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Has anyone tried a Low Carb or Ketogenic diet while pregnant?

Discussion in 'Gestational Diabetes' started by Cocosilk, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. Cocosilk

    Cocosilk Gestational · Well-Known Member

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    “Repeat after me: pregnant women do not need to eat carbohydrates!”

    "Ketones in the urine of pregnant women with GD “freak doctors out,” says Nichols, because they fear the life-threatening conditions of diabetic ketoacidosis in pregnancy or starvation ketosis. “These are not the same as nutritional ketosis at all. Put the ketone stix away. Ketones in urine do not mean anything.”

    https://www.diet doctor.com/low-carb/ gestational-diabetes-pregnancy

    Could anyone convince their doctors or OBs that it eating very low to no carbs during pregnancy is the only way to treat gestational diabetes?

    Did anyone eat like this and have the pregnancy turn out fine?

    I've been recommended to eat a small amount of carbs with each meal, but I'm noticing the levels rising. It seems fewer or no carbs seems to be the only way I can avoid needing the medications. Or is medication inevitable?

    Could you prevent your morning / overnight fasting levels from rising by eating ketogenic?

    Experiences / opinions please!
     
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  2. Smallbrit

    Smallbrit Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I can only really answer the 'did your pregnancy turn out fine' question, with: yes. I ate really low carb for my second baby and he had a happy full term natural birth at 38 weeks.

    I was in the US then. My first baby was under OB care and was premature, because I'd been diagnosed with (raging!) GD too late at 28 weeks and I hadn't had time to figure out how to control blood sugars (and I was given excellent 'eat to your meter' by reducing carbs and test before/after meals advice by a nutritionist at 29 weeks!) before my daughter had other ideas and decided to join the world at 31 weeks.

    So, yes, second pregnancy, I went with midwife care only because I no longer trusted OB plans. I did follow the previous nutritionist's advice though, and I went very low carb (less than 20g a day), because that's what I had to do to 'eat to the meter' and it all turned out fine. I was on weekly midwife visits from 28 weeks though, given my history... and by week 36 everyone had got bored of everything being normal and it turned into a 'you can come out now, baby' game.

    In theory, I suppose the nutritionist recommended some carbs, as her initial plan for me was to 'start' with a max of 30g lunch/dinner, 15g breakfast and then reduce carbs per meal if the rise in blood sugars was too much. She never told me how far to reduce carbs, though....!
     
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  3. Cocosilk

    Cocosilk Gestational · Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for telling me your story! I was just reading on somewhere that some believe they test pregnant women way to late for GD waiting till 24 - 28 weeks and your first pregnancy experience would justify changing the regulations for everyone to be safer..
    Good to hear from someone personally that very low carb in pregnancy at least didn't hurt the baby. Did you have ketones showing up in your urine during that time I wonder. If you were backed by whoever was looking after you, it's probably okay.
    The diabetes counsellor at the hospital where I'm going is very much sticking to the guidelines of "your baby needs you to eat a certain amount of low GI carbs with every meal" and in the booklet with meal recommendations, they have pictures of breakfast cereals that I know if I ate more of in my first 2 weeks, I would have been put straight on meds already. Not discounting the fact that it might still head that way but if there is a way to do it with diet without endangering the baby, it makes sense to try that first.

    I'm 31 weeks today. I had a dream the other night that I gave birth prematurely but that the baby came out fully developed with no complications, and no c-section! I was so elated, but then I woke up.. I imagine the reality would be quite different if baby decided to come now like your daughter did.
     
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  4. Smallbrit

    Smallbrit Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Good luck with everything!

    One very funny thing was that around week 32 at checkup, the midwife told me I could probably relax the control I was having as I'd only put on 10 lbs. So I could "have a banana" if I wanted and maybe some milk. So... I ate my banana, drank some milk, and the next week saw a different midwife who shouted at me that I'd lost my mind and what on earth was I doing adding a banana: "Do you want a big baby and complications?!?"

    So it is very much individual healthcare provider preference on how what track to take.

    My current type 2 diabetes nurse also just recommended that I eat a banana for breakfast instead of smoked salmon and eggs... I almost shouted at her too for that....:)
     
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  5. Jim Lahey

    Jim Lahey I reversed my Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    No idea and I’m definitely not offering any advice on pregnancy, but it strikes me that if pregnant women needed carbohydrate any more than anyone else then the human race would probably have died out a long time ago when we ran out of Weetabix.

    There’s nothing at all unnatural about low carbohydrate eating so I don’t see why it would necessarily pose a problem in pregnancy just so long as the diet is properly formulated and nutrient dense.
     
