Pregnancy & The GAPS Diet
The GAPS nutritional protocol is not for the faint of heart. If you have been introduced to this gut healing protocol or have gone through it yourself, you know this to be true. I am upfront and honest with every client on this topic. Yes, it takes time in the kitchen (lots and lots of time- back to our roots of how cooking should be!), it takes commitment, it takes perseverance and it also takes a lot of support (this is where a great GAPS practitioner comes in)!
Now let’s look at the GAPS protocol in terms of pregnancy. It can look even scarier. But it’s not. I am one to talk because I am living proof of going through pregnancy on the GAPS diet myself!
It is recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding that you proceed with the Full GAPS diet. Why, you may ask? This is because on the Introduction diet, the body goes through a significant amount of die-off and detoxification. We do not want to be dumping toxins into baby during pregnancy, therefore we try to avoid intro during this period and exciting adventure. The introduction diet is also more restrictive in terms of your caloric intake- which we want lots of calories and lots of fats for that beautiful growing one inside of you!
If you are pregnant and concerned about doing GAPS, don't be.
From one mama to another, GAPS is the best thing you can do for you and your baby! Our microbiomes are already damaged and have resulted in gut dysbiosis, why not prepare our newborn baby to have a better microbiome than what we have been living with? Babies swallow their first mouthfuls of bacteria as they travel through the birth canal and this also becomes their gut flora. Let's prepare those babies to have a better start at life by taking care of our bodies first!
Will I get enough calories?
In all honesty, when I first found out we were pregnant I was a little bit nervous. I wondered how my body would respond to its new caloric needs being that my weight has stayed consistent for so long. Well, I have steadily been gaining weight. Even more surprisingly, more weight than I expected. I am now going on 17 weeks and have already gained a whopping 13 pounds. If that does not tell you I'm getting plenty of calories I don't know what does ha!
Will I still have cravings?
Sure! I definitely have! This is natural. Sometimes it is your body telling you what it needs. Other times, baby wants what baby wants! It is very easy to find GAPS approved recipe to fulfill your cravings. I went through periods where food sounded just not-so-good. Then I had other times where all I wanted was nothing but a GAPS burger for a week straight. Sometimes food cravings can be a way of your body telling you a specific nutrient it needs. Listen to your body.
What do I take for Nausea or Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness and nausea is usually a sign of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium can safely be taken during pregnancy from a clean and trusted source! Magnesium is the best remedy for nausea and morning sickness.
Should I take Prenatal Vitamins?
Don't do it. I had a holistic clinic convince me early in my pregnancy that I needed to take a prenatal despite the fillers and additives, which completely goes against the protocol. Why did I listen to them? I have no idea but it was very short lived. We can get everything that baby needs from food sources! Food is medicine!
What are the best foods to focus on while pregnant?
Dr. Natasha recommends focusing on nourishing foods. These include (but are not limited to) pasture raised eggs, organic grass fed meats and organ meats, plenty of healthy fats (essential for growing baby and hormones), meat stock (that's a given), and LIVER! Yes, liver is your best friend during pregnancy. It is loaded with so many nutrients and B vitamins, iron, vitamin A, folate (hence no need for those prenatals), the list goes on.
It is also essential to have plenty of fermented, probiotic-rich foods. Let's load up that microbiome with beneficial bacteria!
What about infections during pregnancy?
It is not uncommon for women to experience low-grade infections during pregnancy such as yeast infections due to natural immune suppression. Doing the Full GAPS diet can help to address the pathogenic yeast overgrowth along with other natural remedies. Speak with your practitioner if you need additional support if you develop a yeast infection- they are very knowledgeable about great natural remedies for this!
What other situations is GAPS during pregnancy beneficial for?
Gestational diabetes is a big one. Eating plenty of animal fats on the protocol will do an amazing job at naturally balancing blood sugar levels. It is also very beneficial if you have digestive issues. Many women experience constipation or an increase in this during pregnancy, the Full GAPS diet can help to remedy this. If you have food sensitivities, the protocol is the perfect solution to heal and seal the gut wall and help to restore your natural microbiome. Many find they are able to re-introduce food they were once sensitive to.
It is important to work with a GAPS practitioner when doing GAPS while pregnant to help tailor the nutritional protocol, supplements, and overall health to you and your growing baby's needs.