Low carb during pregnancy?

I am currently just over 8 weeks pregnant.

I have also been lowish-carb for almost a year now, and that has helped me to keep a consistent 5.9% A1C.

Today I had a long, perplexing meeting with my obstetrician and diabetes educator/dietitian, during which I was told I am not eating enough carbs, and that I need to eat more carbs for the health of the baby. Depending on the sexiness of the carb I encounter each day, I eat maybe 50-100g of carb now, which is slightly more than pre-pregnancy. They were shocked and said 100g was ‘very low carb’. They want me to eat a minimum of 120g of carb a day.

That seems like a lot to me, especially as my insulin needs have doubled from the day of conception. I used to need 1 unit of insulin per 5g of carb, now it is 1 to 2.5.

Now I have to say my diabetes team is pretty cool in general. They have never pushed me to eat any kind of prescribed diet. The dietitian said to me today, ‘you have obviously found a way of managing your blood sugars which works for you, but things are slightly different in pregnancy.’ She said I was free to go back to my crazy low-carb routine after pregnancy. (She didn’t use the word crazy but I could feel it in her tone of voice hahaha)

I do many of my diabetes stuff off-book but am now hesitating a little because it’s not just me in the equation now. So I was wondering what experiences people had regarding carb consumption during pregnancy? Is low carb really as dangerous in pregnancy as they are making it out to be?

My obstetrician said she has had over 500 patients now, and she has never met anybody who eats as ‘extremely low carb’ as I do. So actually, she has a zero sample size to draw on. But on the other hand, I would hate to be the low carb guinea pig that proves her right, especially when things are so heavily stacked against the gospel of low carb already. So I would be interested in hearing about others’ experiences.

I am not sure I’d say 120G is a totally unreasonable amount. The other thread I was asking for it and, while there are a lot of 20-50 people, I perceived the Taubes book as recommending 55-60 and it also cited the “Life without Bread” author as recommending an opulent 75G. I am not sure if eating for two is exactly that. I would look at 120 as pretty low carb for being pregnant so I would look at it as a good thing that the doc is recommending that. Perhaps she’d check around on the secret doctor message board or wherever they exchange their information?


I am not sure about this. I would probably just do it to be on the safe side. However, I have a hard time understanding how an extra 20 grams of carbs (you eat around 100g and they want you to eat 120g) is going to have such a large impact on the baby. Maybe someone who knows something about it can help with some wise comments but this seems like a bit of bias that is tradititonally seen towards the low carb approach. Maybe you can split the difference and eat 110g per day? If 20g is such a big deal then surely 10grams will be an improvement?
I second Acid’s CONGRATS!!!


I’ve heard Dr. Bernstein talk about his patients on low carb during pregnancy.

Your dietician and doctor are out of touch with health nutrition. As long as you are already eating low carb, there is no nutritional deficiency to your baby. Your baby needs essential amino acids and essential fatty acids. In other words, proteins and fats. The other macronutrient, Carbohydrates, are non essential. You learn that the first day in “nutrition 101”. Other minerals and vitamins come from your food. Dietary supplements can help if you don’t eat as well as you should.

If you were a high carber. I would not go low carb “cold turkey” during pregnancy. This is because high carbers have very poor gluconeogenesis and are also prone to “insulin dumps” after a meal. In this case low blood sugar episodes can occur. When a body does an “insulin dump” it’s because it is anticipating a massive blood sugar spike from eating high carb and is trying to minimize the damage. Low carbers never have low blood sugar episodes because they don’t have the blood sugar spikes and also their natural gluconeogenesis efficiently creates all the blood sugar needed.

On the other side, when you eat high carb, your “high blood sugar spikes” pass through the placenta to your baby but your insulin does not! Your baby then has to produce large amounts of insulin to stop the damage. You would then be conditioning your baby to be hyperinsulinemic - this is what type 2 diabetes is! With all our modern day high carb diets, we are destroying the health of our babies before they are even born. I have a niece who has had two babies that were both born with gestational diabetes because she listened to her doctor who told her she needed to eat lots of carbs. She is about 100lbs over weight and her babies were about 12lb each!

Something I learned, in my studies, is that doctors know no more of health nutrition than anybody else. Nutrition is not a disease or bodily malfunction, so they do not study it. What nutrition they learn pertains to specific bodily functions or disease. Other than that, most of them just repeat what they have been told by their parents and peers. My son was a doctor at Mt Sinai Med Center, he just moved to Harvard Med Center. He confirmed that to me.

The modern science of nutrition is showing that we, as a society, have been steered wrong with going high carb. The National Institute of Health and other medical bodies are slowly and consistently moving toward low carb as being the proper and healthy diet. All the science we have has been showing this if we just study it and are willing to say we were wrong.

By the way, congrats on the bambino!

Hope this helps - John

Agree with you, John. Well stated. Carbs are non-essential. Grains are not the staff of life.