How many carbs are needed during pregnancy? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 07-10-2006, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I realize that this is a strange question in this society, and even on this board. Usually people are worrying about getting enough protien. I have a pretty low carb diet. It's what I do best with. But, with being pregnant, I want to make sure that I am providing enough carb for the baby to grow well. It recently came to mind because ds (who has diabetes) had ketones that we just couldn't clear. We had to almost double the amount we were giving him in order to clear the ketones. A growing boy needs a lot of carbs.

So, I'm thinking that maybe a growing baby needs a fair amount, too. But I don't know. I've been checking my ketones occassionally, and I have moderate ketones (I did have large, but I've brought them down). I don't know if I need to add enough carbs to my diet to clear the ketones, or if I could get enough carbs for the baby without clearing the ketones. I want to give the baby everything he/she needs, but I also don't want to stray too far from what I have found is optimal for me. I wouldn't even concern myself with the ketones if it was just me. I'm pretty puzzled right now about what is best. Anyone have any ideas??

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#2 of 22 Old 07-10-2006, 08:08 PM
 
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I normally eat between 40-80g carb a day, and I think that if I were pg I would up it to 80-120g a day (at this point I don't even know what I'd eat to do that!!). At least that is what some of the ladies on the low carb forum I go to seem to do.

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#3 of 22 Old 07-10-2006, 10:42 PM
 
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I also eat about 80 a day. I am in the maintainence portion of atkins - which is what they suggest for pregnancy as well.

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#4 of 22 Old 07-11-2006, 12:19 AM
 
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When I was pregnant and diabetic this was the carbs I was allowed per day
3 milk servings, one per meal
2 per meal, 3 times a day
1 fruit for lunch and dinner
1 per snack, 3 times a day

A carb serving is 15 grams of carbs
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#5 of 22 Old 07-11-2006, 11:44 AM
 
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Spilling ketones in your urine is not a good sign at any time, especially not during pregnancy. Here are some quotes from my Anatomy & Physiology text book and the research based requirements for carbs:

"Many cells can obtain energy by oxidizing fatty acids, however, some cells such as NEURONS (brain cells) depend on a continuous supply of glucose for survival. Even a temporary decrease in glucose supply may seriously impair nervous system functioning."

"It is estimated that the MINIMUM requirement for carbohydrates in the human diet is at least 125-175 grams daily to spare protein and to avoid metabolic desorders resulting from fat utilization. An average diet includes 200-300 grams per day."

Basically, if you are trying to build a healthy baby with a healthy brain you need lots of carbs because brain and nervous system cells rely on constant glucose.

If you have ketones in your urine it means your body cannot keep up with decomposing the ketones fast enough, so they are excreted through the lungs and kidneys (and urine). I find it very interesting that people wrongly assume that this is a good thing when they are on a diet. Like my MIL is always on the Atkins and she has the urine dip sticks to check her ketone levels and she thinks its great and the diet is working when she has ketones in her urine. What it actually means is that your body is in a metabolic crisis. This can also be seen in people with diabetes that is not under control and pregnant women on the verge of gestational diabetes. It can lead to acidosis which is a serious pH imbalance within the body.
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#6 of 22 Old 07-11-2006, 12:15 PM
 
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Ditto the previous poster. Ketones are a VERY BAD thing.
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#7 of 22 Old 07-11-2006, 12:22 PM
 
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As far as I know babies/our bodies are built from fat and protein and carbs are for energy.....I would a least get enough carbs to get out of ketosis, but if you feel good with less there is no reason to eat a ton IMO.

:heart Congrats on your baby, Jennifer

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#8 of 22 Old 07-11-2006, 04:09 PM
 
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carbohydrates are needed for other things than energy, vitamins and minerals for one. Cells need energy to live. Low carbohydrate diets are not appropriate during pregnancy http://www.essentialnutrition.org/lcprg1.html Research has shown that these diets may have an adverse effect on the developing fetus.

