One of the most exciting times in life is the expectancy and arrival of a new baby! With that comes the constant “advice” given by everyone around you and the seemingly endless supply of questions that come when those people find out you are vegan and pregnant.
“What does your doctor say?”
“What will you eat to stay healthy?”
While I am not a doctor, and I am by no means offering medical advice, I am here to say it is possible to continue a healthy vegan lifestyle while pregnant. My proof? My healthy baby boy!
I don’t intend to ramble on about diet plans, nutritional analysis, and scientific research. I believe that the most important guideline during pregnancy is simply learning how to listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry. Rest when you’re tired. Get a mild amount of exercise to ensure appropriate weight gain. Sound basic? That’s because it is. Being vegan during pregnancy is not something radical. As long as you pay close attention to your body, and are mindful to your nutritional requirements, you should expect a very happy and healthy pregnancy.
What did your doctor say?
Personally, mine was agreeable to my lifestyle. She felt nothing was concerning as long as the baby continued growing, and I was gaining weight. To ensure the best possible care, it’s important to be honest with your medical team. Doing so will help you create a feasible plan. When you speak with your doctor, explain that you’re passionate about your principles. Ask for suggestions on how to fulfill any nutritional deficits you may be subject to, or if you have any medical history that may compromise the health of you or your fetus. If you wish, your doctor can help you connect with a nutritionist for further guidance. A few important plant based nutrients to focus on are:
Calcium – Soybeans, almonds, dark leafy greens
Protein – Chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, broccoli, tempeh, tofu
Vitamin B12 – Seaweed and nutritional yeast
Vitamin B6 – Walnuts, avocados, peanuts, bananas, tomatoes
Folic Acid – Avocados, lentils, lima beans, bananas, Brussels sprouts
DHA – Flax, chia, and hemp seeds
With all pregnancies, prenatal vitamins are important. I chose the brand Rainbow light. This brand is completely sourced from plants, and is healthy for baby. While the pills are somewhat large, they’re gentle on a queasy stomach. They don’t contain an overbearing, icky taste either. Not only are they 100% animal free, but they offer all the required nutrients a veggie momma needs!
There are many websites that offer detailed information on nutrition and even comparison charts on plant based vs. animal based nutrition. Veganstreet.com, for example, offers a plethora of information about veganism and nutrition. This site uses memes, stories, and a great blog that touches all those important nutritional questions. It also offers a large database of recipes that incorporate the above ingredients, and many more. You’ll be impressed by the delicious, healthy, and “wow! That’s vegan?” dishes.
What can you eat?
The best response that I have been able to come up with when people ask me what I eat is, “everything you do, I just don’t use animals to make it.” Any dish you can think of can be substituted with animal free alternatives. There are numerous vegan recipe websites and blogs on the internet. A simple search of “vegan recipes” on Pintrest gives you an endless supply, from copy cat fast- food recipes to one-pot, 5 minute pasta dishes. You can follow Veg eNews for Sara’s monthly recipes as well!
If you’re not one for cooking, you can purchase an entire array of vegan friendly foods and entrées at the grocery store.
You can continue a vegan lifestyle throughout pregnancy. It benefits your health, the baby’s health, and saves hundreds of animals’ lives. Moreover, vegetarianism makes an excellent foundation for teaching children compassion, empathy, and love. A few great websites to visit that discuss raising vegan/vegetarian children are:
Vegan-momma.com – This is a great websites that not only covers vegan pregnancy, nutrition, and childbirth. They also touch base on raising vegan kids and how to discuss the topic of veganism with them.
http://www.brit.co/raising-vegan-children is another resource that incorporates tips from 3 vegan moms on raising vegan kids.
“The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book” gives you a hard copy of information about staying vegan while pregnant while offering recipes that the whole family will love! You can order the book through Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Everything-Vegan-Pregnancy-Book/dp/144052551X