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vegetarian pregnancy anyone?

1512 Views 17 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  desilou
anyone out there planning to maintain veggie/vegan diet for pregnancy? i am a vegetarian who occassionally eats seafood (however, it sounds like that's out now). i'm a little concerned about my ability to balance my diet in order to get all of the nutrients i need. i know that snacking on nuts and seeds and eating eggs can help me to get the protein and fats that i will need. i have a few books on this subject but wondered if anyone else was dealing with this same issue?
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Yes, I was thrown for a loop, too, when I recently learned that soy is not advised during pregnancy. I didn't realize it has estrogen in it! And processed soy can lead to soy allergies. I limit my intake to twice a week--I just can't cut it out completely.

I eat organic eggs, drink organic milk, and eat lots of cottage cheese and swiss cheese. I'm hoping my midwife will OK hemp protein at my first prenatal visit on Thursday because I worry about my protein intake as well. I eat tons of beans, so combined with all the dairy products, I'm probably fine.

I've had no morning sickness and I'm starting to contribute that to such a well-balanced and healthy diet.
Hope so!
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I'm currently at the end of my fourth vegetarian pregnancy (all have been "nearly vegan" with the occasional slips). My mw comments all the time about how I am one of her healthiest pg women. I eat soy - honestly, I don't respect the "researchers" who don't recommend soy for pg women, so I ignore their advice and stick to the tried and true research - but that's just me, no one has to agree with me! I have eaten SO incredibly healthy during my pgs - especially this one (except for the past week, ahem, I've had a bad week!
). I have never found protein intake to be a problem. Once in a while, I'll crave protein, so I eat a little more, but that's it. I eat tons of veggies - I always have to be careful to include more fruit in my diet. I love fruit, but for some reason, I just forget to eat it! I eat lots of whole grains and beans and nuts. I also use nutritional yeast on my food as well as flax seed oil. I don't personally think it's any more difficult to get the nutrients that you need on a vegetarian diet than it is on a meat included diet. Honestly, for me, it's way easier because I rely on whole foods for my nutrients and meals. Good luck.
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I've been vegetarian through out all three of my pregnancies. I don't cut out soy but I do consider very processed soy a junk food and try not to eat it a lot. There really is no reason to be overly concerned with being veg and pregnant. Your appetite will increase so you will take in enough calories. Veg*ns even get more than enough protein so no worries there. Just relax and eat healthy (mostly
) and you'll be fine and so will baby!!!
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Yeah, you should totally be OK. Just make sure to keep your diet balanced, that's what's most important. I've been vegetarian for a few years, but I have slipped up and had chicken once or twice. I'm also totally grossed out after I eat it though. Go figure! My DH is mortified whenever I eat!
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I'm 34 weeks into my second vegan pregnancy. Neither my midwife nor my back-up OB/GYN have batted an eye about my diet, probably because I stay so healthy during my pregnancies. I'm very whole-foodsy, and eat very little packaged or processed foods. The exception is soy, which I use in moderation and even then, I try to stick with, say, organic tofu instead of veggie burgers or whatever.

I have a book called Becoming Vegan which is a wonderful resource, being written by the foremost veg-specialist dieticians. There is a section on vegan pregnancy, infancy, and childhood; it's just good factual information without all the hype. There is also one called Becoming Vegetarian by the same people. I'd assume it's as good as the other.

The VRG also has some webpages on veg*n diets during pregnancy, which were also reassuring. has some articles as well.

For "supplementation" I use blackstrap molasses (appx 20% rda iron and 18% rda calcium per tbs), a b-complex, and occasionally a vegan dha capsule (not that often because I make our bread and stuff with flax seed). You probably don't have to worry about the b-complex if you eat eggs and dairy, but dha or flax is pretty important.

The only negative thing I've noticed is that I have to eat all the time. If not, I have low blood sugar symptoms like nausea, shakiness, dizzyness. It sounds worse than it is, because it's *very* mild and once I learned that eating made me feel better, I made sure I ate often enough so that didn't happen. My midwife said it's not uncommon among her pregnant moms, so maybe it's not a veg thing, but *I* didn't have that problem with my first (omni) pregnancy. I think what the problem is is that vegan foods aren't really the heavy, stick-with-you foods that omni foods are. When I added more heavy foods like nut butters, and started baking more whole wheat goodies like banana-walnut bread and pumpkin muffins, I felt *so* much better. When I'm NOT pregnant I almost never eat flour products and very little fat, so it was hard to adjust.

Also, while I'm not a fan of dairy/eggs/seafood/etc., there are companies out there (eco-fish for one) who have seafood with very little or no mercury in it. I can't remember the details, just that they are very strict about testing to make sure there are no chemicals in it, and it's probably the closest you can get to certified organic fish. I was pretty impressed with the company when I read up on it. If you do choose to continue eating fish, try the health food store and see if you can find some that is safe.