A minimum of 175 grams of carbohydrates are needed during pregnancy.
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#9 of 22 Old 07-11-2006, 06:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlpetitte
Spilling ketones in your urine is not a good sign at any time, especially not during pregnancy. Here are some quotes from my Anatomy & Physiology text book and the research based requirements for carbs:

"Many cells can obtain energy by oxidizing fatty acids, however, some cells such as NEURONS (brain cells) depend on a continuous supply of glucose for survival. Even a temporary decrease in glucose supply may seriously impair nervous system functioning."
Ketosis is not a dangerous condition. It is a signal that your body is burning fat for fuel rather than carbohydrate. There are hunter-gatherer tribes who live their entire lives in ketosis and suffer no ill effects. See this article: http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/1/1/2

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlpetitte
"It is estimated that the MINIMUM requirement for carbohydrates in the human diet is at least 125-175 grams daily to spare protein and to avoid metabolic desorders resulting from fat utilization. An average diet includes 200-300 grams per day."
If the minimum intake of carbohydrate is estimated at 125-175, why should intake be so high (200-300)? Does more necessarily equal better? What about the ensuing insulin surges and reactive hypoglycemia? This also does not address the fact that your body can synthesize glucose from protein.

I think the 200-300 number MIGHT be applicable to someone who does very heavy manual labor and is not adapted for a ketogenic diet (if they ARE adapted for a ketogenic diet, then they would not require this much. see article I posted above). Most of us are not heavy manual laborers, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlpetitte
Basically, if you are trying to build a healthy baby with a healthy brain you need lots of carbs because brain and nervous system cells rely on constant glucose.
Again, what about gluconeogenesis from protein? Logically, that, coupled with the minimum intake of 125g, would mean less than 125g is needed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jlpetitte
If you have ketones in your urine it means your body cannot keep up with decomposing the ketones fast enough, so they are excreted through the lungs and kidneys (and urine)...What it actually means is that your body is in a metabolic crisis. This can also be seen in people with diabetes that is not under control and pregnant women on the verge of gestational diabetes. It can lead to acidosis which is a serious pH imbalance within the body.
AFAIK, ketosis is very different from the dangerous condition ketoacidosis. According to this: http://www.emedicine.com/EMERG/topic135.htm, this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketoacidosis, and this: http://www.diabetes.org/type-1-diabe...toacidosis.jsp, ketoacidosis is associated with HIGH insulin levels and elevated blood sugar and is most commonly found in untreated Type I diabetics. People who are on a low-carb diet will not have elevated insulin OR blood sugar, as both are a response to dietary carbohydrates.

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Originally Posted by Jwebbal
carbohydrates are needed for other things than energy, vitamins and minerals for one
A sensible low-carb diet provides just as much as, if not more, vitamins and minerals than a high-carb diet. Most foods that are high in nutrients are low in carbs. The highest carb foods, such as grains and sugar, are nutritionally inferior to low-carb foods like meat, eggs, vegetables, nuts, and some fruits.

I am not looking to provoke an argument, I am just presenting an opposing viewpoint.

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#10 of 22 Old 07-11-2006, 06:34 PM
 
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Kallyn~ Point taken... you have an interesting theory and are obviously pretty passionate about this subject. It has been my experience in school and in my work with midwives that any type of fad diet is really not appropriate during pregnancy (and low-carb diets are thought of as a fad diet). The focus should be on a wide variety of healthy foods including quality carbs without any kind of food restrictions (I'm not talkin' donuts ). Balance is key. And ketones in urine during pregnancy is a problem.
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#11 of 22 Old 07-11-2006, 06:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlpetitte
Kallyn~ Point taken... you have an interesting theory and are obviously pretty passionate about this subject. It has been my experience in school and in my work with midwives that any type of fad diet is really not appropriate during pregnancy (and low-carb diets are thought of as a fad diet). The focus should be on a wide variety of healthy foods including quality carbs without any kind of food restrictions (I'm not talkin' donuts ). Balance is key. And ketones in urine during pregnancy is a problem.
Sorry if I went a little crazy, it's just kind of a thing of mine. I didn't want anyone reading this who was on the fence about low-carb to not have the other side of it.

