Pregnancy & the Autoimmune Protocol (surprise!)

If I have any luck, I’m not down to zero followers, and maybe I have a random one or two lurking here or there. But you may have noticed it’s been pretty quiet on this naturally-in-progress front. That’s because some other things have been in progress! Like a BABY!

photo credit: wikipedia

After the holidays I was planning on doing a post on how I survived through the holidays without straying off the autoimmune protocol (I was way proud of myself!), but instead, I had a few unusual symptoms that led me to take a pregnancy test, and voila: preggo.

What’s this mean for me and the autoimmune protocol?

So, that naturally changed my course a little bit. At first, I was able to continuing eating as I had been, and was including some super nutrient-dense foods into my diet. Salmon, dark leafy greens, fresh berries, and then about a week after I found out my news, the aversions began to hit, and the cravings swung in full-force. I was having an AIP mental crisis and really didn’t know what to do. While I had told my functional medicine doctor the news of the pregnancy, I was afraid/embarrassed/ashamed that I had already “given in” to some of my non-AIP cravings. There just was nearly no way around it, lest I wanted to throw up from an empty stomach or deal with major nausea and gagging… which sounds better?

Eating food I wanted to eat was helpful, and gave me energy, but eating really bad food day after day for a couple of weeks took its toll. And by bad, I mean, takeout, or quick and easy restaurant fare (not necessarily just non-AIP foods). By week 10, I decided to scale back on the easy fixes and try to strike a more moderate approach.

Where I am now

Believe it or not, I started to write this post mid-March and am just now catching back up to update you guys. I’m 22 weeks now, and am looking at a late summer (late August/early September) arrival.

I’ve come to a place mentally where I’ve stopped shaming myself for not being perfect on the protocol. I think in some ways the guilt and negative self-talk can be just as detrimental to your overall health as an imperfect diet. For now, I’m focusing on taking my supplements, resting a lot, lots of outdoors time (which has been easy to accomplish during a beautiful spring in Florida), and maintaining other support systems that are helpful to me. My diet is 80/20 somedays, and 50/50 other days. I’ve done some anecdotal internet research to find out I’m not alone in my AIP struggles while pregnant, and that’s reassuring. I think if I suffered from a different set of symptoms, my resolve to stick closer to 100% would be different, but my particular autoimmune disorder bothers me at a different level than some. What I do know is I have some tools in my arsenal to help me should things progressively worsen, and I know my functional medicine doctor will see me at the 3rd trimester and after delivery to help me navigate the potentially massive hormonal shifts that can occur.

What I’ve been craving

Italian sub sandwiches — There’s hardly anything redeeming about these sub sandwiches from an AIP perspective, but I can confirm they are indeed delicious. As a good friend pointed out, at Jimmy John’s, I could always get them lettuce-wrapped for less guilt 🙂

Seafood — I never feel guilty about this! Lately I’ve been enjoying lots of salmon and shrimp, which is great because I’m still a little iffy on eggs occasionally and these foods are some of the most nutrient-dense and help with so much brain development in a growing baby.

Sauteed shrimp with Zoodles (zucchini noodles) — inspired by @WholeLIfeFullSoul on Instagram

Fresh fruit — watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, berries, again, no guilt

A pretty decent breakfast // my steadfast smoothies were giving me some indigestion so I’m switching it up for now & trying new things

Ice cream — Publix grocery stores sell an awesome organic variety of vanilla ice cream (yes it’s dairy, but it’s organic and has a pretty clean list of ingredients). I do want to investigate making my own fruit sorbets, however.

Popsicles — Cold treats are just … top-notch especially as the weather heats up. I intend to make some AIP-friendly ones sometime soon 🙂

Asian-inspired food — I think this was spurred by following Dora from ProvincialPaleo on Instagram. Wow, does she have amazing & inspiring recipes! I wish I knew how to cook like her! Trying some of her suggestions has led to some yummy new creations in the kitchen, and an expanding of my repertoire!

With my other two pregnancies I craved Mexican, but I’m just not feeling it at much this time around! I’m trying to listen to my body and what it wants while also exercising moderation. I know our bodies change with the season as well and I feel the influences of spring and summer in what I want to eat.

