The Pregnant Vegetarian and Vegan
All 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.