Keto diet and pregnancy

Keto diet or Ketogenic diet is a combination of low carb with high fat and adequate protein-containing food items. In this present era, the keto diet is one of the popular diet plans follows the young adult generation for weight management and bodybuilding purposes.

In traditional medicinal practice, the keto diet usually recommended for intractable children suffering from epilepsy disease.  Nowadays, adult epileptic patients have also followed the keto diet after getting the significant benefit of this diet against pediatric epilepsy. 

The trend of following a keto diet for a long period, especially among young women raises a safety issue as a  gestational diet. It is well known for all of us that gestational diet composition is very important as it supplies sufficient nutrients to mother for transmitting to the fetus through the placenta.

Diet is an important consideration in pregnancy 

Inadequate supply of nutrients through gestational diet can cause maternal and fetal irreversible disorders and retarded growth of the patients. Fetal developmental adaptation depends upon the interrelationship between gestational diet and fetal physiology.

Inappropriate gestational diet alters fetal metabolic functioning, which affects improper organ development and functioning. Consequently, a fetus at their adult life often has multiple metabolic, endocrine, cardiovascular, mental, and cognitive disorders. Therefore, the safety and efficacy analysis of the keto diet is very important for pregnancy. 

An expert dietician recommends that during the second and third trimester pregnant women should eat 100 grams of proteins with vitamins, and minerals supplements and 300 extra calories to fulfill the additional requirement. 

Read Also: Fertility foods

General advantages of Keto Diet

A keto diet is a high-fat diet with restricted carbohydrate contents. Our body forms ketones during the metabolic process of fat. In the absence of sufficient carbohydrate, the energy is primarily produced from utilizing those ketones, instead of carbohydrates.

This kind of diet helps to balance energy and maintain body weight without counting the calorie intake. The advantage of a keto diet is to achieve hunger control and to prevent metabolic abnormality related diseases such as diabetes and other cardiac problems. 

Weight and health management are the key driving force for many health-conscious people to pot for a keto diet.

Is keto diet sufficient to fulfill the requirements of pregnant women?

Gestational ketosis occurs due to malnutrition, diabetic condition, or fasting for a prolonged period. This does not have any link with the keto diet. But intake of keto diet leads to stable ketosis. There is no human trial yet conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a keto diet during pregnancy.

In 2013, an animal research report published in BioMed Central Pregnancy Childbirth demonstrated the negative effect of the keto diet during pregnancy.

There is no human trial yet conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a keto diet during pregnancy. In 2013, an animal research report published in BioMed Central Pregnancy Childbirth demonstrated the negative effect of the keto diet during pregnancy.

The animal research had conducted on mice. Feeding of keto diet showed disproportionate organ development of the embryo. The keto diet-fed mice embryos were volumetrically larger with marked organ deformation than the standard diet-fed mice.

The disproportionate organ development showed that keto-diet fed embryos had larger size heart with smaller sized brain along with smaller pharynx, cervical spinal cord, hypothalamus, midbrain, and pons, compared with the standard diet-fed embryo.

Researchers expected that this kind of changes might occur due to maternal blood circulation and nutritional transport unable to match the demands of embryonic growth and organ development at the different gestational time-period.

Keto diet-induced this growth alteration of the embryo can indicate the underlying physiological, and functional changes.  These changes may become noticeable after birth.

The founder of Jacksonville Center for Reproductive Medicine and renowned fertility specialist Dr. Michael D. Fox preferred low carb diet during pregnancy. She mentioned that the keto diet improves weight management, which is essential for conceiving.

Also, avoidance of carbohydrate intake during pregnancy reduces the risk of an increased level of insulin secretion in the maternal blood, which affects the brain development of the fetus. Instead of using term keto diet, whole food diet with low sugar and starch-containing food is a better option during pregnancy.  

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