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The Pregnant Vegetarian

The Pregnant Vegetarian

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If you've chosen a vegetarian diet for your pregnancy, there are some important nutritional rules you need to follow. Your need for certain vitamins and minerals greatly increases during pregnancy, so if you're eating vegetarian you need to take care that you are getting all of the nutrients your growing baby needs.

Weight gain during pregnancy is generally between 25 and 35 pounds, so if you are avoiding meat you'll need to ensure that you are still gaining adequate weight. Your doctor can help if you are having problems gaining the suggested weight by increasing certain foods.

Many vegetarians worry that they aren't getting enough protein, which is largely found in meats and fish. You need about 71 grams each day, and you can get the necessary amount from things like soy milk, yogurt, brown rice and tofu.

Omega 3 fatty acids are a necessary part of brain function and development. These are mostly found in fish, but if that's not in your diet, you'll need to eat foods like flax seed and walnuts to get the recommended intake.

Calcium is necessary for the bone development of the baby, and to help with bone loss in the mother. Have at least three servings a day of milk, yogurt or other dairy products. Even skim milk and yogurt have as much calcium as whole milk.

You should be eating four servings of foods like dried beans and peas, since they are full of iron and zinc. Iron is also found in fortified breakfast cereals and green vegetables, so incorporate these into your meals. Ten servings of vegetables and fruits each day will keep you and your baby healthy and strong. To get your vitamin B12, have six to eleven servings of whole grains in foods like rice and bread.

If you are vegan, which means you don't eat any animal products, you will have to be much more careful about getting the required nutrition for a healthy pregnancy. Although you can get some of the calcium and protein you need from leafy green vegetables, sesame seeds and tofu, you'll definitely need a good supplement.

A prenatal supplement is recommended for any pregnancy, but with a vegetarian or vegan pregnancy it is essential. Even with careful eating, there's a chance that your body isn't getting the B12, protein or iron that your growing fetus needs. By taking a supplement, you can ensure that your vegetarian diet is beneficial to both you and your baby. Talk to your doctor or midwife, or consult a nutritionist, who can help you with a detailed diet plan that will have all of the food groups covered.

 


 
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