Hi! My name is Laurel Gallucci. I’m the co-founder and CEO of Sweet Laurel and mother of two adorable boys. I discovered that I had an Autoimmune Disease during a routine OB appointment when my doctor asked me if I’ve always had a goiter. I hadn’t noticed it before, and he tested my thyroid levels and that’s when I was first diagnosed. It was very mild at that time and ramped up over the next two years. I was so sick I had to quit my job as a school teacher in order to heal.
What fertility tips helped you with the struggle of fertility with Hashimotos?
I had to get my hormones in line in order to get pregnant. I hadn’t had a period in 4 years before having my first son Nico. I worked with a functional nutritionist, Margaret Floyd-Barry, who helped me maneuver my hormone and thyroid issues with supplements. I also have MTHFR, so taking folate was critical for me conceiving. After working with Margaret, I got pregnant 6 months later, without even having a period. It was a miracle!
My advice for someone trying to get pregnant with an autoimmune disease: Work with a great practitioner who understands your goals. Margaret was great for me, as she specializes in autoimmune and hormone issues. Don’t stress, eat anti-inflammatory and get tested for MTHFR to see if you should be supplementing with folate which is essential in the first trimester and beyond.
How did you discuss Hashimotos with your doctor when you found out you were pregnant?
I was very open and honest. I told my OB I was nervous about being able to have a healthy and successful pregnancy while having Hashimotos and MTHFR. I worked very closely with my nutritionist and my OB throughout my two pregnancies to make sure my thyroid was staying at optimal levels. Their support was vital!
Did you continue taking medication throughout your pregnancy?
I took my prenatals, folate and omegas daily. With my second pregnancy I had to get back on a very small amount of thyroid hormone because I was super low in my first trimester. I stayed on it throughout the pregnancy and then with the advice of my doctor I was able to stop taking it.
Did you have any unique symptoms while pregnant that were related to Hashimotos?
I think I generally struggle with inflammation due to my Hashimotos so I like to stay on a very strict diet during pregnancy and postpartum of grain free, dairy free and refined sugar. I don’t cheat when it comes to food, because I feel so good eating this way! Brisk walks and short HITT workouts at Platefit helped me so much during my pregnancy, and that movement helped keep my inflammation low as well.
Are there specific nutrients you focus on with an autoimmune disease in your pregnancy or breastfeeding diet?
Eating well made the biggest improvement in both my pregnancy and postpartum journey! High quality, good fats is the most important I think. I eat lots of coconut, nuts, tahini (crave it!) and avocados especially when breastfeeding. I eat lots of sweet potatoes for carbs.
Like I said earlier, keeping the diet as anti-inflammatory (grain free, dairy free, soy free and refined sugar free) for my body and my condition through diet is super important. I like to remind people that what works to lower my inflammation may not be the same for you! We are all different.
What was your postpartum experience like? Was it different with your second child?
I have been blessed. Feeling great post partum and loving my family life. I took about 2 weeks off with this last delivery, and got back into light working thereafter. Working while postpartum has been interesting for me, but I really do try to stay as balanced as possible. I have been working from home during COVID primarily and that is such a blessing as I can nurse when I need to nurse and cuddle with my boys when I need a cuddle during the day.
The difference with my second child? I don’t have enough hands, LOL. Outside help was absolutely necessary, especially while running a business also.
Any final advice for moms struggling with fertility, expecting moms, or postpartum moms?
My advice is simple: eat well, try not to overly stress, share your goals with your practitioner, and get your partner on the same page with all of the above!
Laurel's biggest tip? Eat well! Here are some essential nutrients to learn about if you are someone with an autoimmune disease planning to have a baby:
- Methylfolate: What is it and why is it important?
- How Your Diet Affects Your Postpartum Recovery (and what to include in your diet!)
- Preparing While Pregnant: Postpartum Nutrition Strategies
- Postpartum and Magnesium Benefits
Laurel Gallucci is the co-founder and CEO of LA’s Sweet Laurel and mother of two boys. After being diagnosed with a severe autoimmune disease, Laurel turned her health around when she removed all grains, dairy and refined sugar from her diet. Sweet Laurel was born shortly after, when she discovered how delicious baked goods could be with just a few simple, whole food ingredients. Sweet Laurel products ship nationwide at www.sweetlaurel.com.