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Will Nutrients Still Get To My Baby If My Body Doesn't Absorb Nutrients Properly?
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I was just diagnosed with Celiac Disease in April. I have been strictly following the gluten-free diet, but due to continuing symptoms and with an elimination diet, I recently found out I am also allergic to Casein. How long do I need to be on the gluten-free/CF diet before my husband and I start trying to have kids? I am worried that since I cannot digest nutrients properly, that the baby will also receive less nutrients until my intestines are healed more fully. Thoughts? Advice?

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Hi and welcome :) every body heals at a different rate, and it depends on what kinds of deficiencies you may or may not have. In general, it takes 6 months to a year of iron supplements to get iron levels up to normal if you're anemic.

I would talk to your doctor, tell him/her that you want to start trying soon, and ask for regular blood panels so you can see where your levels are.

Good luck :)

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I think you're right about wanting to be well-nourished before having a baby. If the timing were reasonable I think I'd want to wait a year or so before TTC. I've just been reading Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food by Catherine Shanahan and she talks about the subtle effects of being really well-nourished on babies. Also start your prenatal vitamin a few months before TTC; you want all the goodies to be around the moment the baby gets going. You could even start on them now.

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I agree. Folic acid is very important the first few weeks after conception. I routinely check my blood levels with the routine labs recommended for women to check for any red flags.

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I agree. Folic acid is very important the first few weeks after conception. I routinely check my blood levels with the routine labs recommended for women to check for any red flags.

I would advise eating whole foods and taking a high level probiotic! My first pregnancy did not receive the right nutrition, and was subsequently a very high risk pregnancy. It was very scary and my lil girl has complications from it to this day. I think a year on a good probiotic and Gluten-Free sounds like a perfect amount of time!

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I want to wait until I both feel better and the endoscopy comes back clean. I suspect this will be more than a year for me, but you never know. I haven't talked about it with a doctor though. I 100% think you should wait, just not sure how long. I don't think your baby will right if you're still not nourished right.

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Smart decision!! My sister and I both have Celiac disease and went through multiple pregnancies without knowing. Our pregnancies were hard and high risk and our children have numerous problems (autism, apraxia, MERLD, heart condition). While we have no *proof* that the Celiac caused any of the disorders, I think science will discover that it is really bad. I know a neurologist at Children's Hospital in Washington, DC who is researching pregnancies with undiagnosed Celiac. So far, he said his preliminary findings were very troubling.

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Good luck to you. I do think it's a delicate balance and frankly depends a lot on age. I had two healthy pregnancies with undiagnosed Celiac. Fortunately both boys were full term and healthy. But my first did drop markedly in size after two months (I exclusively breast fed) and I think it's because of both of our celiac. But I had a hard time getting pregnant the second time, just didn't seem to ovulate, had to use clomid. I'm sure in retrospect it was the celiac. My second son was born even bigger and is off the charts still at 8 months, also BF. But that pregnancy knocked me out.

I think, in general, your body will take what it needs for the baby. It might mean you lose your teeth, feel like you have to sleep 20 hours a day, go bald...but the body looks after the baby. It's you that will suffer and you already are suffering. So I'd talk to your doctor about this. On the one hand you have to think about needing more time to get pregnant but you also have to think about the impact to you and also the risk of losing a pregnancy.

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I had undiagnosed celiac during which I had one misscarriage and 5 children. I was really sick and could hardly eat for several months of each pregancy. However, each pregnancy resulted in the birth of a healthy baby. My point is that it doesn't usually end in disaster; the body is designed well to protect both mother and baby. Children are blessings. They help motivate to live right and one has someone that needs you. I was so glad that I had a baby that needed me after I went through surgery once. While all of the other surgery patients had to consider how they should recover. I had a little one that needed me. It was a good feeling.

I don't recommend not treating celiac and having 5 babies. I think the toll on my body is pretty steep. However, I guess it would be anyway with 30 years of celiac. I have these nice young people to show for it! They are worth it.

Diana

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    • I figured I would update those who were wondering.  I have gotten the appt. so far moved up to August 30. I am waiting to have gene testing done via swab for all 3 of my kiddos tomorrow. My daughters celiac antibodies came up negative but her IgA is low which the ped said could cause false negative antibodies for celiac so she will need to see a GI dr. also. The pediatrician is going to call the GI to try to get them in sooner. I am keeping them all on a gluten diet until the GI dr. decides what to do. I am on the cancellation list already for my son, however I am not going to be persistent with my phone calls to them until I have the results of the gene test. I really want that result in my hand before going to the GI dr if I can. Maybe if he is positive, along with his bloodwork and my history they can forgo the endoscopy. But he will eat gluten till then.  My husband and I have been very honest and upfront with him as to what is going on and the possibility of the endoscopy and what that entails and although scared in general he seems ok after assuring him that since I have it he has me to help him every step of the way.  Going through his current diet with him I realized that he is truly on such a low gluten diet that I am actually surprised his bloodwork shows antibodies at all!  So I told him to make a list of allllll the gluten he could possibly think of eating and he needs to pound it until the GI visit or endoscopy. Funny thing is everything he keeps thinking of to want to eat...is already gluten free!  The other night we were at a friends and he asked if he could be done with his hotdog. I made him finish just the bread 😂 Thanks for your help and advise and I will keep y'all posted on both kids!  My oldest is a ok as far as all his antibodies. Just actually had a follow up for other immune issues and all his levels are now normal!
    • I like your plan Cara, I may have to include it in my sons.    Poor little guy is still very very sick. I think he is resisting and cheating, despite having the support of two other siblings and a 100% gluten-free home. 
    • Despite it being a nightmare, I did wait for my kids to get biopsies. At one point I had one severely ill child gluten-free and two more waiting having to eat it. It was worth the wait though and I think long term a biopsy may be worthwhile, especially for school. I have already had issues with schools and camps so having a firm diagnosis has been helpful. 
    • Knowing that the reaction to gluten in celiacs is an uncalled for immune system reaction, I was thinking of how a cure would be possible. Maybe a medicine that somehow turns off the immune system. The only thing that i've heard do that... HIV.  obviously that's way worse than celiac. Just some food for thought.
    • Well, you can probably get an apple or something.  You might be able to get someone to boil you some eggs.  But be careful of things like nuts that should be naturally gluten free.  They have almost always been soaked in a flavor solution that usually containes caramel coloring, "soy" (wheat) sauce and other aditives.  If I am really hungry and must eat in a Chinese restaurant, I order plain white rice and steamed vegetables.  But even so, you must monitor it carefully.  The rice sometimes has other substances added to give it a better texture, and very often the vegetables have in fact had "just a little bit" of soy sauce added.  To be fair, celiac disease is hardly ever found in East Asians, so understandably people are not tuned it to it.  Also, culturally, with the exception of fruits, it is generally thought that the flavor of foods needs to be enhanced, so it is had to find anything natural even in the "western" gorceries. Even in the western restaurants, be careful.  Fish and meat and often vegetables are usually pre-marinated. I will not even attempt to address the issue of cross-comtamination, since that is a whole higher order of things. I do know what I am talking about; I have celiac and have worked here for nearly 7 years.  
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