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Can a pregnant woman be vegan

Vegetarian and vegan diets have increased worldwide in the last decades, according to the knowledge that they might prevent coronary heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Althought plant-based diets are at risk of nutritional deficiencies such as proteins, iron, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, omega-3, and vitamin B12, the available evidence shows that well planned vegetarian and vegan diets may be considered safe during pregnancy and lactation, but they require a strong awareness for a balanced intake of key nutrients. A review of the scientific literature in this field was performed, focusing specifically on observational studies in humans, in order to investigate protective effects elicited by maternal diets enriched in plant-derived foods and possible unfavorable outcomes related to micronutrients deficiencies and their impact on fetal development. A design of pregestational nutrition intervention is required in order to avoid maternal undernutrition and consequent impaired fetal growth. Pregnancy requires an increased intake of macro and micronutrients and balanced diet. For that, it offers a critical window of opportunity to acquire dietetic habits that are beneficial for fetal healthy [ 2 ].

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: 3 Prenatal Nutrition: Vegetarian Diet

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Vegan Pregnancy Must-Haves (First Trimester!)

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After all, the so-called experts are all questioning her dietary choices. Actually, it is reasonably simple to follow a vegan diet throughout pregnancy while eating foods that meet your needs and the needs of your baby. A series of studies 1,2 at The Farm, a community where vegan diets are a part of a socially responsible lifestyle, have shown that vegans can have healthy pregnancies and healthy children.

Here are some things to consider. Table 14 will help you to calculate how much weight you should gain. If you were underweight prior to your pregnancy, you should try to gain pounds. Average weight women should aim for a pound weight gain, and overweight women should strive to gain pounds.

Adolescents may need to gain pounds. A general trend is to have little weight gain for the first 12 weeks. Many vegans begin pregnancy on the slim side and may gain weight very slowly.

If this sounds like you, you will need to eat more food. Perhaps eating more often or eating foods higher in fat and lower in bulk will help. I found it easiest to drink extra calories and treated myself to a soy milk shake soy milk blended with fruit and tofu or soy yogurt in the evening for a few weeks when weight gain was low. Other concentrated sources of calories include nuts and nut butters, dried fruits, soy products, and bean dips. Table 15 shows some ways of getting some extra calories — you need about extra calories per day in the second and calories per day in the third trimester.

If, on the other hand, your weight gain seems too high to you and your health care provider, look at the types of food you are eating. Simply replacing sweets and fatty foods with fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes can lead to more moderate weight gain.

Daily exercise, as approved by your health care provider, can also help. Step 1. Take your prepregnant weight in pounds and divide it by your height in inches squared; then multiply by Step 2. Use your BMI to find your pre-pregnancy weight-for-height status and the amount of weight you should try to gain in pregnancy.

You will probably get lots of questions about whether or not you are getting enough protein. Current recommendations for protein in pregnancy call for 25 grams more of protein per day in the second and third tri-mesters for a total of 71 grams of protein 4. One study showed that the average non-pregnant vegan woman was eating 65 grams of protein daily 5 , almost enough to meet the needs during pregnancy.

If your diet is varied and contains good protein sources such as soy products, beans, and grains, and you are gaining weight, you can relax and not worry about getting enough protein. Many women simply get the extra protein they need by eating more of the foods they usually eat.

Vegans also get lots of questions about calcium. There is some evidence that pregnant women adapt to low calcium intakes and increased needs by increasing calcium absorption and reducing calcium losses 6. This certainly is worthy of additional study and may be pertinent to vegans whose diets may be low in calcium. However, for the time being, calcium intakes of milligrams daily are recommended for women 18 and younger and of milligrams daily for women 19 through 50 7.

Pregnant vegans should make a special effort to have 8 or more servings of calcium-rich foods daily. See the Vegan Meal Plan on page for more details. Pregnant women who have regular sunlight exposure do not need any extra vitamin D 7,8.

