Health

Pregnancy Nutrition & Recipes – Should pregnant women participate?

“It seemed a logical step that if I could see one set of emotional reactions to diet, then my depression might be treatable,” says Muzyczka, who ultimately lowered her carb intake and began eating a higher-protein diet.

Going on a diet of any kind generally is not a good idea for pregnant women.

Muzyczka discovered, to her surprise, that the changes she made were right on. “I went for about two weeks where I was fighting with my husband, crying all the time,” she says.

“One day I realized that although I was telling people how great I was feeling, how happy we were about the new baby, I wasn’t feeling it at all. I wasn’t enjoying my older child – I wasn’t feeling much of anything. Changing my diet made me a different person, it was startling. The crying went away, I was happy again, it was just amazing.”

Pregnant with her second child, Kelly Muzyczka found herself feeling more and more irritable and less focused as the days passed. Because her negative mood often showed up after eating certain foods, particularly those higher in carbohydrates, the Pittsburgh woman figured a diet change was in order.

“It seemed a logical step that if I could see one set of emotional reactions to diet, then my depression might be treatable,” says Muzyczka, who ultimately lowered her carb intake and began eating a higher-protein diet.

Going on a diet of any kind generally is not a good idea for pregnant women.

Muzyczka discovered, to her surprise, that the changes she made were right on. “I went for about two weeks where I was fighting with my husband, crying all the time,” she says.

“One day I realized that although I was telling people how great I was feeling, how happy we were about the new baby, I wasn’t feeling it at all. I wasn’t enjoying my older child – I wasn’t feeling much of anything. Changing my diet made me a different person, it was startling. The crying went away, I was happy again, it was just amazing.”

Limiting carbohydrates can also prove dangerous, says Dr. Crivelli-Kovach, because they are the primary source of energy. “Pregnant moms can become fatigued and tire easily,” she says. “Giving up carbs could affect their energy levels.”

The Right Kinds of Carbs

What moms-to-be should consider are the types of carbohydrates they may be considering eliminating. “The question always is what carbs are we talking about,” says Dr. Crivelli-Kovach, who has studied the nutrition needs of pregnant and nursing women extensively. “They come in all shapes and sizes, and while passing on some may be beneficial, passing on all can compromise the nutrient status of the pregnant mom and not deliver some vital phytochemicals that are found in fruits and vegetables.”

The Low-Carb Craze-Should Pregnant Women Participate? Dr. Shari Lieberman, author of The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book: A Definitive Guide to Designing Your Personal Supplement Program (Avery Publishing Group, 2003) and Dare to Lose: Four Simple Steps to Achieve a Better Body (Avery Publishing Group, 2002), agrees and suggests that pregnant women eat low glycemic index carbs, “which is completely different,” she says.

“She should eat carbs – like beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, yams, squash – that do not raise blood sugar levels and avoid carbs that have a high glycemic index. High glycemic index carbs such as sugar, most commercial breads, sweets, junk foods will raise blood sugar quickly and can result in insulin resistance and diabetes: gestational diabetes during pregnancy.”

Individuals considering making changes in their diets or exercise are advised to first speak with their doctor or other health professional. This is especially true for pregnant women.

While experts say losing weight shouldn’t be a priority during pregnancy, eating to ensure the good health of you and your baby is smart. The overall consensus? Expectant moms should eat a balanced diet that includes all food groups.