Is a Vegan or Vegetarian Lifestyle Okay During Pregnancy?

Most people don’t budge when the mention of being began or vegetarian is made, but when the words come from the mouth of a pregnant woman, it seems that things change considerably, and the ordinarily live-and-let live individuals are in a frenzy, rushing to tell her that she is hurting her unborn child with her nutrition habits. Is the worry and concern nullified, or is it simply another of the pregnancy myths that leave so many with wrong information?

A vegetarian or a vegan lifestyle is one free of dairy and meat products. Vegans avoid eating anything animal-made. The concern comes from a potential lack of protein in the diet since meats are discluded from the meal plan. There is also risk for other vitamin deficiencies, such as Iron and B12. But, the truth is, a pregnant woman who maintains a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle can have a healthy pregnancy resulting in a full-term, healthy baby boy or girl.

Thanks to an ever-changing list of foods available to consumers, any pregnant woman can maintain great eating habits that ensure a healthy pregnancy. The key is proper meal-planning, knowing what you should eat, and maintaining constant communication with your OBGYN.

Together with the prenatal vitamin that is taken during pregnancy, a vegetarian or vegan diet will satisfy the nutritional needs of mother and child the entire nine months of pregnancy. So, leave those worries behind, and enjoy your pregnancy as you should. Plan your meals properly, take your prenatal vitamin, and prepare for one of life’s sweetest events in a few short months.

Health Benefits Associated With Vegetarians

In their latest paper on vegetarian diets, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics highlights many health benefits associated with vegetarian and vegan diets. These foods combinations help in prevention and cure of certain ailments, and they people can consume them in all stages of their growth and development. They are fit for expectant and lactating mothers, infants, children, adolescents, adults, and athletes.

 

Vegan diets are more sustainable than animal products. They require less natural resources, hence their contribution to environmental damage is minimal.

 

Vegetarians tend to be healthier than their omnivorous counterparts. They tend to be slimmer, and they have a higher life expectancy. They have a reduced risk to type 2 diabetes, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, obesity and most cancers.

 

These diets contain high-fiber and phytochemical levels, and they produce low levels of bad cholesterol and enhance better serum glucose control. These aspects contribute to the prevention of chronic diseases.

 

Examples of vegetarian and vegan foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, soy products and seeds. However, you can only find some essential nutrients in animal products. Therefore, vegetarians and vegans should identify and use appropriate supplements.

 

The Vegetarian Resource Group estimates 3.3% of adults in the United States are vegetarians. There is a fallacy held by some people that a vegetarian diet is inadequate nutritionally, but there are countless variations that make them completely sufficient.

 

Writing for The New Paper, Susan Levin, a nutritionist at Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Washington D.C. says that a vegetarian diet can lower the risk of all cancers by 18%, and a whopping 35% for prostate cancer.

 

The paper adds that a plant-based diet can reduce the possibility of heart disease by 10% to 29% and that of heart attack by 32%.

 

Vegetarians and vegans have relatively low BMIs, can control blood pressure and blood sugar much better and they have low cholesterol and inflammation levels than animal product consumers. To achieve these benefits, one should consult a registered dietitian nutritionist to get help in making informed choices.

 

Taking low total saturated fat, fewer salty snacks and sweets and higher consumption of vegetables and fruits is a perfect base for healthy lifetime habits in children and adolescents.