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Tips for planning a healthy vegetarian pregnancy

There is no better time to take stock of your lifestyle habits than before pregnancy. If you and your partner have decided to start trying for a family, you both need to take an honest look at what you put into your bodies on a daily basis. After visiting your family doctor for all the appropriate pre conception tests, you should look at your diet and see what needs to be improved. With all the focus recently on the environment and the dangers of factory farming, many people are becoming vegetarian. If you are one of them, you may consider yourself to be healthy enough to be above worrying about your diet when trying to conceive. However, there are some special considerations to be made if you are avoiding animal products and are starting a family.

Because vegetarians avoid meat, they take in significantly less saturated fats than other people. The benefit of this is they are generally healthier with fewer incidences of cardiac disease and diabetes. Although the low levels of body fat found in vegetarians may be aesthetically pleasing, it can hinder pregnancy. Thirty percent of a woman's estrogen supply is created in her body fat and if she has less than in recommended for her height, she may have irregular cycles and therefore a more difficult time becoming pregnant. If you consult the BMI charts available on the internet and at your doctor's office, you can see where you stand in terms of a healthy body weight.

Vegetarians generally have no problem with calcium intake as their diet does not restrict dairy. However, if you are a vegan, you need to take special care to ensure your daily calcium needs are met. Fortified soy milk and orange juice are excellent ways to get your calcium and you might also consider trying grains like quinoa which has the same calcium content as a cup of milk. Vegans also need to be sure they are supplementing their diet with vitamin B12. It's not easy to get this from vegetables and fruit so taking a supplement every day is recommended.

Whether you are a vegan or vegetarian, be sure you are taking your prenatal vitamin daily from the day you decide to start trying to conceive all the way through breast feeding. This vitamin will supply you with the necessary amounts of folic acid to prevent neural defects such as spina bifida in your baby. You can get folic acid from plant sources, but it's best to take a supplement in order to be sure you are getting what you need.

Vegetarian diets are exceptionally healthy but when you are preparing your body for pregnancy, you need to take extra caution that all your nutritional needs are being met. It's easy, particularly when you are a vegan, to become malnourished even though you have the best intentions. Educating yourself about what your body needs is the best way to avoid this and is of the utmost importance when you are preparing to carry a child.


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