is very important during the gestational period of the fetus. The mother must
consider the nutritional values of food and understand the need for certain
nutrients that are vital to the growth of the fetus during this time. The objective
of this article is to provide information on the vegan diet and how it relates
to the nutritional needs of pregnant women.
plays a key role in the growth and development of a fetus during pregnancy.
Although there is no set amount of nutrients and minerals that will guarantee a
healthy baby, there are general guidelines that correlate with optimal health
for mother and child. Some considerations must be made as to the health of the
fetus when a mother chooses to follow a vegan diet.
diet comes from plants. They do not digest any animal products such as meat, milk,
eggs, or other animal parts. While this is considered a healthy diet for most,
it lacks certain nutrients that are very important for the growth and
development of the fetus. When a mother decides to follow a vegan diet, she
must consider other ways of getting nutrients. While there are quite a few
nutrients she lacks in being vegan: protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and
vitamin D are probably the most important. These nutrients are mainly obtained
through the digesting of meat products and are rarely found in plant foods.
While the mother may take supplemental vitamins and minerals along with the
vegan diet, she may still lack some of the nutrients needed for a healthy baby.
This can cause risks to children born to vegan mothers.
has been documented that B12 and folate (a B vitamin) deficiencies in the
neonate can cause neural tube defects to the spine and brain, which occur in
the first month of pregnancy.
is also crucial. Expecting women need double the iron because women build up
blood volume during pregnancy. Iron deficiencies can lead to anemia, which
increases the risk of having a low birthweight baby, and increases the risk of
preterm labor and delivery.
is essential during pregnancy because it provides the amino acids needed for
adequate bone and muscle development.
is essential for normal immune function. Zinc deficiencies may lead to systemic
and intra-uterine infections, which in turn, could lead to pre term labor.
studies link vitamin D deficiency to a higher risk of pregnancy complications
such as preeclampsia, preterm birth, and low birth weight. Inadequate vitamin D can also lead
to abnormal bone growth, fractures, or rickets in newborns.
being pregnant and consuming a vegan diet can be healthy, such as lowering
gestational diabetes and helping the mother to maintain a low weight gain
during pregnancy, it can also increase the health risks for the baby.
reduce the risk factors it is important for the mother to visit her Doctor
regularly. They will monitor her and the baby by doing frequent blood tests to
insure she is getting enough nutrients to keep the baby healthy and safe. The
mother will also need to take extra vitamin and mineral supplements to help
increase the lacking nutrients that she needs. She can also increase her
consumption of vitamin and mineral foods such as
foods, like dried beans, peas, spinach, lentils, beets, and raisins.
She should also increase vitamin C,
which helps in the absorption of iron.
B12 found in tofu, soy milk, some cereals and nutritional yeast, which some
vegans eat as a cheese substitute.
rich foods include: toasted wheat germ, spinach, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds,
nuts, dark chocolate, beans, and mushrooms.
high in folate are; dark leafy greens, asparagus, citrus fruits, beans, peas,
and lentils, and brussels sprout.
plant-based diet is healthful and nutritionally adequate for pregnant women, as
long as there’s appropriate planning,