Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Diary of an Incubator: Pregnancy and AS

Those of you who have been reading along here for a while will know that last year I was diagnosed with a form of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis and adopted a low starch diet which helped to manage the pain.

I was on the diet for just over a year when I found out I was pregnant.  By then the diet had become a new kind of normal.  At first, cutting starch out of my diet seemed like food hell, but then it just became part of life.  Cutting back or completely avoiding certain foods (bread, pasta, rice, cereals etc) seemed like a better option than not being able to sleep properly at night because of back pain.

My doctor (who actually has AS himself, which was why he was so quick to diagnose me when others had no clue) had said last year that sometimes AS can go into remission during pregnancy.  When the morning sickness started at around 6-7 weeks, I realised I would have to trust his word.  While some people are repulsed by meat when they are pregnant, for me it was vegetables.  During my year on the low starch diet, I ate large quantities of salads and cooked vegetables.  But now my body just couldn't hack some vegies anymore - namely broccoli, cauliflower, capsicum and sometimes celery.  It was like my body was screaming, "No more!"  I found broccoli so disgusting I would start to feel sick even while I was cooking it for Duncan.  Even if someone mentioned the word 'broccoli' I would envision a head of broccoli coming towards me.  Yuck!

So I broke the diet.  All I wanted for a while was toast or dry crackers.  Then the baby decided he/she wanted large quantities of chips and pies.  People asked me if I was having any strange cravings, but I had nothing interesting or weird to share with them.  All my body wanted was what it had been denied for the past year.

Guess what!  The doc was right.  The AS is in remission and I can eat whatever I want (bar the foods that are not recommended during pregnancy).  It's not all smooth sailing.  Even when I was on the diet, I would still have the occasional bad back day.  A couple of weeks ago (at 21 weeks), I had back pain so bad I could hardly walk.  Sometimes it seems like I have swapped one kind of back pain for another.

I still need to do some research about what to do when the baby arrives.  Do I go straight back on the low starch diet?  What if I'm breastfeeding?  Drastically changing my diet plays havoc with my digestive system.  I don't want to do it unnecessarily.  It took ages to explain to people why I was on the low starch diet.  They were just beginning to understand and now I'm telling them I'm not on it anymore...but may have to be again in the future.  Ugh, no-one is going to want to have me over for dinner soon.

But for now, I'm just enjoying having all of those foods that were considered naughty while I was on the diet.  Mmmm pies.


Wendy said...

Do enjoy!

When I was pregnant, especially with my second child in Japan, I couldn't stand the smell of cooking rice. Bad choice body! I also craved other starchy foods like chips (especially salt and vinegar chips that we can't buy here) and potatoes. I don't usually cook a lot with potatoes, but suddenly they became a pretty common part of our evening meal.

Iris Flavia said...

Pies... had the last real one in 2006 in Perth...
Aww... enjoy! Being always healthy makes it hard to understand how painful it must be. With your back and with abdicating loved foods.
Wishing you all the best for the future!