How do I get the right nutrients in pregnancy if I'm vegan/vegetarian?

December 6, 2018

 

Many of you are maybe vegetarian or even vegan, so I just wanted to share information on the nutrients you need during pregnancy and how to get them with that type of diet. 

 

Folic acid

Found in broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts, asparagus, peas, chickpeas, baked beans, brown rice, fortified breakfast cereals, wholemeal bread and some fruit (such as oranges and bananas).

It’s recommended that you also take a daily 400mcg folic acid supplement from the time you stop using contraception to the 12th week of pregnancy. Try and opt for the natural version of folate where possible.

 

Protein

This keeps your skin, bones, muscles, and organs healthy. Vegans can get protein from nuts, peanut butter, seeds, grains, and legumes. Non-animal products like tofu and soymilk also provide protein. None of these individual food sources include all the amino-acids you need, so you will need to combine certain foods together to ensure you get complete amino acids.

 

Iron

Pregnancy increases your body’s need for iron

Good sources of iron include beans, broccoli, raisins, wheat, and tofu.  Have some fruit juice or other food high in vitamin C at the same time, as these foods will help your body absorb the iron better.

 

Vitamin D

Essential for healthy bone growth (those of your growing baby). Most of our vitamin D comes from sunlight in the summer, however you can also get it from certain foods including eggs, and dairy foods such as milk or yogurts. Some foods, (fat spreads/breakfast cereals/soy and rice milk) are fortified.

It is recommended that all pregnant and breastfeeding women take a supplement containing 10ug/day to cater for the increased use in pregnancy.

 

Calcium

During pregnancy your body adapts to absorb more calcium from your food and your own calcium stores are then used to feed baby. A high calcium intake is essential prior to and during pregnancy, but especially in your 3rd trimester – ensures healthy bone and tooth growth for your baby. Recommended daily intake 700-800mg min. Found not only in dairy produce but also in leafy greens (broccoli, bok choy, kale), almonds and tofu. You also can drink fortified soymilk and juices.

 

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