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Vegan diet for fertility and pregnancy

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
What information is out there regarding vegan diets and fertility, pregnancy, and breastfeeding? Specifically for a mom who already has low body fat and is a low weight? I know you need a certain minimum amount of body fat to be able to make the hormones needed to get and stay pregnant and I keep reading that milk fat specifically is helpful. I also feel like a lot of the vegan info out there talks about losing weight as a benefit, but not if you are trying to gain or maintain weight to get pregnant.
post #2 of 5

I have a friend who became pregnant twice while being mostly vegan (with a little egg) and having very low body weight and fat;  the first time was accidental, and the second time happened the very day she started trying, so it is clear that she had no fertility problems at all.

I am a vegan with a moderate amount of body fat, and I spent ages 33 through 35 trying to conceive.  I was only successful after taking Clomid, and I have no idea if my diet was a factor.  I did decide to almost entirely eliminate soy towards the end, after reading this article concerning genistein:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4115506.stm

 

I'm back to having soy once per week now, and it's mostly tofu.  Unfortunately, my moderate consumption of soy before reading this article was mostly tempeh, because I thought it was better for you.  It might be, in some ways, but it contains more available (accessible by the body) genistein than tofu.

 

Otherwise, I don't know much about veganism and fertility, but I do know how to gain weight as a vegan.  Just eat like me!  Pancakes with syrup and Earth Balance, all-you-can eat dosa nights (at a South Indian restaurant), cookies, French fries, huge portions of everything, etc. (I do eat healthy food, too, but I am giving you some fattening examples.)  At around 22 weeks of pregnancy, I had already gained 20 pounds (and I was of average weight before - not skinny), and my midwife was shocked when I told her what I'd eaten that day.  I believe it was a large portion of dinner leftovers (white bean vegan quiche), something involving noodles and veggies for lunch, and a huge cookie for dessert.  She told me that the carbs were making me gain weight, so I started incorporating things like seitan over greens (without bread or rice) as dinner occasionally.

post #3 of 5

Do you know if you're ovulating? That will tell you if you have enough body fat to get pregnant, since it will tell you something about whether your hormones are operating properly.

 

I have never had a problem with enough body fat :lol: but I have had two very healthy vegan pregnancies.

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeganCupcake View Post

Do you know if you're ovulating? That will tell you if you have enough body fat to get pregnant, since it will tell you something about whether your hormones are operating properly.

 

I have never had a problem with enough body fat :lol: but I have had two very healthy vegan pregnancies.

. Nope, not ovulating, but I'm nursing a 19 month old. My mw suspected it might be the weight more than the nursing. It took my 27 months with my first child and then I had a miscarriage in between and it makes me wonder if that was an issue. I don't feel like I'm THAT skinny, but I do tend to lose weight nursing a toddler.
post #5 of 5

I've been vegan for 13 years and am 5'4" in height and fluctuate between 100-105lbs in weight. I eat very high calorie and high (good) fat foods but have never been one to gain much weight. The heaviest I've ever been was while pregnant and that was 132lbs. I've never heard of having to maintain a certain level of fat in order to get and remain pregnant, it makes sense but it was never mentioned to me. I've been pregnant while vegan twice and breastfed my son to age 2 or so. (I never continued with the first pregnancy). While pregnant and bf'ing I continued eating nutrient and calorie dense foods as well as fatty foods like nuts, nut butters, avocados and oils, but still didn't add any extra weight besides the baby.

 

Maybe something else was going on before that was unrelated to diet/weight? It definitely could have been an issue but there are many other factors that could have contributed as well.

 

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