Shortly after adopting a ketogenic lifestyle I became pregnant. These are my reflections on what I wish I had done differently during my keto pregnancy.
This week my baby girl will be 5 months old. How in the world has almost half of a year gone by?!
I blogged about my pregnancy in real time and tried to keep everyone abreast of how things were going, what I was doing in terms of food and exercise, and how my pregnancy was affecting my ketogenic lifestyle overall.
First Trimester Review
Second Trimester Review
Now that I’ve had my baby and ample time to reflect back on my pregnancy, there are a few things I wish I had done differently. Mommas-to-be message me all the time about advice for having a healthy keto pregnancy so this post is for y’all!
Note: I am NOT a doctor or medical professional. This post should not replace any medical advice. These are my personal thoughts and experiences. Please consult a physician before making any changes in your pregnancy.
I wish I stayed more disciplined
Let’s just cut to the chase…I was NOT following a strict ketogenic diet while I was pregnant. I admitted as much several times throughout those nine months.
I ate keto/low carb for the most part but I caved to my cravings. There was zero discipline within me when it came to cravings. My husband, bless his heart, would run out at 10pm to get me whatever it was I
needed wanted in that moment.
Somehow I convinced myself that I was doing fine because up until the middle of my second trimester I really hadn’t gained any weight. After all, when you’re pregnant you do have to eat more to support a growing baby.
And by “normal” standards, I was killin’ it.
But once the third trimester rolled around, I basically threw in the towel on eating healthy and just did whatever baby told me to. This was my downfall.
The third trimester is when I packed on the weight and I’m still paying for it today.
Looking back, I wish I maintained my “strict” keto lifestyle. Adhering to what I knew was best for me would have prevented weight gain. I also could have prevented the anxiety that comes with gaining weight after having lost a lot of weight.
So if you’re living a ketogenic lifestyle now and you’re either pregnant or trying to get pregnant, my advice would be this:
Don’t neglect your keto lifestyle just because you’re pregnant. As hard as it will be some days, power thru.
Make plenty of keto friendly sweet treats to help with those cravings. Keep an abundance of low carb snacks in your pantry and freezer. Things like cheese whips, protein bars, and meat sticks can be left on your nightstand just in case nausea attacks.
I wish I set realistic expectations for postpartum life
Here’s the thing, ladies…many new moms (even if it’s not your first kid) just want to get back to a normal routine after baby is born as quickly as possible. We make these grand plans and set really unrealistic expectations on ourselves. Me included.
My Plan of Attack for Post Pregnancy
When my delivery date was drawing near, I made plan after plan and list after list of what my new normal was going to look like once I was a mother to three.
HA HA HA HA
Let me just tell you that none, literally nothing, of what I anticipated life to be like rang true once I was home alone with 3 kids. The meal plans I made for myself, the schedules I laid out on paper, the goals I set for myself went right out the window the first week I was home from the hospital.
When you bring your baby home, no matter which number kid it is for you, it’s STRESSFUL. You’re tired, cranky, emotional, hungry, mad, sad, happy, in love. Literally all the feels are happening, sometimes simultaneously.
I set some unrealistic expectations on myself and when I didn’t meet them, I felt so defeated. I was failing on the very goals I laid out (publicly, I might add) for myself. Add emotional roller coaster to that mix and it was not fun.
Since I wasn’t meeting the extreme goals I set for myself, I kind of gave up all together for a while and just went into survival mode.
But here’s the thing:
Survival mode could have been prevented if I had been more careful during pregnancy.
If I had kept a strict keto/low carb lifestyle the WHOLE TIME I was pregnant, it would have made the transition postpartum so much easier.
Here I am, 5 months postpartum, and trying to lose the 20lbs of baby weight I’m currently carrying. Getting back into the full swing of things wasn’t easy and I’ve experienced more regret than I anticipated.
To end on a happy note, I don’t feel like I self sabotaged during my pregnancy. In fact, I know I had my healthiest pregnancy and recovery of all three. I did make wiser choices throughout those 9 months, I exercised fairly regularly, and my labs were always great.
Bottomline, if I could do it all again, I wouldn’t deviate at all from my keto habits. If you’re pregnant, you need to do what makes you feel best! If Ding Dongs and Twinkies make you feel best, then hey, I don’t judge. But if I knew then what I know now, pausing my ketogenic diet for the sake of a pregnancy craving just wasn’t worth it in the long run.
Friday 26th of February 2021
Thank you for sharing your story! I just came across your blog and I love it. I am pregnant for the first time and sort of going through a similar experience. I always led a keto diet for years, and when i got pregnant I would literally say yes to every craving and the only thing i want is carbs, all the time. I gained close to 10pounds in the first trimester which is scaring me a little. If I may ask please, how much did you gain overall, and is it possible to get back on track after the first trimester if I adjust my eating? or will i naturally gain weight just because im moving to the next trimesters, even if i am being very careful in my choices? thank you so much
Friday 26th of February 2021
I don't remember how much I gained with this pregnancy, it's been a few years now and I've had another baby since then! I will plan to write a follow-up post for keto life post pregnancy. Personally, I think pregnancy is hard enough to worry about macros. Feeding baby (and yourself) is most important and then whatever you can stomach until the nausea is at bay. It's different for everyone so I can't say specifically, but I found myself ready to get back to my "normal" eating habits after baby was born and we were into a good groove!
Wednesday 12th of August 2020
Hey! I love this article. Currently TTC and my doctor has already stated Her opinion that staying keto during pregnancy is “bad” for baby. From everything I’ve read online I can’t understand why she would have that opinion in the first place - as if a developing baby needs sugar and bread to develop properly?? Anyway, did you have full support from your medical team to remain keto our lower carb if you so choosed?? I’m trying to gather as much info as I can for when the time comes to plead my case! Thank you!
Sunday 17th of November 2019
I just found your blog and love the authenticity!! I was curious, and maybe you did a post on it, but did eating low carb affect your milk supply?
Tuesday 19th of November 2019
I did not breastfeed.
Friday 1st of February 2019
Hi Anna! Your story kind of sounds like mine. I'm currently 5 months postpartum and thinking about going back on my keto journey. :) My question is, did you breastfeed exclusively and if you did, when you used sweeteners, how did it affect baby? I was looking up recipes for keto pancakes on Pinterest and it led me to your site. I love it and so thankful that you are sharing your recipes that are husband and family approved. :D Looking forward to your reply. Cheers!
Saturday 2nd of February 2019
Hi Nellie! (love your name, btw) No, I didn't breastfeed. Well, I tried but it didn't work out. There's not a whole lot of information out there about breastfeeding and a Keto Diet. From what I understand, most woemn do need more carbs to maintain a supply, maybe around 50g per day. You could probably just start cutting back on the carbs and pay attention to your production. Most people can stay in ketosis up to 50g of carbs anyway. Hope that helps! :)