A healthy, vegetarian pregnancy can be done, though, provided you are making sure you receive enough of certain nutrients and eat enough calories every day.

As a pregnant vegan, you might feel quite unsupported inside your decision to carry on with or start a completely plant based diet. People may scrutinize and question your eating choices a lot that you start to wonder yourself if you’re endangering your child. However, the Ada has officially declared that “well-planned” vegetarian and vegan diets are healthy through the entire life-cycle, including pregnancy and breastfeeding. Many on the internet and print reading materials, groups, programs and resources can provide you practical guidance and emotional validation throughout and away from vegan pregnancy.

Putting on weight

It is important that all pregnant women will have adequate putting on weight. Weight gain recommendations vary with respect to the prepregnancy weight and requires of the woman, therefore energy needs vary too. A general trend would be to have little putting on weight (less than 5 pounds) for that first 3 months. Then, within the second and third trimesters, fat loss gain of the pound or two per week is suggested. Current putting on weight recommendations (4) can be applied to vegetarians.

Most pregnant vegetarians, both lacto-ovo and vegan, gain an ample amount of weight (5-7). Birth weights of infants of vegetarian for women who live frequently been proven to be much like those of infants of non-vegetarians and also to birth weight norms (5,7-12). For instance, a small study by King et al discovered that infants born to vegetarian women were built with a mean birth weight 200 grams greater than infants born to omnivorous women (5). Research examining vegan women discovered that the average birth weight was 3342 grams (about 7 pounds, 5 ounces). Interestingly, for every additional year these women were vegan, birth weight increased by 42 grams.

Some studies done away from US reported birth weights of infants born to vegetarian women were less than infants with non-vegetarian mothers (13-16). Generally this really is found in women following restrictive vegetarian diets, for example macrobiotic diets (14,15). These low weights happen to be attributed to low maternal putting on weight and lower maternal intakes of one’s, iron, folate or vitamin B-12 (13-16).


Protein is required during pregnancy to aid the rapid development of the fetus and placenta. Protein can also be used in the development of maternal tissue (4). Current recommendations suggest a rise in protein of 10 grams a lot more than the non-pregnant state for adult women (2). Ten grams of protein may be the amount present in 2 glasses of soy milk, 3-1/2 ounces of extra-firm tofu, 3 ounces of tempeh a treadmill large bagel. This comes down to a total of just 60 grams of protein daily; in one study vegan and vegetarian women were consuming that amount before they were pregnant.

Vegan Meal Plan During Pregnancy

Vegan Meal Plan During Pregnancy


To meet up with the weight gain strategies for pregnancy, extra dietary energy is needed. The total energy price of a pregnancy is estimated to be with 55,000 calories within the 280 times of pregnancy (4,17). Let’s assume that caloric intake doesn’t increase throughout the first month of being pregnant, an additional 200 to 300 calories daily should meet energy needs (2,4,18).

Since caloric needs increase no more than 15% and nutrient needs increase as much as 50%, a nutritionally dense diet during pregnancy is needed to meet nutrient needs inside the caloric recommendations. Vegetarians ought to be counseled, much like all clients, that excessive consumption of low nutrient vegetarian foods for example candy and sweets ought to be avoided.

Ladies who were underweight or who’re having difficulty putting on the weight should be counseled to select nutritious foods having a higher caloric density. Suggestions include milk shakes (soymilk or cow’s milk combined with fruit and tofu or yogurt), nuts and nut butters, dried fruits, soy products, and bean dips. Small, frequent meals and snacks might help increase intake of food.


Iron needs are high while pregnant because of both increase in your blood volume and also the blood formed for that fetus. Despite compensatory mechanisms for example cessation of menstruation and increased iron absorption, the iron dependence on pregnancy is very high and also the diet must be especially full of iron. Pregnant vegetarians should select high iron foods like whole grain products, legumes, tofu, and leafy green vegetables daily and consume all of them with foods full of vitamin C to improve the bioavailability from the iron. Iron supplements of 30 mg daily throughout the second and third trimester are generally recommended (2, 4). Higher dose iron supplements can induce negative effects such as constipation, nausea and heartburn. Supplement doses of 38 to 65 mg of iron daily may reduce zinc absorption.

Researchers are studying whether taking iron supplements less often than daily is really as effective as daily iron supplementation. Research in Indonesia demonstrated that weekly iron supplementation offered similar health effects when compared with daily supplementation and also the compliance was higher within the group of women supplemented weekly. Therefore an alternative choice to daily supplementation might be suggested for ladies experiencing negative effects such as constipation they attribute to iron supplementation.

An iron deficiency anemia is not uncommon while pregnant, in both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Several studies of pregnant vegetarians have suggested that dietary iron intakes were near to recommended levels (19) which rates of anemia were low (6), although Drake et al discovered that dietary supplements were required to meet iron recommendations in 34 lacto-ovo vegetarians (12). All pregnant women will, including vegetarians, ought to be checked for iron-deficiency anemia and consider supplementation if they’re unable to meet their demands through diet alone.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a huge role in upkeep of maternal calcium absorption. Its role in placental transport of calcium isn’t clear nor is its role in fetal vitamin D status. Vitamin D status of vegetarians can differ based on sunlight exposure and dietary choices (27-30). Even though it is well known that vitamin D can be created from sun damage, the modern lifestyle of labor and leisure spent mostly indoors and also the use of sunscreens to avoid skin cancer might not guarantee sufficient UV light exposure for adequate vitamin D synthesis. For instance: 42% of adults under 65 years old, without known risks for hypovitaminosis D, admitted to some general medical ward inside a Boston hospital put together to be vitamin D deficient (31). Therefore a dietary supply of vitamin D is extremely recommended. For lacto-vegetarians vitamin D-fortified cow’s milk can accustomed to meet vitamin D requirements. Clients might need to be reminded that other milk products like cheese aren’t fortified with this particular essential nutrient. Some cereals and soy milk are fortified with vitamin D and several multivitamins retain the recommended degree of 10 mcg (400 IU) of vitamin D. Many supplements contain vitamin D too. Supplements of vitamin D-2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D-3 (cholecalciferol) are used equally well through the mother and fetus (32).