Many readers have asked us if they can start the Candida Diet while pregnant. The quick answer is no – the full Candida treatment plan is not suitable for pregnant women. However, if you make a few changes to the treatment, you can develop a plan that will be safe for both you and your baby. While this may not eliminate your Candida, it will at least keep it at bay and reduce your symptoms. This page will help you implement some positive changes to your lifestyle and make the right decisions during your pregnancy.
First of all, are you sure that you are suffering from a Candida overgrowth? Many of the symptoms of Candidiasis can easily be confused with those of pregnancy. This applies particularly in the first trimester, when you may be experiencing fatigue, morning sickness, food cravings, bad skin and nausea. Before you make any major changes to your diet, be sure that you are actually suffering from a Candida overgrowth and not just the typical aches and pains that come with pregnancy.
Here are three changes that you should make to the Candida Diet before you consider following it during your pregnancy. Also note that you should consult your doctor or OB/GYN before beginning any new diet plan during pregnancy.
Modify the diet
The Candida Diet severely restricts the amount of sugar that you consume. During the diet, you cut out added sugars completely, eliminate many carbohydrates such as white pasta and rice, and even stop eating fruit. While this is a very effective diet plan for those of us suffering from Candida overgrowth, it is not a diet that is advisable for pregnant women. The growing baby inside you needs lots of energy to grow, so you will need to eat carbs and fruit to provide that.
Here are some key points to remember while you are pregnant. Follow these guidelines and you will enjoy and healthy, nutritious diet that will be safe for you and your baby. If you are looking for a full list, you can use a combination of our Foods to Eat and Foods to Reintroduce pages.
- Eat small amounts of fruit
Stick to low-GI fruits like berries, green apples and pears. Eat the whole fruit and don’t be tempted to buy the juice. Fruit juices are far more likely to spike your blood sugar levels and they don’t contain the valuable fiber content found in the whole fruit.
- Eat high quality carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are important right now to keep your energy levels high and allow your baby to grow. That doesn’t mean you should go out and stock up with fries though! Beans, sweet potatoes, parsnips and winter squash are great sources of complex carbs that will give you sustained energy without spiking your blood sugar.
- Avoid added sugars
Take this opportunity to eliminate some high sugar processed foods from your diet. Sodas, processed meats, sauces, ketchup, flavored yogurt – the list is endless. Look at the list of ingredients when you pick up anything in the supermarket. Try not to buy anything that contains high fructose corn syrup, glucose, sucrose or anything else that sounds like an added sugar.
- Lean, healthy proteins
Some Candida dieters struggle to get enough protein, but this doesn’t need to be the case. Fresh cuts of beef, chicken and lamb are perfectly acceptable. You can get more protein from organic eggs too. Just stay away from processed meats like salami or sandwich meat – these tend to be loaded with nitrates, sulfates and added sugars.
Be very careful with supplements
Many antifungals will carry a disclaimer saying that they should not be taken by pregnant women. This is good advice and you should follow it. Although most of the antifungals mentioned on this site would probably be safe during pregnancy, now is not the time to experiment. Here’s why – in 2011 an antifungal named Fluconazole was linked to birth defects in infants. This is particularly relevant because Fluconazole is frequently prescribed to treat vaginal Candidiasis. So speak to your doctor before adding any antifungal to your daily routine, and just avoid them if possible. You can always start taking antifungals after your pregnancy.
If you would like to take a probiotic, you should ideally stick to a natural probiotic like yogurt or kefir. If you would like to take a probiotic supplement instead, check with your doctor first and carefully read all the documentation that comes with the supplement. They should be fine, but again it’s better to exercise lots of caution during your pregnancy.
Don’t do the cleanse
The cleanse is an optional part of the Candida Diet anyway, but for pregnant women it should absolutely be avoided. Your baby’s health is the most important thing during your pregnancy, so your Candida treatment will have to wait. During the Cleanse your calorie intake will be severely reduced. This may only be for a week, but the growing fetus inside you needs all the nutritional support you can give it. So give the cleanse a miss for now – you will have plenty of time to do it after your little one has arrived.
There are other, more gentle, ways to cleanse your system without taking supplements or doing a cleanse. Massage (either by a professional or by your spouse/partner) can improve your blood flow and help to expel toxins faster. Breathing exercises, similar to the ones you use in your pre-natal classes, can do much the same thing. Skin brushing is a relaxing way to improve your lymphatic and blood circulation. And lastly, warm baths are a great way to relax, ease away those pregnancy-related aches and pains, and maybe even detox a little too.
Note that some of the alternative cleansing techniques that we mention elsewhere on this site are not suitable for pregnant women. High temperatures during the first trimester have been shown to increase the risk of birth defects, so don’t be tempted to go in the sauna. The same applies to contrast showers, where the rapid changes in temperature can put your body under too much additional stress.
For lots more information on the symptoms, causes and treatment of Candida, take a look at my Ultimate Candida Diet treatment plan.