Is it safe to be a vegetarian while pregnant?
Is it safe to be a vegetarian while pregnant? Even long time proponents of vegan/vegetarian hesitate when it comes to eliminating animal products during pregnancy. However, research suggests that a vegetarian or vegan diet is just as nutritionally balanced. Moreover, for most healthy pregnant women, those worries could be totally unfounded.
Why do pregnant women need balanced diet?
A woman’s body undergoes tremendous mental, hormonal and physical changes during pregnancy. As a result, these affect her nutritional needs. A woman now “eats for two”. She eats more calories since there is higher demand or micronutrients, vitamins and minerals like calcium, foliate and iron.
Women who do not meet these requirements risk their baby’s growth and their own health. Many women who shun a balanced diet end up with vitamin deficiency, anemia and even gestational diabetes. Poor diet can also result in premature labor and low birth weight.
It is safe to be a vegetarian while pregnant if you consider the following.
This question pops up especially in western countries. The main theme is vegan diet’s ability to provide adequate amounts of protein, vitamin B12, iron, and other vital nutrients in pregnancy. However, 22 studies on vegan and vegetarian pregnancies published in NCBI bury this unfounded ignorance. The study concludes that healthy pregnant women who reduced or even eliminated animal products face no higher risks than their omnivore counterparts do. As long as they plan their meals and nutritional intake, it can even be beneficial. Because, plants contain a wider range of micro-nutrients compared to meat.
Sources for a balanced meal
If you are wondering how to meet nutritional needs. Foods like Tofu and nutritional yeast can provide essential B vitamins. Spinach, Kale, Couscous and lentils contain plenty of iron. A healthy walk in the morning sun can provide much-needed vitamin D for absorption. You can download our free nutrition checklist here.Nutrition check list
Studies conducted only on healthy women and not for women with prior health conditions. Any pregnant woman with health concerns should consult her doctor to determine the best eating plan for her body and her baby.