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Carluchi

Pregnant And Diagnosed With Celiac

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Hello,

I am ten weeks pregnant and a month ago I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. The gen test was positive but the antibodies were negative and they couldn't do the endoscopy because it is not recommended when you are pregnant. So, I decided to start the diet even though is not 100% that I have celiac disease.

After I started with the diet I started to feel a little better but never 100%. Before I used to have diarrhea and strong cramps several times a day and then it went to some constipation for like three days and then diarrhea but not so painful. But this week I started with the diarrhea and cramping again, I am thinking maybe I ate something that was cross contaminated (Quaker Rice cakes and some chicken broth that didn't say gluten free on it). I feel very frustrated because I thought the worst had passed and here I am again. Since I am new at this I have several questions that I need help with. See below:

1- Is there another type of testing I can do while I am pregnant to confirm that indeed I have Celiac?

2- How long does it take for all GI symptoms to go away and feel "normal" again after starting with the gluten-free diet?

3- What should I do if I accidentally get Glutened so the symptoms go away faster? Is there anything I can take for the cramping and diarrhea (Mylanta, Tums)?

4- I am very worried for my baby. I am afraid that all this diarrhea and cramping can hurt the baby in a way. Do you guys know if anything bad can happen to the baby if I have Celiac or it is me just being paranoid?

My doctor tested me for folic acid, iron, vitamin b and vitamin D and the only one that was a little low was the vitamin D so I am now staying more out at the sun and taking an extra vit D supplement. But it's been hard to take the vitamins because of the morning sickness so the doctor said I could stop the prenatal vitamins for now. Is there anything else I could take for extra vitamins that is safe in pregnancy and is gluten-free? I read that some other moms took gummy bears children vitamins. Is that safe to take?

I know these were a lot of questions.

Thank you so much in advance.

Carla

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Hello,

I am ten weeks pregnant and a month ago I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. The gen test was positive but the antibodies were negative and they couldn't do the endoscopy because it is not recommended when you are pregnant. So, I decided to start the diet even though is not 100% that I have celiac disease.

After I started with the diet I started to feel a little better but never 100%. Before I used to have diarrhea and strong cramps several times a day and then it went to some constipation for like three days and then diarrhea but not so painful. But this week I started with the diarrhea and cramping again, I am thinking maybe I ate something that was cross contaminated (Quaker Rice cakes and some chicken broth that didn't say gluten free on it). I feel very frustrated because I thought the worst had passed and here I am again. Since I am new at this I have several questions that I need help with. See below:

1- Is there another type of testing I can do while I am pregnant to confirm that indeed I have Celiac?

2- How long does it take for all GI symptoms to go away and feel "normal" again after starting with the gluten-free diet?

3- What should I do if I accidentally get Glutened so the symptoms go away faster? Is there anything I can take for the cramping and diarrhea (Mylanta, Tums)?

4- I am very worried for my baby. I am afraid that all this diarrhea and cramping can hurt the baby in a way. Do you guys know if anything bad can happen to the baby if I have Celiac or it is me just being paranoid?

My doctor tested me for folic acid, iron, vitamin b and vitamin D and the only one that was a little low was the vitamin D so I am now staying more out at the sun and taking an extra vit D supplement. But it's been hard to take the vitamins because of the morning sickness so the doctor said I could stop the prenatal vitamins for now. Is there anything else I could take for extra vitamins that is safe in pregnancy and is gluten-free? I read that some other moms took gummy bears children vitamins. Is that safe to take?

I know these were a lot of questions.

Thank you so much in advance.

Carla

Whew! Deep breath in. Aaaannnddd out.

First, CONGRATS!

Second, repeat that nice big breath. :)

Going through a pregnancy with an uncertain celiac diagnosis over your head is definitely something a bit scary. Everything seems so uncertain, but so important. I would like to start, however, by reminding you of a fact that is way too often overlooked, especially in obstetrics in the United States*: You, by the very fact that you are a live, are proof that you are descended from a very, very long line of women whose bodies know how to grow and birth a baby. You have that same knowledge in you. Pregnancy and birth is not some horror story waiting around the corner in need of careful medical management to prevent disaster; it is a completely and totally normal human process.

To answer your questions specifically:

1- Is there another type of testing I can do while I am pregnant to confirm that indeed I have Celiac?

No, not really. You might see if you can get ahold of your antibody tests and see what tests they ran and what the results were. Different doctors expect different results in order to classify you as celiac. If you had symptoms, a positive gene test, and some change for the better (even if not 100%) on the gluten free diet, however, you have a lot of indication right there that you don't need additional testing to tell you that you are celiac.

2- How long does it take for all GI symptoms to go away and feel "normal" again after starting with the gluten-free diet?

