The best pregnancy diet for mothers based on the strong anthropological evidence of 14 healthy ancestral societies prior to their industrialization. This same diet is ideal for preconception (fathers too!) and lactation as well.
What diet should a pregnant and nursing mother follow to maximize the odds of a healthy, robust baby? Since modern dietary dogma is failing parents these days with babies increasingly experiencing problems unheard of only a few generations ago, it seems wise to look to history for the best and most objective answers.
The dietary guidelines outlined below for pregnant and lactating mothers give the best odds for a healthy, robust child as produced generation after generation by traditional societies following their native diets.
This heavily documented evidence is drawn from the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, which details the dietary habits of 14 vibrantly healthy, chronic disease-free societies across the globe prior to their industrialization and introduction to modern food.
Birth defects and learning disabilities were virtually nonexistent in these populations.
What is the Best Pregnancy Diet?
Note that the pregnancy diet below is based on the dietary habits of healthy traditional people groups. It was followed for at least 6 months prior to conception and then continuing through gestation and lactation.
If other children were planned, they were spaced about 3 years apart to allow the mother to adequately replenish her nutritional stores. This ensured that subsequent babies were as healthy as the first. The careful spacing of children as practiced in ancestral societies also prevented exhaustion and/or health problems in the mother.
It is important to note that the father ALSO followed the dietary regimen during the preconception period as noted by the Weston A. Price Foundation, whose dietary principles mirror those of healthy ancestral populations. (1)
- High vitamin cod liver oil (1 tsp per day).
- 1 quart (or 32 ounces) whole milk daily, preferably raw and from pasture-fed cows. (there is anecdotal evidence that the highly absorbable calcium from milk may reduce childbirth pain)
- 4 tablespoons butter daily, preferably from pasture-fed cows.
- 2 or more eggs daily, preferably from pastured chickens.
- Additional egg yolks added to smoothies, salad dressings, scrambled eggs, etc.
- 3-4 ounces fresh liver, once or twice per week. Alternatively, desiccated liver powder supplement may be used. (2)
- Fresh seafood, 2-4 times per week, particularly wild salmon, shellfish, and fish eggs.
- Fresh beef or lamb daily, always consumed with the fat (preferably grass-fed).
- Oily fish or lard daily if possible for vitamin D.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil daily, used in cooking or smoothies, etc.
- Lacto-fermented beverages and condiments.
- Bone broths used in soups, stews, and sauces.
- Soaked whole grains.
- Fresh vegetables and fruits, preferably organic.
Foods and Substances to Avoid
- Junk food
- Commercially fried foods
- Refined white sugar and high fructose corn syrup
- Vegetable oils
- GMO foods
- Protein powder
- Refined flour
- Soft drinks
- Artificial sweeteners
- Drugs (including over-the-counter and prescription drugs)
Cod liver oil contains substantial levels of omega-3 EPA. In excess, it can cause numerous health problems, such as hemorrhaging during the birth process. It MUST be balanced by arachidonic acid (ARA), an omega-6 fatty acid found in liver, egg yolks, and meat fats. Do not add cod liver oil to a diet that is deficient in these important animal foods. It is important to follow the pregnancy and lactation diet above in its entirety, not just selected parts of it.