If you are pregnant and you are interested in the question: keto diet and pregnancy. You will find a lot of useful information on this topic, as well as tips, advice, opinions, and answers to questions about pregnancy, proper nutrition and diets.
When talking about pregnancy, the first information you receive is that any diet is forbidden during pregnancy. You are instructed to eat a healthy and balanced diet, but you are not advised to follow a specific diet.
So, pregnancy is undoubtedly the most controversial aspect of the ketogenic diet. This situation is confusing because there are no scientific studies with which to support arguments for its recommendation. The fear of endangering the health, even the life, of a baby with evidence of a high-fat diet is a limiting factor for the realization of reliable studies.
In contrast, many women are willing to recount their positive life experience of eating a ketogenic diet, even when they were pregnant.
And although few, obstetricians and gynecologists who are not afraid of the ketogenic diet are joining in.
But without a doubt, the opinion of your family doctor or gynecologist will be the most important ones to listen to during your pregnancy.
WHAT IS THE KETOGENIC DIET?
The ketogenic diet is a dietary program that consists of suppressing carbohydrates, such as cereals, breads, potatoes, carrots, fruits, legumes, while increasing the consumption of healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, egg yolk. Protein intake should be moderate and you get it with sardines and blue fish, tuna, salmon and organic meat.
Our body needs macro nutrients, glucose obtained through carbohydrates is the main source of energy for our body. By restricting your intake you force your body to achieve the required energy from fats, not only from fats from food but also from the fat stored in your body, which helps you lose weight; in addition to giving clarity to your mind and improve physical performance without detriment to health and without starvation.
The recommended macronutrient ratio on the ketogenic or keto diet is 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein and 5 percent carbohydrate, although some variations allow up to 15 percent carbohydrate intake.
The aim of this diet is to get your body into ketosis, a metabolic state in which you take energy from fat, thanks to ketone bodies.
HOW DO WE GET INTO THAT METABOLIC STATE CALLED KETOSIS?
There are two ways to get into ketosis:
- Prolonged fasting for one or several days (not recommended method, at least not for a long time).
- Restricting the consumption of carbohydrates (ketogenic).
With the ketogenic diet you force your body to catabolize fats to obtain the necessary energy. That is, once consumed glycogen stored in the liver and muscles as fuel (this in one day) the body seeks a new source, the fats you have stored in adipose tissue and for this to happen ketone bodies are formed.
This metabolic process translates into benefits for your health, including fertility.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A KETOGENIC DIET?
The ketogenic diet, also known as keto diet, promotes weight loss, especially in obese people, controls blood glucose, improves body energy and helps you in mental concentration; it also gives you benefits in controlling cholesterol, high blood pressure and other diseases such as epilepsy, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and hormonal imbalances.
However, there are no uniform criteria as to the benefits of the ketogenic diet during pregnancy. For some doctors the answer is a resounding no, for others it is recommended as it may help prevent pregnancy problems related to high blood pressure and obesity.
The ketogenic diet is highly controversial when it comes to following it during pregnancy. This may be due to the presence of ketones in a woman’s urine, as they can be mistaken for symptoms of life-threatening diseases such as diabetic ketoacidosis or starvation ketosis during pregnancy.
Regarding this, I repeat, there are no scientific studies, due to the ethical implications and risk for mother and child, that certify how harmful or not this way of feeding could be.
However, observational studies and case studies are beginning to be done more frequently, and more and more doctors are becoming interested in this program and its potential benefits to the pregnant woman and her baby.
A ketogenic diet can help you if you have infertility problems. Dr. Michael Fox, a fertility specialist at the Jacsonville Center for Reproductive Medicine clinic in the United States, has 17 years of experience recommending nutritional programs based on the ketogenic diet to his patients.
KETOGENIC DIET AND SOP
Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is a hormonal imbalance in women of childbearing age that can affect the menstrual cycle, cause ovarian cysts, difficulty getting pregnant, including other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is more common in obese women and those with a family history of PCOS.
While there is no cure for this syndrome, diet and exercise can help you manage your symptoms.
The ketogenic or keto diet is especially effective for the management of PCOS because it helps to control blood insulin levels reliably and consistently.
In 2005, a small study was conducted with 11 women who had polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS. These women followed a ketogenic diet for six months. Five of them completed the study. These 5 women lost weight, improved their hormonal status, and showed a reduction in the amount of body hair. Two of them were able to become pregnant even though they had previous infertility problems.
Following a low-carbohydrate dietary program, such as the ketogenic or keto diet, helps reduce insulin and therefore corrects insulin resistance in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, which helps balance the hormonal system.
As a result, it allows you to ovulate regularly and have a normal menstrual cycle, while minimizing or eliminating other symptoms linked to PCOS.
THE KETOGENIC DIET AND PREGNANCY
The first thing to note is the recommendation not to follow any dietary program to lose weight in pregnant women. It is necessary that pregnant women eat in a balanced way avoiding excess sugars to avoid gaining weight inappropriately and other complications.
When you go on a diet of this type, where drastic changes occur in the body, remember that your body changes its main source of energy, glucose, for ketone and, in addition, goes through a very hard adaptation period, your pregnancy could be affected.
This adaptation stage, which can last days or weeks, is one of the reasons given by Dr. Michael Fox for starting the ketogenic diet two to three months before becoming pregnant, i.e. going through the adaptation period before pregnancy.
Following a ketogenic diet seems to be safe during pregnancy, considering the experiences of those women who have followed this diet and the opinion of fertility doctors, gynecologists and nutritionists who recommend it.
These health professionals are used to dealing with patients on a ketogenic diet during pregnancy and therefore agree on the benefits of following a ketogenic protocol during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is certainly very helpful in cases of gestational diabetes.
On the internet there are multiple blogs that show opinions of women who continued their ketogenic food program throughout pregnancy and even during breastfeeding, and claim not to have felt discomfort, on the contrary, point out the great benefits of this diet that for many includes getting pregnant after several losses.
However, I clarify that there are no scientific studies on the subject that support these opinions, so there is a lack of verified knowledge about it.
It is best to exercise caution and practice moderate carbohydrate restriction during pregnancy and breastfeeding, even if you are a follower of this program and have gained significant health benefits.
In this aspect, without a doubt, we reiterate that you will receive the best advice from your family doctor and gynaecologist, as he or she knows your case best.
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