Q: I'm a vegetarian. How can I have a healthy diet while I'm pregnant?
A: Vegetarians can have a healthy, nourishing diet during pregnancy, but they need to be extra careful about getting a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, and other non-meat protein sources, depending on what kind of vegetarians they are. For example, vegans (who eat no animal products at all, including dairy and eggs) may not get enough vitamin B12, zinc, iron, or other key nutrients, and lacto-ovo vegetarians (who eat dairy and eggs, but no meat, poultry, or fish) may not get enough iron or zinc, so taking a comprehensive prenatal vitamin will be extra important. Diets with no animal products also tend to be low in fat and high in fiber, so it can be harder to meet the increased caloric demands of pregnancy (about 300 extra calories a day is recommended). It's best to let your doctor know which foods you eat and avoid so he or she can make sure you're not missing any crucial nutrients.