The Truth about My Paleo Pregnancy
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I’m expecting a baby in March and we couldn’t be more excited to add one more to our family!
In the middle of all of the beautiful things about pregnancy, it’s easy to forget that it comes with some huge challenges. Having a Paleo pregnancy has always been my ideal, but I forget that the challneges still exist.
Like what to eat. (Currently craving AIP Pop Tarts with no desire to actually bake them.)
Eating Paleo has been the best thing for my body and my mental health. It has steered me away from processed foods, GMOs, sugar, and has definitely been a blessing to me. It’s safe for pregnancy and can actually increase your nutrient intake if you eat all the veggies you’re supposed to. I’ve eaten Paleo while breastfeeding too, and my son has done extremely well!
I desperately wish this could be a post on how awesome I am to stick to a strict Paleo diet during my entire pregnancy. I have been strict Paleo since 2014, and AIP since May 2016, so naturally I wasn’t initially concerned about “falling off the bandwagon.” Paleo is such a part of my life I would never have thought that I would throw it all out the window in my first trimester.
But when I started experiencing severe nausea and extreme hunger pangs and my belly never felt full, followed by antepartum depression, I knew I was going to have to try something different. Even the thought of eating meat made me want to throw up, and vegetables couldn’t stay in my stomach long enough to fill me.
I started eating anything with grain to satiate the intense hunger I was feeling. I just needed something to fill every corner of my belly for just two minutes so I could stop crying from the terrible hell I was in. I thought, well, bread expands in the stomach, so maybe, just maybe it would do the trick.
And it did. I ate hamburger buns, pretzels, rice cakes, and anything I could get my hands on that would expand in my stomach. (I avoided sugar still because sugar seemed to make it worse.)
Whoever you are, where ever you are reading this, I want you to know that this wasn’t a moment of weakness. This was a calculated plan to reduce the worst symptoms of pregnancy I’ve ever experienced. We’re not talking a little morning sickness for a few hours. We are talking about severe, 24/7 nausea that eats your SOUL for dinner. Worse than my first pregnancy, which was still bad enough I remember thinking I might die if I didn’t eat every 2 minutes.
I had a lot of allergic reaction symptoms those weeks (reinforcing my belief that the Paleo diet is the only one for me–sans pregnancy): hives, diarrhea, etc. After 3 weeks of that, I decided that wheat was definitely enemy #1 and tried to just eat gluten-free. Fast forward 3 more weeks and I started using a mineral skincare supplement that helped my nausea abate to evenings, so I was able to pull back from grain.
I just want to say to you that pregnancy is another ball game when it comes to diet. You’ll hear so many people tell you to stick it out with a strict diet, because it will be healthy for the baby, but at the end of the day, pregnant, nauseous women just need to eat. Don’t stress about what it is, just fill that belly.
Now that I’m over the worst of morning sickness (I still have nausea in the evenings), I’m back to Paleo. I’ll eventually get back to AIP, but for now this is a good place to be. Now, on depression. Antepartum depression is actually pretty common, but it’s still a horrible thing to experience. Lack of sleep, lack of desire to do anything, feeling hopeless, lonely, trapped, these are all things that I’ve experienced in the last few months. I’m open and willing to talk about it so I can get the help I need, but I definitely think that my body took a bigger hit with the sudden re-intro of all the foods I’ve avoided for years. Anyone who knows me knows that I started eating Paleo because of my anxiety/depression cocktail.
I wish I could have remained strict and had a Paleo Pregnancy, but I’m proud of myself for surviving the worst nausea I’ve ever experienced, and I want you to know that the most important thing you can do is to just take care of yourself.
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