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Old 05-17-2011, 06:02 AM   #1
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Pregnancy and Ketosis

I'd like to start out by saying that I am *not* pregnant!

However, I would like to be, someday in a more or less distant future. I am curious about something, because I keep seeing threads from members who had children and then came back to this WOE after stopping during pregnancy.

Why stop? I get the idea that some think ketosis is harmful to the baby. Is it?
I was thinking about this and I cannot see why this would be so. If our bodies evolved for millions of years eating our 'native' diet, our ancestors would have been in ketosis most of their lives. They would also have been keto-adapted (like me and other long term low carbers) and therefore would have had less risk of, say, losing the ability to produce breast milk from the shock of going into induction.

OR, is the concern that there is no research done on IF ketosis is harmful during pregnancy and people don't want to risk it?

OR, is it because people do not want to actively lose weight while pregnant, so they up the carbs?

Maybe a combination of all three! If you had a child while LC'ing, what did you do? How did it work for you?

Someday I would like to have kids. BUT I also want to eat this way for LIFE. And, being a diabetic, I eat this way to keep my blood sugars controlled (and, let me tell you, it WORKS!!). So here is my dilemma....NOT eating LC will ALSO harm my (theoretical) baby (high blood sugars) and myself (and pregnancy alone makes blood sugars harder to control). So I am curious as to why and IF it is necessary to increase carbs during pregnancy.

Thank you for your time and answers Congrats to all the mommies out there!
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:34 AM   #2
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Hey, Stardust.....I'm one of those who did stop LC'ing during my last pregnancy, but it was not any of the reasons that you listed. It was simply because I get sick and nauseous during the first 4-5 months and the thought of eating many of the LC foods made me .

I was all gung ho to have an LC pregnancy, and I regret that I didn't. But sometimes, with that kind of nauseousness, there's not a whole lot you can do. Now, I know that I ate much better this time around because I knew many things from LC'ing that I didn't know before. One thing I always crave while pregnant is sandwiches, and I should have been using a good sprouted LC bread, but I didn't.

Anyway, I believe it would be perfectly healthy to stay LC while pregnant. I see no reason not to, and not gaining 40-50 lbs. in nine months would be a great bonus!
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:36 AM   #3
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I agree...LC all you can.

Those WONDERFUL fats are so good for your baby! Fat fat and fat for brain developement.

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Old 05-17-2011, 06:43 AM   #4
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Not sure why but Dr Atkins said pregnant women shouldn't do the weight loss part of low carb, but can do the maintenance part. Not sure i understand because I know 2 people that have eaten low carb and lost weight during pregnancy, however they were pretty heavy to begin with and both their doctors approved of the loss and the babies were/are healthy!
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:06 AM   #5
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Here's an interesting thread. But you have to remember things are different with an insulin dependent diabetic than someone who isn't during pregnancy-you just don't know what will happen or how your body will respond. Very interesting topic.

Dangers of ketosis durning pregnancy.
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:34 AM   #6
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Wow, great link Lisabinil! This is a fascinating discussion....!
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:38 AM   #7
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Here's an interesting thread. But you have to remember things are different with an insulin dependent diabetic than someone who isn't during pregnancy-you just don't know what will happen or how your body will respond. Very interesting topic.

Dangers of ketosis durning pregnancy.
Well, I don't use insulin, the use of which complicates the issue. I feel lucky that I don't!..Diabetes is complicated enough without it...but even so, I know that pregnancy makes blood sugars more unstable.

A friend of mine had gestational diabetes, and had it pretty well controlled during her 2nd pregnancy. Funny enough, she knew she was going to go into labor on the day she did, because her blood sugars were unexplainably high! I guess that was the body's way of prepping for labor!
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:59 AM   #8
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The reason I did not stay in ketosis while pregnant is that I could not find any research indicating whether or not it was safe. I had GD and I ate low-carb - just enough carbs to stay right on the ketosis "line" but not be in ketosis.

