Keto diet during pregnancy

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Isabel Aestelle received her B.A in Communication from Far Eastern University Manila in the Philippines. She fell in love with words when she first started writing poetries and short stories at the age of 10. Her passion in health and wellness are pretty much seen in almost everything she does.

Keto Diet and Pregnancy

Over the years, Keto diet has been long used by so many people. It is a rare case that people question this low-carb program since this diet has been suitable for almost everyone. However, there are stages in life where you would doubt about the safety of Ketosis.

Pregnancy or being in a state of getting pregnant are two risky situations in a woman’s life. This is the time where some would question the health benefits Ketosis could bring if a woman chooses to continue doing the low-carb diet. Let’s try to look and understand how.

It is no doubt that Ketosis could actually be really helpful for those who try to get pregnant. There have been a lot of studies that could attest about the benefits Ketosis could bring to a woman’s body. Most especially for women who have cases of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), Ketosis has been of help in improving the woman’s health.

But what about Keto diet during pregnancy? Is it safe?

There has been a misconception about pregnancy being linked with Ketosis.

During pregnancy, people fear the possible cases of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a dangerous metabolic state for patients who suffer with diabetes. Little do they know, DKA is entirely different from the nutritional Ketosis.

If DKA and Ketosis confuses you too, see link below to further understand the difference between the two.


Aside from success stories of different moms who attested Keto dieting is safe during pregnancy, medical experts also supported the idea that Keto diet is still safe and conducive during this stage of motherhood. Some doctors even shared that women in ancient times have been doing the low-carb diet during pregnancy. Some would also suggest that a woman must have the need to start doing the Keto diet 2 to 3 weeks before pregnancy so they would still have time to be fully fat-adapted.

Keto Diet During Pregnancy

Early Stage

Just like how a normal pregnancy would occur, women still get early symptoms of pregnancy – morning sickness, nausea, low appetite, and food aversions, During this stage, it’s pretty understandable that the body of a pregnant woman will be kicked in and out of Ketosis.

Well, pregnant women actually holds an advantage compared to women who are not. During pregnancy, the blood ketone levels of a pregnant woman are three times higher after an overnight fasting. It so happens also that pregnant women during early days of pregnancy have been naturally consuming a low amount of carbs – which is to their advantage of course.

What exactly can a pregnant woman eat during the Keto diet? Will she follow the standard Ketogenic meal plan?

Dr. Michael Fox, a fertility specialist from Jackson Center for Reproductive Medicine promotes the pregnancy diet plan which is also Keto approved. He advised that women should consume a low-carb, high-fat diet every two hours. Some of the meals and snack foods under Dr. Fox’s list include cream cheese, celery, cucumber, cauliflower, nuts, eggs in all forms, fish (both canned and fresh, meats, avocado, cheese, butter, full-fat cream, and unflavoured pork rinds. He also stated that following such diet plan could also lessen the scenarios of morning sickness, nausea, miscarriage, preeclampsia, and also gestational diabetes.

Late Stage

Some researchers believed that Ketosis are most likely to be active during the third trimester. This is because ketones are also being shared to the fetus before and after birth to be of support to the brain growth and development. While some researchers would also believe that the fetus releases its own ketones as well.

Note that pregnant women are prone to morning sickness and nausea. As a result, their bodies could be placed under the state of Ketosis in no time since food aversions help them decrease the amount of food they consume.

Even though we’re convinced that Ketosis is safe during pregnancy, a woman’s body is still sensitive enough due to the changes it undergoes. Having said, it would still be best to take extra precautions.

Keto Pregnancy Tips

  1. Consume whole foods – Nutrition is needed most especially when a woman is growing a baby. There are certain foods that could actually help a woman during this stage of life. Some of the foods that could be helpful for a pregnant woman is given above from Dr. Michael Fox’s pregnancy diet list.
  2. Forget weight loss – Pregnancy isn’t the best time to aim for weight loss. When doing a Ketogenic diet, the pregnant woman should aim for the nutrition she’ll be getting from the Keto meals.
  3. Do not do Intermittent Fasting (IF) – Although IF could be beneficial, pregnancy stage is an exception for this type of dieting. It is still important to ensure the baby’s growth and nutrition.
  4. Stay active – Okay, do not get me wrong. By being active when in Ketosis and during pregnancy, shouldn’t involve hard and intense trainings of course. There are lightweight activities that involve in pregnancy fitness and exercises to further help maintain their strength and at the same time support the development of the growing little one. Briswalking, calming yoga, and light cardiovascular exercises will do.
  5. Know what foods to avoid – Food consumed by the mother and fed to the baby matters. It would be safe if the pregnant woman avoid refined grains, added sugars, and processed foods for the meantime.

Ketogenic dieting has proven to be effective in different aspects in life already – health, fitness, and now, pregnancy. We cannot blame women for choosing to continue with a low-carb diet even during pregnancy. But it’s recommended they follow the safety precautions for their sake and the baby’s.

Though Ketogenic dieting is a good way to lose weight, we must remember it also improves situations in a person’s life stages.

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