A Breatharian Pregnancy? Don't Bet on It

Social media is buzzing about a couple who claim to live on air alone—and that they maintained a healthy pregnancy while barely eating. But experts say that's bunk.

Breatharian pregnancy Dasha Petrenko/Shutterstock
By now, you've heard about the infamous "breatharian" couple who claims they can go days—even weeks!—without anything but the universe, energy and "delicious" breath to sustain them. If you're not already rolling your eyes, consider this: The mom of two claims she even maintained a breatharian lifestyle while pregnant with her second child, a feat that well, seems impossible, right? Yes, according to OB/GYN Dr. Sherry Ross.

Considering that a woman's body is meant to nourish a growing fetus with a specific, healthy diet, the claim that a woman would be able to essentially starve herself is dangerous. Since breatharians don't even consume water over extended periods, it's more likely that a woman (and thus, her baby) would become malnourished from the lifestyle. Dr. Ross has never had a breatharian patient, luckily, but if she did, she says she'd be very concerned for their well being. "For a healthy pregnancy and baby, it's recommended to gain 25 to 35 pounds for the average woman. When you don't gain the appropriate amount of weight, the baby will not grow normally and will be small. Also, the mom would also be high risk for preterm labor. And, future problems for the baby include heart disease and diabetes," she says.

As for this couple? Snopes has sussed out that they and other breatharians are vastly underestimating what they're eating, and probably trying to sell you something. (This pair cops to occasional vegetable broth, fruit, and "social eating." Maybe they eat out with people a lot?)

Dr. Ross added that if a woman attempted breatharianism, she would face dehydration, nutritional deficiencies and potential heart irregularities, all ailments that are not only problematic for maternal health, but for baby's too. Though it might be a nice thought that you could save money, lose weight and be connected to divinity by um, not eating, Dr. Ross says that if you're pregnant, your responsibility is to your child, and you should go ahead and get those pickles and ice cream, ASAP.

In other words—breatharianism? Totally fake news.