I’d love to hear from any others who have done or struggled with the autoimmune protocol while pregnant. What was your experience, what did you crave, what were you averse to, what was most supportive? Please comment below, and thanks for sharing!


9 thoughts on “Pregnancy & the Autoimmune Protocol (surprise!)

  1. Tianmei says:

    Thanks for the post! I am recently diagnosed early Hashimotos. I cut out gluten, dairy, grains, nightshades and what little sugars i was eating about 4 weeks before i found out i was pregnant! I am now 6 weeks and struggling hard to find things that satiate that are “safe” to eat. A fresh sourdough, organic gouda grilled cheese sandwich. Yum. But i’m scared of messing with the thyroid antibodies. Most of the paleo/aip is making me queasy!!! Zucchini spaghetti…once delicious 10 days ago makes me ill to even write about:)
    Nice to hear your battle..
    Even some homemade french fries would be great. It is definitely the carbs i am craving!!!!

  2. Rachel says:

    Thank you for this article!! Everything else on the web was making me believe that AIP during pregnancy is possible when I’m finding it is defiantly not! It’s so crazy how for years I was on AIP without a problem and as soon as week 6 hit I couldn’t look at anything in the fridge. I do have a goal of steering clear of gluten, soy, dairy, and night shades as I know those cause major issues for me. But right now it’s all about the organic tortilla chips and bean dip (I can make it myself with just beans, garlic, avocado, lime juice and salt to avoid night shades). Holy crap this is harder than I thought it would be! It’s my first pregnancy so I didn’t know what to expect and I was stupid and thought since I’d been on AIP so long I wouldn’t get the typical cravings… I was hungry all the time before I gave into them! I feel like it’s either eat stuff you shouldn’t or don’t eat. And I think everyone agrees that not eating is worse! Any who. Thanks for the post. It resonated!

  3. Laura says:

    How long were you on aip before getting pregnant? had you tried any reintros? I’m currently 6 weeks and been on aip 9 months only reintro i’ve done is green beans. should i try anything else or is it risky while pregnant? i’m starting to crave everything and anything not aip!!!

    • Hi Laura, sorry for the delay in responding. I had reintroduced green beans, cocoa/chocolate, and I had a couple cups of coffee while traveling.

      However once I got into morning sickness in my first trimester I reintroduced a lot of foods (that I craved) in no good order. Once I recovered from morning sickness I tried to just eat paleo and I reintroduced eggs, and was a lot more lenient until delivery. Honestly, I felt pretty good the whole time (minus the morning sickness), but, really tried to avoid gluten as much as possible. Wasn’t perfect when I had cravings! I know some women have more self-control than I did, or have WORSE symptoms if they deviate, but that was not my experience. Jessica Flanagan, from AIP lifestyle, wrote on an Instagram post of mine, during that time to say to give myself grace and to add in eggs and a couple other things. That acknowledgement helped me a lot!
      Congrats and I hope things are going okay.

      • Catherine says:

        Other than eggs, what is a good short list of reintros for pregnancy? I’ve been 100% AIP for 6 months with no reintros, and I am now 8 weeks pregnant. Like Rachel said, I can relate to looking in my fridge at week 6 and not wanting one thing in there! A bonus if anyone has a suggestion to curb a toasted bagel and cream cheese craving! 😂

  4. Thank you for adding your post to this broader conversation in the AIP community. I feel like very broadly and generally speaking those who follow AIP tend to be young women and so here we are, all getting pregnant! My symptoms are much more life threatening so I was able to continue to adhere strictly to AIP as well as mostly SCD carbs through my first pregnancy. Baby was 6 lb 1 oz. But second pregnancy I adhered mainly to AIP and ate the non-SCD carbs allowed and baby was 6.5 lb. I really want to hit at least the 7# mark now with #3 – I’m at about 6 weeks now. I had been eating rice a bit since baby #2 was about 1 yo. But recently I cut it out since DD #1 is battling a horrible (Candida??) rash and I can’t have race and not share with her. Hmm. Just thinking out loud how to do SCD/AIP with DD#1 (4 yo) and simultaneously grow a big baby…

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