Fat in Pregnancy - Bring It!

Updated: Sep 11, 2019

I'm not kidding. Fat is so important in your diet when you are pregnant, that I am going to devote this entire blog to it...and include some recipes too!

For years, health guidelines have advised people to eat a low fat diet...and it has not helped the health of this country one bit. As a matter of fact, it has made people even more unhealthy. I think many of our chronic medical conditions and diseases could be helped by actually increasing the amount of fat in your diet.

When a person does not have enough #fat in their diet, they tend to crave #carbs and #sugar. Carbs and sugar - and this can be anything from an apple, to granola, to toast, to popcorn - will temporarily relieve the sensations of hunger, but will do little to actually create blood sugar balance. They also provide very little nutrition to a body, especially as it is growing another body within it. When the body pulls on insulin, over and over, unnecessarily, it eventually leads to a host of metabolic problems.

Craving sugar or carbs in pregnancy (or anytime really) is a sign that your body is lacking the fuel it needs to function. As a matter of fact, I would even say that craving sugar in pregnancy is a form of pica. #Pica is the persistent eating of substances that have no nutritional value. Often when you read about pica, they mention people crave substances like chalk, or dirt, or paint. Honestly, sugar has absolutely no nutritional value. While eating sugar often has great social value (How fun is it to eat desert together or go for ice cream together?), it has no added value for the body and actually causes harm over the long term.

When a person is eating enough veggies, protein and fat, they do not crave sugar.

Ok, quick side bar - what is enough veggies? Aim for 6-9 cups of veggies a day. No Joke.

What is enough protein? Aim for 75-90 grams a day. For real.

And fat? Don't tell me...yes, at least 50% of your calories or about 100grams. Seriously.

But the key to lessening these cravings is making sure there is enough fat in the diet. Fat satiates.

Addressing the Mind

I remember when I was pregnant the first time. I was 24 years old, I was in excellent shape, I was skinny, I mountain biked regularly in the mountains surrounding Los Angeles, I thought I was healthy (looking back I was a carb vegetarian, but I was a vegetarian to be "healthy"). I barely gained much weight when I was pregnant and I was so proud. I thought this was an enviable accomplishment. Truthfully, I was unintentionally starving myself and denying it the vital nutrients it needed.

When I was pregnant the next time at 28 years old, I was still concerned about gaining weight. I felt proud about wearing my regular clothes well into the 2nd trimester. I had a very unhealthy mental relationship with gaining weight. This low fat mindset made it very difficult for me to gain weight in pregnancy.

In my second pregnancy, I started to experience some minor health issues. My blood pressure was slightly elevated, I had a constant and aggressive yeast infection (yes the ENTIRE pregnancy!!!) and I didn't feel great. And I grew a huge baby. These are all signs of a system that is struggling with the carbs and sugar being consumed. It would take another 20 years for me to finally - really - address the issue of carbs and sugar on my body.

In truth, the health of the mother during pregnancy is a predictor for the long term health for the rest of her life.

But I loved bread. And I loved popcorn. And I wasn't going to be dogmatic and I would eat a cookie whenever I wanted. Call it whatever it was - rebellion, denial, arrogance, refusal - I didn't want to gain weight in pregnancy and refused to stop eating carbs and sugar. My refusal to truly eat well was a form of restricting that which truly nurtured and sustained me. Enter spiritual practice and self-reflection....

The thinking involved in our weight issues is quite complex. There are so many factors that go into it, that it is impossible to adequately address here. But I promise you, if there is even a little tickle inside regarding how you feel about how much you weigh, and if you eat sugar and carbs, take some time to reflect.

After all, gaining weight, filling out the curves and the roundness of pregnancy is so sexy!

The Role of Fat in the Body

So fat plays a very vital role in the function of the body. It provides the basic building blocks for cell membranes, hormones and hormone-like substances. In pregnancy, this is your main job - build healthy cells that grow a baby, build a good blood supply, prepare your breasts for their work to come, hormonally sustain the pregnancy, produce the hormones for labor and birth, and on and on. Every body function is controlled by hormones. And during pregnancy, you are doing double duty. Your body is working hard.

Fat also aids in mineral absorption. While hormones give the signal of when and how to respond, the minerals support the organs so that they CAN respond. For example, calcium and magnesium are vital to pregnancy. The uterus is a smooth muscle and simply stated, its ability to contract is directly related to how well it utilizes the calcium in the body. A diet rich in fat is the first step to making sure the body can absorb all the calcium it needs.