That being said, if I had to guess, ketosis probably *is* safe while PG. But not too many people are going to go against what their OB says, and my OB said no (and she supports low-carb in general).
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:38 AM   #9
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I'm curious as well. We plan on TTC next year sometime. Another thread said your milk can dry up from carbs being too low? That scares me. Not sure what I will do when the time comes.
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Old 05-17-2011, 03:33 PM   #10
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I agree with Clutterbug. With my pregnancies I was unable to eat low carb due to nausea, and also lack of knowledge. It was so bad that I couldn't cook meat of any kind, the odor sent me into a ball. BUT I wish I had eaten better, though I tried to make wiser choices I didn't know then what I know now. I did not gain crazy weight with the babies, but I did end the pregnancies higher than when I started. I would do things much, much differently if I had it to do over. Like Stardust suggested, I would eat at a maintenance level and actively seek the best nutritional bang for my buck. I think if I had been able to do this I wouldn't have had the issues I had when I re-inducted afterward. As Carlini mentioned, I had lactation cease after I did that when my babies were just 4 and 8 months old.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:01 PM   #11
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There's a new study out somewhere regarding the safety of ketosis and pregnancy. I'll have to dig for it.....

What do you think our ancestors ate prior to the grain movement? Ketogenic pregnancies have more history than non....we just have very little data.
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:49 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CARLINI View Post
I'm curious as well. We plan on TTC next year sometime. Another thread said your milk can dry up from carbs being too low? That scares me. Not sure what I will do when the time comes.
I DO have experience with nursing while on Atkins and doing Induction. I started Induction once with a 10 month old baby and noticed no difference in her nursing or my milk supply. After my next baby I started much sooner. About 3 months after his birth, and once again, noticed no milk supply problems at all. I think some people may have problems with this, but others don't. My suggestion would be to wait until the baby is 3 months at a minimum or eating solid foods at around 9 months and work your way down the carb ladder so you don't do anything drastic. But it can be done. As a matter of fact, since I've literally been breastfeeding now for 8.5 years straight, all the weight I've lost on Atkins has been done while breastfeeding.
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Old 05-17-2011, 11:50 PM   #13
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There's a new study out somewhere regarding the safety of ketosis and pregnancy. I'll have to dig for it.....

What do you think our ancestors ate prior to the grain movement? Ketogenic pregnancies have more history than non....we just have very little data.
Eskimoes had ketogenic pregnancies for thousands of years until very recently in history.
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Old 05-18-2011, 01:50 AM   #14
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Stardustshadow,

Your post's title nearly made me involuntarily shoot my morning coffee out of my nostrils....until I read your disclaimer!!!!!!!!!!!! Made me wonder if you had a torrid love affair while in Japan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 05-18-2011, 02:23 AM   #15
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Stardustshadow,

Your post's title nearly made me involuntarily shoot my morning coffee out of my nostrils....until I read your disclaimer!!!!!!!!!!!! Made me wonder if you had a torrid love affair while in Japan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Best,

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*LOL*!!! Too funny!
No torrid love affair in Japan (though I attracted plenty of attention-there were not many western ladies about post tsunami, so I was 'exotic')...I think DH would be *very* upset LOL!

Sorry if you got coffee on anything
Thanks for the laugh!
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:24 AM   #16
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What do you think our ancestors ate prior to the grain movement? Ketogenic pregnancies have more history than non....we just have very little data.
Exactly what I was thinking!!
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:31 AM   #17
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Thanks!!!!

Yeah, I don't think your DH would be too keen on your "love child" from Japan!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 05-18-2011, 05:37 AM   #18
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I'm curious as well. We plan on TTC next year sometime. Another thread said your milk can dry up from carbs being too low? That scares me. Not sure what I will do when the time comes.
It can for some people, however 3 of the 4 kids I've nursed up while low carbing. I'd sometimes drink Mother's Milk tea and have to watch so my calories didn't get too low, but I always had nice, round babies and it did help the weight to come off. I did LC partially while pregnant but never stuck with it because it was pretty much an excuse to have "goodies" then
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Old 05-18-2011, 03:04 PM   #19
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I had 4 kids total and 2 of my pregnancies were what I call low carb. I don't count carbs so I cannot say what levels I maintained. If I had known about low carb with my first 2 pregnancies I would have done them then as well!! I did start to low carb while nursing my second though. 2 things I have learned while low carbing with pregnancy.

