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How To Have A Vegetarian Pregnancy

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How To Have A Vegetarian Pregnancy

How To Have A Vegetarian Pregnancy

Meat may be off the menu, but its still possible to get all the nutrients you and your baby need

Its perfectly safe to continue your vegetarian diet while pregnant (even if it means overcoming a bizarre craving for a juicy steak), just as long as you have a balanced diet. lsquo;A well-planned vegetarian diet can provide for the health of both mother and baby during pregnancy, says Jen Elford, Head of Research and Information Services at the Vegetarian Society. lsquo;Studies have found that the birth weights of babies born to well-nourished vegetarian mothers are similar to infants born to non-vegetarians.

Its important that you get plenty of protein during your pregnancy ndash; it helps your babys muscles and tissues develop and encourages growth. Luckily, theres plenty of vegetarian sources of protein-rich foods. lsquo;Guidelines suggest a pregnant woman needs an extra 6g of protein a day, says Jen. lsquo;Lentils, beans, nuts, eggs and meat alternatives such as tofu and Quorn can help meet increased needs.

While red meat is probably one of the best sources of iron, being vegetarian doesnt have to mean becoming iron deficient. Iron is needed during pregnancy as your body produces more blood to help deliver nutrients through the placenta to your baby. lsquo;Iron rich foods include leafy greens such as spinach or kale, dried fruits, wholegrain cereals and nuts, says Jen. lsquo;However, its also important that you eat foods rich in vitamin C, which is needed to absorb iron. Best sources are vegetables and citrus fruits.

A range of B vitamins are needed during pregnancy. Folate is important during pregnancy to ensure your babys spinal cord develops properly and to help prevent spina bifida (link). lsquo;A varied, colourful diet of fruit and vegetables will be naturally abundant in folate, says Jen. lsquo;Good vegetarian sources include fortified breakfast cereals, wheatgerm bread and spinach. However, women who are trying to conceive should take a 400mcg supplement of folic acid every day from before you start trying for a baby up until your twelfth week of pregnancy.

Vitamin B12 is also important because its needed for the growth and development of your baby. If you eat eggs and dairy products, you should be able to get enough vitamin B12. If youre following a vegan diet during pregnancy [link], you can get it from fortified soya milk, yeast extracts and some veggie burger mixes.

Studies have shown that a diet thats rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids is key for your babys brain and eye development. lsquo;Walnuts, leafy green vegetables and flax oil produced from hulled seeds can help meet a daily intake of 2-3g per day, says Jen. lsquo;Avoid ground or whole flaxseed as the lignans in the seed coat can affect hormones during pregnancy. Use olive oil and rapeseed oil instead of sunflower oil to keep your omega 6:3 ratio balanced.

While a healthy vegetarian diet should meet most of your nutritional needs, the Department of Health does recommend that all pregnant women take a vitamin D supplement (10mcg).

‘Essential for supporting your babys bone development, vitamin D is found in eggs, cheese and fortified products such as breakfast cereals and soya milk, says Jen. lsquo;But the main source is through safe exposure to the sun and because we live in a generally less than sunny climate the Department of Health recommends that all UK pregnant women take a daily supplement of 10mcg of vitamin D.

How To Have A Vegetarian Pregnancy

The Best Foods To Eat At Every Stage Of Pregnancy And Post Birth

Instead of lurching from saintly food habits to a chocolate binge, tailor your diet to each stage of your nine months. Say hello to your new eating rules

How To Have A Vegetarian Pregnancy

Discover the easy tweaks you can make during pregnancy to boost your babys development

How To Have A Vegetarian Pregnancy

Whether youre a vegetarian and your babys a veggie in training or your just want to get clued up on more meat-free meal ideas, take a look at these delish recipes that are packed with all of the nutrients and goodness you need to get you – and your family – through the day.

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