Can You Eat Vegan While Pregnant? Meat and Dairy-Free Diet During Pregnancy

Can you safely eat a vegan diet during pregnancy? Image by panuru

Can you safely eat a vegan diet during pregnancy? Image by panuru

Pregnancy is a time of physical and emotional change for all women. Vegan women too must care for themselves, as well as watch what they eat while providing a nourishing environment to the growing new life within them.

Those who follow a vegan diet (One that is meat/diary free or free from animal products) have special concerns while pregnant. Pregnancy is not the time to begin a vegan lifestyle, but can be a time to continue one already established. Accept that everyone who is now giving advice on what to eat and what to take really has your best interests and your growing baby’s interests at heart. You just need to be clear that you are working with your doctor and nutritionist in a responsible manner, since it is possible to be vegan while pregnant.

Vitamins and Supplements During Vegan Pregnancy

Most Ob/Gyn’s (obstetrician/gynecologist) prescribe a prenatal vitamin containing folate and nutritional supplements best suited for a growing fetus. Most healthcare providers are traditionalists –  they know what has worked and is standard treatment for pregnant women. They have the same goal you do: to create a healthy baby. When you tell them your dietary preference, it isn’t necessary that they they agree with you, but it is imperative that they will work with you. Most will, and will prescribe a vegan prenatal vitamin, of which there are several brands.

B12 will be in this vitamin. Most vegans take B12 in some form continuously. Cyancobalamine is the most accessible form in US. You also need calcium so the prenatal supplies it, and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, are supplied in proper amounts. Doctors don’t advise super supplementing, or taking additional amounts of supplements – it can be harmful to the fetus.

Some women don’t allow anything manufactured in to their diet and work hard to obtain the correct percents and amounts of nutrient via diet. This can become difficult with the need for omega 3 fish oil. The fatty acids in omega 3 fish oil affect vision and brain development, and are now sometimes part of a good prenatal vitamin. A vegan prenatal won’t have this supplement since its animal (fish) derived. Some prenatals have a different form of omega 3 available for vegetarians; omega 3s are also found in nuts, oils such as soy, canola, hemp, walnut, and flax seed oil.


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Flax seed oil has so much concentrated omega 3 oil, that I would advise discussing taking it with a nutritionist if you go this route. Otherwise, your choice is to take the vegan prenatal without added fish oil, or to take the prenatal vitamin that includes fish oil. Don’t be hard on yourself if you decide to take the complete prenatal vitamins.

An important rule of thumb: Get your healthcare provider’s approval before you take unregulated herbal supplements.

© Copyright 2013 Amy Andersen: Health, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Pregnancy

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Comments

  1. Jessica McCurdy Crooks says:

    yes, you most definitely can. As a former vegetarian, finding her way back, vegans and vegetarians tend to pay lots of attention to what they eat. as such, it is unlikely that they will not be getting enough of the nutrients they need for a healthy pregnancy.

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