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did TF eating help you to have an easier pregnancy, birth and postpartum?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Do you think that eating a Traditional Foods diet helped you have an easy pregnancy? Did you experience less pregnancy symptoms? Did your iron levels stay high? Did you feel you had an easier labor? How long did your labor last? how many weeks of pregnancy when you gave birth? Did you have post partum depression/adjustment issues/baby blues? How did you feel after the birth? How long did your bleeding last? Did you have an easier time breastfeeding? Did you have an abundance of milk?


If you'd like to share any things you did that you felt were especially beneficial please do!


 (this thread is inspired by this one: http://www.mothering.com/community/t/985250/did-eating-a-tf-diet-help-you-have-an-easy-pregnancy-and-labor  which is unfortunatly locked dt old age)

post #2 of 13

Bump! I am curious about this too!


post #3 of 13

I'm only mostly through my first trimester, but I'll share my experience so far vs. my experience with my pregnancy with my daughter when I was mostly whole foods (high soy, high grain) but not TF.  Then, I got a large amount of my nutrients from supplements and had some absorption issues.  This time, I am getting it all from food.  Last time, I knew I was pregnant before I could test because of queasiness.  This time, I had a lot of early pregnancy symptoms, but they were not uncomfortable ones: a desire to eat certain foods, a funny taste in my mouth, etc.


Last time, I had cravings for processed carbs in the first trimester, and while I never vomited, I came very close many times and felt queasy all the time and kept it under control with ginger, lemon water, and sea bands.  This time, I had a vacation between 5 and 6 weeks (before many mothers are experiencing morning sickness), and the food that I had available was terrible.  I was more sick that week than I have been any other time in this pregnancy.  Getting home and eating right, my symptoms have changed, but I have felt much better.  My perception of hunger is different, like I don't really feel like eating, but I would feel better if I did.  It is not strongly unpleasant as long as I do not go several hours without eating ignoring my hunger signs.  Even when I go all night, I need a snack first thing in the morning (usually fruit followed soon after by a full high fat/protein breakfast including eggs), but I am not nauseous.  Eating low-carb has kept my blood sugar under control, so I have felt overall pretty good.


It's hard to compare my exhaustion last time vs. this time.  Last time, I slept 12 hours a day in my first trimester, and I had to take a lot of time off work.  This time, I have felt exhausted, but I am chasing around a toddler who is still nursing, sleeping 8-10 nonconsecutive hours a day since she is still nursing at night.  I'm having to let some things go around the house, but overall, I'm getting things done, and my body is coping well.


Last time, I lost about 7 lbs in my first trimester.  This time, even with still nursing, I have only lost about 3 lbs.  My overall appetite has been lower both times, but I have been able to convince myself to eat more and better foods this time around.  Last time, my husband took me all over town to try to convince me to eat whatever sounded like I might eat it.  He gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy by trying so hard to get me to eat.  This time, I have been able to keep myself eating with good food from home.  I have had an aversion to some nutrient-rich foods, but I have been able to eat others.  It was interesting with seaweed, I ate a whole lot one day, and then a few days later, I didn't care for it, and I haven't cared for it since, but I assume that will change.

post #4 of 13

First pregnancy, I wasn't completely TF, as I had recently started and elimination diet for leaky gut syndrome, and was  gluten free and dairy free...but that included lots more whole foods, as I couldn't really eat much processed ones anymore. Once I got the hang of that, and after the baby was born, I did start changing to a more TF type diet (at least 50/50 most of the time, depening on time of year/budget) and while working on my preconception health for this pregnancy, I was probably closer to 75% of the time TF diet, gluten free but back to eating some dairy.


I had some similar early pregnancy symptoms as the first time, but also some I really didn't expect this time. This time the whole first trimester, I didn't want to eat crispy nuts anymore, anything 'soaked' or 'fermented' really turned me off, milk and cheese was really unappetizing (though ice cream could be tolerated occasionally....)  So, many TF things I did before (like soaking) I haven't done for months. Now in the third trimeseter, I've done it a couple times and seem to be over the adversions, so i'm trying to work the TF back in.


So, it may help others, but then again, do what your body tells you and don't feel bad if you can't always eat the 'right' way or the way that you want. When you can't eat much and don't feel like eating much, sometime you just have to go for the potato chips or the strawberry shake if that is what you think you'd enjoy eating at that moment.

post #5 of 13

I was on a very strict elimination diet at the beginning of my pregnancy (because of his eczema, and I wasnt interested in cooking different foods for everyone). While it was not exactly Paleo, it was gluten, oat, nightshade, egg, dairy, and processed food free, and in my opinion, was quite a healthy diet, even though it did contain some beans, lentils, and alternative starches, like buckwheat, brown rice, quinoa, and millet. I would say my diet was closer to Paleo than TF though, because it was largely based on veggies, fruit, and meat/fish.


I took a pregnancy test because I felt SOOOO awfully nauseous; I couldnt stomach anything available. 

