Expert opinion: is it bad to eat gluten during pregnancy?

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Gluten is increasingly singled out as a food responsible for many intolerances and infections. But is it to be avoided when expecting a child? An expert answers this question.

We hear just about everything and its opposite regarding gluten and the allergies it causes. In this context, it is difficult to disentangle the true from the false. Is gluten good for everyone? Should it be avoided or reduced during pregnancy? Could it cause complications? Gaëlle Dutron, nutritherapist, answered our questions.

Pregnancy and gluten: advice from a nutrition therapist

Gaëlle Dutron is a nutrition therapist and yoga teacher. All his practice is oriented towards well-being and eating well.

We hear a lot about gluten. Some claim it is bad for our health, some say it is not. What is it really?

Gluten is not bad in itself. The problem we face today is that we are eating far too much of it. Because beyond what we consciously ingest, there is all the “hidden” gluten which is used in the food industry, and which aims to thicken preparations. And know one thing, they are found everywhere! In bread of course, but also in all processed and marketed products such as prepared meals, cold cuts, crisps, sauces, cookies, pasta …

The problem therefore lies in the excess: ingested in too large a quantity, gluten turns into a kind of glue that can either block the microvilli of the intestine (a kind of small channels allowing the ingestion of the right nutrients and vitamins) , or create small holes in the intestinal barrier. These holes will allow bad bacteria to pass, which will weaken immunity, and can even lead to celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disease. It is therefore important, especially for people with allergies or intolerance, to pay attention to what they eat.

Should pregnant women avoid gluten?

We must not go to the extreme, but it will be positive for all women, whether pregnant or not, to reduce their gluten consumption. It is important to know that the lack of gluten does not create a deficiency, especially if you replace wheat with other healthy and good cereals such as millet, buckwheat, but also with legumes such as beans. dried chickpeas or lentils.

On the other hand, if the pregnant woman realizes that she is suffering from symptoms such as headaches, eczema, excessive fatigue, difficult digestion, cramps and / or severe mood swings, it is important reduce or even avoid gluten altogether, which causes these symptoms, and consult a general practitioner or specialist.

Does gluten affect the baby?

To date, we do not have enough hindsight to know whether excessive gluten ingestion may have an impact on a future gluten allergy or intolerance of an unborn child. What we do know, however, is that if the intestine is not able to absorb the right nutrients and vitamins from food, the baby will not have everything he needs to grow well. . It is therefore important, in any case, to avoid as much as possible processed products, in which a large part of the gluten that we consume is hidden.

If the mother is sensitive to gluten, it is also quite possible, given the genetic factor, that the child is too. In addition, mothers who are more sensitive to gluten and whose intestinal barrier has been weakened will see their immune defenses decrease. However, we know that the mother shares her immunity with her baby, in her womb and through breastfeeding. If the mother’s immunity is weaker, so will the child’s.

It is important to add that a pregnant woman is much more sensitive to food poisoning, and this can go as far as causing a miscarriage. If the intestinal barrier is porous, the risk of food poisoning is much greater and by extension, the risk of miscarriage too.

Which diet to favor when expecting a child?

It’s no secret that consuming too many ready meals and processed foods is bad for everyone, but especially for pregnant women. A recent study has shown that babies, whose mothers regularly consumed junk food, are more sensitive to fat. If we want to ensure that the baby has everything he needs to develop, it is important to have a wide variety of foods, to eat everything and to avoid prepared meals as much as possible. We must not eat more but eat better.

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