Vegan and expecting? Here are your top tips for a healthy vegan pregnancy!
1. The best thing you can do in preparation is to be at a healthy weight.
Many serious complications during pregnancy and birth are linked to excess maternal weight. If you are overweight and are planning to become pregnant, put together a simple plan of tracking your food intake and selecting healthful options at each meal. If you need help creating a plan, you can reach out on the Services page.
2. Establish habits of nutritious eating and regular movement that you can sustain and enjoy during pregnancy.
This is highly individualized and will only work if it fits your lifestyle. For example, my family has a number of favorite meals that we rotate through every few weeks so the bulk of our grocery needs are the same. We plan meals in advance and double every recipe to have leftovers. We also arrange our schedules in a way that allows for workouts and we spend time outside every single day (our dog doesn’t give us a choice). Find what works for you, realizing that your routine will serve as a strong foundation for the coming changes.
Both nutrients are essential in the early stage of pregnancy and beyond, so supplementation is recommended.
There is no magical food that will meet all your needs, but focusing on nuts, seeds, beans, and greens is a great place to start. Also, include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your regular meals to ensure that you’re getting plenty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
5. Add a prenatal supplement that helps you meet the increased nutritional needs.
Of course, food should provide the majority of your nutrient intake, but pregnancy can be unpredictable with food aversions, nausea, and loss of appetite. A high-quality supplement can provide support where those gaps exist.
6. Be aware of your weight gain and your caloric needs during pregnancy.
Your caloric intake should increase by around 340-450 calories per day in the second and third trimester but no additional calories are needed in the first trimester. Despite the commonly used phrase, you are not “eating for two”, it’s really more like “eating for 1.2”. Catchy, right?
7. Trust your body.
Science has given us target values to strive for. And nature gave us a body with an incredible capability to thrive. Your body knows how to create, carry, and birth a child. Use the numbers as guidelines to make healthful choices, but ultimately – trust your body.