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Vegan Pregnancy: Are Vegan Pregnancies Dangerous or Perfectly Healthy?

Non-vegan’s generally look at vegan pregnancy with shame and worry. Worry that the baby isn’t getting the nutrients he/she needs for optimal health. Worry that the mother is setting the baby up to have poor health and harsh life. The general worries omnivores have for vegans is amplified immensely when that vegan is holding a…

Non-vegan’s generally look at vegan pregnancy with shame and worry. Worry that the baby isn’t getting the nutrients he/she needs for optimal health. Worry that the mother is setting the baby up to have poor health and harsh life.

The general worries omnivores have for vegans is amplified immensely when that vegan is holding a baby, although, is there really a need for concern?

We are going to correct some assumptions based on vegan pregnancy and figure out if it is right for you.

Firstly…

To put some ease into the concerned citizens reading this, there is something you must know.

The world’s largest organisation of nutritional professionals, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, state that “appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases” they also mention that, “These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood and for athletes.”

So, in turn, pregnant vegan mothers can have perfectly healthy babies, and do not pose an increased risk to complications.

Are There Any Nutrients That I Need To Make Sure I Consume Enough of? 

Absolutely! Both vegan and omnivorous pregnant women need to take precautions to ensure their baby grows to optimal health.

Consuming plenty of protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, folate and iron are of the utmost importance for a healthy pregnancy. This can easily be achieved through a whole food plant-based diet.

And of course, both vegans and non-vegans should take prenatal vitamins and a B12 supplement.

Protein – Helps build cells and make hormones for your growing baby

Vitamin D – Helps build and maintain healthy bones and teeth

Vitamin B12 – Important for fetal brain development and the formation of red blood cells

Iron – Blood volume increases during pregnancy, and iron is needed to produce more red blood cells to support you and the baby

Folate – is very important during pregnancy, although, folic acid is not the same as folate. It is much better to get folate in the diet rather than to supplement folic acid. Beans and greens have loads of folate, therefore vegans who eat plenty of these foods will receive enough

Risk Comparison of Vegan Pregnancies To Non-Vegan Pregnancies 

In general, pregnant vegans have a:

  • Lower risk of having diabetes
  • Lower risk of gestational hypertension
  • Lower risk of preeclampsia which is caused by high blood pressure. Vegans in general have a much lower risk of high blood pressure
  • Average a healthy BMI
  • Lower LDL levels (cholesterol)

The lower risks listed above are simply caused by a plant-based diet and have astronomical health benefits during pregnancy for both the mother and baby.

Vegan Whilst Breastfeeding 

Breastfeeding whilst vegan is similar to breastfeeding while eating animal products. If you are consuming enough vitamins and minerals, the baby will be nutritionally satisfied.

It is always a great idea to get your blood work tested and to seek a medical professionals advice if you have any concerns regarding nutrition during any stage throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.

It’s really important to break the stigma around vegan and plant-based diets and their effect on pregnancies and children. As now we know that vegan diets are “appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy.

Author: Daily Ting