A vegan diet is where you avoid eating all products available from animal sources. In a nutshell, going vegan means eating all plant-based foods to get your daily nourishment. There are many debates about pregnant women going vegan or vegan women trying to conceive.
Some say it’s beneficial and some researchers are of the opinion that they deprive themselves of the essential nutrients available in foods of animal origin. Despite of what people think, being a vegan when you’re expecting can provide you with all the essential nutrients as long as you take plant-based alternatives and supplements to meet the daily requirements.
Vegan pregnancy diet must include a balanced intake of proteins, carbs, vitamins, folate, and iron to aid your baby’s growth.
- Check Out These Healthy Vegan Pregnancy Tips
- 1. Vegan Pregnancy Weight Gain
- 2. Boost Your Vitamin B12 Intake
- 3. Get Enough Iron Intake
- 4. Build Strong Bones
- 5. Increase Protein Intake
- 6. Vegan Pregnancy Supplements
- 7. Vegan Pregnancy Complications
- 8. Sample Vegan Pregnancy Meal Plan
- 9. Vegan Pregnancy Recipes
- 10. Helpful Vegan Pregnancy Books That We Recommend:
- Frequently Asked Questions
Check Out These Healthy Vegan Pregnancy Tips
We will show you how you can achieve this and also add more about vegan pregnancy diet plan, some vegan pregnancy recipes, and vegan pregnancy complications you need to check out for!
1. Vegan Pregnancy Weight Gain
It’s important to gain weight during pregnancy. For this, you must have a balanced diet to gain healthy weight. Vegans are given the same recommendation for weight gain as the non-vegan pregnant women.
In the first-trimester weight loss can occur due to nausea/vomiting, loss of appetite, or increased activity. Compensate it with short and frequent meals to keep up the calorie requirement.
2. Boost Your Vitamin B12 Intake
Vitamin B12 is abundantly found in milk and dairy products, fish, eggs, and meat; thus it might be a struggle for vegan moms-to-be to meet the daily requirement of vitamin B12.
Deficiency of this vitamin might cause birth defects in babies. Make sure you choose fortified cereals, soya drinks, etc. and supplements to maintain healthy development of the fetus.
3. Get Enough Iron Intake
Pregnant vegans should make sure to get enough supply of iron. The daily requirement of iron increases with every passing day because your body makes more blood to pass on the nutrients to the growing baby.
Plants do make a significant contribution in providing iron to the body. Pulses, nuts, dried apricots, whole grains (bulgar wheat or quinoa), leafy veggies (kale, watercress, spinach, etc.) are great vegan sources of iron.
You have to increase the intake of vitamin C also to boost the absorption of iron into the body. Sources of plant-based vitamin C include tomatoes, bell peppers, green vegetables, and citrus fruits. Having a glass of orange juice with your meals is a good idea!
4. Build Strong Bones
Calcium and Vitamin D are required for the development of your baby’s skeletal system (bones). Milk and dairy products being excluded from your vegan diet may lead to deficiency.
Thus it’s important to go for calcium-fortified soya drinks, tofu, dried figs, almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, pak-choi, kale and okra (bhindi). Similarly, choose vitamin D fortified plant foods like soya drinks, yogurts, breakfast cereals.
Make sure you expose your skin to the early morning sun for at least 20 minutes. But be careful not to burn! Along with these natural sources, Vitamin D supplement of 10 mcg is added to the diet of every pregnant woman.
5. Increase Protein Intake
Proteins are required for the development of the fetus in the womb. They play important role in muscle building and tissue growth.
Animal sources of protein like meat and fish are not included in the vegan diet thus it is very essential for vegan women who are expecting to maintain a proper intake of proteins in their diet. Nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.), hemp, beans, lentils, tofu, quinoa, etc. are vegan sources of protein.
6. Vegan Pregnancy Supplements
Taking vegan supplements during pregnancy will add to the nutrient intake for mom-to-be. Consult your GP before you start with any dietary supplements.
