During pregnancy, our needs increase for both macronutrients and micronutrients. Not all of these are easily met through diet so most vegans should consider adding protein and iron as supplements.
Women require additional proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, as well as vitamins and minerals to support proper growth and development in pregnancy. The recommended intake amounts are the same for all women regardless of dietary choice, with one notable exception that is discussed below.
Two additional ones – protein and iron – should likely be added as well. Since every situation and dietary lifestyle is different, work with your healthcare provider to see what they recommended.
We know that protein is vital for building and repairing tissue. To get enough protein during pregnancy, a woman needs to increase her intake by about 37%. It’s certainly doable through diet. But with the possibility of food aversions, cravings, and appetite changes, it may not be easy.
Supplementing with protein is different than what we’re used to discussing. It’s not readily found in a pill since this is a macronutrient and we need it in large quantities. Protein powders are the most effective ways of consuming protein in addition to the amount that is naturally found in plant foods.
For example, eating 2 cups of lentil soup is similar to 1 scoop of protein powder in terms of protein content. Of course, there are so many other nutrients that you get from a soup. The problem is, that amount and type of food can be challenging to consume during pregnancy. That’s why having a drink that is portable and easy to make may be your best bet.
Protein powder shakes also lend themselves easily to additions. Mixing it up with soy milk provides added nutrients. And blending it with frozen berries and spinach makes it even more nutrient dense.
The nutritional needs for pregnant women are the same, regardless of dietary choice, with the exception of increased iron needs for vegans. This is because the bioavailability of iron from plants (called nonheme iron) is lower than from animals (called heme iron).
Iron supports the growth of the placenta and the increased maternal blood volumes. So the amount needed goes up from 18 mg daily to 27 mg during pregnancy. On top of that, the recommendation for vegans is to get 1.8 times more.
Most health care providers recommend testing blood levels since iron deficiency rate are high in 2nd and 3rd trimesters. That also explains why most prenatal
Suggested Vegan Supplements
Protein and iron are readily found as standalone supplements with many vegan options.
It’s worth trying out different protein powders to make sure that they
For iron, I’ve used liquid Floradix and it helped my levels go up much faster than any tablets that I’ve tried. There are many options available and you want to be careful in taking the proper doses of iron.
- Figure out if you need to supplement with protein based on your dietary intake.
- Decide if you should supplement with
ironafter getting your blood tested.