I wanted to throw up from the thought of anything but white flour. White bread. Pasta. Dairy. Cheese. 

Most veggies made me want to puke. I couldn't stomach fish or most meat, only chicken hearts, and that only rarely.  Beans and nuts nauseated me. Eggs nauseated me. 

I ate white flour, dairy, and green veggies like peas, broccoli, spinach, and green beans. That's IT! I think some apples also, maybe.


I definitely wasn't eating healthy my first trimester, but in a way I felt that my body was telling me that that's what I needed, after all, why would it stop me from eating healthier to eating something that was mostly crap?

Not to mention that I know I'm gluten and dairy sensitive, and eating the way I did in my first trimester made me tired as hell, made me have constant stomach aches, but at least I was able to keep my food down.

Once I started feeling a bit better at like 10 weeks or so, and was able to stomach white meat chicken again, and a few more different types of vegetables, I went gluten and oat free, dairy minimal, and  started eating healthier in general again.


I don't eat paleo, because I do eat (soaked/fermented) beans and rice, corn, peas, green beans, potatoes... but we're going low on the grains, thats for sure, with a larger emphasis on veggies, fruits, nuts, eggs, chicken, and fish (and legumes). 


Now I feel so terrific that its unbelieveable. I feel amazing, have a ton of energy, have no stomach issues... and best of all, no food aversions! I still throw up here and there, but that isnt due to specific foods, and the nausea doesn't trail around the whole day...


I'm 21 weeks now, so it could just be the second trimester "high", but maybe its also how I'm eating...


The thing I want to know is- I was eating pretty healthily before I got pregnant. My body seemed to be telling me NOT to eat healthy in my first trimester. Why would that be?

post #6 of 13
Originally Posted by PennyP View Post

The thing I want to know is- I was eating pretty healthily before I got pregnant. My body seemed to be telling me NOT to eat healthy in my first trimester. Why would that be?

This is a very good question.  Many mothers experience a craving for processed carbs in the first trimester.  The best I can guess is that it is because pregnant women tend to have higher insulin levels, and tend to suffer from low blood sugar.  It is believed that this is a large part of what causes the morning sickness symptoms.  Simple carbs are a very quick and easy fix for this, and in a culture that has them available, pregnant mothers often crave them as they only thing that they can stand to eat.  However, this becomes a vicious cycle because the insulin response to the simple carbs causes a blood sugar crash that makes morning sickness worse again.


I'm all for listening to your body, but I truly believe that processed foods are addictive and unnatural and are sometimes able to override our natural feelings.  On top of that, pregnancy changes our perception of some of the natural feelings of hunger, etc, so that it's harder to tell what your body is really saying.  When you get into the vicious cycle of eating simple carbs and craving simple carbs, it's very difficult to get out of that cycle, especially in the first trimester.  I found that I have to get up and immediately eat fruit to get my blood sugar up and then make a more substantial breakfast including fat, protein, and a small to moderate amount of complex carbs, and that sets me up for success for the rest of the day.


post #7 of 13

The only proteins I was able to handle at all during my first trimester were beans and dairy; if I came remotely near chicken, beef, or fish, I'd puke my guts out. Even just thinking about eating them caused that!


Its not that I wanted carbs- that was the only thing I could stomach. When I forced myself to eat something healthier, I just puked it up, but when I ate the unhealthy foods, my stomach was settled...

post #8 of 13

And as for addictive, as soon as I hit 11 weeks, I wasn't too addicted to those unhealthy foods to switch back to a healthier diet... So I dunno, I feel like my body, for some strange reason, needed that at the time. 

I couldn't handle most fruit- only bananas, and not always that...

post #9 of 13

Penny, it sounds like your issue was less of a craving carbs one and more of a dealing with aversions while my theory is about why pregnant women crave carbs (and many do).  I do think that eating TF does help with the craving carbs issue.  That is a big difference that I have noticed in this pregnancy, that I'm not craving simple carbs.  I haven't gotten away from aversions either (though they haven't been as extensive as yours), and I have noticed as well that it is some of the healthier foods (seaweed, oysters, really anything from the sea) that I have had aversions to.  I have no idea why that happens.  I have been lucky enough to find other nutrient-dense foods that I can eat, but I have wondered what traditional cultures have done in pregnancy when they developed aversions to their food staples... or did they?

post #10 of 13

What I'm saying is- I WAS eating TF. Not primal, but certainly TF, but I couldn't handle TF during my first trimester. TF for me didnt help prevent serious aversions. The only thing that helped somewhat was that when I drank kombucha daily, I had slightly less nausea. Not none, or even a little, but still a lot, but less than the extreme stuff I had when I didn't drink Kombucha.

