What’s that on the telly? It’s an angel sent from God
Growing in my belly…!!
Like a sweet pea in a pod
Even though everyone will advise you to eat for two, the average woman does not need any extra calories during the first six months of pregnancy. Your body actually becomes more efficient at extracting the required energy and nutrients from your diet when you're expecting a baby. Even in the last few months, you only need about 200 extra calories per day.
Many vegetarian pregnant women worry about the effect their diet may have on their developing baby during pregnancy. However, with careful meal planning, there may be no need for concern.
"Vegetarian pregnancy diet can provide the mother and baby with all the proper nutrients they need," says Rachele Dependahl, RD, a dietitian at Cedars-Sinai Medical Group in Beverly Hills, Calif.
These nine months may be the most challenging months of your life. With your body undergoing a number of changes, you need to be extra careful about yourself as well as your surroundings. And watching your vegetarian pregnancy diet should be on top of your top list.
The Pros of Vegetarian Pregnancy Diet -
There are many positive aspects to maintaining a vegetarian diet during pregnancy. For instance, vegetarian sources of protein are easier on the kidneys. And being a vegetarian can help keep tooth decay — a common problem during pregnancy — at bay. In addition, vegetarian eating, in general, lowers the risk of the following conditions:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
Another plus to being a vegetarian, says Martha K. Grodrian, RD, a nutrition therapist at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, is that "most vegetarian women eat fewer junk foods and a more nutritious diet."
The Cons Vegetarian Pregnancy Diet -
A vegetarian diet during pregnancy can be a healthy option, though it requires a little more effort.
"It may take more work and effective meal planning to follow a vegetarian diet that is healthy during pregnancy," says Grodrian. In general, the more foods a vegetarian omits from the diet, the more difficult it is to meet nutrient needs." However, dietary supplements may be able to fill the void.
A lacto-ovo vegetarian (one who also eats dairy and eggs) can get all the nutrients she needs for a healthy pregnancy through diet and a multivitamin/mineral supplements. A vegan, on the other hand, who avoids all animal products, will need to take supplements of vitamin B12 and iron and might want to take calcium, zinc, and vitamin D, too.
Vegetarian Pregnancy Diet - Nutritional Guidelines
Nutritional guidelines for pregnant vegetarians are the same as for non-vegetarian women who are expecting. "All pregnant women need additional iron, calcium, folate, essential fatty acids such as DHA (which can be obtained in a vegetarian form), zinc, protein, and 200 to 300 calories more than pre-pregnancy," says Grodrian.
Specifically, vegetarian pregnancy diet should include the following:
- Six to eleven servings per day of bread, cereal, rice, and pasta (choosing whole grain when possible)
- Four to five servings per day of vegetables. Four or more servings of fruits
- Eight servings of milk and milk alternatives (one cup of cooked kidney beans as a milk alternative, for instance).
- Three to four servings of beans and bean alternatives.
- Two servings of omega-3 fats for DHA (found in flax-seed oil, walnuts, tofu, and omega-3 fortified eggs, among other places).
- Fats, sweets, and junk food should be eaten sparingly
Pregnant women should be careful to avoid the following foods:
- Unpasteurized soft cheeses (such as brie, Camembert, and feta) and unpasteurized milk, because they carry the risk of listeriosis (a food-borne illness caused by bacteria).
- Raw vegetable sprouts and fresh unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juices, which can contain bacteria like E. coli and salmonella.