I found out I had a gluten intolerance before I became pregnant with my second son. At first, I wondered if a gluten-free diet is safe during pregnancy. My nutritionist assured me that it is safe. She helped me figure out ways to maximize nutrition during my pregnancy.
Since I don’t have celiac disease, I don’t follow a strict gluten-free diet, but I do avoid gluten-containing grains including rye, wheat and barley. Celiac disease is a digestive disease. According to my doctor, celiac disease can actually be triggered for the first time during pregnancy.
Getting enough essential nutrients
My dieticians said gluten-free diets are often low on iron, calcium, zinc, fiber, Vitamin D and B vitamins. In addition to taking a prenatal vitamin, she directed me toward other whole grains that don’t contain gluten such as quinoa and brown rice. I also discovered I love buckwheat, which doesn’t contain any wheat.
In addition to grains, I ate a lot of leafy greens, beans and fish with low mercury content. I completely avoided shark, king mackerel and swordfish as well as albacore tuna, which contain higher levels of mercury.
Keeping an eye on pregnancy weight gain
Some people go on a gluten-free diet thinking they will lose weight, but that’s a myth. Giving up gluten doesn’t affect weight gain or weigh loss. Still, I needed to make sure I was gaining the appropriate amount of weight during my pregnancy. My obstetrician monitored my weight.
Getting creative in the kitchen
It’s tempting to buy the gluten-free cake, cookies and brownies, but they also contain a lot of sugar. Instead of eating sugary gluten-free desserts, I made homemade zucchini and banana breads using gluten-free baking mixes. I was careful to check labels to make sure products were labeled “gluten free.” For example, I only bought oatmeal specifically labeled gluten-free. Some foods come into contact with foods that contain gluten. Since I just have a gluten intolerance, I don’t have to be quite as worried about cross-contamination.
My doctor said a gluten-free diet is safe during pregnancy. At the same time, it’s important to get enough fiber and nutrients from quality food sources. I was able to stay on a gluten-free diet while also adhering to the Brewer Diet during pregnancy. The Brewer diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, lean meats, beans and nuts which did not conflict with my gluten-free pregnancy diet.
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