Create the Balance · Personal · Pregnancy · Whole30

My Pregnant Whole30


When I first discovered I was pregnant with my third baby, I was excited at the thought of having a totally zen, organic vegetable, pasture-raised and grass-fed, Whole30 baby.  I’ve completed ten Whole30’s in the last 3 years, so I was confident that I could take what I had learned throughout each and every journey, and apply it to my pregnancy nutrition.  Then the first trimester abruptly changed all of those visions, into a story of surviving through the storm of all-day morning sickness.  If you read back to my blog post, First Trimester: Allowing Bad (temporary) Habits and Allowing Myself Grace, you’ll understand my struggles of morning sickness and food aversions in great detail.  At the time, I felt so much guilt over the choices I was making, but once I accepted that those choices were about the hormones and not what I truly wanted for myself and my baby, I understood it was a part of my food freedom at that specific time.  I made a promise to myself that I would complete a September Whole30 to “redeem” myself, and that decision somehow made me feel better.

Fast forward to the end of August, my husband and I were SO ready to start our Whole30 journey, and my first pregnant Whole30.  I almost started EARLY because I wanted to see and feel the changes that I had experienced with previous Whole30s.  At this point, most of my aversions were gone; but I picked up a few bad habits along the way (old-fashioned glazed donuts for breakfast anyone?). I couldn’t wait to begin the program with a new set of challenges (I can never turn down a challenge!) and prove to myself and my followers that IT CAN BE DONE.  September 1st arrived and for the first week or so, meat still did not appeal to me, so I stuck pretty closely to a vegetarian Whole30. I upped my healthy fats to make up for the loss in protein and tried some new vegetable combinations that I was surprised to find became staples.

Sugar Dragon

Around Day 10 (the hardest days), the sugar dragon began to appear, but this time, it was FAR more intense than any other previous Whole30 sugar dragon.  It was like treats were SPEAKING TO ME, holding a gun to my head to eat them and I had no ammo to fight them off.  I got to the point where I couldn’t even go on social media and see Paleo treats; my mouth would literally water at Instagram posts by Paleo bakers.  I attended my niece’s birthday party and stared at the cupcakes for at least 30 minutes……I don’t even LIKE cupcakes!!  With my baby girl pregnancies, sweets are my kryptonite, I crave them harder than anything else.  I ate a pint of mint-chocolate chip ice cream every single night of my pregnancy with Malia, so I knew going into this that the sweets would be the hardest to give up. What I didn’t anticipate, was how the hormonal cravings would literally TAKE OVER my body and make me actually cry.   Yes, I cried because I couldn’t make myself Jay’s Baking Me Crazy Paleo Coconut Oil Fudge. It wasn’t my finest moment.


On Day 12, I made a very hard decision, but one I am thankful for: I decided to allow SWYPO (Sex With Your Pants On) foods into my Whole30. I knew at this point Melissa Hartwig would likely say my Whole30 was done, but I knew that this was what I had to do to be successful, mind and body.  My cravings were far worse than I had imagined and I justified my choice to allow SWYPO foods in place of quitting all together and diving face first into donuts, cupcakes and pies.  I made Paleo Running Momma’s, Sweet Potato Apple Breakfast Bake and immediately felt like I had tamed my sugar dragon.  I then make a pumpkin & banana bake (recipe coming soon), and kept it in the fridge to grab a bite here and there as needed. I never dove face first into these SWYPO “treats,” just took one or two bites as I felt cravings coming on.  I don’t know the mental process behind all of this, what I know is that it worked for me as I rounded Day 12 and continued on through Day 30. I contribute this decision in completing a technically successful and compliant Whole30.



This part is the hardest to report on. With previous Whole30’s, I had a long list of mostly NSV’s (Non-Scale victories), but pregnancy has thrown a curveball with my results show.  I don’t know if my results are contributed by the fact that I am pregnant or not, what I do know is that I feel better and I am happy that I did a Whole30 and overall, healthier than before I started and my maternity pants are actually TOO BIG!

DAY 1 (1)
Great skin: Whole30, Pregnancy or both?
Great hair: Whole30, Pregnancy or both?
Bloat: I can’t report on this because, well, my bloat is covered by my growing uterus.
Sleep:  I can’t report on this because I am up 3-4 times a night having to go pee (thanks baby). However, when it comes to pregnancy-related insomnia (which I suffer from), I can report that I only endured ONE night of insomnia during my Whole30.  This is huge for me!
Energy:  Growing a human takes a lot of energy, so much so that pre-Whole30 a nap was necessary.  During my entire Whole30, I didn’t nap once. I felt energized most of the day and didn’t get the afternoon :my eyes are closing and can’t stop them” feeling.
Thigh chaffing:  This one I can contribute to Whole30.  Leg-chaffing is a common annoyance in pregnant women. I walk A LOT (3-4 miles a day) and felt the chaffing coming on mid-August.  By Day 8-9, the chaffing was gone and still absent. I contribute this NSV to Whole30 success.

Weight: Because I am pregnant, I obviously need to gain weight, but I will share my  findings in comparison to my other pregnancies.  I discovered the Whole30 when my children were toddlers, so I didn’t have the tools I have now (with Pregnancy #3) to make sure I wasn’t eating a pint of ice cream each night.  I don’t ever weigh myself unless it’s at a doctor’s office, so this is where I stood at 24 weeks pregnant with EACH pregnancy:

Jackson: 14lbs weight gain
Malia: 18lbs weight gain
Baby #3: 7lbs weight gain

(At 24 weeks pregnant, I was right in the middle of my Pregnant Whole30.  I won’t be weighed again until 28 weeks, so I can’t provide an accurate “Whole30 weight report”).


Am I glad I did a Pregnant Whole30? Yes.
Would I suggest it for anyone else?  Yes*
*Definitely NOT in the first trimester. I would suggest waiting until mid to end of the second trimester following any nausea and/or food aversions. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for someone completing their first w30.

It’s hard, really hard.  Wanting the best nutrition for your unborn baby just isn’t enough here; those cravings/aversions are a real mind {insert foul word here}.  Doing the Whole30 itself is a 30-day food/emotional/mental rollercoaster; add in the hormones of pregnancy and you have to be very, very strong to complete it unscathed.  I almost didn’t finish it, I had to make some modifications, but I believed in the process and had faith in myself.  Throughout out my journey I received so many positive affirmations, I knew that staying on course would provide excellent results – and those results were confirmed. I also knew that this specific Whole30 would give me the tools to make better choices throughout the remainder of my pregnancy and into post-partum.
What also helped was listening to, “It Starts With Food” and “Food Freedom Forever” via Audible daily; listening gave me the encouragement and strength I needed throughout the day.  Having Melissa Hartwig in my ear first thing in the morning always had me looking over my shoulder at each weak moment.  Thanks Melissa!

Final Thoughts

Now that I have completed my 11th Whole30 and 1st Pregnant Whole30, I have given it a lot of thought to my future, and believe this was likely my last Whole30 for a while. In the years past, I could always be counted on do a Whole30 every January and September. However, at this point, I feel like I have found my Food Freedom, and that if I were to do another Whole30, it would be for someone else and not for me.  I love the program and will promote, and stand behind it, as it has changed my life.  I feel confident in what I have learned with each journey, and hope that I can take my knowledge to the next level and be there as a coach and support for those embarking on their path to Food Freedom. That being said, never say never, but this where my Food Freedom begins.

Brianne at Swans-13
Photo by: Ashley Vos Photography


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