Supplements of vitamin D should only be used with the approval of your health care provider since high doses of vitamin D can be toxic. Fortified foods like some brands of soy or other plant milks are another way to meet vitamin D needs. Iron deficiency anemia is not uncommon during pregnancy, whether vegan or non-vegetarian. Iron supplements during the second and third trimester are commonly recommended along with iron-rich foods. Additional iron may be needed in case of iron deficiency.

Iron supplements should not be taken with calcium supplements and should be taken between meals in order to maximize absorption. Even when iron supplements are used, pregnant vegans should choose high iron foods like whole grains, dried beans, tofu, and green leafy vegetables daily. The regular use of vitamin B12 supplements or fortified foods is recommended for all pregnant vegans.

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the developing fetus. Fortified foods include some breakfast cereals, some soy milks, and Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula nutritional yeast.

Folate has been in the news because of its connection with a type of birth defect called neural tube defect. Studies have shown that women who have infants with neural tube defects have lower intakes of folate and lower blood folate levels than other women. Folate is needed early in pregnancy before many women know they are pregnant for normal neural tube development.

Many vegan foods including enriched bread, pasta, and cold cereal; dried beans; green leafy vegetables; and orange juice are good sources of folate. Vegan diets tend to be high in folate, however, to be on the safe side, women capable of becoming pregnant should take a supplement or use fortified foods that provide micrograms of folate daily. DHA is a type of fat that is mainly found in fatty fish.

It seems to be important in the development of the brain and the retina, a part of the eye. Some DHA can be made from another fat called linolenic acid that is found in flaxseed, flaxseed oil, canola oil, walnuts, and soybeans. Choosing these foods regularly and avoiding foods containing trans fats that can interfere with DHA production, can help to enhance DHA production. Some women may opt to use a vegan DHA supplement produced from microalgae. Pregnant vegans who use salt should use iodized salt at the table or in cooking.

The American Thyroid Association recommends that pregnant women living in the United States and Canada take a prenatal vitamin containing micrograms of iodine daily 9. All of this advice to eat a plant-based whole foods diet sounds wonderful to many pregnant women. What are the barriers to eating a healthful vegan diet? Nausea and vomiting, also called morning sickness, is a concern of many pregnant women, vegans included.

Many women are repulsed by foods that used to make up the bulk of their diet such as salads, dried beans, and soy milk. These aversions are extremely common in early pregnancy and are believed to be due to a heightened sense of smell, possibly due to hormonal changes While every woman and every pregnancy will vary in terms of coping with nausea and vomiting, some things to try appear on page If it tastes good, eat it!

I can remember wanting nothing but saltines and ginger ale for days at a time. Then, one day when my husband was warming up some left-over pasta, it smelled wonderful.

I ate 3 bowls full and never regretted it. Try eating low fat, high carbohydrate foods. These are digested more quickly and stay in the stomach for less time giving less time for queasiness. Avoid foods that have strong smells.

Have someone else do the cooking if possible and go away from the house while cooking is being done. Keep trying to eat whatever you can. Contact your health care provider if you are unable to eat or drink adequate amounts of fluids for 24 hours. Meals do not have to be elaborate. A meal can be as simple as a bowl of cereal and fruit with soy milk, peanut butter and crackers, or a baked potato and a salad.

Use time-saving appliances like crockpots, pressure cookers, and microwave ovens. Plan to have leftovers. Check out some quick and easy vegan cookbooks for ideas.

While many family practice physicians, obstetricians, and nurse-midwives may be quite knowledgeable about nutrition, many are not familiar with vegetarian and especially vegan diets.

Your health care provider may have lots of questions about what you are eating and whether or not you will be able to meet your needs. Look on this as an opportunity to educate someone about vegan nutrition.

Try sharing this chapter and other materials from the resource list with your health care provider. If you have specific concerns and questions, you may choose to consult a registered dietitian RD with expertise in vegetarian nutrition. Remember, a varied vegan diet can meet your needs and the needs of your baby during this exciting time. It is also important to think about alcohol and smoking.