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  6. hazelzac

    hazelzac Prediabetes · Well-Known Member

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    I had 2 gd pregnancies I ate recommended amount of carbs and I was on insulin during first and insulin + metformin during 2 nd pregnancy. If there is only 1 percent chance of having complications I wouldn’t take any sort of risk on my baby. Carbohydrates are essential part of nutrition you don’t need carbs but the baby do . I will strongly suggest you to follow your health care provider because your care is their responsibility and they are answerable for their actions but here whatever we all are suggesting you is based on our personal experience and nobody would be responsible for anything:) .
     
  7. ringi

    ringi Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    A unborn baby does not know what a mother is eating, all the bady cares about is that the mothers blood contains everything the baby needs. Hence the baby can get the carbs (glocose) it needs from the mothers blood.

    Therefore I believe there is no need for a mother to eat carbs unless her BG is too low.

    Remember that high BG is well known to lead to complications and use of insulin often does not results in ideal BG levels. Hence there is not a risk free option. Personally based on many traditional tribes eating nearly 100% (full fat) meat or fish diets, I don't consider keto in pregnancy to be an unreasonable option.

    Few doctors who surport keto in pregnancy are willing to say so, due to the legal costs/risk of the "carb lobby" deciding to make an example of them. (Consider what was done to Tim Noakes.)
     
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    #7 ringi, Mar 18, 2019 at 10:48 PM
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
  8. Cocosilk

    Cocosilk Gestational · Well-Known Member

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    Funny, I decided to have 3/4 of a small banana with a half slice of homemade sourdough rye bread this morning as an experiment. I had it after my cheesy omelette that I have most mornings and I've heard having protein first can help prevent big spikes. It seemed to work this morning. Eggs/cheese at 9am. Coffee/milk, rye bread and banana at 9:30am. 11am reading was 5.6. 11:30am it was 5.2. That's nice and low post meal. But I still wake up with 5.4 or 5.3 fasting levels every morning.
    I even fasted from around 8pm till 9am. At 1am before bed last night I was down to 4.8. Then I woke to pee at 3:45am, so I tested again and I was 5.0. 8:30am, I'd been half awake and in and out of bed from just after 7am, trying to get a bit more sleep, so not fully rested before testing, but 5.4 morning reading.

    If you did eat a small banana, or even half a banana, how would it affect your levels?
     
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  9. Cocosilk

    Cocosilk Gestational · Well-Known Member

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    It makes sense to me as well that the baby should be getting reasonable nutrition from meat/fish/dairy and vegetables in the mother's diet. I'm not over my carb addiction yet though so after one day of "keto" eating, I went back to half a slice of sour dough rye and a small bit of fruit with a coffee half an hour after my cheesy omelette. I don't feel so deprived that way and still had a good 5.6 post meal reading.

    The only other problem I have with keto is that my cholesterol, both good and bad, are a bit higher than they need to be. So I really need to reduce my fat intake too because I've always eaten full fat everything, lard from the bottom of the pork roast pan, cream in my coffee, full cream milk and yoghurt. I've never skimped. I also eat enough good fats by habit to have HDL -C 3.1 mmol at least reading (over 1.2 mmol they say is good.) . But with my LDL - C being 4.0 (instead of under 3.0) I have to focus on lowering carbs and not increasing the fats :p .

    Then it's a matter of how to satisfy my hunger if I am eating low carbs but not high fat, just more protein and more vegetables. Being pregnant, I do not always feel satisfied after some meals. But it is just getting over the carb addiction and snacking habit. It's not easy to ignore cravings, especially while pregnant.
     
  10. Cocosilk

    Cocosilk Gestational · Well-Known Member

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    Ultimately I will follow what my health care providers suggest, it's just that my private OB was more blasé about me just controlling it with diet because my morning fast readings in the first week post diagnosis were not often over the mark. This week they are slightly higher, but my post meals and much lower because I have worked out what to eat so as not to get big spikes. But I'm not eating a whole lot of carbs to keep the levels like that. I think some would have been put on Metformin already and that's why the diabetes counsellor at the hospital seemed surprised that I am still allowed to control it with diet if my fasting levels are still slightly elevated.
    Anyway, I have another appointment next week, and I'll be 32 weeks then. My OB may review things. The cut offs are fairly strict in Australia now with fasting needing to be below 5.1 mmol / L and 2 hour post meals staying under 6.7. But I guess there is a reason for it.

    How did you find the different between using insulin vs Metformin? Did you have any side effects? Were your fasting levels a problem or was it after meal levels as well?
     
  11. DCUKMod

    DCUKMod I reversed my Type 2 · Master
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    On a point of detail ringi, it is noteworthy that elevated blood sugars in pregnancy increase the chances of complications in the pregnancy, and/or for the baby. It is not a certainty.

