Vegan during pregnancy: You should pay attention to this
To get straight to the point: A vegan diet is no problem at all during pregnancy - however, it is very important to pay attention to a few things. Careful planning in particular helps to ensure the supply of vital nutrients.
Many experts and institutions such as the University of Torino, the British Dietetic Association or the National Australian Health and Medical Research Council confirm that a vegan diet is also safe during pregnancy if it is monitored and controlled.
Maria Flothkötter, head of the "Healthy into Life" network at the Federal Center for Nutrition, says it even more clearly: "A vegan diet during pregnancy is only possible with dietary supplements without the risk of nutrient deficiencies".
Monitoring is the be-all and end-all of a vegan pregnancy
If you plan your diet well and consult a doctor, there is even some evidence that a vegan diet is extremely beneficial during pregnancy. The reasons are obvious:
🍐Vegan women deal much more intensively with their diet than omnivorous pregnant women. This ultimately optimizes the nutrient supply for the baby. In most cases, vegans are used to being more concerned about food and are knowledgeable about the nutrients.
🍐 No animals have to suffer for nutrition.
🍐 A vegan diet is better for the environment and more sustainable.
🍐 Plant-based nutrition produces almost no nutrition-related diseases.
In addition to advice on nutrition, it is also important for your family doctor and gynecologist to monitor your blood levels regularly in order to identify a possible nutrient deficiency at an early stage
What nutrients do you actually need during pregnancy?
By the way, you don't have to eat for two during pregnancy - at least not in terms of quantity. However, the situation is different when it comes to nutrients. Here, the requirement of pregnant women is significantly increased - in the case of iron, it is practically doubled. Nutrients, which are more likely to be found in high concentrations in animal products, can therefore quickly lead to undersupply if they are not substituted.
Nutrient is not the same nutrient
There is a big difference between the main nutrients carbohydrates, fats and proteins and the micronutrients like vitamins, minerals and trace elements. While the need for the first group changes only slightly (and in most cases does not pose a problem, since plant-based foods also contain sufficient amounts), the need for the second group is sometimes greatly increased for vegans.
One of the most important micronutrients during pregnancy, which is often difficult to obtain through a vegan diet
- Vitamins (A, B2, B6, B12, C, D and folic acid),
- Minerals (magnesium, iron, iodine, zinc and calcium and
- Omega-3 fatty acids.
Incidentally, even non-vegan pregnant women must ensure that they are getting enough of these nutrients.
Here are some specific nutritional tips for pregnant vegans
The need for iodine can be excellently covered by using iodised table salt. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are extremely important for the development of the child's nervous system, can be found, for example, in walnut oil, soybean oil and in specially fortified vegan products.
Iron can be found in dark green vegetables, legumes and whole grain products in particular - but it can and should be added if necessary. There is a lot of zinc in soy, seeds and nuts, but it may not be enough.
Sunbathing helps to produce enough vitamin D. If in doubt, you can also use vitamin D supplements - especially in winter, when less sun is absorbed. Broccoli, figs, and almonds provide calcium (but not always enough). You can also find important reference values for all nutrients on the website of the German Society for Nutrition.
Individual nutritional advice can help
As part of an individual nutritional consultation, you will learn how to cover the increased need for micronutrients. A wholesome, varied and balanced diet is particularly important here. Dietary supplements should only be used in exceptional cases (i.e. nutrients that are very difficult to find in plant-based foods, e.g. vitamin B12 or iron). It is best to ask your gynecologist which ones make sense for you.
It is important to take in all the necessary substances in sufficient quantities through a very targeted selection of foods with a highly concentrated nutrient pattern. A professional will help to identify these foods and incorporate them into the nutritional plan.
Everyone has their preferences when it comes to food. In the case of vegans, some prefer legumes and others prefer rice and pasta. During pregnancy, however, one should say goodbye to such habits and rely on a particularly varied diet in order to ensure or improve the supply of important substances.
By the way: A vegan diet ensures a better balance of nutrients in the body, which can be disturbed in some omnivorous people. Biotin, pantothenic acid, beta-carotene, dietary fiber and secondary plant substances are almost always present in an optimal composition for vegans. A good start then.
There seems to be a risk of babies being too small or light with a vegan diet during pregnancy
However, we also do not want to leave possible risks unmentioned. An Israeli study of around 1,400 women, almost 17% of whom were vegan, found that there was a significant association between maternal vegan diets, lower birth weight and shorter height at birth. Greater dangers such as being dangerously underweight or having a premature birth could not be determined.
When it comes to feeding the baby after birth and later as a child, practically the same rules apply
Finally, a tip for the time after breastfeeding. Here, too, it is true that a child can live very healthily as a vegan:in if the diet is well planned and, above all, monitored by a doctor. If the child is supplied with all the important nutrients, there is nothing to be said against a vegan diet.
First of all we at Cozy Roots would like to congratulate you if you are currently pregnant and expecting a child. If you are already looking for vegan slippers, take a look around our shop and browse through our fairly produced, practical baby clothing.