I totally agree that the focus should be on whole foods! And pregnant women definitely do need more carbs than non-pregnant women, I just don't think they need to go overboard and start scarfing on donuts, like you said. Carbs such as whole grains, beans, and fruits can definitely be worked into any healthy low-carb diet.

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#12 of 22 Old 07-11-2006, 07:18 PM
 
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A sensible low-carb diet provides just as much as, if not more, vitamins and minerals than a high-carb diet. Most foods that are high in nutrients are low in carbs. The highest carb foods, such as grains and sugar, are nutritionally inferior to low-carb foods like meat, eggs, vegetables, nuts, and some fruits.

I am not looking to provoke an argument, I am just presenting an opposing viewpoint.
No one is talking high carb diet (I do not think 175 g of carbs is high), and no one is suggesting that a pregnant woman eat sugar as a source of carbs. And there are plenty of high nutrient foods that are counted as carbohydrate sources.
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#13 of 22 Old 07-11-2006, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I just got home. Wow, I sure did spark a debate, didn't I!

First of all, let me assure you that I have not been aiming for ketones. I only had test strips and thought to test because ds has Type 1.

And, here's what I know about ketones. They are not, in and of themselves, bad. Everyone has at least some in the morning, from our overnight fast. They are dangerous (VERY) when they come from not enough insulin and too high a blood sugar. That is when they can cause ketoacidosis. When a person is on the way to ketoacidosis, they have symptoms, and feel lousy, or downright sick. When ketones are present from a low carb diet (or, in ds's case, a lower than optimal carb intake), they are not dangerous, and they do not cause a person to feel bad. I know this from experience and from talking to ds's endocrinologist.

Also, I am not on a "fad" diet. My dr. has worked with me to determined what is an optimal diet for me based on blood tests (as well as how I feel). He has been doing this for years, and he knows what he's doing! He is not as familiar with pregnancy as some, so I thought I'd get some input. I will also talk to him with about this when I meet with him next.

And getting enough carbs in this house is challenging. Ds and dh are not eating any grains (and I haven't been, either, since it's just easier that way) for gut healing. Ds is getting all of his carbs from fruit. A 5 yo can only eat so much fruit (which is why he had ketones from too few carbs), so we also provide him with dried fruit (a more concentrated carb). I'm going to need to talk to ds about my need for more carbs so that he won't get upset when I eat some things he can't. Because there's no way I can eat as much fruit as he does (or probably even more!) without my blood sugar being too high. I'm going to have to add in some whole grains and some more concentrated carbs (maybe some fruit-sweetened jam, some dried fruits....).

Just for the record, although I haven't been counting carbs for myself (I do for ds), I'm quite sure that 175g of carbs would be too much for my body. Some people just can't tolerate the same amount of carbs that others can tolerate.

Christie

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#14 of 22 Old 07-11-2006, 08:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jwebbal
No one is talking high carb diet (I do not think 175 g of carbs is high), and no one is suggesting that a pregnant woman eat sugar as a source of carbs. And there are plenty of high nutrient foods that are counted as carbohydrate sources.
I'm sorry, I think I may have misconstrued your initial post. The way I read it I thought that you were saying that carbohydrates were essential because they are the only foods containing vitamins and minerals, and thus were just attacking low-carb in general. Now on re-reading I see that you were specifically talking about carb levels during pregnancy, which is of course a different situation.

I still stand by my point though that you can get all the vits and mins you need on a normal basis from low carb foods.

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#15 of 22 Old 07-11-2006, 08:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ChristieB
And getting enough carbs in this house is challenging. Ds and dh are not eating any grains (and I haven't been, either, since it's just easier that way) for gut healing. Ds is getting all of his carbs from fruit. A 5 yo can only eat so much fruit (which is why he had ketones from too few carbs), so we also provide him with dried fruit (a more concentrated carb). I'm going to need to talk to ds about my need for more carbs so that he won't get upset when I eat some things he can't. Because there's no way I can eat as much fruit as he does (or probably even more!) without my blood sugar being too high. I'm going to have to add in some whole grains and some more concentrated carbs (maybe some fruit-sweetened jam, some dried fruits....).
Maybe you could try sweet potatoes or some kind of beans? I don't know how that fits into your gut-healing routine, but they are both good non-fruit carb sources. Squashes and carrots are more carby than green veggies too.

