Plant-based and Pregnant? What You Need to Know!
Whether you’ve been eating plant-based for a while or it’s something you’ve been looking into during pregnancy, you can expect to hear a lot of varying opinions. The people that tell you to steer clear of being vegetarian or vegan during pregnancy certainly mean well, but studies indicate that you can have a perfectly healthy pregnancy and be plant-based at the same time.
Of course, despite being plant-based or not, reflecting and tweaking your diet during pregnancy can be extremely beneficial. Making sure you’re nourishing your body, so your little human has the best and most beautiful home for 9 months. Here’s everything you need to know about being plant-based during pregnancy.
Get Your Protein
Protein plays a huge role in the making of cells and hormones in your developing baby. If you’re vegetarian you could be getting this protein from eggs and dairy, but if you’re avoiding animal products entirely there are still some great sources of protein you can choose from.
You’re probably craving some weird combos, so don’t be afraid to choose any of these and roll with them. From sweet breakfast oats to a spicy chickpea curry, there are a bunch of different protein packed recipes you could put together in the kitchen.
Make Sure You’re Getting Vitamin B12
This powerful vitamin teams up with folic acid to effectively develop your little one’s brain. The process of foetal brain development is complex, but the only thing you need to focus on is getting in your vitamin B12. You may have heard that vegans struggle to get their vitamins B’s, but there are many alternatives that can help with this.
- Vitamin B12 fortified plant-milks (soy, almond, oat)
- Fortified meat substitutes
- Nutritional yeast
Speak with your doctors about incorporating a vitamin B12 supplement into your regime as well. Every person is different, and your doctor knows best! Focus on eating a well-balanced and varied diet and you’re doing more than enough.
Avoid Overly Processed Foods
We understand you might be getting some hardcore cravings but try your best to eat whole foods as much as you can. When you’re not eating meat it’s easy to be tempted by those delicious fake meat substitutes. A lot of these can be great, but moderation is key. Depending on what these are made out of, a lot of these alternatives are highly processed. Things like vegan cheeses and plant-based desserts are often lacking nutrients and fresh ingredients.
Of course, don’t beat yourself up if you ate a tub of that vegan ice cream in the middle of the night. Just try incorporating whole foods into your diet, to fuel your body with the good stuff.
During pregnancy, your body needs roughly 300 extra calories to help feed nutrients to both you and your baby. This doesn’t mean you should fill these calories with ice cream and deep-fried chips. The great thing is you can enjoy your plant-based food in abundance. Get in your healthy fats and protein with bean nacho and some guacamole. Just try keep in mind that these extra calories should be nourishing.
If you were already plant-based prior to pregnancy, this shouldn’t be too difficult. The fact that you’re already health conscious is a really great start. For those of you who are just starting to look into being plant-based, welcome! Pregnancy is a deeply personal experience and you’re likely going to learn a lot about how certain foods make you feel. At the end of the day, trust your gut and trust your doctor. Being plant-based and pregnant can be a super healthy and wholesome journey, with the right resources and information, you’ll be sure to succeed.