1. My OB/GYN told me that if I were to find myself in ketosis he wanted me to drink more water. Funny because I don't check for ketones!! But when I was in the office for a routine visit the nurses kept asking if I was OK or not. I was getting worried. When I finally asked what the matter was, they told me I had ketones in my urine. I told them that it was noted in my chart that it might happen and it was nothing to worry about since my doctor knew about it. It is important to let your doc know what you are doing.
2. When I went in for my 3rd c-section (only my first low carb pregnancy) the anesthesiologist who was at my head for the procedure, was saying how good my "insides" looked. LOL He was quite impressed with my lack of fat in the abdominal area. And for every doctor appointment I went to when pregnant with my 4th child the doctor's could not believe I had 3 kids at home. I looked really healthy and good!!!!

I totally recommend doing low carb while pregnant!!!
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:17 PM   #20
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I had 4 kids total and 2 of my pregnancies were what I call low carb. I don't count carbs so I cannot say what levels I maintained. If I had known about low carb with my first 2 pregnancies I would have done them then as well!! I did start to low carb while nursing my second though. 2 things I have learned while low carbing with pregnancy.

1. My OB/GYN told me that if I were to find myself in ketosis he wanted me to drink more water. Funny because I don't check for ketones!! But when I was in the office for a routine visit the nurses kept asking if I was OK or not. I was getting worried. When I finally asked what the matter was, they told me I had ketones in my urine. I told them that it was noted in my chart that it might happen and it was nothing to worry about since my doctor knew about it. It is important to let your doc know what you are doing.
2. When I went in for my 3rd c-section (only my first low carb pregnancy) the anesthesiologist who was at my head for the procedure, was saying how good my "insides" looked. LOL He was quite impressed with my lack of fat in the abdominal area. And for every doctor appointment I went to when pregnant with my 4th child the doctor's could not believe I had 3 kids at home. I looked really healthy and good!!!!

I totally recommend doing low carb while pregnant!!!

Very cool!! It sounds like you had some great experiences with LC while pregnant, which is very encouraging.

I only *hope* that someday, someone will remark on the lack of fat in my abdominal area You give me hope!
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Old 05-19-2011, 05:19 AM   #21
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This article may be very interesting for you to read: Hawaiian libertarian: Paleo Baby
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:53 PM   #22
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This article may be very interesting for you to read: Hawaiian libertarian: Paleo Baby
That is an amazing story! Robb Wolf even commented on it!
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:55 PM   #23
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The reason I did not stay in ketosis while pregnant is that I could not find any research indicating whether or not it was safe. I had GD and I ate low-carb - just enough carbs to stay right on the ketosis "line" but not be in ketosis.

That being said, if I had to guess, ketosis probably *is* safe while PG. But not too many people are going to go against what their OB says, and my OB said no (and she supports low-carb in general).
No way was I going to chance it! I just ate normally and upped my veggies and fruits. I only gained 10 lbs and was down 45 lbs in like two months after he was born. Plus eating LC made me sick as a dog because I couldn't handle heavy food at all.

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Old 05-26-2011, 01:07 PM   #24
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I would say you risk more to your baby by not being in ketosis. Here's my reasoning.

As Gary Taubes explains in Why We Get Fat, mothers who have high insulin and blood sugar predispose their children to in turn developing high insulin and blood sugar problems. As such the cycle of being prone to carb poisoning (let's call it what it is) is inherited and worsened in each subsequent generation. By not being in ketosis, you risk gifting your child with the lovely tendency to gain weight and get sick on a Standard American Diet. By being in ketosis, you're giving your child a clean slate. She or he will not have been exposed to sky-rocketing insulin and blood sugar levels, and may be more tolerant to carbohydrates than you are.

Ketosis was the natural state of many human populations for thousands of years. It's only recently that we've started to (erroneously) consider carbohydrates to be necessary parts of the human diet.

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Old 05-30-2011, 07:50 AM   #25
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I would say you risk more to your baby by not being in ketosis. Here's my reasoning.

