Is It Safe to Have a Vegan Pregnancy?

My husband and I are having a baby, and we are both over the moon about it! Ever since we started trying to get pregnant, I’d been steeling myself for the questions and concerns from my doctors about my vegan diet. I was ready for them to try to pressure me into drinking cow’s milk for calcium or eating red meat for iron. Now that I’m in the second trimester of my vegan pregnancy, I wanted to share some of my experiences and some of the advice from the nurses and doctors I’ve talked to.

Because of a childhood illness, my pregnancy is not as straightforward as I wished it could be. Home birth is out, and we are one of those couples that’s going to need our doctor in the delivery room. I am not interested in getting into the specifics of my medical history here, but because of my history, I have seen more than my share of doctors since conceiving, so I’ve had lots of chances to bring up my vegan diet and get reactions and advice. You know what shocked me?

Not a single nurse or doctor has batted an eye about my veganism.

In fact, my diet puts me ahead of the game in some respects. Our health plan includes phone consultations with an OB nurse, and in my first call with her, I told her that I was vegan. When the time came to talk about forbidden pregnancy foods, she took a long pause and said, “You know, since you’re vegan, you don’t eat any of these things anyway.” Forbidden foods for pregnant women include things like certain types of fish, unpasteurized dairy products, sushi, and cold cuts.

She did have a few pieces of dietary advice for me:

  • Avoid pre-packaged unpasteurized juices. Just like unpasteurized cheese and dairy, your risk of contamination is higher. Fresh-squeezed juice is OK.
  • Eat plenty of leafy greens. She recommended several servings a week of greens like kale, collards, Swiss chard, etc for calcium.
  • Wash your produce well. This doesn’t just get off pesticides, but it can also remove pathogens.

That was pretty much it from her. When I’ve asked my doctors about my vegan pregnancy, they have all basically said, “Pshaw! Just eat lots of healthy food, don’t drink, and get a little bit of exercise every day!”

On the next page, let’s talk vegan prenatal vitamins and some dietary sources for nutrients that pregnant women need!

prenatal vitamin

Vegan Prenatal Vitamins

Like all pregnant women, I’m taking a prenatal vitamin and at 20 weeks, I’m planning to start taking DHA.

You don’t need animal products to make a good prenatal vitamin. There are plant-based sources for all of the vitamins and minerals that you and your baby need during this time.

The prenatal vitamin I’m taking is called Prenatal One, and it comes from a company called Rainbow Light. It’s totally plant-based, and it even has the VeganGuard certification, verifying that it’s animal ingredient free. This isn’t the only vegan prenatal vitamin on the market, but this one is very easy to find. We found out that I was pregnant while we were on vacation in a tiny beach town, and the local CVS carried this brand. The Target by my house carries it, as well, and you can find it on Amazon.

We haven’t picked up our DHA supplements yet, since we’re about a month and a half away from needing them. My doctor recommended DHA starting at 20 weeks, and she said she recommends the same to all moms-to-be, not just vegan ones. Vegan DHA comes from algae, and I’ve had a harder time tracking this one down in regular stores. I did find this vegan DHA supplement that we’ll probably end up ordering if I can’t find any in stores.

Your prenatal vitamin will have plenty of nutrients to supplement your diet, but it’s still a good idea to eat foods rich in calcium, iron, and B vitamins when you’re pregnant. Here are some tips for vegans looking to get more of these nutrients:


Worried about getting enough calcium without dairy products? Don’t you fret! There are lots of vegan calcium sources, and they often are easier for your body to use than cow-based calcium sources. Check out 25 Vegan Sources for Calcium for a great list of calcium-rich foods.


You might be worried that you need to eat meat to get sufficient iron, but this isn’t the case at all. Check out these vegan iron sources for more.

The real trick to getting enough iron is making sure your body can absorb it. Pair your iron sources with vitamin C to help your body use the iron available in your food. Some things inhibit iron absorption, and you should avoid the following when you’re eating your iron-rich foods:

  • Caffeine
  • Tannins – found in things like coffee, tea, and red wine
  • Phytic Acid – in undercooked beans and in raw seeds, spinach and chard. Combining with a good source of vitamin C can help!

B Vitamins

Two words, ladies: nutritional. yeast. Nutritional yeast has an excellent balance of vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid. Sprinkle nutritional yeast on savory dishes like pasta, rice, and soups. It adds a mild cheesy flavor and plenty of B vitamin goodness! You can find nutritional yeast in the bulk bin at most health food stores. I highly recommend buying this in bulk. Pre-packaged nuritional yeast tends to be wildly overpriced, and it’s the same stuff as in the bins.

Other great vegan sources of B vitamins include:

  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • bananas
  • potatoes
  • dried apricots
  • dates
  • figs
  • nuts

I’d love to hear from other vegan moms or vegan moms-to-be! What did and didn’t work for you during your vegan pregnancy? Were your doctors as progressive as mine turned out to be?

Is Milk Really Ideal for Bone Health?
25 Vegan Sources for Protein
Is It Healthy to Raise a Vegetarian Baby?

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers1 years ago

Thank you.

Ashley H.
Past Member 1 years ago

It's great to know all this. What's with all these negative Nancy's? This article was intended to INFORM, not INSULT. She's not being "high and mighty", she was showing yet another benefit of being vegan. You're not vegan? That's your choice... who are we to judge? But grant us the same respect.

vicky t.
vicky T.2 years ago

I just realized how old the article was :) I guess the baby's born now?

vicky t.
vicky T.2 years ago

You'll be fine, Becky, you seem so sweet and reasonable. And your baby will be fine too! Don't listen to the fun spoilers, just be happy that you're going to raise your child right and teach him/her to respect both people and animals! How could anyone think one more compassionate soul could harm our planet? This baby might even save it one day ;)

Sarah M.
Sarah M.3 years ago

I will follow these tips when I'm pregnant someday. Thank you!

Carrie Anne Brown

interesting article, thanks for sharing :)

April Thompson
April Thompson3 years ago


Lisa D'arcangelis
Lisa Plunkett3 years ago

Very interesting. I have a few vegan friends who recently had children, and they were just fine.

Maxine B.
Maxine B.3 years ago

There were recent cases of massive infant mental retardation in both China and Israel resulting from insufficient amounts or the wrong type of synthetic vitamin B12 in vegan baby formula. After the damage is done there are no corrective measures that you can take. No pun intended but feeding your new born a vegan diet will make it a vegetable for life.

In addition, a woman here is facing jail time because she only breast fed her new born while she ate a strict vegan diet herself. After 11 months her baby died from multiple vitamin deficiencies.

There is a reason that the children in famine wracked countries on the 6:00 news are fly blown, with swollen bellies and dull lisless eyes, while the mothers are merely skin and bones. It requires vastly greater amounts of high quality vitamins and other nutrients to raise a growing baby than it does to maintain an adult.

Michelle Millage
Insatiable Chic3 years ago

Wow. I am shocked at the negativity toward Becky about using the word "we". Really?? I've heard this term "we" used by several pregnant people. Do you have nothing else to do but attack her for the way she wants to announce her pregnancy? I think the topic here is whether a vegan diet is safe during pregnancy. Didn't your mother ever teach you..."If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all?" Becky, ignore the unhappy negative people. Do what you think is right. And YES, having your OWN baby is a choice...but I wouldn't call it a selfish one! Really? Selfish? wow. Negative people will always walk this earth unfortunately!