Have A Healthy Vegetarian Pregnancy.

If you're a vegetarian and become pregnant, you don't have to change your diet plan much. I was a vegetarian...
If you're a vegetarian and become pregnant, you don't have to change your diet plan much. I was a vegetarian while pregnant, and my eating routine changed very little actually. Research shows that you can have a healthy vegetarian pregnancy or even a healthy vegan pregnancy. First read over healthy eating tips for pregnancy and beyond. The tips in this piece relate to all women, regardless of diet choice. Then you'll need to be aware of the key nutrients you'll need for a healthy vegetarian pregnancy, such as... Calcium: Calcium is important for your baby's developing body and your own bones too. In fact, it's one of the power foods of pregnancy. Make sure to include plenty of calcium-rich foods in your diet. Don't forget, your calcium requirements while breastfeeding are important too. Vitamin D: You get vitamin D naturally from sunlight. Be sure to get at least 20 to 30 minutes of direct sunlight on your hands and face two to three times weekly. Vitamin D deficiency is a big deal. It's been linked to pregnancy infection and early-onset severe preeclampsia (pregnancy-related high blood pressure). That said, if you're not in the sunshine ever, be sure to talk to your midwife or doctor about getting vitamin D in multiple vitamins or in fortified foods. Iron: This is found easily in beans, dried fruit, dark green vegetables, nuts and seeds and whole grain or fortified breads and cereals. See signs that you may be getting too little iron. Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is one of those nutrients that's harder to get if you're a vegetarian. It's found in few plant foods. This means you'll need to eat vitamin B12-fortified foods such as cereal, fortified soymilk or Vegetarian Support Formula nutritional yeast. Talk to your midwife or doctor more about B12. When I was pregnant my midwife had me take a supplement. Protein: Many vegetarian mamas-to-be worry about not getting enough protein, but you shouldn't worry too much. Many foods that are common among vegetarians contain quite a bit of protein. Basically if you eat a nice healthy mix of low-fat yogurt, some soy items, eggs, peanut butter, and other veggie protein foods you'll be fine. Note, once your baby is born, breast milk is the most nutritious food for him, then formula. Later though, when your baby starts solids, you can feed your baby a vegetarian diet. [top image © Sophia Winters via Fotoila]

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