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How To Have A Healthy Plant-Based Pregnancy

By HERWriter
 
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Plant based Pregnancy

I had been a vegetarian for years by the time I got pregnant. Although I had some serious morning sickness for a few months, I was able to keep my diet pretty similar to what it was before. I ate lots of beans, lentils, vegetables, tempeh, whole grains and vegan cookie dough. (Do you think I’m some sort of saint?)

The main difference was that the world now had an opinion because I was growing another human being. Many people seemed convinced that I could not build a human without animal protein (spoiler: I did). Of course, there are ways to assure that you are being healthy, but this is true whether you are a carnivore or a vegan. There are upsides to a vegetarian pregnancy, as a vegetarian diet in the first trimester is linked to a lower risk of gestational weight gain. (1) (Unfortunately, it isn’t linked to a lower risk of morning sickness.)

If you are pregnant, or if you plan on telling a pregnant woman that she needs meat, this article is for you.

Here are the facts in a nutshell.

1) Don’t be cavalier about your iron intake. Expecting women need double the iron that non-expecting women do. Dried beans, peas, spinach, beets, raisins and fortified cereals should help out with this. Your prenatal vitamin can’t do all the heavy lifting. (1) A simple way to get more iron every day is to cook your food in a cast iron skillet. Blackstrap molasses is also a great source (gingerbread cookies anyone?).

2) Vitamin B12 is a daily must. Being deficient in B12 and folic acid increases the risk of having a baby with neural tube defects. B12 is not found in plants but it is in tofu, soy milk and nutritional yeast. (1) You may need to take a supplement to get the 2.6 micrograms needed for a healthy pregnancy.

3) Be flexible. If for some reason, you can’t eat anything green because of nausea but you can eat an animal product, cut yourself a break. Being underweight can be detrimental to a pregnancy and you need to do what you need to do to get calories. You are not a failure if you fall off the wagon – you are growing a person! However, it’s certainly not necessary to have meat, cheese or eggs.

1)    Saint Louis, Catherine. Can You Have A Healthy Vegetarian or Vegan Pregnancy? NY Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/30/well/family/can-you-have-a-healthy-vegetarian-or-vegan-pregnancy.html Retrieved 25 October 2018.

2)    Eating Vegetarian And Vegan During Pregnancy. What To Expect. https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/diet/eating-vegetarian-vegan-during-pregnancy/Retrieved 25 October 2018.

3)    Gottesman, Nancy. Stick To Your Vegetarian (Or Vegan!) Diet. Fit Pregnancy. https://www.fitpregnancy.com/nutrition/prenatal-nutrition/stick-your-vegetarian-or-vegan-diet Retrieved 25 October 2018.

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4)    Archambault, Alex. Is It safe To Be Vegan And Pregnant? Here’s How To Do It Correctly. This Is Insider. https://www.thisisinsider.com/is-it-safe-to-be-vegan-pregnant-2018-7 Retrieved 25 October 2018

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.