Carl and I are older first-time parents. He just turned 40, and I'll be 39 a couple of weeks after our baby girl is born. I am very, very glad we waited. I'm glad our previous have-a-baby plans (back in 2006) didn't work out, and I'm glad we didn't give in to the social pressure to have kids in the early years of our marriage. I have lots of reasons why I'm glad we waited, and none are insignificant. I could probably write long blog posts about each and every one. Today, though, I'm only going to talk about one: I'm glad we waited until I discovered paleo.
As most people I talk to (and those who read this blog) know, my pregnancy has been smooth sailing. I have no complaints, and I feel great most of the time. I'm not experiencing an onslaught of all the classic pregnancy symptoms I've heard so much about and, even though I am very much looking forward to our daughter's birth, I really don't mind pregnancy at all.
I attribute this 100% to my diet, and I am absolutely convinced that without paleo my pregnancy experience would be a lot different. Of course, I have no way of knowing for sure (and I'm not going to experiment in order to find out!). Maybe I'm just one of those women who have easy pregnancies? Maybe, but I doubt it.
I guess what I'm trying to say here is this is not "luck." We all have choices, and the choices we make impact the outcomes we receive. This is true not just in pregnancy but in all areas of life. Choosing to stick to the paleo diet throughout my pregnancy has (so far) produced a really fantastic outcome for me, and I am so thankful for it. And please believe me when I say this is not a criticism of anyone who is not eating paleo while pregnant (if I had been pregnant at any other time in my life, I certainly wouldn't have been on this diet). Most people don't even know paleo is an option, especially since mainstream media and all the pregnancy books tell us we need to follow a low-fat diet rich in whole grains. But if you are pregnant right now and are dealing with morning sickness, indigestion, constipation, swelling, extreme fatigue, cravings, mood swings, diabetes, etc., please know that you don't have to continue on like this. Try paleo and see what happens, because despite everything we're told, these symptoms (in my opinion) are not "normal." They are the body's response to the wrong kind of fuel (sadly, the very fuel our culture and government encourage us to ingest). I suspect that if we studied pregnancy from an anthropological perspective, we would find that the pregnancy symptoms we've come to accept as standard are actually a fairly recent phenomenon.
Admittedly, I have no scientific evidence for this. I haven't researched pregnancy anthropology. What I do know, though, is I have not heard of one single paleo pregnancy that hasn't been relatively comfortable. Not one (if there is anyone out there who hasn't had a comfortable paleo pregnancy, please speak up!) And for me personally, I can attribute the majority of the minor inconveniences I have experienced to some sort of bad dietary choice (remember my issues with swelling a few of weeks back?).
On the flip side, how many women who follow the Standard American Diet (or even healthier versions of the SAD) during pregnancy can say the same thing? I know there are exceptions, but almost everyone I know (or know of) has experienced morning sickness and cravings (at the very least). And many have even been placed on bed rest and/or have had trouble with gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.
Again, I am not saying this to criticize -- I'm just making an observation. Our bodies are built to bear children. Is it really possible that the process of growing a baby in the womb is meant to be a miserable experience? I don't think so.