This varies significant by person. Not to mention that not all GI symptoms are always caused by gluten, even in a celiac. Add to that the fact that pregnancy can give you all kinds of "fun" GI symptoms, and you really have a tangle that can't be entirely untangled. Most people feel significant improvement in a few weeks. Not all, and not 100% improvement. Consider that your intestines have been accumulating damage for some length of time (be it months or years), and it will take time for all of that to heal, and to return your gut's immune system to a state where it is not acting like it's under attack. Seeing *any* improvement in the first week on a gluten free diet is a good, and big!, sign.

3- What should I do if I accidentally get Glutened so the symptoms go away faster? Is there anything I can take for the cramping and diarrhea (Mylanta, Tums)?

There's not really a whole lot you can do. It's a chemical reaction that is partially self sustaining in your immune system. Drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest, but there isn't anything that I would recommend. You might talk to your provider about things that are safe for you to take at the moment for cramping and diarrhea. Know that the cramping is probably caused by contractions along the intestines, but you want to be very careful with anything you take that acts to relax the muscles! You may or may not find that adding some additional fiber to your diet helps with the diarrhea, or possibly added calcium. I generally used ginger tea when I felt poorly for any reason (digestively) during my pregnancy.

4- I am very worried for my baby. I am afraid that all this diarrhea and cramping can hurt the baby in a way. Do you guys know if anything bad can happen to the baby if I have Celiac or it is me just being paranoid?

Well... pregnancy is a time that a little, moderated, paranoia is a good thing. Taken to extremes, yes, it is possible that things things could, in theory, hurt a baby. Extreme diarrhea can leave you dehydrated and depleted of electrolytes. You would likely know if this was occurring, and are probably aware enough of that risk to make sure that you are getting extra water and electrolytes. This is one reason why it would be best if you could keep taking a prenatal (you may have to experiment to find one that works for you) and get plenty of healthy nutrition (lots of salads can help get the folic acid that you need too). It is HIGHLY unlikely that the cramping is strong enough, especially at this stage of pregnancy, to induce contractions at all. I'm not even sure that it's theoretically possible at this stage.

Consuming gluten as a celiac while pregnant, however, does cause antibodies from the autoimmune response to attack the placenta and leads to an increased risk of miscarriage, however. Don't let this freak you out - this is talking essentially about not following a gluten free diet at all while being a pregnant celiac, and has not stopped many undiagnosed celiacs from carrying a healthy baby to term and birthing. Just keep it in mind as one other reason to be very vigilant in your diet.

The best advice I can give you is what I followed while I was pregnant: skip the packaged stuff. Stick to whole, naturally gluten free, unprocessed foods. (I had the luxury of having some prepackaged stuff that I had been eating for years knowing that it was safe since I was diagnosed so long ago. But I didn't add anything new (and got rid of a few things) since getting pregnant (we're still nursing).) Believe me, I know how much it can suck to have to cook something with morning all-day sickness, but it doesn't have to be a meal proper. I lived on avocados, eggs, and frozen mixed vegetables (practically) during the first part of my pregnancy. Nutrition is important, but the bulk of what your baby is getting in that first trimester comes from stores you had prior to pregnancy and in the yolk sac of the egg. I turned down many a quite-likely-safe meal during my pregnancy because I just wasn't going to take the chance. (I will note that though I was even more paranoid about gluten during pregnancy, upon consultation with my midwives, I did have some green tea and sushi (from a trusted source). So this isn't a "fear everything" sort of mindset, but a "minimize your known risks to something that works for you" sort of thing. For me, sushi was one of the few foods that I enjoyed during the first dozen or so weeks.)

Finally, pregnancy is going to cause some symptoms that you may not be able to accurately place. Don't let every bought of altered stools or twinge in the abdomen make you afraid of your food. Constipation is quite typical, ligament pain is expected, and those first baby movements will feel more like trapped gas than anything else. Just like with parenting, feel out what the really important stuff is, and do your best to relax around the rest of it.

And keep on asking any questions you've got! We're here to help. :)

*Fair note: I'm totally biased in this game. The culture of fear the US has built around pregnancy and birth pisses me off to no end. It is cruel and unfair to women psychologically and physically, and cruel to the children born under far less than ideal circumstanced, into a system so overwhelmed by fear, the desire for control, and the unwillingness to accept the unknown that it becomes an unnatural farce that can make for WORSE outcomes than if it weren't there at all.


Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"

Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy

G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004

Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me

Bellevue, WA

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Thank you, tarnalberry. Your response was really helpful. I was also thinking that I have to stick to what I know it worked in the past and not try new things. I that I am getting bored with food very easily these days. I was eating a lot of avocado and now I can't stand it, the same with lots of other food. But I will stick with what I know it didn't hurt me in the past, that is the safest way.