As Gary Taubes explains in Why We Get Fat, mothers who have high insulin and blood sugar predispose their children to in turn developing high insulin and blood sugar problems. As such the cycle of being prone to carb poisoning (let's call it what it is) is inherited and worsened in each subsequent generation. By not being in ketosis, you risk gifting your child with the lovely tendency to gain weight and get sick on a Standard American Diet. By being in ketosis, you're giving your child a clean slate. She or he will not have been exposed to sky-rocketing insulin and blood sugar levels, and may be more tolerant to carbohydrates than you are.

Ketosis was the natural state of many human populations for thousands of years. It's only recently that we've started to (erroneously) consider carbohydrates to be necessary parts of the human diet.
There is nothing - no research, nor even a theory posited by anyone with expertise in this field - to suggest that by being in ketosis, you are helping your unborn child. Are you harming it? Possibly not - I would not presume to advise anyone.

My OB told me that studies suggest ketones are harmful to the fetal brain, due to it's unique development during this time. While it didn't sound conclusive to me, I would suggest that anyone considering ketosis while pregnant actually read the studies for themselves and consult their OB.
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:20 AM   #26
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Okay, here is my take on this:

The first trimester I was NOT doing LC. Simple reason- too nauseated to eat too much meat. I had morning sickness up through the 8th month of pregnancy, by the way. Once I got a handle on the m/s- in the 2nd trimester- I started following a modified gestational diabetic diet. I was NOT in ketosis and took great care to stay out of it. There have been studies showing that ketones DO appear in breast milk. How do we know ketones do not cross into the placenta? We don't. There isn't enough research to show either way, and I'm guessing not enough women willing to risk trying it for research. I know that I was not about to risk having those released toxins cross into my placenta. My OB was down with me doing the GD diet, but not cool with me going into ketosis.

As far as those who point to our ancestors and their ketogenic diets, which they obviously had during their pregnancies as well, I completely disagree with using that for justification. When we burn fat (today), we are releasing all kinds of toxins which we have absorbed from the environment into our bodies. Our ancestors did not worry about environmental pollution, pesticides, etc. in their foods because those toxins simply did not exist. We do not have that luxury.


When I finally pop this kid out, I plan on eating a maintenance level diet while nursing. Once I have a good, steady milk supply, I will slowly start to lower carbs, but stay out of ketosis. Once my son starts weaning and eating solids, then I will work my way back into ketosis.


No matter what we all say, Star, this is a decision that YOU will have to research for yourself. It's a matter of how comfortable YOU think you can be in ketosis while pregnant or nursing.
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:31 AM   #27
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Goodness gracious, lots (justifiably so) opinions here. Well, very interesting takes on all of it. I guess I will do some research when I am ready to take that step....but trust me, I will make an informed choice!
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:19 PM   #28
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I am almost 30 weeks pregnant and have been eating very lowcarb throughout apart from a few weeks in the first trimester when I had lots of food aversions. I feel great now on mostly fatty meat, eggs, some dairy and occasionally some plant foods. Baby is measuring perfect, all ultrasounds perfect, and best of all, I have zero pregancy discomforts such as heartburn, bachache, tiredness, excessive weight gain etc. In fact, I feel just like my old self even now in the third trimester. So, I can definitely recommend ketosis for pregnancy - it's been a breeze for me!
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Old 05-30-2011, 01:30 PM   #29
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Our expectations about infant mortality has changed. A certain percentage of babies were not suppose to survive, nor were mothers during birth. Low carb and ketogenic diets are not the same. You CAN do LC without ketosis.

Given that some babies survive birth under the worst of circumstances, I am not sure anecdotal testimonials would be enough to convince me that it is "OK." The fetus will get what it needs...don't know about the mother.

I am guessing the diuretic effect of Ketosis would make me feel bad.
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Old 05-30-2011, 02:53 PM   #30
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^^exactly. ITA with Span. We can say all we want, especially while pregnant, but even so... we won't know if the babies are "okay" at least until they are born, or even years afterwards. Again, it's a personal decision, but not one you should make on someone else's word. We are all different, and so is every pregnancy.
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