    We regularly see posts from pregnant women concerned about their blood glucose levels at conception and during pregnancy, for whatever reason, but thankfully most of those go onto happy healthy outcomes.

    I certainly don't post this to encourage anyone to be fast and loose with the glucose control, surrounding conception/pregnancy. Obviously it is an important time to really concentrate on keeping on-track, but life, and our bodies can be fickle sometimes.
     
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  12. Cocosilk

    Cocosilk Gestational · Well-Known Member

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    Ultimately I will follow what my health care providers suggest, it's just that my private OB was more blasé about me just controlling it with diet because my morning fast readings in the first week post diagnosis were not often over the mark. This week they are slightly higher, but my post meals and much lower because I have worked out what to eat so as not to get big spikes. But I'm not eating a whole lot of carbs to keep the levels like that. I think some would have been put on Metformin already and that's why the diabetes counsellor at the hospital seemed surprised that I am still allowed to control it with diet if my fasting levels are still slightly elevated.
    Anyway, I have another appointment next week, and I'll be 32 weeks then. My OB may review things. The cut offs are fairly strict in Australia now with fasting needing to be below 5.1 mmol / L and 2 hour post meals staying under 6.7. But I guess there is a reason for it.

    How did you find the different between using insulin vs Metformin? Did you have any side effects? Were your fasting levels a problem or was it after meal levels as well?
     
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  13. hazelzac

    hazelzac Prediabetes · Well-Known Member

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    I live in Sydney ️ and yes in Australia rules are very strict regarding gd pregnancy. Try milo in supper or boiled eggs .There is a very helpful Australian group for gd moms on Facebook I can send you the link if you want.
     
  14. hazelzac

    hazelzac Prediabetes · Well-Known Member

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    My fasting levels never drop during my last pregnancy metformin helped me a lot as my weight was stable with metformin I was on more than 100 units of insulin (protaphane) as my fasting levels were always high and in gd pregnancy if your levels are increasing it means your placenta is working fine.
    Gd is entirely different from t1 or t2 or prediabetes as your levels depends on pregnancy hormones .
     
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  15. Cocosilk

    Cocosilk Gestational · Well-Known Member

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    Did your prediabetes happen very long after your GD in pregnancy? I'm reading that the higher fasting level is sometimes an indication that we are more likely to go on to T2.

    I know the placental and pregnancy hormones do affect us in pregnancy though. I found out recently that an aunt of mine who is now 84 also had GD in her second pregnancy back in the 1950s or 1960s. She's still eating muesli for breakfast now at her age so it didn't turn into T2 for her, but I don't know if she was eating quite a many biscuits as I have over my lifetime :p
     
  16. Cocosilk

    Cocosilk Gestational · Well-Known Member

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    I think I tried hot cocoa one night. I've also tried nuts and coconut oil. Last week after almond meal mixed into coconut oil I woke with 4.8 fasting. This week I have been trying not to eat for 10 - 12 hours each night to see if that does anything. But it probably just stimulates the liver to release more glucose during the night.
     
  17. hazelzac

    hazelzac Prediabetes · Well-Known Member

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    Try to check exactly after 8 hours and have your morning coffee at that time.Have your dinner before 8 supper at 10 (non carby 2 boiled eggs) check your fasting at sharp 6am
     
  18. Cocosilk

    Cocosilk Gestational · Well-Known Member

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    I happened to be up at 5am to pee this morning so I measured and I got 5.4. I went back to bed until around 8am and measured again and it was 5.5 It is creeping up no matter what I do so I called my OB and he though insulin injections are the way to go.
    So off I go to get the script.
     
  19. hazelzac

    hazelzac Prediabetes · Well-Known Member

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    That’s due to pregnancy hormones
     
  20. busydiabeticmum

    busydiabeticmum I reversed my Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Yes, baby no.7 was ketosis pregnancy, all my other babies I ended up on high levels of insulin and no control of dgl despite following their diet... changed hospitals to luton and dunstable who follow the low carb program and I had excellent bg control and needed NO medication.
    Baby was delivered healthy and fine, was induced at 38wks but not because of bgl but because he was smaller than all my others and had "too much room", wouldn't stay head down and wouldn't stop wiggling... other than that diabetes wasn't a problem.
    Back at original hospital as l&d hospital was too far... being given a high cars diet to follow and I can see my bgl rising (pregnant with baby no.8 lol) I will be going back to low carb and stuff them and their "healthy living plate" which doesn't help... also when I tried to explain to the diabetes midwife how it went last pregnancy she was condescending saying "babies don't like the acid environment that ketosis makes." Yeah well you don't like the glucose environment your diet gives me either... last baby was fine and is now huge (not fat but very tall and we'll built) bless him which is completely different to all my other kids... hah doubt they will ever listen though.
     
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