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Is It Safe to Have a Vegan Pregnancy?

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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!

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!

52 comments

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7:45PM PST on Jan 24, 2014

Thank you.

7:01AM PST on Jan 21, 2014

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.

7:29AM PDT on Jun 3, 2013

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

7:25AM PDT on Jun 3, 2013

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 ;)

8:31AM PST on Nov 10, 2012

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

8:12AM PDT on Oct 16, 2012

interesting article, thanks for sharing :)

2:35PM PDT on Oct 14, 2012

Congrats!

1:20PM PDT on Oct 14, 2012

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

8:52AM PDT on Oct 13, 2012

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.


12:33AM PDT on Oct 13, 2012

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!

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