Moderate to large amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which impairs mental and physical development. Even one or two drinks of alcohol daily are associated with greater risk of health and development problems for the baby. Based on what we know, women should avoid alcohol during pregnancy. Smoking should also be avoided during pregnancy. The Vegan Food Guide on page can be used in pregnancy. Note the modifications to meet increased needs for protein and other nutrients.

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The Effects of Vegetarian and Vegan Diet during Pregnancy on the Health of Mothers and Offspring

During pregnancy, it is important to choose a variety of foods that provide enough protein, calories, and nutrients for you and your baby. Depending on the type of vegetarian meal plan you follow, you might need to adjust your eating habits. Follow the guidelines below for healthy vegetarian eating during pregnancy. It is also important to choose safe foods and prepare foods safely because pregnant women are at increased risk of food poisoning.

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Is there evidence that it is possible to have a healthy vegetarian pregnancy, without any risk to the developing fetus? Shannon M. Clark, a spokeswoman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. There have not been any randomized-controlled trials, the gold standard to prove cause and effect, that looked at the effects of a vegetarian or vegan diet on pregnancy. However, a review of 22 observational studies on vegan and vegetarian pregnancies discovered no increase in major birth defects or other serious problems in offspring or mothers.

Nutrition During Pregnancy for Vegetarians

Your vegan pregnancy diet should pay close attention to nutrients, supplements and meal plans. Here's what you need to know. By Cara Rosenbloom March 12, The answer is yes. Research shows that a well-planned vegan diet is safe and appropriate during pregnancy. The key words here? But armed with the right information, you can plan a vegan diet that meets all of your nutritional requirements. Sari Kives, an ob-gyn at St. The basic vegan diet is the same as the recommended plate for any Canadian: vegetables, whole grains and protein. Instead, vegans can choose from these protein sources protein content is for one cup unless otherwise stated :.

Vegetarian Pregnancy 101: How to Get the Right Nutrients

Back to Eat well. Eating healthily during pregnancy is important for your own health and the health of your developing baby. It's important to eat a varied and balanced diet during pregnancy to provide enough nutrients for you and the development and growth of your baby. Vegetarian and vegan mums-to-be need to make sure they get enough iron and vitamin B12, which are mainly found in meat and fish , and vitamin D. Good sources of iron for vegetarians and vegans are:.

There is no reason to worry.

She was a team member conducting systematic reviews to inform the Australian Dietary Guidelines update and evidence review on dietary patterns for the Heart Foundation. As more Australians opt for meat-free diets , some are cutting out animal products altogether and going vegan. But is this safe for pregnant women and babies? It is possible to meet the specific nutrient requirements of pregnancy, breastfeeding and infancy while following a vegan diet, but there is a catch: it must be well-planned.

Can You Have a Healthy Vegetarian or Vegan Pregnancy?

After all, the so-called experts are all questioning her dietary choices. Actually, it is reasonably simple to follow a vegan diet throughout pregnancy while eating foods that meet your needs and the needs of your baby. A series of studies 1,2 at The Farm, a community where vegan diets are a part of a socially responsible lifestyle, have shown that vegans can have healthy pregnancies and healthy children. Here are some things to consider.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Why Pregnant Women Should Be Vegan

Eating for two without meat? The answer is a resounding yes. Dairy foods also add vitamin B12, which comes only from animal or fortified foods. Follow these guidelines during your pregnancy to ensure that you and your baby get the proper nutrition:. Calorie Counts: Add about calories a day to your diet during your second and third trimesters.

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Photo by Yulia Tarbath. I remember it as if it were yesterday. Two red lines on my pregnancy test. I ran from the bathroom to where my husband stood in our living room: "We're having a baby! With pregnancy comes many choices regarding your lifestyle and health. These, of course, are between you and your doctor—and as long as your health care practitioner thinks you and the baby are healthy, that's all that matters.

Mar 6, - Especially, our main goal was to highlight if vegetarian or vegan diets could be considered safe for the mother's health and for offspring during  by G Sebastiani - ‎ - ‎Cited by 18 - ‎Related articles.

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