• Article

Mom's with Celiac Disease Conceiving Healthy Babies

I’m a new grandma!  GiGi’s the name, grand-mothering is my game!!!  The most awesome experience of my whole life just occurred last month when I became a first time grandparent by my son-in-law, Justin, and daughter, Chelsea, who has celiac disease.

The fact that Chelsea has been on a gluten-free diet for 6 years helped astronomically to become pregnant, carry to full-term and deliver a beautiful and healthy baby.

Celiac disease (CD), undiagnosed has been associated with a variety of reproductive disorders such as: infertility, miscarriages, pre-term delivery, babies born with low birth weight and shorter breastfeeding periods. 

When a woman comes to her physician with a history of pregnancy loss or difficulty in conceiving and presenting with some other symptoms, it is time to screen for CD.

Once on a strict gluten-free diet, beside reading labels on EVERYTHING, it’s important to be sure the pregnant mom’s diet has adequate calcium and B vitamins (folic acid, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin), iron and fiber.  Most OB/GYNs suggest pre-natal vitamins and you must be sure that they, too, are gluten-free.

More and more manufacturers are now enriching their gluten-free products and using more nutritious gluten-free starches and seeds like quinoa, amaranth, flax, buckwheat, millet and teff.  That is a big help with mom’s nutrition during pregnancy and after.

Once the baby is born and the new mom decides to breast-feed, it’s the same guideline as a non-celiac mom: increase your proteins, fluids, calories and just maintain a strict gluten-free diet.

  • Protein: increase by 15-20 grams per day, i.e. 2-3 extra servings of dairy products.
  • Fluids: let your thirst be your guide.  I like to suggest having a water bottle or glass of water handy as you breast feed. 
  • Calories: lactating moms need about 200-500 or more calories than usual.

Being aware of the potential challenges of having CD and conceiving and having a safe pregnancy, made the past ten months both a wonderful personal experiment and a wildly successful experience that confirms the value of eating a strict gluten-free diet for those with Celiac Disease. Phew and Yahoo!

The proof is in the pudding, Maya Pudding, that is!


Jan Phillips, aka GiGi