Vegan pregnant moms are actually eating for two. During pregnancy, it's important to be a good mom from the beginning by keeping that baby (and you) healthy! Everyone knows that eating a vegan diet can do wonderful things for your health, and it can continue to do so throughout your pregnancy. Vegan mommies are like to be eating everything baby needs to grow big and strong; it’s just paying attention to make sure you are getting the right amount of certain nutrients. It’s quite easy to do, and we’re here to show you some things to get you and your baby what you need.
Protein is responsible for building strong, healthy cells and tissues. Always make sure you’re getting the proper amount every day throughout your pregnancy but especially during the second and third trimester. Aim for at least 70 grams a day, which is actually a snap with legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. A cup of black beans packs a whopping 42 grams, chickpeas = 39 grams, quinoa = 24 grams, almonds = 20 grams, walnuts = 18 grams. Adding these to your meals throughout the day will satisfy your daily needs. A smoothie made with Elite Protein could also do for an easy protein fix. Elite Protein is organic and safe for vegan pregnant moms, however, it’s still best to consult a doctor.
Babies need calcium for strong teeth and bones as well as for developing a healthy cardiovascular and nervous system. If you aren’t getting the extra calcium in your diet, the baby is going to find some in other sources, like your bones, and that’s not good for either one of you in the long run. You’ll need about 1000mg a day. Dark leafy greens, tofu, fortified juices, nuts and seeds all have plenty of calcium making it an easy for you to get enough each day. 1 cup cooked collard greens has 268 mg, cooked spinach = 245 mg, 1/2 cup tofu = 434 mg, 1 cup fortified OJ = 350 mg, 1/4 cup sesame seeds = 352 mg.
Iron deficiency is very common during pregnancy, even with meat-eaters, so it’s important for vegan pregnant moms following a plant-based diet to pay attention to their iron intake. Low iron levels can cause premature birth and low birth weight, so make sure you get at least 27 mg a day. 1 cup cooked lentils offers 6 mg, chickpeas = 4 mg, cooked spinach = 6mg. Most of the time, doctors would suggest that all pregnant woman take an iron supplement to be on the safe side.
4. Vitamin B12
Vegans know about Vitamin B12 and that if your diet has not enough of it, you best be taking a supplement. Vitamin B12, taken along with folic acid, is important in the development of red blood cells and genetic material and also reduces the risk of Neural Tube Defects (NTD), such as spina bifida, so make sure you don’t skip this one! The recommended amount is 400 mcg of folic acid and at least 2.5 mcg of B12 once a day.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps your body to maintain the right amounts of calcium and phosphorus. Not getting enough can cause growth issues and skeletal deformities in your baby. The easiest way to get your dose of Vitamin D is by soaking up the sun for about 10 minutes a day. If that’s not possible, look for fortified juices and cereals and aim to get around 4000 IU a day.
Omega-3 fatty acids are very important, especially for early fetal development. They’re used especially for their brain and eyes. Fish is the most common source of these fatty acids but is obviously not possible for vegans. Fortunately, there are plant-based sources of Omega-3s, and the goal is to get at least 200 mg a day. 1 TBSP of flaxseed oil contains 7 mg, 1 cup cauliflower = 37 mg, 1/2 cup hummus = 150 mg.
We hope this guide helps you vegan pregnant moms on your exciting journey to motherhood. We still advise you to consult a doctor first on what is right for you and your baby.