So today I’m going to tackle a very touch subject: “Is Keto safe while pregnant”? I spoke about Keto & breastfeeding so I think this goes hand in hand with pregnancy. Let me start off by saying that I have three children myself and If I had known about the Keto lifestyle then I would have adapted long before. I believe this way of life is optimizing your body and that is why I have heard many success stories of becoming pregnant after practicing keto. These are success stories because prior to Keto they were unable to conceive. So lets get straight into this controversial subject, shall we.
Surprisingly the only studies that have been done on this debatable topic were done in rats. I personally have dismissed this data, not just because it was tested with rats and not humans but in short because it wasn’t tested properly. I know, I know, who am I to think I know more than the “professionals” but common sense in this scenario goes a long way.
Okay so these rats were fed synthetic fats and vegetable oil! What I mean by synthetic are substances like casein, vegetable shortening, cellulose, corn oil and crisco. None of these synthetic fats are anything we as humans would consume on a Keto diet or practicing a Keto lifestyle. So yes there were some adverse affects such as a larger heart and smaller brain of the baby mice that were fed these synthetic fats, trying to mimic a Ketogenic diet. In comparison though, the mice that were fed by the standard american diet also had adverse affects like the embryo was much smaller with a smaller heart and thymus but had enlarged cervical spine and thalamus.
So in my opinion and anyone with some common sense can see this study is not even relevant to whether a Keto diet is safe while pregnant.
What we know
One thing we know as fact in human women who are pregnant is that some of them end up with what is called gestational diabetes. This is when sugar levels are too high and can potentially cause a threat to both Mom and Baby. Many OBGYN’s will prescribe a low carb diet to combat this problem as it does balance your sugars.
Another fact we know is that there have been and continues to be several women that have maintained the Keto lifestyle while pregnant and have had successful stories. Many of these women report less heart burn and not as much weight gain by just eating real whole healthy foods.
Lily Nichols is just one of these women and its a bonus that she is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. She wrote a book that deserves to be mentioned called “Real Food For Pregnancy“. She explains that just eating real foods such as meats, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds, everything that grows naturally is healthy for Mom and Baby. She also wrote “Real Food for Gestational Diabetes“.
If living the Keto lifestyle isn’t eating all of these real whole unprocessed foods, you’re doing it wrong. That’s exactly what living ketogenic is, but what throws everyone off is the higher fat. My response to this everytime is that it is healthy saturated fats that our bodies actually need.
A babies heart is one of the first organs to form in utero, the heart needs fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E & K to form properly. The Keto way of eating when done right is plentiful in all of these essential vitamins. Another organ that forms right away is one of my favorites, the brain. The brain is comprised mostly of cholesterol, fat and protein, so again you can see how eating a keto diet could be beneficial.
Practice Common Sense
Like many things in life are, pregnancy is very unpredictable and many women experience sickness in the first trimester. So it is not advisable to try and force a Keto lifestyle when this happens. What is advisable is to use common sense and eat anything you need to, to try and stay healthy for baby. If that means eating saltines and rice for the first month, do it!
Never try to lose weight when your pregnant, that is just selfish and certainly not practicing common sense. If you want to try and live a Keto lifestyle while pregnant do it to be a healthier version of your self, but listen to your body.
As always, before I publish an article I do as much research as I can. While doing this I came across a woman by the name of Ashley Salvatori who ate Keto while pregnant. She reported that she did have morning sickness in her first trimester but did what she had to, to get through it. Her second trimester the Keto flu struck and after just getting over morning sickness during her first trimester she deviated a bit and carbed up (meaning ate more carbs) at night time. This helped her into her third trimester where she was successful in eating Keto. She reports having zero inflammation and advises everyone to use common sense and listen to your body.
Another woman that practiced Keto while pregnant is The Countess of Low Carb. She even believes that primarily the only reason she conceived was due to the Keto lifestyle she was living 18 months prior to her good news. You can follow her whole story on YouTube: ===>Click Here<===
Just like Ashley Salvatori explains, the Countess had to tweak her diet a bit at first to combat the morning sickness but overall had another successful story. This is only two women I have listed here but there are many more stories like these if you look.
So after all the reading and watching personal testimonials I realize there is still no hard evidence to prove Ketosis while pregnant is safe. I personally think if you want to do this for the right reasons and with the support of your Doctor you should. The one study for research in mice in my opinion is not even worth mentioning and does not contribute to proving or disproving Keto is safe while pregnant.
As always I welcome your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.