Vegan Diet during Pregnancy, safe or not!!mahesh kandakatla
From the last few years the trend of adopting Vegan Lifestyle has become popular. More women are choosing to adopt this lifestyle even in their pregnancy. Vegan diets include only plant based products such as fruits, vegetables, cereals and legumes. This diet strictly excludes all animal products like meat, milk and honey. Nowadays this eating pattern is being adopted due to many health benefits that include lower risk of Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, type 2 diabetes etc. Although only plant based diets may result in nutritional deficiencies like proteins, iron, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, Omega-3 and vitamin B12. Vegan people are more prone to micronutrients deficiency. But researches show that a well planned Vegan diet is safe during pregnancy and lactation. This article elicits the current researches for safety of Vegan diet during pregnancy and gives you tips on how to follow a well maintained Vegan diet.
It is safe to adopt Vegan lifestyle during Pregnancy
A well balanced diet during pregnancy is must for the health of the mother and consequently this would result in the optimum development of foetus inside the womb. Formerly, Vegan diet is considered unsafe and inappropriate during the sensitive phase of life such as pregnancy. But today it is totally safe to stick on the Vegan lifestyle even during pregnancy by proper monitoring of nutrition intakes and the use of supplements and fortified foods.
Benefits of adopting Vegan lifestyle
Although Vegan diet requires proper monitoring of nutritional intakes and supplements support for meeting the needs of the body during pregnancy but still this lifestyle gives many health benefits to both you and your baby. For example, Vegan diet can prevent gestational diabetes, high sugar levels during pregnancy as well as excess weight gain during pregnancy. It is so as the plant based diets are rich in fiber but low in sugar and fat.
Moreover, due to presence of high veggie and fiber content a vegan diet can also guard from preeclampsia, a complication due to high blood pressure during pregnancy. All these benefits can only be ingathered when the diet is taken after proper monitoring of all the nutrients.
Women interested in following a Vegan diet should consult a specialised dietitian in plant based diets so that you can ensure that you and your baby are getting all the nutrients in this heavy time.
Vegan Diet Plan during Pregnancy
As Vegan diet excludes all animal products it is low in certain nutrients. During pregnancy it is very important to nourish yourself with all the nutrients in a proper amount which is necessary for your and the baby’s health. For the same you should have a proper diet plan.
Here are some nutrient rich plant products which will nourish your body with the needful amount of that particular nutrient.
1. Tofu, Seitan and Tempeh
These above are all the soy products so rich in protein. Hence used to meet the heavy protein requirements of this time.
Legumes include beans, peas and lentils. These are also good sources of plant based proteins so can be easily assimilated by the body. These are taken after sprouting, fermenting and through cooking.
Nuts and Seeds
Theseare good sources of iron and zinc. Munching the nuts and seeds regularly will fulfill the nutritional needs of these micronutrients.
Calcium fortified yogurts and plant milks
These foods are good sources of calcium. Helpful in strengthening the bones of the baby.
These protein rich fungi are fortified with vitamin B12 so give the enough amount of vitamin B12 to the body.
Whole grains, cereals and pseudocereals
These are rich in fiber and vitamin B. Additionally these provide some iron and zinc.
Fruits and Vegetables
Red, orange and purple fruits and vegetables are very good sources of vitamins and minerals. Indeed leafy green vegetables are also the richest source of nutrients.
In addition to these above food items, you can add supplements and fortified foods to your diet for completing the whole nutrient requirements of your body. As some nutrients like Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Omega-3 fats, Iodine, Choline, Folate are very difficult to find in whole plant based diets so their supplements should be taken after the proper review by a specialised dietitian. You can also go for iron, zinc and calcium supplements as their requirements are very high during this time.
The Bottom Line
It is very safe to adopt Vegan diet even during pregnancy. Moreover, adopting the Vegan lifestyle is linked to many health benefits. It can prevent preeclampsia, C-section delivery, maternal and infant death and many more. Poorly planned Vegan diet may lead to many complications like preterm delivery, low birth weight, improper development of the baby. So Vegan lifestyle should only be adopted after proper monitoring of nutrition intakes by a specialised dietitian.