Can you Keto while pregnant? What about Breastfeeding? My Keto Experience During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Oh man, I feel like it has been forEVER since I have updated here. Maybe soon I’ll have time to sit down and update everyone on all the craziness that has been my life the past couple of months. For now, I will recap very topically and let you all know that my baby Genevieve Mercy has been born. She was born in November a few days before Thanksgiving and is seriously the sweetest most go-with-the-flow baby ever! Here is a pic of my new little angel and an update on some of the challenges of keto and breastfeeding in what I consider a huge success in my personal journey…..

I was so honored that God chose to give us another baby, but SOOOO glad she’s no longer inside me….it’s just me being real, near the end of week 41, I was SO done being pregnant. This is said in the best humor I can muster, I love my babies and they are so worth it, but I’m pretty sure almost every lady who has borne children will agree that at the end, you are ready to be done 😉  There are a lot of ways I could take this update, bbut I think I will focus it keto-side and give you a breakdown phase by phase so wherever you may be coming from maybe my experience may give you more data.Organic to Green - Liquid Coconut Oil

SOOOO for Keto ladies (or men, totally not discrediting your interest) who may be wondering “what did your ketones do birth, post birth and throughout breastfeeding?” allow me to break it down based on what I did and what I documented….
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Halfway through pregnancy on Keto with a net carb intake of about 50-100g I had been feeling ABSOLUTELY the BEST I ever had on Keto and was not tracking blood ketones frequently but hung out in the 1.0 mmol/L. I was able to workout and had very little morning sickness or food aversions.

Somehow I had an allergic reaction to a chemical (still not sure how I came in contact with it) and started having issues sleeping because my parasympathetic nervous system got thrown off as a reaction (took several months of insomnia to figure this out). My doctor seemed to think it best to try to add more carbs in, come OUT of ketosis and see if that helped with my sleep. I began eating a lot more carbs trying to throw myself out of ketosis and come to find out, my body LOVES ketosis and I literally could not stop producing ketones!! The levels never got acidosis level, in fact they stayed within my preferred range of 1-2.0 mmol/L. (I use THIS meter by Keto Mojo) My doctor even agreed that my body just likes being in ketosis and that it was not a problem to allow my body to do what it obviously has a tendency toward now. Either way, as a result of eating a lot more carbs, I had gotten a lot of my sugar cravings back and felt really unhealthy despite my body producing ketones. I definitely felt depressed because of the lack of sleep and the low quality food that I ate to cope with said lack of sleep. No sleep=No good. I will only elaborate if specifically asked so not to get too far off track of the goal of this post.

I only gained my recommended amount of weight this pregnancy (Woop!) and as soon as I had the baby jumped back into HIGH fat and low carb eating (still around 50g net for breastfeeding purposes). Hospital food for 5 days had me STARVING for healthy food. I also think it’s important to note that digestive enzymes are a MUST for me post birth. I don’t know why specifically, but I struggle with digestion and need the extra support for my system to feel my best post birth. For my body this looks like being starving no matter how much I eat and loose bowl movements or even feelings of blood sugar issues.

I have not been tracking macros, just trying to eat plenty of fat, stay away from what I intuitively sense are too many carbs and have more regularly tracked my blood ketones in order to see how my body reacts. Here’s how it shook out: I was not eating keto at all the last few weeks of pregnancy, but was so eager to get back eating healthy once she was born, I ate only high quality carbs like sweet potato and lots of veggies doused in butter or coconut oil. I also drank a very high fat hot chocolate made from coconut milk, mct powder and butter with xylitol for sweetness and 2 large scoops of collagen every morning instead of coffee. What I found was opposite of what I was concerned might happen. Instead of having issues producing milk, I actually had an OVER SUPPLY for several days until my body regulated itself. I also had the baby start to sleep through the night as a result of all the extra fat leaving her more satisfied. She is also so chunky, there’s no question that she is getting all she needs 🙂 She’s in the 97th percentile for length and weight. To put this in perspective, she is 3 months old wearing 6 month sleepers comfortably.img_1822

The only thing I would have done differently if I could go back was to not quit keto once I stopped sleeping well due to the allergy. I would have maybe added some extra sweet potato and trusted my body more. I have seen only positive results from doing keto while breastfeeding and I even allow myself dessert out from time to time because I am adapted enough that it doesn’t take me out of ketosis for more than that evening. By morning I am back at a 1.5 mmol/L because my body burns that off with production of breast milk.

One last thing hormone-wise I feel like I should be transparent about….I started getting my period back this month as a result of the baby sleeping through the night again. Right before I started my blood ketone level was at a 3!!!!! That is therapeutic level and so incredible!
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Finally, I want to give a HUGE shout out to Cake Maternity for their amazing nursing bras. I have always bought on the cheap but when Cake sent me a bra to try, let me tell you, I have never had a bra fit better or give me better shape while nursing. This opinion is my own and Cake does not pay me to say so, but I would be remiss if I didn’t share this link to incredibly comfortable, shapely and needless to say PRETTY maternity and nursing bras.

Charley M by Cake Maternity

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