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#16 of 22 Old 07-11-2006, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kallyn
Maybe you could try sweet potatoes or some kind of beans? I don't know how that fits into your gut-healing routine, but they are both good non-fruit carb sources. Squashes and carrots are more carby than green veggies too.
Ds and dh are on the SCD diet, so sweet potatoes are out, and they both react to legumes. Clearly, though, I'm going to need to add some things to MY diet that they can't eat. Dh is fine with that, of course, but ds has some problems with it. We're just going to have to sit down and talk about it I guess. Squashes are good, and we do eat those. I'll have to try to make those more often. And I'm thinking that making some hummus to have with carrots would be good!

Thanks,
Christie

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#17 of 22 Old 07-11-2006, 08:56 PM
 
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After having just looked at this site

http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.i...llegal_o-s.htm

to see what was considered 'legal' or illegal' for an SCD diet (OMG, that's rough to get more carbs, with that diet)

Other than the few 'legal' veggies and fruits, and dried ones like dates which have more carbs, here is a 'drink' that would be filling for you, give you lots of baby and mom nutrients and would be ok for your son if he's past the 'seeds are ok' stage:

Chia Milk (makes full blender jar — 5 cups)
4 Tbsp. Chia seeds
2 Tbsp. Walnuts or Almonds (whichever is tolerated better)
2 Tbsp. Raw sesame tahini or raw almond butter with no sugar added
2 Tbsp. Unheated, unfiltered honey (specifically recommended for SCD)
dash of vanilla extract (optional)
5 cups water

In a jar or glass, soak seeds and walnuts overnight in 3 cups of water. Pour into blender jar, add 1 cup of water, and turn on blender, running it at medium speed. With blender running, add tahini, honey, and vanilla, then add 1 more cup of water. Blend only until smooth.

Chia milk is rich in EFAs and protein. Because of the soaking, it is also particularly rich in enzymes. Because of chia seeds' antioxidants, it will keep well in your refrigerator. Use it within a week as a substitute for other forms of milk. (Maybe you'll decide that chia milk isn't a substitute for anything; rather, other forms of milk are a substitute for chia milk.)

Chia Seed Nutritional Profile:

Vitamins A, B**, C and E
Calcium, Boron, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Phosphorus, Potassium
All Essential Amino Acids – Complete Protein source
Vegan source of Omega 3 and 6 in perfect ratio (no worry of fish contaminated with mercury)
Loaded with Antioxidants that keep the seeds fresh for up to 5 years at room temp.
Protein content: 20-25% (that’s twice any grain)

Note on Vitamin B** content:
Two ounces (about a TBS) contains
2% B-2 (riboflavin)
13% niacin
29% Thiamin (a sparkplug for metabolizing carbohydrates and for energy)
and at least trace amounts of all the other B vitamins

3.5 ounces of chia (100 grams) compared to 100 grams of milk, has over 5 times the calcium, at 600 grams calcium in the chia, compared to 120 grams in the milk. Plus, the trace mineral boron helps it be super absorbed!

Most all health food stores sell chia seeds now, otherwise you can find them at the following online sources:


For a small quantity (a pound or two) this site is good, plus it has a lot of Nourishing Traditions and culturing type stuff:

http://www.celticseasalt.com/Chia_Seeds_C84.cfm

These sites has good bulk prices if buying in large quantities:

http://www.a-tlc.net/chia.html

http://www.chiaseedandoil.com/chiaca...df85 fa8ec613

Good luck and hope you are enjoying your culture

Heather
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#18 of 22 Old 07-11-2006, 11:45 PM
 
