If you are pregnant and you are interested in the question: vegan pregnancy diet. You will find a lot of useful information on this topic, as well as tips, advice, opinions, and answers to questions about pregnancy, proper nutrition and diets.
In general, any diet, vegan or omnivorous, can be very healthy during pregnancy, as long as we pay attention to the nutrients our body needs during this stage.
During pregnancy you need more nutrients, this does not mean that you have to “eat for two”, but that you have to eat well and eat a little more for the fetus to develop and grow healthy, while also taking care of your health.
The weight you gain during pregnancy has quite an impact on the size and health of your baby at birth, however, if you are already eating a good vegan diet you will only need 300 extra calories a day. In general in the first 12 weeks you gain weight, and in the second and third trimester you can gain about 1 kilo in a week. Most vegans who are at their weight when they become pregnant gain weight very slowly. If you need to put on more weight you just need to eat more concentrated sources of calories, such as nuts, margarines, soy products and legumes.
You’ll probably get asked a lot about your protein intake. It is currently recommended to take in an extra 25 grams of protein per day in the second and third trimester, for a total of 71 grams of protein. One study showed that non-pregnant vegan women take in an average of 65 grams of protein daily, which is almost all you need during pregnancy. If your diet is varied and contains good sources of protein such as soy products, legumes and grains, and you’re gaining weight, you don’t need to worry about protein. Many women simply get the extra protein by eating more food than they normally do. For example, you can add 25 grams of extra protein to your diet by adding a cup and a half of lentils or tofu, two and a half cups of soy milk, or a couple of loaves of bread.
Calcium and Vitamin D
In general, people have a lot of questions about calcium. Both calcium and vitamin D are necessary for the development of the baby’s bones and teeth. It is better to reduce calcium losses than to take too much calcium or supplements. Pregnant women should eat 8 or more servings of calcium-fortified foods a day. In addition, women who do not have much sun exposure should take more vitamin D-fortified foods or supplements. Women who have regular exposure to sunlight do not need it. Vitamin D supplements should only be used with the approval of your doctor or nutritionist because in large amounts it can be toxic. Margarines, soy milks and other products are often fortified with this vitamin.
Iron deficiency is common among vegan and non-vegan women. Iron needs increase during pregnancy because the mother must produce much more blood for the baby. Supplements of 30 milligrams are usually recommended during the second and third trimester, along with iron-rich foods. More iron may be needed in case of deficiency, but supplements should not be taken without a doctor’s supervision.
Regular use of B12 supplements or fortified foods is recommended for all pregnant vegan women. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the development of the fetus. Fortified foods include breakfast cereals, some margarines and soy milks, fortified brewer’s yeast, etc.
Almost all pregnant women take extra folic acid to prevent fetal malformations, usually in the first weeks of pregnancy. Many vegan foods contain high amounts of folic acid, such as whole grain bread, pasta, cereals, green leafy vegetables and orange juice. Vegan diets are generally high in folic acid, but it doesn’t hurt for women who want to become pregnant or who have just become pregnant to take more of these foods or even supplements that provide 400 micrograms of folic acid per day.
Pregnant vegans should use iodized salt for cooking and seasoning to get all the iodine they need. A little more than half a teaspoon of iodized salt covers the daily iodine requirement. Limit consumption of seaweed and take a supplement if you do not take iodine at all.
Nausea and vomiting
These are discomforts that pregnant women have to live with. During pregnancy you may also have an aversion to foods that are most commonly consumed in the diet, such as salads, beans and soy milk. This is quite common in early pregnancy and is thought to be due to a heightened sense of smell, possibly due to hormonal changes. To avoid this, eat what’s good, without further thought. Try to eat foods that are high in carbohydrates and low in fat because they are digested more quickly, so they stay less time in the stomach and nausea can be avoided. Sometimes nausea happens because you are hungry, so eat often. Avoid foods with strong smells. Cold foods are usually better tolerated because they don’t smell as bad. Drink juices, water, soy milk, or miso broth if you can’t eat solid food, but keep trying to eat whatever you feel like eating.
Planning your meals is easy, modify them using the following guide:
Wholemeal products, breads and cereals
6 or more servings per day
A ration is:
- 1 slice of bread
- 1/2 bagel
- 1/2 cup cooked cereal such as rice or pasta
- 1 ounce of breakfast cereal
Green leafy vegetables
2 or more servings per day
A ration is:
1/2 cup cooked, or 1 cup raw: kale, spinach, broccoli, mustard greens, cabbage, etc.
Other vegetables and fruits
4 to 5 servings a day
A ration is:
- 1/2 cup cooked, or 1 cup raw, or 1 piece of fruit
- 3/4 cup fruit juice
- 1/4 cup dried fruit
Pulses and soy products
3 to 4 servings a day
A ration is:
- 1/2 cup cooked legumes
- 4 ounces tofu or tempeh
- 8 ounces soy milk
Nuts, seeds, wheat germ
1 to 2 servings per day
A ration is:
- 2 tablespoons of nuts or seeds
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons wheat germ
Also, make sure that the food you eat is fortified with calcium and vitamins.
Take enough B12 or a daily supplement of 2 micrograms.
An example of a vegan pregnancy diet:
Bowl of fortified soy milk with cocoa and breakfast cereals
Toast with margarine and jam
A glass of juice
Salad of lettuce, rocket, lamb’s lettuce, lamb’s lettuce, bean sprouts, tomato and onion, dressed with lemon juice, iodized salt and linseed oil.
Potato stew with seitan
Hummus sandwich (chickpea pate) with tahini and natural tomatoes
One apple, pear or peach
Lentil and Rice Stew with Brewer’s Yeast
Spinach salad with fried seitan
A glass of enriched soymilk, plain or with cocoa
Scrambled eggs with dried fruits and nuts
Fruit Smoothies with Soy Milk
The best diet for breastfeeding is very similar to the recommended diet for pregnancy. Protein is the same, B12 is a little higher, and iron and calorie recommendations are lower than during pregnancy. To produce enough milk you need to eat well. Even though your calorie intake is 330 less than what you take in during pregnancy, you will still lose weight from the loss of calories in your breast milk. It is normal to lose about 1 kilo a week during breastfeeding, and dieting is not recommended. As with pregnancy, eating little and often is best to ensure you get the calories you need. Also use nutritious drinks such as juices, soy milk, soups and vegan smoothies.
You need to pay attention to vitamin B12, D and iodine so that they are present in your milk in adequate amounts. The amounts are similar to pregnancy, only B12 is recommended to take 1 more microgram daily.
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