Vegetarian Diets During Pregnancy

Introduction

Pregnant vegetarians should choose high iron foods like whole grains, legumes, tofu, and green leafy vegetables daily and consume them with foods rich in vitamin C to increase the bio availability of the iron. All pregnant women, including vegetarians, should be checked for iron-deficiency anemia and consider supplementation if they are unable to meet their needs through diet alone. Now that you are pregnant you may wonder at times if your vegetarian lifestyle will impact negatively on your unborn child. First you need to understand what a healthy, well-balanced vegetarian diet should be like and for that you need to look at those nutrients you could be missing out on.

Throughout pregnancy, recommended intakes of vitamins and minerals are higher than for the non-pregnant state. With careful planning, a vegetarian diet during pregnancy can provide all the necessary nutrients you need and your baby need.

Savvy Vegetarian

Hopefully you have been following the advice on Savvy Vegetarian and are eating a great vegetarian diet!

In order to meet the weight gain recommendations for pregnancy, extra dietary energy is required. Despite compensatory mechanisms such as cessation of menstruation and increased iron absorption, the iron requirement of pregnancy is quite high and the diet needs to be especially rich in iron. All pregnant women, including vegetarians, should be checked for iron-deficiency anemia and consider supplementation if they are unable to meet their needs through diet alone. Many women in the US, both omnivores and vegetarians, do not consume diets that meet the RDA for zinc during pregnancy. First you need to understand what a healthy, well-balanced vegetarian diet should be like and for that you need to look at those nutrients you could be missing out on.

As a lacto-ovo vegetarian, my physician has recommended that I include tempeh, peanut butter, low-fat cottage cheese and eggs in my diet. He has a very realistic diet plan for vegetarians as well as vegans. Vegans and vegetarians are more diet-aware than meat eaters and generally get more nutrients as well.

If you are a vegetarian you may be wondering if it is okay to keep eating a vegetarian diet during your pregnancy.
Folic Acid: Vegetarians have an advantage over non-vegetarians since a vegetarian diet is usually very high in folic acid. These same people will often express strong doubt about the nutritional adequacy of your vegetarian diet now that you are pregnant. You can get all the nutrients you need from a high quality vegetarian diet. Becoming vegetarian is a major change, and your body is going through enough changes without the additional stress of changing your diet.

Hopefully you have been following the advice on Savvy Vegetarian and are eating a great vegetarian diet!. A good vegetarian diet has a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes i e beans, lentils, and nuts and some eggs and dairy or their equivalent.

You should be aware however, that yeast infections are more common during pregnancy and many women suffering from chronic yeast infections choose a diet that limits their intake of yeast. Being a pregnant vegetarian is completely healthy, as long as the woman maintains a balanced diet supplemented with prenatal vitamins.

Conclusion

All pregnant women, including vegetarians, should be checked for iron-deficiency anemia and consider supplementation if they are unable to meet their needs through diet alone. Historically, women have been advised to substantially increase their calcium intake during pregnancy in order to meet the fetus’s needs without compromising their own bone density. Vegetarians who consume dairy products get calcium from milk and cheese.

It is perfectly safe to eat a vegetarian or even a vegan diet when you are pregnant. Many vegetarians already consume a well balanced and planned out diet so planning for pregnancy may not take much work.

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