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Vegan Diet and Pregnancy. Nutritional Tips and a Menu For Mothers.

If you are vegan and become pregnant, you must have heard from your close and distant surroundings how much your diet can harm you and the fetus. 


Vegan diet and pregnancy

Here are some nutritional tips and a menu

In addition to all the worries of pregnancy, you've probably heard from the aunt who knows everything, that "your Veganism can harm your baby." 

You can calm her down and tell her there's nothing to worry about. This article will help you build a vegan, balanced and healthy diet plan for you and of course the baby on the way.

First, it is important to note that in 2015, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, considered the world's largest nutrition organization, published a paper that unequivocally states that a well-designed, plant-based diet is suitable for women at all stages of life and during pregnancy. 


And yet there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to your vegan diet during pregnancy.

Protein

During the pregnancy, a large amount of protein is needed, about 25 grams more per day for those who eat protein according to the recommendations (0.8 grams per kilogram), the role of the protein is important for the growth of cells and the normal development of the fetus.

Calcium

Calcium is a mineral essential for the normal development of fetal bones and teeth. It can be found in many plant sources, such as tofu, dark green leaves, tahini, almonds, fortified soy products and legumes. It is recommended to separate it from foods rich in iron, so it will increase its absorption rate in the body.

Vitamin D

The main source for this vitamin is exposure to the sun, it is recommended to take 20-30 minutes of exposing the face and skin to the sun every day. You can also consume foods like soy desserts and breakfast cereals fortified with this vitamin. 

Iron

Iron is a mineral that helps transfer oxygen to the fetus and prevents anemia. In pregnancy, blood volume increases by about 45 percent and therefore a large amount of iron is needed. Daily doses of 27 mg of iron should be reached.

Supplements may be taken as a preventive treatment from the third month of pregnancy until about 6 weeks after birth, in addition to eating a variety of foods rich in iron such as legumes, green leaves, tehina, dried fruits and more. 


In order to maximize the absorption rate, it is recommended to combine vitamin C with the meal, to separate foods rich in calcium and caffeine and not to consume too much iron in one meal.

For example

A serving of chicken breast contains about 1.5 milligrams of iron, compared with a cup of cooked lentils containing about 5.5 milligrams of iron. 

Add a little tomato paste or some parsley rich in vitamin C and get a rich iron dish with a high absorption rate.

Vitamin B12

This vitamin is needed to create red blood cells and various neurological functions. 

It is not found in plant foods in large quantities, so it is necessary to take this supplement regularly for the required 2.6 mcg during pregnancy For every woman at the beginning of pregnancy. 

It is recommended to test the level of vitamin B12 in the blood, even if you are not vegan.

Omega 3

This is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that is important for the development of the brain and the eyes of the fetus and is also associated with reducing the risk of premature birth, toxemia and gestational diabetes. 

DHA is the most commonly used form of Omega-3 and is found in animal foods, such as salmon and other cold water fish.

Omega-3 fatty acids (ALA) in plant foods undergo a process of conversion to DHA in the body at a relatively low rate, so it is important to combine ALA-rich foods on a daily basis or to consider a supplement.


Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids and recommended to be included in the menu on a daily basis: flax seed oil, Chia seeds and walnuts.

Tofu and seaweed

Pregnant women need an increased amount of iodine at a dose of 220 mcg / day for various hormonal functions of the mother and the fetus.Iodine deficiency is very common among the population and therefore it is recommended to take iodine supplement at the beginning of pregnancy and during the pregnancy. 

If you plan to take a multivitamin supplement for pregnancy, be sure to have iodine at the appropriate dosage. Plant foods containing iodine: aloe vera, kumbo, kelp and enriched salt.

An example of a daily diet, with about 1,600 calories and 68 grams of protein:

  • Breakfast:
1.5 cups oatmeal and soy milk fortified with vitamin D and calcium.
A handful of chopped dried fruit and 2 teaspoons of Chia seeds.
  • Snack:
An Apple, A handful of roasted almonds.
  • Lunch:
A bowl of lentil soup.
0.5 cup whole grains: whole rice, quinoa, buckwheat, durum flour pasta.
Leaf Salad, Spinach leaves / kale leaves / chopped cabbage, seasoned with olive oil, lemon, garlic and a handful of roasted sesame seeds.

  • Snack:
2 slices of rye bread
2 teaspoons humus paste / home tahini.

  • Dinner:
2 whole wheat tortillas.
4 tablespoons white beans in tomato sauce.
2 tablespoons avocado salad.
Tomato 
Salsa home made.
  • Before bed:
2 dark chocolate cubes 70%

In conclusion, whether vegan or not, it is important to understand that a well-planned diet is important and critical for your health and for the proper development of the fetus. 


Therefore, if you are uncertain about the nature of your daily diet or if you have any questions, it is important that you consult with a clinical dietitian qualified to treat pregnant women.

KEEP IN MIND! 
Always consult a doctor.

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