7. Vegan Pregnancy Complications
Eat sensibly and there will be no side effects of veganism on your pregnancy. Balance all nutrients in your diet. Choose proper alternatives to animal sources of protein and vitamins.
If you are low in mineral or vitamin content and on a vegan diet you may face these complications.
- Vegan pregnancy birth defects like spina bifida (neural tube defect) due to deficiency of vitamin B12.
- Muscle development problems due to lack of proteins.
- Lack of iron can cause low birth weights and cognitive problems.
- High amounts of phytoestrogens in vegetarian diet can result in hypospadias (male birth defect where the penis has an abnormal opening for the urethra).
Speak to your doctor in case you are following strict vegan diet during pregnancy. Adequate supplements and appropriate diet plan is a must here.
8. Sample Vegan Pregnancy Meal Plan
There are many options and alternatives for a vegan pregnancy meal. We give you a sample diet plan to get inspired from below:
- 1/2 cup oatmeal with maple syrup
- 1 cup fortified soy milk or almond milk
- 1 slice whole-wheat toast with 2 tablespoons almond butter, sprinkled with wheat germ
- 3/4 cup calcium and vitamin D fortified orange juice
- 1/2 cup carrot sticks with 1/4 cup hummus
- Sandwich with ½ cup baked tofu, 2 slices whole-grain bread and lettuce 1 cup steamed collard greens
- Medium apple
- 1 tbsp. almonds
- 1 cup fortified soy milk
- cereal with 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 cup fortified soy milk
- 3/4 cup tofu stir-fried with 1 cup vegetables
- 1 cup red beans and 1/2 cup brown rice
- 1 cup tomato slices drizzled with olive oil and herbs
- Medium orange
- Whole grain crackers with 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 4 ounces apple juice
A yogurt bowl is a great energy-boosting breakfast option that keeps you full till lunchtime. The combination of fresh fruits and nut provides proteins, energy and vitamins.
This is a healthy and easy vegan recipe which requires no cooking. The amazing and lusty chocolate flavor with the crunch of roasted almonds and flax seeds make this treat very irresistible. Keep it as you snack-time option, we bet you won’t feel hungry soon.
This is a tasty lentil recipe with a punch of spinach. It offers great amounts of proteins and iron to your diet.
10. Helpful Vegan Pregnancy Books That We Recommend:
Go Vegan! Go Healthy!
Do share your experience of a vegan pregnancy and how you think veganism can be beneficial.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it is completely safe to be vegan while you are pregnant. It is a must, that you have to follow a strict vegan balanced diet throughout your pregnancy.
Protein-rich foods, like tofu, beans, pulses and nuts. Milk, such as almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk and soya milk should be regularly included in the diet. Natural and organic fortified vegan foods with vitamins and minerals should be taken into consideration with guidance from the doctor.
Food such as fresh organic fruits and vegetables, pulses and nuts are consumed widely. Soy, almond, cashew and coconut milk are also included in their diet.
Here is a sample diet chart for a pregnant vegan lady:
Breakfast: 1/2 cup oatmeal with maple syrup 1 cup fortified soy milk or almond milk 1 slice whole-wheat toast with 2 tablespoons almond butter, sprinkled with wheat germ 3/4 cup calcium and vitamin D fortified orange juice
Snack: 1/2 cup carrot sticks with 1/4 cup hummus Banana
Lunch: Sandwich with ½ cup baked tofu, 2 slices whole-grain bread and lettuce 1 cup steamed collard greens Medium apple 1 tbsp. almonds 1 cup fortified soy milk
Snack: cereal with 1/2 cup blueberries 1 cup fortified soy milk
Dinner: 3/4 cup tofu stir-fried with 1 cup vegetables 1 cup red beans and 1/2 cup brown rice 1 cup tomato slices drizzled with olive oil and herbs Medium orange
Snack: Whole grain crackers with 2 tbsp peanut butter 4 ounces apple juice
Yes, it is absolutely safe if you follow a strict vegan diet. Vegan pregnancy diet must include a balanced intake of proteins, carbs, vitamins, folate, and iron to aid your baby’s growth.