You already know that sushi and alcohol are off-limits when you’re expecting. But what’s the deal with veganism and pregnancy? We tapped OB/GYN Dr. Jessica Shepherd to find out.
First, some good news for moms-to-be on a vegan or plant-based diet—you can absolutely continue to follow your healthy eating plan in pregnancy.
Yep, despite what you might have heard, eating a vegan or vegetarian diet while you’re expecting can be totally healthy for mom and baby. It just might take a little more planning on your part since some vital nutrients for your developing fetus are more easily be found in animal products—but that doesn’t mean you can’t get them elsewhere.
Dr. Shepherd cautions women to let their practitioner know whether they’re vegan, vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian (eats dairy and eggs) or lacto-vegetarian (eats dairy, no eggs), since they all have separate dietary needs that may need to be managed. “But in general, those on a vegan diet need to make sure they’re getting enough proteins, amino acids, iron, calcium, vitamins D and B12,” she tells us. Restricting calories could also be a problem (per the American Pregnancy Organization, women should eat an extra 200 to 300 calories in the second and third trimester of pregnancy).