When it comes to pregnancy, it is important to carefully plan your diet to ensure that you are obtaining adequate nutrients. Obtaining adequate nutrients that are commonly found in animal or dairy products is important in pregnancy but if you are a vegan, you can still follow a vegan diet, so do not worry. A vegan diet is safe to followm and consume while pregnant. However, it is critical to eat a varied diet containing all the nutrients you require. Here is what you should know to ensure that you and your baby are getting enough nutrients.
Pregnant women require more protein than ever before. This is because this essential nutrient aids in the formation of cells and the production of hormones for your growing baby. In the second and third trimesters, pregnant women require approximately 70 grammes of protein per day.
If you are concerned about not getting enough protein or if to follow a vegan diet, there are plenty of veggie-based proteins to be included in your diet. Tofu, quinoa, tempeh, lentils, and many other plant-based protein sources are excellent choices for vegans during pregnancy.
Iron is an essential nutrient for both the mother and the growing baby during pregnancy. Your blood supply increases by approximately 50% to transport nutrients and oxygen to your baby and all your body's tissues. Expectant mothers may experience extra tiredness and fatigue throughout the day if they do not consume enough iron. In more serious cases, iron deficiency anaemia or other pregnancy complications may result.
This essential nutrient is not produced by the body. It must be obtained through diet and supplementation, as necessary. During pregnancy, you may or may not require an iron supplement. There are many vegan iron sources to choose from for your pregnancy that can help ensure a happy and healthy pregnancy, including mushrooms, beans, peas, kale, dried apricots, and figs.
3. Vitamin B12
This vitamin is essential for the growth of a baby's nervous system. Although a woman's body stores some vitamin B12, it has not been proven that the stored vitamin B12 is readily available to the fetus. In other words, while pregnant, you must take a vitamin B12 supplement or consume foods fortified with vitamin B12.
Though B12 deficiency is uncommon, vegans frequently lack this vitamin because it is only found in animal-derived foods. But do not worry, B12 can be found in foods such as fortified breakfast cereals, unsweetened soya drinks fortified with vitamin B12, yeast extracts such as Marmite, and nutritional yeast flakes fortified with vitamin B12.
4. Vitamin D
Even though the requirements for this nutrient do not change, vitamin D status is especially important in vegan pregnancy. Because most of this vitamin's sources are animal-based, those who follow a plant-based diet may be at a much higher risk of developing deficiency. Fortified soy milk, cereals, and orange juice can provide some vitamin D, but not nearly enough. Fortunately, a supplement can provide what you require. Therefore, talk to your doctor about getting your vitamin D levels checked and getting a supplement if necessary.
Overall, being pregnant indicates that a life is being developed within you. It is no surprise that so many pregnant women choose to have a vegan pregnancy. Vegan moms who want to start a family should make sure they get enough vitamins and minerals. Inform your doctor that you are vegan and make an appointment with a registered dietitian who can assist you in meeting your dietary needs during this special time. Vegan moms want to make sure they get enough protein, iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D.
1. Petre, A. (2020) Vegan pregnancy: Safety, foods, supplements, and meal plan, Healthline. Healthline Media. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vegan-pregnancy#concerns (Accessed: February 15, 2023).
2. Bellefonds, C.de (2021) Vegan pregnancy: Is it safe to be vegan or vegetarian while pregnant?, BabyCenter. Available at: https://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy/diet-and-fitness/eating-a-vegetarian-diet-during-pregnancy_1313874 (Accessed: February 15, 2023).
3. Avena, N. (2022) Is a vegan diet okay during pregnancy?, Baby Chick. Available at: https://www.baby-chick.com/is-a-vegan-diet-okay-during-pregnancy/ (Accessed: February 15, 2023).