Vegan diet during pregnancy
Many vegan women also want to stay true to their diet and lifestyle during pregnancy. Since a sufficient supply of the minerals and vitamins that are important for pregnancy can be problematic as part of a purely vegan diet, one should refrain from doing this. Otherwise, undetected and untreated deficiencies can have serious health consequences for the mother-to-be and the child (see also: Vegan Diet in Children). If you stick to a vegan diet in spite of all warnings, you must pay attention to the correct, calculated diet, the intake of important nutrients through dietary supplements and regular medical checks of blood values.
Why is it not allowed to eat vegan during pregnancy?
From a scientific and medical point of view, there is consensus that a purely vegan diet during pregnancy, even with careful food choices, is not possible without a lack of nutrients and is therefore not recommended.
Even without pregnancy, sufficient vitamin and mineral intake can be problematic in a purely plant-based diet, but it is even more difficult during pregnancy due to the additional increased need. This mainly affects vitamins B2, B6, B12 and D, as well as iron, folic acid, vitamin C, zinc, calcium and iodine. Therefore, a vegan diet during pregnancy can lead to serious health consequences for the expectant mother and especially for the unborn child due to a lack of the vitamins and trace elements mentioned. As a result, the general recommendation is to refrain from vegan nutrition during pregnancy. If veganism is to be maintained despite all warnings, the pregnant woman should in any case go to the doctor regularly to have her blood values checked and to detect deficiencies early. The necessary vitamins and electrolytes must be strictly substituted. This is best done under medical guidance and not on your own to avoid overdosing and unwanted side effects. Thorough nutritional advice should also be sought.
Also read our topic: Diet During Pregnancy And Diet Supplements During Pregnancy - What You Should Know!
What are the consequences / dangers?
With a vegan diet during pregnancy, there is an increased risk of a number of health hazards for mother and child due to the possible undersupply of important nutrients. Too little protein, energy and omega-3 fatty acids can lead to reduced growth and lower birth weight in the child. The fatty acids mentioned are also important for the proper development of the child's brain and, if deficient, can lead to poor development.
Insufficient amounts of folic acid and vitamin B12 can especially negatively affect the development of the central nervous system in children. Folic acid deficiency can lead to spina bifida, the open back in children.
Iron deficiency can impair the function of the placenta, which can endanger child development in the womb. Furthermore, there is also the risk of anemia in mother and child, whereby not only iron but also a vitamin B12 deficiency can play a role.
Iodine deficiency can result in an underactive thyroid in the mother and the unborn child, increasing the risk of miscarriage, and disrupting brain development. This can lead to a child's intellectual disability.
The need for calcium is also increased and is released from the mother's bones in the event of insufficient intake in order to make it available to the child in the womb. This can lead to bone pain, but also toothache for the mother.
Read more on this topic at: Iron Deficiency During Pregnancy
Can you get pregnant through a vegan diet?
A balanced diet is important for the health and wellbeing of every person. In order to get pregnant, it is also advisable to change your diet and that of your partner. It should rich in vitamins and fiber are eaten to prepare the body with important nutrients for the planned pregnancy and to create good conditions for the future life.
However, if the nutritional requirements are not met satisfactorily, this can be a possible reason for not becoming pregnant. It is therefore advisable to have your blood values checked together with your gynecologist and to discuss a possible change in diet and necessary dietary supplements. These can vary depending on the individual blood count. Both vegan and non-vegan women can show poor values. Folic acid is one of the supplements that every woman wishing to have children should take. In order to get a healthy vegan pregnancy, vitamin B12 should also be supplemented. Further examples of dietary supplements that may be necessary are iron, iodine, zinc and vitamin D.
Please also read our topic: How do I get pregnant?
Can I eat a vegan diet while breastfeeding?
Similar to the dietary recommendations for pregnancy, the fact that a vegan diet should be avoided also applies to breastfeeding.
While breastfeeding is the The need for vitamins and trace elements is sometimes even higher than during pregnancy. Since this is not always and especially not easy to guarantee with a purely plant-based diet, you should also stick to a vegan diet despite all the dangers certain food supplements are taken after consulting a doctor. This is an attempt to prevent deficiencies in mother and child. Regular medical examinations and blood tests are also recommended. Above all, careful nutritional advice, planning and selection is important. The difficult intake through a purely vegan diet mainly affects vitamins B2, B6 and B12. The latter must be substituted in any case with a purely plant-based diet. Vitamin D can also be taken if necessary, and it is also advisable to stay outdoors more during the hours of sunshine. This stimulates the body's own vitamin D production through the skin. Iodine, iron and zinc, which are also needed in larger quantities, can be adequately absorbed through appropriate diet planning and meticulous adherence to these, if necessary without food supplements.
The patient should have one for the period of breastfeeding Change your diet to lacto (-ovo) vegetarian foods. A better supply of nutrients can be guaranteed through the consumption of dairy products and eggs.
You might also be interested in the following topic: Behavior during breastfeeding
Can I at least eat a vegetarian diet?
By keeping products containing milk, eggs and, depending on the type of vegetarianism, fish products in the diet plan, a vegetarian diet is less prone to vitamin and nutrient deficiencies than the vegan diet. Therefore, with a balanced and varied diet, the vegetarian lifestyle can be maintained even during planned pregnancy, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. With a targeted choice of food, most nutrients can be covered and fewer food supplements have to be taken than with a vegan lifestyle. However, the absorption of iron may be deficient because it is easier for the body to get from meat. In consultation with a doctor, an additional intake can be useful. As with any pregnant woman, folic acid and iodine should also be taken. Regular blood tests should also be done, as further dietary supplements may be necessary.
Also read our topic: Foods with iron such as Iron deficiency in vegetarians