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I would definately talk with someone that specializes in normal pregnancy when considering your diet as that is the number one thing that you have control over to have a healthy baby. I am absolutely amazed at the bad advice I hear from perfectly good doctors that just don't understand everything involved in pregnancy and newborn care-- I mean really, its shocking.
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#19 of 22 Old 07-12-2006, 12:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xenabyte
After having just looked at this site

http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.i...llegal_o-s.htm

to see what was considered 'legal' or illegal' for an SCD diet (OMG, that's rough to get more carbs, with that diet)

Other than the few 'legal' veggies and fruits, and dried ones like dates which have more carbs, here is a 'drink' that would be filling for you, give you lots of baby and mom nutrients and would be ok for your son if he's past the 'seeds are ok' stage:
Thanks for taking the time to look up what is legal/illegal. That was very sweet. And thanks for the milk recipe. I'll have to modify it a bit for ds (there are so many nuts he's not tolerating at the moment), but I look forward to trying it. The milk we can eat now is coconut (not because of SCD, but because of sensitivites). The SCD diet is challenging enough (although I'll admit to not following it to the letter), but his sensitivities make it much harder. We're really hoping for gut healing, though.

Thanks for the reminder about the chia seeds. I've got to get some!! Our co-op doesn't have them, so thanks for the sources. I have one catalog source, but I hadn't looked to see if they have good prices or not.

Quote:
Good luck and hope you are enjoying your culture
So you noticed that I got some water grains from someone else. I'm glad! I meant to let you know, but forgot.

They're going slowly still, but they're nice. I've made some kefir with dried cranberries that is really yummy!

Thanks for the suggestions!

Christie

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#20 of 22 Old 07-12-2006, 12:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlpetitte
I would definately talk with someone that specializes in normal pregnancy when considering your diet as that is the number one thing that you have control over to have a healthy baby. I am absolutely amazed at the bad advice I hear from perfectly good doctors that just don't understand everything involved in pregnancy and newborn care-- I mean really, its shocking.
I talked with my other dr. (also a friend and neighbor), and she has me set up to talk to a nutritionist tomorrow morning. The nutritionist is looking up the info so she'll be prepared to talk to me about it.

And once I find a new midwife (mine is going on sebatical ), I'll ask her for her opinion.

Christie

Christie ~ proud Mama to : 5/01, and : 3/07; and proud wife to my since 1992. We have 13 and 2 : It's looking more and more like either a farm or a zoo around here.
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#21 of 22 Old 07-12-2006, 12:41 AM
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I just wanted to add that I was on the SCD diet during my last pregnancy. I feel that I did not eat enough calories because of not being able to eat enough legal carbs. I know lots of folks say that SCD is fine and healthy during pregnancy, but for me it was not. I had no energy and my daughter, I feel, was born way too small, smaller than her sister. Anyway, if I had to do it all over again, I would definitely eat some properly prepared, non glutenous grains in moderation to supplement my carbs and perhaps even some potatoes, sweet or otherwise. I can't tolerate beans or legumes much at all, so that was another part of the problem...and nuts, I can't eat very many without getting sick. So the SCD diet was not good for me personally. I know Christie, that you aren't on the SCD, but I could see why you would be concerned about trying to follow it along with your dh and ds. Hopefully, you will get some useful advice from the nutritionist. Also, I want to add, I think if you feel good and aren't having cravings for carby foods and have plenty of energy, then you might not need to worry so much about it.
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#22 of 22 Old 07-12-2006, 01:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for sharing your experience, Rebekah. That's very helpful. All along I've very occasionally had a little grain, but I'll probably have more now. And I haven't been craving carbs (amazingly enough, given how little I was eating), and I'm feeling good. I'll admit that feeling good may not be as good a guage with me as with other pregnant women, though. I have MS, and pregnancy suppresses the immune system, which makes me feel quite good. I had some tamales tonight for dinner (cleaning out the freezer ), and I sure did enjoy them! Oh, and btw, any grain I eat will definitely be non-glutenous!!! Don't want this child to get diabetes too.

Christie

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