It is possible to practice a vegan diet in pregnancy, provided that they are assured of the most important nutrients for the mother and the baby. Inform yourself properly.
There are more and more conscious of the vegan diet in pregnancy. Despite being a subject that causes some controversy, it is possible to practice this type of feeding during the gestation period.
Before we move on to some tips that should be taken into consideration, we will understand better what is a vegan diet.
WHAT IS THE VEGAN DIET?
The vegan, or vegetarian restricted, do not consume any type of food of animal origin, including milk and derivatives, eggs and honey.
It is possible to get most of the necessary nutrients through a vegan diet balanced and varied, replacing food of animal origin other of vegetable origin that provide the most important nutrients for the body.
VEGAN DIET IN PREGNANCY: IS IT SAFE?
Yes, it is possible during this period to practice this diet, however, there are precautions that should be considered.
The pregnancy is a phase of the life cycle that requires certain care to the level of food already that, in addition to the needs of the mother, has to ensure the normal and healthy development of the baby.
This stage is characterised by needs in addition to the level of caloric-protein and still should be monitored micronutrients like for example iron, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.
In these cases, the follow-up of a health care professional is very important to ensure that all nutrients are being consumed in the quantities necessary. In some cases, it may be necessary to include fortified foods or supplements in food.
PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE WHEN PRACTICING A VEGAN DIET IN PREGNANCY
As we saw in the previous section, the protein, calcium, iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin D are important nutrients in the phase of pregnancy.
But since they do not consume foods of animal origin, which are the largest holders of these nutrients, must be ingested food alternative that can suppress the body’s requirements.
Pregnant women need more protein than ever. This is an essential nutrient that helps build cells and produce hormones for the baby that is growing.
Those who practice the vegan diet can add protein to the diet from foods of plant origin.
- Foods to eat: legumes, whole grains, soy, nuts and seeds.
The calcium is essential for the construction of the bones, muscles, heart and nerves of the baby, especially during the third trimester of gestation.
In fact, it is so essential for their development that when the baby does not receive the calcium required, will seek to get the calcium to the bones of the mother, which can be potentially dangerous later in the life of the mother.
Luckily, dairy products are not the only options to get the daily amounts recommended. There are already many alternatives that are rich in calcium that can be implemented in the vegan diet in pregnancy.
- Foods to eat: green leafy vegetables, beverages, vegetable-based (soy, almond, rice, oat, etc), tofu.
The volume of blood increases by almost 50% during pregnancy to help the mother and the developing baby, and the iron is an element essential to produce more red blood cells.
The low content of iron can result in anemia, which, if untreated, can also lead to premature labor and the baby can be born with a weight below normal.
The mothers-to-be vegan must be aware of the levels of iron, and the case does not reach the recommended value, must take the supplements with an indication of a health care professional or eating foods rich in iron.
- Foods to eat: legumes, tofu, soy beans, oat bran, barley, nuts, whole grains.
Vitamin B12 associated with folic acid to help in the proper development of the fetal brain. It is also important for the formation of red blood cells and building genetic material.
A deficiency of vitamin B12 has been associated with neural tube defects, as well as increased risk of premature labour.
Although deficiencies of vitamin B12 are rare, vegetarians and particularly vegans usually do not get this vitamin in sufficient quantities, because it is found only in foods of animal origin.
If you are not able foods fortified with this vitamin, you may be required to intake dietary supplements that suppress the daily needs.
- Foods to consume: soy beverage fortified with vitamin B12, cereals fortified substitutes of meat fortified.
Vitamin D plays an important role in the construction and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones. The serious deficiency has been associated with complications including rickets congenital, as well as bone fractures in newborns.
The best food sources of vitamin D are milk and fish, but if none of them is part of the diet, a few minutes of sun a day helps your body to produce vitamin D – although this may not always be easy.
If you do not get vitamin D from food or sunlight, you can opt for a supplement, after medical indication.
- Foods to eat: drink soy fortified bread and cereal fortified.
It is perfectly possible to make a vegan diet in pregnancy, it is only necessary to be aware of the nutrients fundamental for both the future mother and the baby.
It is important to make a diet varied, balanced and nutritious, without ever forgetting the protein, vitamins and most important minerals: calcium, iron, vitamin D and vitamin B12.
Make regular visits to your doctor to be sure that there is no lack of nutrients and take supplements by indication, if necessary.
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