Your caloric need increases when you are pregnant. Pregnant women need between 2,200-2,900 calories a day. I promise you, many of you are not eating enough. Use an online calorie counter for a few days. I do this every few months to make sure I am on track with my diet. I regularly do not eat enough food. Fat plays a vital role in this. Fat is rich in calories and it increases ones satiety. You should strive for a MINIMUM of 60 grams of healthy fat every day, but realistically, I think 100 grams (or approximately 50% of your total caloric intake) of fat is a more reasonable goal.

What Fats Should I Eat?

Ok, now, let's get to the good stuff. There is a difference between good fat and bad fat. And that difference is VERY easy to discern. There are 21 grams of fat in an avocado and 20 grams of fat in potato chips. I will say no more.

Just kidding. Its really simple and obvious isn't it?

So here is a list of delicious fat rich foods

*Almonds, pecans, macadamia and other nuts - make these your go-to snack

*Salmon - have you ever had fried salmon belly? If no, you might not have lived a true life!

*Avocados - any decent Texan knows how to make guacamole - add sour cream or cream cheese to increase the fat

*Olives - so elegant, so tasty

*Cream and Cream cheese - put these in your smoothies instead of a banana

*Grass-fed meats - its just better for the planet

*Pastured butter like kerry gold - so, so tasty!

*Coconut oil or MCT oil - Just go directly to the source and consume oil

*Eggs - don't tell me you are STILL eating cereal for breakfast

*Krill oil, salmon oil, DHA, evening primrose oil, fish oil, borage oil - and the list goes on

You can also make #FatBombs. Fat bombs are da bomb. They are so tasty and a regular part of my diet. I will include 3 of my faves. But honestly, you can google or Pintrest fat bombs and find a gazillion recipes.

Lemon Fat Bombs

4 oz Kerry Gold butter (cuz its so good)

8 oz Organic full fat cream cheese

Zest of 1 lemon

2 tbs lemon juice

Sweeten to taste with a low carb sweetener like stevia, monk fruit, xylitol, swerve, etc.

Combine all ingredients with a hand mixer until butter and cream cheese are well incorporated. I usually just put this in the fridge and take spoonfuls when I want, but you can also shape into little balls and roll in coconut. Store in the fridge.

Lemon Fat Bomb

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fat Bombs

4 oz Kerry Gold butter

8 oz Organic full fat cream cheese

2 oz peanut or almond butter (optional)

1/3 c unsweetened coconut (optional)

3 oz chocolate chips (lily's chocolate chips are sweetened with stevia and delicious)

Sweeten to taste with a low carb sweetener like stevia, monk fruit, xylitol, swerve, etc.

Combine butter, cream cheese, and optional nut butter with a hand mixer until well mixed. Add coconut and chocolate chips. Rolls into small balls and cover with coconut or put in silicon candy molds. Store in the fridge.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fat Bomb

Chocolate Fat Bomb

2/3 c Coconut Oil

1/3 c. Chocolate Chips (I always use lily's)

1/2c. toasted nuts (My fave is pecans and almonds combined)

1/2c. Coconut

1tbs Xylitol, powdered

1tsp salt

Melt Coconut oil, remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Stir until melted. Add the rest of the ingredients. Spoon into little silicone candy molds and store in the fridge.

Chocolate Peacan Fat Bombs

Snickers Fat Bombs


Keto Caramel

1 stick of butter, melted

3 tbs of xylitol

1 cup heavy cream

1 tbs vanilla

Brown the butter and xylitol. Add cream and cook on low heat, stirring frequently, until the caramel forms.

Cream Filling

2/3 cup cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours

1.5 tbs xylitol

3 tbs Coconut Manna or butter

1 tsp vanilla

Puree in a food processor for several minutes. Until a smooth paste forms

Chocolate Covering

1/2 cup Lilly's chocolate chips

1/3 cup of Coconut Oil

Melt coconut oil and chocolate chips together.

Layer each ingredient in a candy mold, freezing for a few minutes between layers. Use pan roasted pecan pieces or peanut pieces as your nuts.

Snickers Fat Bomb

#Nutrition #Midwiferycare #Pregnancy

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© 2019 by Laurie Fremgen

Laurie Fremgen, CPM, LM

Austin Midwifery Services