Is It Safe To Go On The Atkins Diet During Pregnancy?

Written by Moumita ghosh • 

Everyone seems to be attracted towards a low-carbohydrate diet. When you consume fewer carbohydrates, you tend to lose weight. This is the reason why Atkins is so popular!

In case you are planning to get pregnant and you are already an avid follower of the Atkins diet, you may have to concentrate more on the well-being of your baby than your weight loss. Read to know more on various phases and risks associated with Atkins diet during pregnancy.

Food Calories During Pregnancy:

It is suggested you consume around 300 calories every day all through your pregnancy. A healthy diet constitutes the stepping stone for a healthy pregnancy. Here is what you must be aware of:

  • In pregnancy you need to incorporate fats, diary, grains, vegetables and fruits in judicious amounts.
  • Atkins diet is not completely devoid of carbohydrates, but it is not sufficient in pregnancy.

[ Read: Calorie Intake In Pregnancy ]

Different Phases Of Atkins Diet During Pregnancy:

The Atkins diet recommends that you take part in the phase of “maintenance” of Atkins that helps you take large amounts of carbohydrates in pregnancy.

Atkins diet has different phases. Here we shall have a detailed look into the phases:

1. Induction Phase: 

The “induction” or initial phase is the one when you lose weight.

  • This may not be a safe phase in pregnancy.
  • During this phase, without certain amount of carbohydrates it becomes difficult for your body to use fat in the usual way.
  • This results in incomplete breakdown of fats known as ketones.

2. Maintenance Phase: 

The “maintenance” phase is the final phase.

  • When you are pregnant you need to follow the maintenance phase.
  • This phase is least restrictive and you can incorporate all the carbohydrates you need in your diet.

[ Read: Pregnancy Diet Chart ]

Research Studies On Atkins Pregnancy Diet:

The study published in American Journal of Physiology in 2004 concluded the following about Atkins diet in pregnancy:

  • Female mice were given low carbohydrate and a high protein diet.
  • Their off springs were born with lower levels of triglycerides that continued till adulthood.
  • Triglyceride levels must be low to reduce chances of coronary artery disease that can lead to heart attacks.

Atkins Diet And Pregnancy – Potential Risk Factors Involved:

It is highly important that you enjoy a healthy and nutritious diet in pregnancy for proper growth of your baby. See what happens when you do not consume a diet rich in carbohydrates:

  • If your body does not get sufficient carbohydrate in pregnancy, it will start breaking down fats and produce ketones.
  • Accumulation of too much of ketones leads to ketosis that cause brain damage in fetus.

[ Read: Vitamin B During Pregnancy ]

Vital Considerations:

If you want you follow Atkins diet in pregnancy, there are some vital considerations that you need to keep in mind. Let us have a look below:

  • You must get sufficient calories and complex carbohydrate in your prenatal diet. Foods such as vegetables, legumes, whole grain breads are rich sources of complex carbohydrates.
  • There may be times when you will need to cut down on your carbohydrate consumption in pregnancy. Your pregnancy may worsen your situation if you suffer from low blood sugar. Cutting down on carbohydrates may help in such cases.
  • Again, if you are suffering from gestational diabetes, you may be asked to cut down your carbohydrate consumption by your doctor.

The concept of low-carbohydrate diet was first popularized by Atkins diet. It usually is very successful if the individual is committed to this diet, but for a pregnant woman, it is very essential that to seek advice from the doctor if it is safe to follow this diet during gestational period.

Moms share with us if you followed the Atkins diet during pregnancy and if you experienced any complications for that.

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