Being vegan comes with some pretty amazing benefits. Not only are you giving your body the necessary nutrition that it needs, but you're also doing good by the environment. It's safe and loving for all beings. However, being plant-based comes with a lot of negative connotation. Meat eaters are constantly asking vegans how they get their protein and that it's totally safe to drink cow's milk... This kind of skepticism only gets worse once a vegan woman gets pregnant.
Outsiders automatically wonder if vegan women are going to maintain their strict eating ways once they're pregnant, and as long as their pregnancy is healthy, why wouldn't they? According to many doctors and health professionals, staying vegan is totally doable while pregnant. That being said, we have some tips and reminders for all vegan mamas out there who are carrying a baby!
10 START PREPARING BEFORE YOU'RE PREGNANT
Sure, a woman can have a healthy pregnancy a few weeks after she finds out she's pregnant, but if a woman is planning on conceiving, there are a few things she can do to prepare her body (and her unborn) child for those nine months.
Once babies are on the mind, start taking a folic acid supplement (or eat foods rich in folic (or folate) acid) to help with the growth of the unborn child. She should also have some bloodwork done to make sure she's healthy and to take care of any problems she may have before the baby gets there.
9 CREATE A DAILY MEAL PLAN TO AVOID NON-VEGAN CRAVINGS
Some women go through crazy pregnancy cravings while pregnant, while other women don't experience any of them. However, when you're vegan, some people crave things that don't necessarily follow their own personal dietary standards. Meat may start to smell good or maybe cheese is on mom's brain for the first time in a while... To combat this kind of temptation, it's best if mom creates a meal plan for herself throughout pregnancy. Create some menu options to try — this way you can also see the kinds of foods you're eating, which is exactly what baby is having, too. You can monitor what foods you eat/aren't eating enough of by doing this, too.
8 KEEP AN EYE ON NUTRIENT INTAKE
Following the idea of keeping a food journal or making a meal plan, vegan women definitely need to keep an eye out on nutrient intake. In fact, non-vegan mamas need to do the same thing.
Vegan mamas need plenty of vitamin D and calcium, which are needed for the baby's teeth, bones, and overall development of the baby. She'll also need to make sure she's eating enough iron-enriched foods due to the increase in blood flow — and the list goes on!
7 SKIP THE SPROUTS
People either love sprouts or hate 'em, but one thing's for sure: vegan mamas should stay away from them when they're pregnant. While sprouts are still delicious and filled with amazing vitamins and nutrients, they may carry foodborne illnesses. And if there's one thing a pregnant woman doesn't want to deal with, it's food poisoning. It's both dangerous for mom and the baby. The same can be said for unpasteurized juices, which may carry dangerous bacteria.
6 YOU'LL NEED ABOUT 10% MORE PROTEIN A DAY
Although all vegans roll their eyes when non-vegans ask where they get their protein from, vegan mamas do need to make sure they're getting enough when carrying a child. (This does not mean it's still okay for people to ask you, though!)
Pregnant mamas don't just need the protein and nutrients for themselves, but they also need it for the baby. Stick with leafy greens, beans, nuts, and you'll be golden. Who needs cow's milk when you have all these natural sources of protein!
5 THE VEGAN GIRL'S NAUSEA FIX
Morning sickness can attack any woman — no matter her diet. While it's tough to rid of morning sickness, it's very important for mom to stay hydrated and do small things that can benefit her body (and baby) somehow. Drinking peppermint tea is a great way to soothe the stomach and gives you energy (and fresh breath). Saltine crackers are always a hit with sick women, as long as they can stomach it. And as many plant-based mamas know, ginger and warm water is amazing to calm the body. All can help with feeling sick while also benefiting mama and baby.
4 YOU WON'T BE IRON DEFICIENT WITH THESE FOODS
It's common for pregnant women to be iron deficient due to the increase in blood flow. This can lead to anemia which is when a woman's red blood cells don't have enough oxygen to give to the unborn baby. To kick anemia to the curb, pregnant women can eat whole-grain pastas, pumpkin, peas, and can even take an iron tablet.
3 YOU CAN EAT ORGANIC SOY
If you're vegan, soy is a big part of your diet. Its texture is so flexible, there are so many things we can create thanks to soy (soy eggs, anyone?).
However, considering soy is a large GMO crop and can alter peoples hormones, people these days are kind of giving soy the side eye. However, you don't need to cut it out completely. If you're going to eat soy, buy organic
2 NUTS ARE A VEGAN PREGNANT MAMA'S BFF
Nuts are small by mighty. They're filled with fiber, healthy fats, a large amount of protein, and are linked to helping combat different kinds of cancers. Since eating fatty acids is important for any vegan mama, chowing down on some almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds is the way to go. Doing so will also help develop the baby's brain and nervous system. Oh, and let's not forget those nut butters!
1 TAKE NOTE OF YOUR WEIGHT GAIN
As if pregnant women don't have enough to worry about, they also need to keep an eye on how much weight they're gaining — and it's not all for the sake of vanity. Realizing how much weight you're losing or gaining during pregnancy is vital for vegan mama.
Most women are told to put on around 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. If you realize you're gaining weight rather slowly, it's probably time to up your food intake. Most vegans tend to be on the lighter side before pregnancy, so making sure they're eating enough is key for health.