The Gluten Bigot: Gluten Free Pregnancy FAQs

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gluten Free Pregnancy FAQs

First things first - I am not a doctor, nurse, nutritionist, healthcare provider or really any sort of qualified expert on this topic. I am a gluten bigot who is currently knocked up. I've had a few questions so far in my pregnancy, and have been asked a few questions, so I thought this might be helpful for others in my boat. Just remember as you read none of this is medical advise by rather a post about my personal experience.

Can I stay on my gluten free diet?
If you are celiac or gluten intolerant you don't really have a choice. If you are GF by choice, I would highly recommend consulting with your doctor about the pro's and con's. If you are at all shaky on GF nutrition it may also be worth consulting with a nutritionist, or your doctor may refer you. Getting all your vitamins is especially important when growing another person.

I cannot stress this enough, communicate with your care provider and whoever you are referred to along the way to ensure you and baby are as healthy as possible - and always take their advise!

Did you have a hard time getting pregnant?
Somewhat of a personal question I have received, but I understand the curiosity - it was a fear I had and infertility is one of many conditions that can be caused by untreated celiac disease. Without going into significant detail as some things are better kept private, I will say we got pregnant much quicker than I expected. Also, good news for anyone who is celiac, infertility cause by celiac disease is reversible by maintaining a GF diet.

How did you prepare for pregnancy?
It started with a check-up with the doctor to ensure I was in good overall health. For a few months I focused on eating really well and maintaining an active lifestyle. Of course we 'pulled the goalie from the net.' If I wasn't already on a strict GF diet I also would have made that conversion at that point.

Can you be gluten intolerant or celiac and have a healthy and normal pregnancy?

What are extra dietary consideration when pregnant?
Just like any other pregnant lady you want to make sure you are getting your folic acid omega-3, iron, calicum and vitamin D (source) - you know all those things celiac diets tend to be short on. Low iron increase risk of anemia, calcium requirements go up for baby's bones, etc. My prenatal is definitely my safety net! I also spoke to my doctor as I avoid dairy, and he suggested having Tums - they are cheap, easy, don't taste bad, and are pure calcium. 

What prenatal vitamins are gluten free?
I have had absolutely no difficulty finding a gluten free prenatal. The first brand I had I picked up in Walgreens. I am currently taking the CVS brand. 

What if I get glutened when I'm pregnant?
Since I have been hyper sensitive of absolutely everything I eat, I actually have not been glutened at all since geting pregnant. I have no idea if this has any impact on the baby if it is a one off / low amount. In general as long as you are adhering to your diet you and your baby are not at any increased risks.  

What if I don't stay on my gluten free diet during pregnancy?
According to if you are celiac and are on a gluten containing diet you will be at an increased risk of anemia, pre-term labor, low birth weight, and stillbirth. All scary and extra incentive to adhere to your GF diet if you aren't already! I am not sure if this is true for gluten intolerants - best to consult with your doctor!

What if I crave gluten containing foods uncontrollably?
This was actually one of biggest fears - that I would be obsessed to the point of wanting to eat gluten. Luckily a) I have not craving any gluten-version-only food and b) I live in Manhattan which gives me way more options than most places. I haven't had any cravings this pregnancy which would be atypical to one of my normal cravings. Knowing the risks above, I would personally suck it up not matter how strong the craving and maybe try similar things. I also analyze my cravings as I do think they are based on your body needing a nutrient or vitamin.

Will my baby need a gluten free diet?
Consult with a doctor on this one. My husband knows from his 23&me testing he is predisposed to celiac disease, and I know I at minimum am highly intolerant. Bricklet is not getting any gluten from me, but I will consult with his pediatrician to determine when it can be introduced. I want to ensure he is exposed to it  - I personally don't believe in restricting my child's diet unless medically necessary.

Helpful Links:
My Gluten Free Pregnancy - excellent blog post

If you have questions or just want some GF pregnancy support feel free to comment below!

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