10 Dietary Recommendations for Vegetarians and Vegans
It isn't just a diet – it's a way of life! With either lifestyle, you can have a healthy pregnancy, with proper planning.
Many health care professionals have serious concerns when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy.
The fact that you chose a vegetarian or vegan diet, however, should not affect your ability to have a healthy pregnancy.
Your baby can receive the nutrition he or she needs to grow and develop, even if you follow a vegetarian meal plan! During pregnancy, it’s important to choose a variety of foods that provide enough protein and calories for both you and your baby. Depending on the type of vegetarian meal plan you follow, you might need to adjust your eating habits. A number of studies of lacto-ovo vegetarians (vegetarians who use dairy products and eggs) have shown that maternal weight gain and infant birth weights were not significantly different from those of non-vegetarians, according to Vegetarian Nutrition.
Many vegans begin pregnancy on the slim side and may gain weight very slowly. If this sounds like you, you will need to eat more food. Perhaps eating more often, or eating foods higher in fat and lower in bulk, will help. Two studies of vegan pregnancy, one in the U.S. and one in Great Britain, found birth weights to be similar to those of non-vegetarian women, while the average weight gain of vegan women was slightly higher than that of the reference population. Anemia was no more common in vegans than in non-vegetarians during pregnancy; and iron intake of some pregnant vegetarians was close to the recommended daily amount, even without supplements. A low incidence of preeclampsia (a condition of high blood pressure/high levels of protein in urine) has also been reported in vegan women.