Carnivore Diet During Pregnancy: Everything You Need to Know

Have you been successfully following a carnivore diet for months, and now you are expecting? Is it healthy to carry on with such a lifestyle while pregnant? Or would it make your pregnancy complicated? What About a Carnivore Diet During Pregnancy? While there are testimonials of women completing pregnancies while on an all-meat diet, dietitians […]
Josh Koop
March 27, 2020

Have you been successfully following a carnivore diet for months, and now you are expecting? Is it healthy to carry on with such a lifestyle while pregnant? Or would it make your pregnancy complicated?

What About a Carnivore Diet During Pregnancy? While there are testimonials of women completing pregnancies while on an all-meat diet, dietitians won't recommend undertaking a restrictive diet while expecting. The suggestion comes from the assumption that there are not enough studies supporting the long-term positive or negative effects of this diet.

If you are pregnant and considering switching to a carnivore diet, this article will help you decide whether it’s worth trying or not. 

The lack of studies

As mentioned, there are not enough studies that can tell us whether it is entirely safe to undertake an all-meat diet while pregnant. 

Indeed, group and case studies often exclude pregnant women due to ethical and physiological concerns, as well as increased liability. 

While these factors may have led to a substantial lack of studies regarding what is best for pregnant women from a nutritional point of view, some testimonials are happy to say that they had no complications. 

Young pregnant woman lying on bed hugging her tummy - Carnivore Diet During Pregnancy

However, a small group of successful pregnant women cannot vouch for any situation other than their own. Pregnancy is an extremely complex process and can vary widely depending on the healthcare system, environment, and individual physical and psychological needs.

It’s also important to note that some general long-term studies tell us that the increased risk of diseases later on in life originates during pregnancy, which makes dietary, environmental, and personal choices paramount during this period.

The fertility specialists at Jacksonville Center for Reproductive Medicine and CNY Fertility report that low-carb diets such as keto are indeed healthy for pregnant women. More specifically, ketosis could improve fertility, limit morning sickness, and even aid smoother labor. 

These studies and reports mainly refer to keto and paleo diets, which are low-carb, high-protein, high-fat eating habits. Nonetheless, several testimonials speak openly about their great pregnancy experience while being on a strict carnivore diet.

Switching to a Carnivore Diet While Pregnant

Firstly, you need to understand the reasons why you are looking at changing your lifestyle. If you are embarking on the Carnivore Diet as a fad eating plan to limit your weight gain and speed-up weight loss, pregnancy might not be the best time to start it. 

However, if you have tried ketogenic diets before and you feel healthy maintaining a low-carb, high-protein, high-fat diet, you might consider slowly transitioning to a stricter all-meat diet. 

More traditionally, if you are not an expert on diets and nutrition, dietitians suggest avoiding zero-carb eating habits. This suggestion comes from the fact that, by eliminating carbs, you might replace them with a higher level of fats in your diet, which can be detrimental for your baby's health. 

Maintaining your Carnivore Diet While Pregnant

Maintaining your carnivore diet during pregnancy is all another matter. Not only has your body gone through the tough initial period of adaptation, but you can now understand what you need to feel healthy. Indeed, one of the toughest challenges for first-time carnivores is to make it through the first few weeks.

This period can bring:

  • Increased or reduced appetite
  • Digestive and stomach problems such as nausea, constipation, and diarrhea
  • Increased sweating

Alongside this, as your body changes, you might struggle to figure out what is the right amount of meat to eat per day. Of course, this problem only exists until you can understand the right amount of food to eat for optimal sustainment.

During pregnancy, you will need to adjust the daily intake of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins in your diet. In this case, understanding what is the average amount of food in comparison to what you might need from now on can be hugely helpful.

headache during pregnancy, poor health - Carnivore Diet During Pregnancy

Potential Nutritional Deficiencies

The one thing that genuinely concerns dietitians and mums-to-be is the lack of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that can occur due to an overly-restrictive all-meat diet.

During pregnancy, some compounds are essential such as:

  • Vitamin A & Beta Carotene
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Thiamin/B1
  • Riboflavin/B2
  • Niacin/B3
  • Pyridoxine/B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folic Acid/Folate
  • Calcium, Iron, and Protein
  • Zinc

Each of these nutrients works towards the wellbeing of both you and your baby. They are essential for the healthy development of the fetus. In the same way, you can source each vitamin and mineral from different kinds of food groups. Below, you can find the primary nutrients you might lack while on an all-meat diet.

Folate and folic acids

Folate and folic acids are essential during pregnancy. Studies have confirmed that a lack of these compounds can lead to birth neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida. While you might not be particularly familiar with folic acids, they are simply part of the B group of vitamins that are responsible for growth and development. Foods rich in folic acids are:

  • Citrus fruit (orange juice)
  • Spinaches and other leafy green vegetables
  • Bread, rice, and pasta
  • Cereals
  • Beans and legumes
  • Asparagus, broccoli, and beets

Lack of antioxidants

Due to the oxidative stress that happens during the development of the placenta, pregnant women's exposure to the continuous attack of free radicals can be detrimental. In turn, the lack of antioxidants can result in poor pregnancy outcomes. 

Antioxidants are naturally rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts. While you can source specific types of antioxidants from lean meat, poultry, and eggs, each kind has different vital functions. Cutting out the foods listed above leave you with a limited array of free-radicals fighters.

Carbs 

Studies have confirmed a direct link between a low-carb diet during pregnancy with an increased risk of neural tube defects, among which spina bifida and anencephaly. In turn, these diseases can cause long-term disabilities in the child.

Benefits

While the risk of a no-carb diet might be worth considering, there are also surprising, naturally-occurring benefits associated with being a carnivore.

Iron

During pregnancy, the level of blood circulating in your body can increase by 50% to support the development and oxygenation of the uterus. Conditions such as iron deficiency anemia can cause you to feel fatigued during your pregnancy and even result in premature birth. 

However, by following a carnivore diet, you won't struggle to keep your iron levels in check. For an extra boost, add organs such as livers to your eating plan.

Might Limit Morning Sickness

While not corroborated by studies, many women following the carnivore diet have reported suffering from less morning sickness than others on an omnivore diet.

No Processed Foods and Sugars

The menu of carnivores might be limited, but it is a lean one! Following such a restrictive diet can truly help you cut down on sugars, refined carbs, and processed foods. 

Best of all, you will manage better to resist temptations such as pancakes and ice cream. Indeed, maternal obesity is becoming an increasing problem and can cause significant health problems in the baby.

Cook your meat right

Meat, fish, and poultry are among the most challenging ingredients to cook correctly. More importantly, failing to do so can result in severe health conditions in both you and the fetus, such as salmonella and toxoplasmosis.

Final Thoughts

As mentioned, this article should not be a substitution for professional advice that you can get from your doctor. 

However, it can help you understand whether it is the right choice for you to continue with or start your journey as a carnivore. While this lifestyle has proven short-term benefits for your health and weight control, the lack of studies regarding no-carbs diets during pregnancy is worth considering. 

If you read this far you are amazing! I would love to hear from you in the comments below if I helped you gain knowledge and useful information, additionally I would like to know if I got anything incorrect that you believe should be researched more and updated. As always to get the word out please join our new Carnivore Rx group on Facebook and share this out on social media!

Sources

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