Being a 21st century modern pregnant woman, you probably read countless articles about planning your diet for those vital nine months. It is also very likely that almost every other person you know has an opinion on what you should or shouldn’t eat. Perhaps, somebody mentioned the vegan diet. Or you were already thinking about it. In this post, I will describe the major aspects of a vegan diet during pregnancy and a few concepts you should know.
Knowing the benefits of a vegan diet
Pregnant women should be more concerned about getting proper nutrition than about the type of diet itself. Throughout your entire pregnancy, you will be intaking nutrients for both you and your developing baby. Most of what you eat will eventually pass to the baby through the placenta. If you are considering the benefits of vegan diet during pregnancy, you will be happy to know that it is perfectly fine during pregnancy, as long as you eat correctly. Planning a vegan diet may be difficult for some expecting moms. But, actually, all you need is a well-planned and balanced diet that has all the nutrients and essentials in the right proportion.
Getting the right nutrients from a vegan diet
Your diet during pregnancy requires a good balance of supplements and food. The source of the nutrients is an important consideration. Yes, it is safe to be on a vegan diet during pregnancy, but you may find it challenging to choose the right variety of vegan foods. It is essential to know the daily nutrient requirements for your body, based upon which you should choose the right foods. Many vegan women will have to rely on supplements and fortified foods to get enough essentials for their body. As always, it is recommended to discuss these issues with your healthcare provider before considering a switch in your eating behaviors.
Best vegan sources of different nutrients
- Protein – Good vegan sources include pulses, nuts, seeds, and soy foods. Nuts are also good after childbirth and are considered among the best healthy snacks for lactating and expecting mothers.
- Iron – Most expecting mothers, irrespective of their food choices, take iron supplement. However, do include tofu, soy foods, legumes, and whole grains in your diet. Green leafy veggies, such as spinach and kale, are also good sources of iron.
- Zinc – Beans, soy products, and fortified breakfast cereals have a good amount of zinc. Nuts and seeds are recommended too.
- Calcium – Almond milk, soy milk and breakfast cereals are good sources of iron. Vegan women should take calcium supplements as suggested by a healthcare provider.
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D is essential for the body and helps in absorbing calcium. Orange juice and cereals are your reliable sources of this vitamin.
- DHA – Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid mainly found in fish. It is important for the development of the brain, cerebral cortex, skin, and retina. Discuss with your healthcare professional where you can get a good vegan source of DHA. There are supplements derived from algae that are safe during pregnancy.