Going Vegetarian During Your Pregnancy

by Sid Hale - Date: 2006-12-06 - Word Count: 327 Share This!

Your decision to become vegetarian can still be carried out successfully during your pregnancy. It's possible for you to get all the nutrients your body needs during pregnancy through a well-planned, nutrient-dense vegetarian diet, but careful planning and observation will be crucial to your success when transitioning to vegetarianism during pregnancy.

In other words: take it slow and be smart!

A good vegetarian diet includes a wide variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, beans, lentils, and nuts and may include some eggs and dairy products if you want. Fast food, highly processed junk foods, and canned fruits and vegetables are eaten rarely - if at all. It's imperative that you make wise food choices during your pregnancy, since a pregnant woman only needs about 300 more calories per day and about 10-16 extra grams of protein. However, the body's need for certain nutrients increases significantly, and every bite you take is important when you're pregnant.

While the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for most nutrients increase during pregnancy, folic acid, iron, zinc, and vitamin B-12 are especially important and adequate amounts of vitamin B-12 are crucial for vegetarians who choose not to eat eggs and dairy products.

Work closely with your physician during this transition. Your body will go through a detoxification process as red meat is eliminated from your diet so you want to ensure your baby is getting all the nutrients it needs, and is growing and developing at a healthy rate. Start very slowly; maybe only one or two days per week eating a vegetarian diet.

Gradually work soy and other plant-based proteins into your diet to replace the proteins lost by eliminating meat products. Be sure to add a quality prenatal supplement to our diet, and get enough exercise and exposure to sunlight to help your body naturally produce vitamin D.

With careful planning, observation, and your healthcare professional's guidance, the transition to vegetarianism during your pregnancy can be a cleansing and healthy new start for both you and your baby.

Related Tags: nutrition, vitamin d, vegetarian pregnancy, vitamin b-12, folic acid, vegetarianism, vegetarian diet

More information on the health benefits of vegetarianism and vegetarian diet considerations are available at the Vegetarian Lifestyle website.

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