common problems to deal with during pregnancy, are reduced with this diet.
Pregnant women are supposed to eat a variety of healthy foods. However, the Paleo diet restricts the intake of dairy and grains. Therefore, there are some risks involved with this diet during pregnancy. Let’s take a look at them.
Are There Any Risks of Going Paleo During Pregnancy?
Here are some risks of following the Paleo diet during pregnancy:
- Women on the Paleo diet during pregnancy and those, who tend to increase their intake of fish and meat at the end of their pregnancies, give birth to babies who may suffer from higher systolic hypertension later in their lives.
- It has been observed that pregnant women who are into the Paleo diet, which prescribes more red meat and less of carbohydrates, are said to give birth to babies with low birth weight and poor growth.
How to Eat Paleo in Pregnancy?
Paleo diet plan for pregnancy can be followed with some modifications. Women have an aversion to some foods during pregnancy, especially meat or fish, which are the best sources of protein. They can, however, include eggs, nuts, and legumes for protein, instead of meat or fish.
Many women suffer from nausea during early pregnancy, and they can tolerate only the foods with starchy carbohydrates. However, it is advisable to choose safe starchy carbohydrates which are low on phytates, like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, plantains, and tapioca.
Including smoothies made of almond milk, coconut milk, and cashew nut milk blended with fruits can help pregnant women gain additional nutrients.
Continue reading for some more modifications you can include in your Paleo diet during pregnancy.
Paleo Diet Modifications for Pregnant Women
As mentioned earlier, the Paleo diet can be beneficial during pregnancy. However, you need to make a few modifications to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Be sure you discuss these modifications with your doctor before implementing them.
- Include more carbohydrates and decrease the number of proteins in your diet since too much protein in your diet can cause the baby to have a low birth weight.
- Eat healthy carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, berries and different kinds of root vegetables.
- You can include a prescribed multi-vitamin supplement in your diet. Speak to your doctor about it and help him/her gauge the requirement to meet the vitamins or minerals lacking in your Paleo diet.
- Since dairy is not recommended in the Paleo diet, you can drink almond milk.
The Paleo diet may take some time for people to adjust to it, given the fact that it restricts grains and dairy products. However, it is one of the healthiest diets to follow during pregnancy. Discuss it with your doctor and incorporate some modifications to ensure it suits your health requirements.