I understand what you say about the fear in pregnancy in the American society. But I lived a horror story last year. I lost a twins pregnancy in a very late state and it was very damaging and traumatic to me. I wanted this pregnancy to go smoothly because I knew it was going to be emotionally hard because of what happened to me. I also suffered an early miscarriage a month before getting pregnant this time. I think that was what triggered my celiac disease because I felt normal until that happened. I started with lost of Diarrhea but thought that it was stress and it was going to end in a week or so like it did in the past but it continued and never stopped until I started with the diet that helped but I am again feeling the cramps, stomach pain and constant diarrhea and I am worried. I don't want to loose another baby and I want this baby to be healthy and happy and I am scared. I wish I could have a naive and innocent pregnancy like I started with my last one but unfortunately this is not my case. I know that bad things can happen, because it did to me and many people I met this year.

But again this is out of hands, I am doing the diet and taking care of myself so hopefully this time will have a happy ending :)

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I would encourage you to learn from what you experience without letting it hold you back. If it helps to talk to someone (professionally) about it, please do! Pregnancy and birth trauma is far too often overlooked, and I think doctors push the idea that "if you're not naive, clueless and having a perfect pregnancy, things WILL go awfully wrong". There can be bumps along the road that are either small bumps, large ones, or walls, but you can confront them with intelligence and confidence, rather than fear. Bad things can and will happen, but don't forget that good things can and do happen - and more frequently than the bad ones. (There's some quote about optimism doesn't mean that you can't be prepared for the worst. If anyone knows it, what is it?)

I am VERY sorry for your loses, and I hope dearly that you do not have to go through that again.


Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"

Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy

G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004

Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me

Bellevue, WA

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I feel your pain, literrally, I was diaganosised also while I was pregnant. Not only do we have the stress of everytday issue of being pregnant, staying healthy, and doing EVERYTHING right for our babies, now there is new "life changing" lifestyle that was added to it.

You are not paronoid first and foremost. You are about to be a new mommy who wants nothing but to keep your child safe from harm no matter where its from. While I was in transittion and trying to find the "hidden Gluten", which there is alot of it, I ended up taking imodium, every now and then until my system got use to it, but most of the time I just hydrated and got thru it.

As far as gummy bear vitamins, I don't know I used proVitmains that say Gluten Free right on the label. Also, I was like you and started seeing my symoptoms subside and I am not a doctor but you are probably correct in that you have eaten something that has been cross contaminated. I ended up buying all new pots and pans, dishes the whole nine yards since I was so misserable, but if your pocket book can not handle it I suggest doing alot of research, reading labels, educate frends and family, reading labels, educate friends and family, oh and reading labels. It can and will be overwhelming espically during pregnancy and all the lovely cravings that we get. I ended up turning it into a came and tried to make my own gluten-free version of Pizza pockets and what nots.

Stay strong, it is a overwhelming task ahead of you to master this life style but in the end it will be well worth it. By the time you hold that baby of yours in your hands your tummy will no longer be a issue, which will make your most important life style change that is about to happen even more wonderful.

Hello,

I am ten weeks pregnant and a month ago I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. The gen test was positive but the antibodies were negative and they couldn't do the endoscopy because it is not recommended when you are pregnant. So, I decided to start the diet even though is not 100% that I have celiac disease.

After I started with the diet I started to feel a little better but never 100%. Before I used to have diarrhea and strong cramps several times a day and then it went to some constipation for like three days and then diarrhea but not so painful. But this week I started with the diarrhea and cramping again, I am thinking maybe I ate something that was cross contaminated (Quaker Rice cakes and some chicken broth that didn't say gluten free on it). I feel very frustrated because I thought the worst had passed and here I am again. Since I am new at this I have several questions that I need help with. See below:

1- Is there another type of testing I can do while I am pregnant to confirm that indeed I have Celiac?

2- How long does it take for all GI symptoms to go away and feel "normal" again after starting with the gluten-free diet?

3- What should I do if I accidentally get Glutened so the symptoms go away faster? Is there anything I can take for the cramping and diarrhea (Mylanta, Tums)?

4- I am very worried for my baby. I am afraid that all this diarrhea and cramping can hurt the baby in a way. Do you guys know if anything bad can happen to the baby if I have Celiac or it is me just being paranoid?

My doctor tested me for folic acid, iron, vitamin b and vitamin D and the only one that was a little low was the vitamin D so I am now staying more out at the sun and taking an extra vit D supplement. But it's been hard to take the vitamins because of the morning sickness so the doctor said I could stop the prenatal vitamins for now. Is there anything else I could take for extra vitamins that is safe in pregnancy and is gluten-free? I read that some other moms took gummy bears children vitamins. Is that safe to take?

I know these were a lot of questions.

Thank you so much in advance.

Carla

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