Can I do GAPS while pregnant?

When I first began my deep-dive into the world of GAPS (Gut and Physiology Syndrome) several years ago, I would have said a resounding “no” to the question of working through GAPS while pregnant. There is some merit to this. The reasoning behind this mindset is that GAPS is a powerful protocol marked by detoxification and healing. While the healing aspect could be priceless for both the mother and the unborn child, the detox could potentially be dangerous for the baby. Therefore, if one blanket answer to this question must be stated, then the typical answer is: no, pregnancy is not the best time to start the GAPS nutritional healing protocol.

However, now that I have been pregnant multiple times and have been through GAPS, both intro and full for some time, I would have to change my answer. However, this does not mean that I would change to a succinct “yes.” Rather, it depends on numerous factors. For anyone currently pregnant or trying/hoping to get pregnant in the near future, I would recommend you ask yourself a few questions.

  • Have you been through GAPS in the past (specifically the Introduction phase)?

  • What are your current eating and lifestyle habits? Will GAPS be a significant change from what you are used to or do you generally cook your own food and are familiar with fermenting, making stocks, eating sugar-free, grain-free, etc.? Are you exposed to many external toxins such as commercial body care products and unfiltered city water?

  • What are your symptoms that are directing you toward GAPS? Are they severe enough to warrant going through the GAPS healing protocol for the health of yourself and your child? Or are they severe enough to potentially cause intense detox that might harm your child?

  • Would it be better to start with Full GAPS rather than starting Intro? This is frequently a fantastic option, as it does promote detox and healing but often to a lesser degree of intensity than the Introduction phase.

  • What is the level of support in your home? Do you also have several other children for whom you care in your home? Do you have a spouse or significant other who is supportive and will help to shoulder some of the responsibilities that come with a nutritional protocol such as GAPS?

  • If you are not currently pregnant but are planning to start trying to conceive in the near future, would you consider waiting until after you complete the 6 Introduction stages before trying to conceive?

These are significant questions and should not be breezed through. If you have been through GAPS before, perhaps you can answer them for yourself. For most people it is worth consulting a GAPS practitioner to help think through your own particular needs in relation to questions such as those listed above, and to be able to develop a personalized plan – even in a protocol such as GAPS, it is possible to consider an individual’s needs and tweak the protocol to optimally fulfill his or her needs safely.

When I found out that I was pregnant for the third time, I was on Stage 4 of Introduction, which meant that, unknowingly, I had been doing Introduction for the entirety of my pregnancy up until that point. I am currently in my second trimester of this pregnancy and as far as I know, all is well with my unborn child. However, prior to starting GAPS I also was eating a predominantly clean diet and living a mostly- clean lifestyle for many months/years leading up to starting GAPS and conceiving, so my detox was on the lighter side of the spectrum. It is for this reason that I ask some of the above questions about diet, lifestyle and severity of symptoms before starting GAPS.

If, after asking yourself the above questions, you are unsure about Intro, Full or GAPS at all, please reach out so we can help you sift through the options. Nutrition is one of the most important factors contributing to the health of conception, pregnancy, delivery and postpartum and we at Be Well Clinic hope to join you and your child on this journey of health: preconception, during pregnancy, and beyond.

-Hollie

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