Vegetarian diet during pregnancy

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Overview

Many pregnant women who follow a vegetarian diet, worry about the effect it can have the diet on fetal development during pregnancy.

However, with a carefully chosen nutritional plan, no need to worry. Vegetarian diets during pregnancy can provide both mothers and children the nutrients they need.

Even vegetarians moms who eat fish, can overcome carnivorous cravings during pregnancy and can only eat fruits and vegetables without affecting fetal health.


Contents

1. Overview
2. Pregnancy and vegetarian diet – pros
3. Pregnancy and vegetarian diet – cons
4. Pregnancy and vegetarian diet – nutritional guide


Pregnancy and vegetarian diet – pros

There are many positive aspects to maintain a vegetarian diet during pregnancy. For example, vegetarian protein sources help the kidneys.

Following a vegetarian diet can protect from tooth decay – a common problem during pregnancy. In addition, vegetarian diet lowers overall risk of suffering from the following conditions:
- Obesity
- Hypertension
- Constipation
- Heart disease
- Both types of diabetes
- Cancer
- Gallstones

It has been shown that, in general, women who are vegetarian eat very little junk food and more nutrient rich products.


Pregnancy and vegetarian diet – cons

It takes more effort and a better diet plan to allow a vegetarian woman to stay healthy during pregnancy.

Considering that a vegetarian excludes many types of food, it is the more difficult to absorb some nutrients from the diet. However, supplements are an alternative that can fill this gap.


Pregnancy and vegetarian diet – nutritional guide

Nutritional guidelines for vegetarians did not differ from those for non-vegetarian pregnant women. Every pregnant woman needs extra iron, calcium, folic acid, essential fatty acids such as DHA (which can be obtained from a vegetarian form), zinc, protein and 200-300 calories more than before pregnancy.

In particular, pregnant women should eat vegetarian as follows:
- from 6 to 11 servings of bread per day, cereals, rice, and pasta (whole if possible)
- 4 to 5 servings of vegetables per day
- 4 or more daily servings of fruits
- 8 servings of milk or alternative dairy
- 3 to 4 servings of beans
- 2 servings of omega-3 fats (found in flaxseed oil, walnuts, tofu, and eggs fortified with omega-3)

Fats, sweets, and any other foods considered unhealthy, should be consumed rarely and pregnant women should avoid the following foods:
- Cheeses and unpasteurized milk because they can cause listeriosis
- Unwashed or uncooked vegetables, pasteurized fruit juices because they can contain bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella.

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