Vegetarian Pregnancy

Dr. Elizabeth Pryor answers the question, Will a nonmeat diet provide enough nutrition?
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: Vegetarian Meals
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: Vegetarian Meals

Question

I'm a vegetarian. Do I need extra nutrition to have a healthy pregnancy?

Answer

Yes. Pregnant vegetarians can ensure adequate nutrition if their diets are well balanced with a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, and nonmeat protein sources. But if you avoid all animal products including dairy (a vegan diet), you may develop a vitamin B-12 deficiency, which requires supplementation with 2 micrograms of B-12 daily. In addition, diets with no animal products tend to be low in fat and high in fiber, so it can be difficult to satisfy your increased caloric needs during pregnancy. An increase of 300 calories per day is recommended.

Other important minerals and vitamins that may be deficient in vegan diets include calcium, riboflavin, iron, zinc, and vitamin D. Talk to your doctor about what additional vitamin and mineral supplementation you may need. With the help of a caregiver who will closely monitor your weight gain and the growth of your baby, you can expect a healthy pregnancy.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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