Congrats on your pregnancy!
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vegetarian here, I dont have worries I dont eat well. I dont cut out soymilk as it's rare I drink it anyways. (~every two weeks?)

otherwise, lots of veggies, a little fruit, bread and crackers, peanut butter, and keep craving cheese.
Pregnant and vegi here.
30 weeks and no problems from my diet.
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I had a vegetarian pregnancy. Whenever I craved meat, we went to a veggie restaurant nearby that has fake "meat." I don't think it's soy either... I dunno. Maybe it's not the best, but it sure helped my cravings! I ended up eating at least some rice and beans every day, peanut butter, and dairy. I also (when I could stand it) drank banana shakes with hemp protein powder in it. Hemp seeds have all the amino acids, but sadly all the hemp you can get in the US is sterilised so a lot of the nutrition is lost.

Best wishes!

love and peace.
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Originally Posted by nadiawrites
Ever since I found out that soy is not advised during pregnancy, my diet has been thrown off course.
Where is the source of this information? Can anyone pass on links to the studies or articles? Thanks!
Another veggie pregnancy here. I had been vegetarian and close to vegan for (food wise) for about 25 years prior to my pregnancy. I had a very healthy pregnancy and my son was/is super healthy and is now 3.5. I have always eaten lots of soy. My Mom is a soy alarmist but I personally haven't found any compelling evidence of it's harm. (I'm definitely interested if anyone has any, tho.)
During my pregnancy I read some studies that showed that vegetarian babies were underweight so I was a little concerned. I shouldn't have been. My son was on the large side of normal @ 8lbs, 6 oz. Also, in my mother's group there were 3 babes out of about 20 who were born to veggie (one totally vegan) mother. They were the 3 biggest babes in the class. My son has always been between 95 to off the charts %ile for both height and weight. He was BF until about 14 months. My husband and I are both average height (I'm 5'6" and he's 5'9") and both thin. So, I'm not concerned about our "low protein" vegetarian diet!

Anyway, don't worry, you'll probably have much lower pesticide/toxin exposure for your babe by eating lower in the food chain. Definitely be cautious about fish if you're considering eating that. Protein and fat are not really a concern on a veggie diet. The average meat eating american eats excessive amounts of protein. You may want to make sure you're getting enough B vitamins (nutritional yeast is good) and include flax for the Omegas. I took a veg pregnancy supplement just to be safe.

I second the "Becoming Vegan" book recommendation. Another awesome resource is "The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook". I think the author might even be a member.

Happy veggie gestating!
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I just wanted to crash the thread and say I failed to maintain my vegetarian ways during my pg (I'm 39 weeks now). I was a dairy-egg-seafood eating veggie (I know, I know, the seafood kind of kicks me out of the club, but most of my veggie life I didn't eat it). I got a book on vegetarian pregnancy, but I felt like it gave me mixed messages about what I needed and where to get it. It was also the first trimester when I tried to figure it all out, and I felt like such crap I didn't really commit to mastering the information. Then my hemoglobin was a little on the low side, and my midwife said I should start thinking about eating meat. I was reluctant, but recognized that I'd been craving it desperately. Once I went and had a roast beef sandwich, I felt much better, though my ego (and pride, and probably karma) took a hit. I did try to stick with organic beef as much as I could, though lately I've been weak and eating meatballs wherever I can get them. I also managed to stay on beef, and with the exception of a couple mistakes away from pork and poultry. I don't know why, but that makes me feel better. In the end, I've heard that my bloodtype (O) is really designed to eat meat, and perhaps it's right, because nothing else really hit the spot when I craved it, and I overall began to feel so much healthier once I broke down and ate it. I won't have a problem getting back off it, though. Intellectually I really really hate eating it.

Also, I completely missed the memo on soy being sketchy during pregnancy. Whoops! I've had my fair share of it. Oh well. I think this kid's a tough one.
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Personally I think the big problems with soy come when you are eating it 24/7... you know, soy based cereal with soymilk for breakfast, lunch of a soy burger with soy cheese on bread which has soy in it (most bread does now, check! amazing!), then dinner of soy meat followed by desert of soy ice cream... I think it's easy right now to fall into the soy-junk trap and processed junk is and always will be junk whether it is soy or not. That said, there ARE phytoestrogens in soy which if consumed in large quantities will have an effect on your body... WHAT effect, I think the jury is still out. Pretty easy to find eight zillion sites on the web about this...just google "soy controversy" or "soy phytoestrogen" for tons more info than I could possibly post!

My midwife assistant is also very anti-soy and said to me... "BEANS are the key to a veg. diet." I am having trouble with that right now since my house is being remodelled and I have no kitchen!
like super kitty i'm not heavily soy reliant and i eat a minimal amount of processed foods - dh is a chef, by golly! i guess overall my concern is how much of what should i be eating? at this time i feel that i have a very balanced diet (with the exception of my fondness for salty-crunchy snacks) and i just want to maximize and extend that diet throughout my pregnancy.
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