Ketosis and Pregnancy

I recently received the following question:

PLEASE help me shed some light on this topic! There does not seem to be reliable evidence anywhere.  I have been paleo for about four months and have successfully used the paleo eating plan to shed some extra weight. I am currently six weeks pregnant and concerned because I am in ketosis. I started monitoring with ketosis before I found out I was pregnant and have been in ketosis more often than not in the past few months.  I know our paleolithic ancestors were surely in ketosis during pregnancy and the high fat/protein, no carb diet of the Inuits didn’t change due to pregnancy. Is there any information you know of that says whether or not ketosis is harmful during pregnancy?  Do you know of anyone who has gone though pregnancy in ketosis regularly and to what end?  Although I have more weight to lose, I’m not purposely staying in ketosis to lose weight at this point. I just can’t seem to eat enough carbs to stay out of it for very long.  I’m very strict paleo as far as grains are concerned. I eat copious amounts of vegetables, moderate amounts of fruit and I don’t say no to sweet potatoes and even white potatoes.  Help!

First of all if you are not sure what ketosis is click here. In short it is when your body is running off of a moderate protein, low carb, and high fat diet as your fuel source.  To further clarify Paleo does not necessarily have to be a “low carb” diet. In the case of pregnancy and diet I feel that it is important to eat plenty of protein, good carbs, and good fats and not worry about restricting any calories as your body is under going serious change and will need lots of nutrients. This is a tough question for me to answer so I will turn it over to Robb Wolf the expert for a little more input.

I can’t really add much more than Chrissy wrote, the focus should not be on weight loss at this point, but on health. Can one navigate a healthy pregnancy while in ketosis? Yes, but there is not need to do so. Eat more yams and sweet potatoes, focus more on fruit like berries and melons. Worry about losing the weight AFTER the pregnancy, but keep in mind, you need to eat healthy to breastfeed the new little one! Make this about health, do healthy things and the weight will take care of itself.”

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10 Responses to Ketosis and Pregnancy

  1. Thank you addressing this topic! Had the same problem find information on this. I’ve been paleo in ketosis for about 5 months and am planning on getting pregnant with my first this year. I don’t have weight to lose, but I am an avid crossfitter always striving lower body fat in efforts to increase performance. I am going to start adding more fruit and sweet potatoes now so there is no stress to my body once I am pregnant. Does that sound like a good plan?

    Thank you for the great advice!

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  3. Grok says:

    EAT! Eat whatever fruit you like, as much as you want, whenever you want. This is no time to think about low-carb. Paleo people didn’t have a choice. You do.

  4. Thanks guys! Definitely don’t have a problem eating when I’m hungry! : )

  5. Dana says:

    FYI, when you are pregnant, your baby is NOT fed off your fat stores. He or she is fed only by what you eat and what therefore goes into your bloodstream. So as long as you are getting the nutrients you need from your diet, your baby should be fine. Ketosis or not, makes no difference. Also, from being a low-carber and being around the LC online community, I can attest that simply being in ketosis does not mean you are necessarily losing weight, not even bodyfat. Looking to the traditional Inuit as an example, I just wouldn’t worry about it one way or the other. The key questions are (1) is the baby growing at a proper rate and (2) will your OB have a snit fit if they find out you’re throwing ketones. And of course (3) are you getting the nutrients you need. If you can answer those questions to your satisfaction you’ll likely be fine.

  6. Dana says:

    Also keep in mind that what makes a baby huge during the pregnancy of a woman with gestational diabetes is being exposed to all that extra glucose. Too much sugar in the system makes the baby too big. Don’t eat carbs just to eat carbs. Eat them because they’ve got some nutrition attached to them that you need.

  7. Eschina says:

    Ten years ago, I have found out I had polycystic ovarian disease. No doctor at the time told me that I am resistant to insulin. About a couple of years ago my health started getting even worse. Last year, I read online that if you have PCOS, then you are already insulin resistant. Had no clue. Recently, my endocrinologist diagnosed me with with “tiny” pituitary tumor that is “too small to do anything.” This tumor was discovered because I felt pregnant when doctor told me I am not. It turned out I was producing breast milk, which is influenced by the tumor. I am also autoimmune positive but can’t figure out the autoimmune. My energy increased when I stopped eating carbs. My body is totally rejecting carbohydrates in all sense! I realized my infertility cure is to eat a ketogenic diet. Also, my boyfriend wants me to produce naturally. I am hoping someone would say a ketogenic diet is safe for pregnancy, because I could die from autoimmune or any other complications if I eat carbohydrate while pregnant for sure!

  8. Bronwyn says:

    In my pre paleo days I was alot bigger than I am now. I got pregnant easily, but then was hit with the severe form of pregnancy sickness (hyperemisis gravidium) I found it hard enough to drink water let alone eat. The only things I could stomach were strawberry milk and salt& vinegar chips (yuk!) and very little of that. Anything that went in came out within minutes. I was hospitalised several times for rehydration. by the end of the pregnancy I had lost 10kg(22pounds)! However I had a NVB, delivering a 9pound5ounce big healthy boy, with an apgar of 10 from the moment he came out! My child got very little from my eating, but he had to be getting it from somewhere in my body. Ketotic pregnancys can produce healthy babies!

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