Vegan diets are great for supporting healthy pregnancies. The fundamentals are the same for anyone who is pregnant, with a few specifics that vegans should keep in mind.
When I became pregnant, I remember my family’s main concern was about my diet. Should I start incorporating fish? Is my vegan diet healthy for the baby? Are we getting all the nutrients we need?
While I wasn’t questioning my own diet choices, all the external worries definitely got to me. That’s why I set out on a long research project that turned into this site (you can read more about my background).
With input from midwives, doctors, researchers, and numerous personal stories, I can confidently say that yes, you can have a healthy vegan pregnancy.
A few of the tips below will help guide your journey, though you are likely already doing many of these:
1. Find the resources that you will need.
Throughout your pregnancy you will have different questions and concerns that arise. Books, friends, online communities, and health care providers are available to support you. Find resources that you trust and can refer to for information.
During my own pregnancy, I tried to read every book that was handed down to me, including ones about infants and even toddlers. I retained very little and mostly became overwhelmed with the knowledge of what could go wrong.
In retrospect, I would suggest learning a bit about pregnancy so you know what to expect, and leave the rest of the details for when they’re relevant to you. For those on a vegan diet, you can check out my Vegan Nutrition for Pregnancy book for more details.
2. 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 being overweight or underweight. Being at a healthy weight prior to getting pregnant will help you in the long run.
3. Supplement with vitamin B12 and folate prior to getting pregnant.
4. Establish a habit of regular physical activity that you can sustain and enjoy during pregnancy.
Getting exercise throughout your pregnancy is beneficial to you and your baby. Most moderate intensity activities are safe to start, if you weren’t already exercising. For seasoned athletes, even high-intensity sports can be continued during pregnancy.
5. Consume a varied plant-based diet rich in key nutrients and supplement when necessary.
Everyone’s situation is different in terms of nutritional status. Pregnancy is a great time to take at look at where you are at and what should be changed—both in terms of diet and supplementation.
To make sure your basics are covered, read about the 5 nutrients that need to be supplemented for vegans.
6. Make time to cook nutritious meals that you enjoy.
Create a meal planning strategy that works for you and your family. Quick plant-based meals can be a great foundation for your diet in pregnancy and beyond.
7. Trust your body.
Measuring, calculating, and planning may be helpful in giving you peace of mind. But your body will show you the way—trust it!