The Pregnant Vegetarian and Vegan

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vegetarian woman eating saladAll right, my vegetarian and vegan friends-I’m first going to give you a warning: be prepared to receive a good amount of unsolicited advice and comments about your prenatal diet. Many people do not understand the diet of a vegetarian or vegan, or the rich and plentiful nutrients one extracts from a variety of non-animal foods. Therefore, whether they are trying to be helpful or less-than-helpful, you may be bombarded with unwanted information.

That said, vegetarians and vegans who are pregnant do need to be concerned about their diets (as do all pregnant people). Vegetarians and vegans need to pay special attention to certain deficiencies they may encounter.

Physicians warn that pregnant women who are vegetarian and vegan may lack certain essential nutrients and vitamins from their diets, more specifically, vitamin B12, omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, iron, calcium, and vitamin D. Here are some tips to help you incorporate more of these crucial nutrients into your vegetarian or vegan diet.

Vitamin B12: Dairy products (for vegetarians), soy milk (for vegans), fortified breakfast cereals

Omega 3 fatty acids: Flaxseed oil, eggs, and dairy products (for vegetarians)

Zinc: Cooked, dried beans and peas

Iron: Beans, tofu, raisins, figs, potato skins

Calcium: Dark, leafy greens, beans, broccoli, collards, spinach

Vitamin D: Fortified milk (for vegetarians), sunlight

So, if you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, you may want to search out some new and tasty recipes so you can ensure you’re getting the essential vitamins and nutrients in your pregnancy diet. There are many fantastic cookbooks on the market, as well as books relating to pregnancy and healthy diets, such as Eating for Pregnancy: The Essential Nutrition Guide and Cookbook for Today’s Mothers-to-Be, by Catherine Jones and Rose Ann Hudson. Also, check with your doctor about prenatal vitamins. There are even vegan vitamins on the market, which will help you provide your baby with what he or she needs to grow strong and healthy.

What do you think? The Pregnant Vegetarian and Vegan

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3 comments

  1. I am vegan. I have been very faithful to my choice to be a vegan. I make sure to supplement B12 calcium zinc vitaminD flax seed oil etc…

  2. Avatar of Sunshine Sunshine says:

    Hi Jeanetta,
    Was your iron very low at the beginning of your pregency? Doctors are telling me I would need to have some red meat added in my diet and I am not happy about eating meat. Your thoughts?

  3. Avatar of Jeanetta Jeanetta says:

    I was a vegetarian for a year before I became pregnant and around my 4th month of pregnancy my body started craving protein so bad I couldn’t take it anymore so I added milk, cheese, some fish and chicken back into my diet. Do I feel guilty? Yes, but I will go back to my vegetarian life style after the baby is born and I intend on her being a vegetarian too.

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