post #11 of 13

Not through my pregnancy yet (I'm 30 weeks) but excessive weight gain has always been a problem for me (I gained about 60 pounds with two of my previous pregnancies and was already 20 pounds overweight when I got pregnant each time). I always ate "healthy" (very little processed stuff, most things from scratch) but I ate bread and flour and sweets in moderation. I never understood why my weight just skyrocketed when I got pregnant and I felt like I had no control over it. This pregnancy I am eating mainly primal and my weight is just climbing at a slow, steady pace. I've gained 20 pounds so far, which is amazingly low for me. Without the extra weight gain I can move around better, feel more flexible, etc. I am completely and utterly exhausted all the time, but I think that is because I have three small kids and don't ever get a solid night sleep.

post #12 of 13

I'm just 9 weeks and 5 days pregnant, and while I never intentionally set out to be eating "paleo" or "primal" or whatever, my diet has sort of taken that turn. I was generally eating low carb and high fat because I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when I was 25 (about 3.5 years ago), and I had weight loss surgery when I was 26. I restricted my carb intake both for controlling my diabetes and for my weight loss.


As time went on, I started avoiding things like "replacement" carbs (low-carb breads, low-carb tortillas, sugar-free snacks, etc.) because it just didn't make sense to me to say I wasn't eating these things and then eat "fake" replacements of them, just like it never made sense to me that vegetarians would eat things that look, smell, and taste like meat but wasn't meat.


When we decided to try to have a baby, I decided I would also cut out artificial sweeteners and soy products as much as possible, so here I am! My diet primarily consists of meats, eggs, cheeses and some other dairy (organic whole milk, full-fat Greek yogurt, sour cream, butter, etc.), berries, nuts, and non-starchy veggies. I avoid grains, sugary condiments, sugary fruits, and starchy veggies (potatoes, corn, etc.).


My PCP has deemed me "no longer diabetic," but I still limit even natural carbs (like the fruits and starchy veggies) due to concern of my diabetes making a debut appearance as gestational.


Now, when I first found out I was pregnant, it was actually a surprise because, though we were not using birth control, I had been infomed that it would likely take up to 6 weeks to become fertile again after discontinuing the birth control I had been on (NuvaRing). Instead, surprise! I was pregnant in my very first cycle after removing the last ring. Since it was a bit of a surprise, I didn't know I was pregnant until I was about 8 weeks along, and we had taken a vacation in late July, so I had NOT been eating very healthy early on.


I have since switched to the diet I described above. I vomitted only once so far (and that was after a meal at Panera, so who knows what may have been the trigger), and the symptoms I'd had earlier that led me to test for pregnancy (sore breasts, change in appetite, nausea, lightheadedness, etc.) are now all gone. I can't say if it's only because I'm further along or if it's the dietary changes, but I'll take it either way! I'd like to think it's the dietary changes since most women I have communicated with didn't see symptoms subsiding until 11-13 weeks, and I'm not even 10 weeks yet, but every woman is different, and this is my first pregnancy, so I have no basis for comparison.


All of that said, I plan to ignore any cravings I have for other foods and stick to this way of eating. My first big thing to give up was diet Pepsi, which was actually easy because it randomly began to disgust me (another "symptom" that led me to test!). I've had some cravings for grilled cheese sandwiches and macaroni and cheese, but I've ignored them, and they've since subsided. We still eat out a lot (I hate cooking), but I still choose basically meat and salad or other non-starchy veggies.


I've lost about 8 pounds over the past few weeks (I never reached my weight loss goal despite losing over 120 pounds, so I'm certainly not wasting away at now 5'6 and 179.5 pounds). I truly hope I can stick to this and not cave to cravings (recent extensive lab work showed I have no vitamin or mineral deficiencies, so I believe the cravings are simply hormonal and not indicitive of a nutritional shortcoming) for the rest of my pregnancy. I am realistic and fully anticipate a "treat" on occasion (life does get in the way!), but it needs to be very occasional and not become a regular habit. Time will tell if I make it all the way!

post #13 of 13

With my first pregnancy/birth, I was not very informed about health, and did not eat all that well.  I was VERY sick my entire first trimester, I threw up every day, usually more than once, and I was always so exausted that I could hardly do anything!  I really didnt have any other problems, and as my pregnancy went on I got a little more informed about food and was eating a little better.  My birth went pretty well(excpet labor was pretty long), but it seemed that it took awhile for me to recover from birth and I did experience a lot of pain afterwards in my back and vagina due to swelling and such, which I think it would have helped if I had been eating lots of organic fruits and veggies that do not cause an inflammatory response like processed foods do, but instead they actually have an anti-inflammatory effect.  Healthy foods also help your body heal more quickly so I think it would have just helped me all around.   I did bleed for 6 weeks afterwards as well.

This pregnancy(I am 31 weeks and eating an excellent diet) I did not experience hardly any morning sickness(I never threw up, not even close.  I just sometimes did not feel like eating), and was never more tired than usual.  I have had more energy this time around even though I am chasing a toddler, and up til 21 weeks I was still BFing.  I am very curious to see how my labor, birth and postpartum goes compared to last time.  I am also under the care of a midwife instead of a Dr this time, and I think that has helped a lot too, because she is very much in to good nutrition and has helped inspire me to eat even better, although the past year I have improved my diet dramatically!

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