Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance During Pregnancy - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India

Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance During Pregnancy

Authored by DesiMD Doctor on 15 Mar 2016 - 11:21


Gluten is a protein substance that remains when starch is removed from cereal grains most commonly found in wheat, rye and barley products. It is generally harmless and is a beneficial part of the grain food group. However, during pregnancy gluten intolerance can have serious complications, es[pecially when you eat gluten food items like breads, cakes, biscuits, pastries, cereals, pizza, semolina, rice malt, pasta, sprouted barley, spices, imitation meats, soups and artificial flavorings

During pregnancy it is very important that you consume healthy dairy foods, pulses, fruit, vegetable and protein groups to ensure that you get sufficient nutrients like folic acid and calcium. If you are gluten intolerant, you have to avoid eating foods that contain gluten and may need to take a gluten-free nutritional supplement for folate, iron, vitamin B, magnesium and selenium.

A closer look at the association between gluten intolerance and pregnancy indicates the following:

9 Unexpected symptoms of Gluten intolerance during pregnancy:

  • Depression: Researchers have indicated that gluten intolerance is associated with anxiety, depression and mood swings. Once gluten is removed from the diet of the gluten intolerant women during pregnancy, depression and anxiety can actually be resolved.
  • Brain foggy:  Not being able to think clearly is very bothersome. When you feel just plain or disconnected, it’s not all about how you feel in your head. Gluten can lead to “foggy brain” symptom, in gluten intolerant pregnant women. A 2002 study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry revealed that there may be considerable cross reactivity of IgG (immunoglobulin G) antibodies to gluten and other different antibodies that could lead to mental fogginess.
  • Bone and Joint pain: Joint pain and inflammation are common symptoms of gluten intolerance. The Arthritis Foundation has also published information regarding the association between gluten sensitivity, arthritis conditions and joint pain.
  • Autoimmune Diseases: Eating gluten products has been associated with various autoimmune diseases. Dr Sarah Ballantyne, author of The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body, says, “Every single autoimmune disease in which gluten as a contributor has been investigated has shown that gluten sensitivity is a contributor to that disease.”
  • Dental issues: Canker sores (mouth ulcers) broken teeth, cavities and tooth decay can plague those with undiagnosed celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. A 2009 study published in the Journal BMC Gastroenterology revealed a positive association between gluten sensitivity and recurrent mouth ulcers.
  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss: A sudden change in weight while eating habits remain more or less the same can be a warning of a bigger health disorder.
  • Migraine Headaches: According to Dr Mark Hyman, a leader in functional medicine and eight-time New York Times bestselling author says that even though not all cases of migraine are related to gluten, it is a considerable cause for some. A study examined migraine headaches in gluten sensitive individuals and found that chronic headaches accounted for about 56% of those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity and 30% of those with Celiac disease. However, Dr. Alessio Fasano, medical director of the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, states that a 100% gluten-free diet can relieve many cases of chronic migraine in pregnant women.
  • Fatigue: Gluten can lead to feelings of tiredness and sluggishness in different ways. When your body is in a state of inflammation and spending resources dealing with gluten proteins, it’s at the expense of available energy stores and normal bodily processes.
  • kin Problems: The GIG (Gluten Intolerance Group) describes “a chronic disease of the skin marked by groups of watery, itchy blisters that may resemble pimples or blisters. Consumption of gluten (from wheat, rye, and barley) triggers an immune system response that deposits a substance, lgA (Immunoglobulin A), under the top layer of skin. IgA is present in the affected as well as the unaffected skin”


  • Even though you may want to eat gluten-rich foods like wheat, that are healthy for your developing baby, you should avoid consuming them if you are suffering from gluten intolerance, as it may cause complications to your unborn baby. Studies have found that not following a gluten-free diet during pregnancy could considerably increase the risk of miscarriage.
  • Minor gluten intolerance may cause gastrointestinal discomfort when you ingest certain products or foods. After some time, gluten can break down the lining of your small intestine, causing it to become severely damaged and inflamed and  affect the intestines from absorption of the nutrients which leads to several complications during pregnancy and delivery.
  • With celiac disease, you may suffer intense intolerance to gluten-containing foods, ultimately leading to malnutrition, which is harmful during pregnancy and can affect the growth and development of the fetus
  • The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness explains that if a pregnant women experiences gluten intolerance and follows a gluten diet it may lead to decreased birth weight, preterm labor, possible stillbirth and anemia. 
  • Recent study has shown that children born to women who experience gluten intolerance are at a higher risk of contracting conditions of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia in future.

Solutions for a Healthy Pregnancy: Consider following some important tips during pregnancy:

  • Careful attention to eating gluten-free foods and incorporating healthy and nutritious diet
  • Consult your doctor about taking folic acid and other supplements to absorb more nutrients and prevent from birth defects such as Spina Bifida.
  •  Pregnancy calls for lot of cravings, which a woman can’t resist. Therefore make sure your kitchen is full of gluten free snacks.
  • Incorporate natural foods in your diet that contain more calcium, iron, fiber and other nutrients, which you don’t consume enough of, due to gluten intolerance. Include fish, chicken, eggs, rice, dairy products, nuts, corns, lentils and beans and all other fruits and vegetables in your diet
  • Drink plenty of fluids to keep away celiac disease, constipation and maintain a healthy digestive system.
  • Avoid dips and sauces from the market, as they tend to contain gluten.
  • Reduce stress as much as possible.
  • Cut off completely on alcohol consumption and quit smoking during pregnancy.





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