Even if you’ve always been very comfortable with being vegan before, being pregnant and being a vegan may make you a bit more uncomfortable. Especially because it’s likely that everyone you know will have an opinion on it! Even your own OB/GYN may not understand much about being vegan.
Relax. There are ways to make being a pregnant vegan work, and it doesn’t even have to be that hard.
First off, talk to your doctor. Tell him or her honestly about your diet. Some doctors will request additional blood work and tests throughout pregnancy for vegan moms just to ensure that you’re getting everything you need and that the baby is growing well.
Ask about supplements. For example, in addition to your regular pre-natal, it may be necessary to take extra iron supplementation during pregnancy.
If you’re nauseous during pregnancy, eat whatever you think you can keep down, even if all that includes for a period is crackers and ginger ale. Whatever you do, make sure to drink plenty of fluids even if you can’t stomach food. Water, juice and soy or almond milk, if you can stomach it.
One of the problems that can face pregnant vegans is slow weight gain. During the second trimester, you will need an extra 340 calories per day. In the third trimester you need 450 extra. To add more calories in a healthy way, increase your consumption of nuts and nut butters, or indulge in “milkshakes” consisting of almond milk, soy yogurt and fruit to get your calories up.
During the second and third trimesters, pregnant women need 25 extra grams of protein, bringing the daily total up to 71 grams. Pregnant vegans also need at least eight servings of calcium rich food per day.
With careful attention to diet and medical monitoring, there is no reason you can’t enjoy a vegan diet and have a perfectly healthy pregnancy.
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