Gluten-Free Diet During Pregnancy

If you’ve been avoiding gluten because of celiac disease or a gluten allergy, you may be wondering if you’re getting all of the nutrients you need. Do you need to change your diet now that you’re eating for two? The simple answer: probably not — especially if you’ve been gluten-free for a while.

Gluten, a protein that gives foods structure and texture, is found in most products made from wheat, barley or rye (like breads, crackers, cereals, pasta, cakes, cookies and pies) and is often also an ingredient in commercial food products sold in supermarkets and restaurants (including beer, coated French fries, hot dogs, sausages, some salad dressings and soy sauces, soups, licorice candy and veggie burgers). If you’ve got celiac disease, gluten triggers an immune system reaction that damages the intestines, with symptoms including diarrhea, fatigue and joint pain. Wheat allergy, another form of gluten intolerance, not only causes intestinal problems but can also provoke classic allergy symptoms such as hives, itching, nasal congestion and potentially fatal respiratory reactions. Of course if you do have celiac disease or any type of food allergy, be sure to let your OB-GYN know about your dietary restrictions so she can help you manage them during your pregnancy.

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