As great as the anticipation of having a baby is, the painful birth process tends to create uncertainty and anxiety. This is exactly where the Louwen diet comes in: It is a change in diet that is intended to lead to less pain during childbirth. What exactly is behind the Louwen diet during pregnancy?
The Louwen diet is named after its “inventor” Prof. Dr. Frank Louwen. He is a senior physician for prenatal medicine and obstetrics at the University Hospital in Frankfurt. His diet plan is not intended for losing weight in the classic sense, but for changing your diet. The aim is to make the birthing process easier and reduce pain.
What is the Louwen Diet?
The Louwen diet is a special diet during pregnancy. Women should avoid simple carbohydrates as far as possible in the last six to eight weeks before the due date – i.e. from around the 32nd week of pregnancy (GW) onwards. It’s not about losing weight, it’s about avoiding sharp fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
How can the Louwen diet help during childbirth?
In the last third of pregnancy, around the 35th week of pregnancy, the body produces more prostaglandins. The tissue hormones control the inflammatory and pain reactions but are also important for initiating childbirth: for example, they dilate the cervix and ensure that the uterus contracts and labor are triggered. For the hormones to do their job, they have to dock with certain receptors.
Experts assume that the prostaglandins compete with another hormone for these receptors – insulin. If the blood sugar level is too high, more insulin is released. The result: the prostaglandins cannot bind to the receptors, the birth process slows down and is felt to be significantly more painful, also because the cervix cannot open enough. According to the theory, it can also lead to more complicated courses and more frequent cesarean sections.
This is how the Louwen diet works during pregnancy
Prof. Dr. Louwen, therefore, recommends reducing insulin release from the 34th week of pregnancy at the latest. To do this, simple carbohydrates should be avoided and complex carbohydrates should be eaten instead. Background: Simple carbohydrates have a very high glycemic index (Glyx), which describes the effects of food on insulin levels. Mind you, this only affects carbohydrate intake – dietary recommendations for fats or proteins are not affected.
Louwen Diet: Experiences are mixed
Many women share their experiences with the Louwen diet during pregnancy on the Internet. You quickly notice that the results are quite mixed – some are enthusiastic, others are not affected by the change in diet, but the birth was still long and painful. Nevertheless, a low-carbohydrate and low-sugar diet make sense during pregnancy, if only to counteract obesity in the mother and child. This also corresponds to the recommendations of the German Society for Nutrition (DGE), which recommends a healthy, wholesome diet.
For whom is the Louwen diet not suitable?
In principle, the diet is suitable for all pregnant women. However, women who suffer from a metabolic disorder or diabetes or whose pregnancy is complicated should avoid this type of diet. Or discuss with your doctor beforehand whether the Louwen diet is an option for you before birth.