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Pregnancy and the right diet, also for vegetarians

  1. Many people nowadays opt for a vegetarian lifestyle. It is therefore not illogical that pregnant women or women who think about children in the future are also vegetarians. During pregnancy, it is more vital than ever to provide the body with the right nutrients. Nutrients Important for Baby's Development.


  1. What nutrients does the body need before pregnancy? What nutrients does the body need during pregnancy? What is best to avoid during pregnancy? What if I'm sick in the morning? I suffer from constipation, what now? Am I less likely to get pregnant as a vegetarian?

What nutrients does the body need before pregnancy?

  1. Vegetarian or not, pregnant women need more nutrients. Not only to stimulate the growth and development of the baby, but also for the major changes that occur in the own body. Although energy consumption will only increase by a good 10%, the need for vitamins and minerals will increase by 20 to 100%. That means that future pregnant women must pay extra attention to what they consume. So that they have sufficient reserves of vitamins and minerals before the pregnancy begins. After all, the necessary vitamins and minerals will be used many times over during pregnancy. Changing eating habits about two years in advance is not a luxury!

What nutrients does the body need during pregnancy?

  1. It is sufficient to adhere to a healthy and balanced diet during the first month of pregnancy. From the following months until delivery, a pregnant woman consumes 300 Kcal more per day. Unborn babies don't like to be hungry, so a pregnant woman should spread small meals throughout the day. Consuming smaller meals more often prevents large weight gain. It is also not necessary to prepare six meals a day, a bowl of muesli, some fruit or a sandwich may be enough. Women who are struggling to gain enough weight should consume high-protein and fat-rich foods such as nuts, seeds and avocados. Also eat more carbohydrates in the form of whole grains and fruits.

Proteins during pregnancy

  1. The recommended amount of protein during pregnancy is about 10 to 20 grams per day more than when not pregnant, in particular 60 grams. Typically, most people consume more protein than they need, which is not a problem at all. They get them from legumes, nuts, seeds and soy products. However, when there is a shortage of proteins in the body, this can be solved by consuming extra daily:

Iron during pregnancy

  1. If you are pregnant, you have a greater need for iron, even if you are vegetarian. This iron is used to increase red blood cell production. A pregnant woman needs 30 milligrams per day of iron every day, which is double that of a non-pregnant woman. The intake of such large amounts of iron can hardly be guaranteed with a normal diet. That is why this increased requirement is partly compensated by the increased absorption of iron during pregnancy and by the decrease in iron loss due to the absence of menstruation. When the intake is too low, the body will start to deplete the iron reserves and anemia will occur, which can cause a too low birth weight and premature birth. Products that can help to absorb extra iron are:

Sink during pregnancy

  1. A mineral that is very important for the growth and development of the baby is zinc. The absorption of zinc by pregnant women is generally quite low. The recommended amount for pregnant women is 15 milligrams per day. A supplement of 15 milligrams of zinc per day is harmless. Zinc is mainly found in:

Calcium during pregnancy

  1. Calcium is an essential nutrient that the body needs for the bone, nervous, blood and muscle system. When someone is pregnant, her body uses more calcium than when she is not pregnant. When the intake of calcium is too low, the body will look for minerals in the bones. Because the body absorbs calcium more easily during pregnancy, it is not necessary to increase the intake drastically. 1200 milligrams of calcium per day is recommended for the average pregnant woman. Vegetarians need even less because they naturally have less protein in their food, which causes a great loss of calcium. Extra calcium cannot by definition be found in milk, the following foods do guarantee the extra absorption of calcium:

Vitamin D during pregnancy

  1. When the body is exposed to sunlight, it produces vitamin D, which is necessary for the absorption of calcium. The recommended amount of vitamin D per day is 10 micrograms per day, which is equivalent to 25 minutes of sunbathing or exposure to sunlight three days a week. Margarine can be used to boost the daily intake, especially in winter. Vitamin D supplements can also be taken, but these can be dangerous. Too much vitamin D is toxic and will affect the development of the baby.

Vitamin B12 during pregnancy

  1. Vitamin B12 plays a very important role in the construction of tissues. A pregnant woman needs about 3 micrograms of vitamin B12 every day. Those who do not eat animal products can obtain this vitamin from supplements or products that are fortified with B12 such as:

Folic acid during pregnancy

  1. Pregnant women need 600 micrograms of folic acid per day. Folic acid prevents the absorption of zinc, so when you take a folic acid supplement, it is important that the supplement also contains zinc. Other natural foods rich in folic acid are:

Essential fatty acids during pregnancy

  1. Essential fatty acids are also an essential part of a good diet. A balance must be sought between omega 6 (linoleic acid) and omega 3 (alpha linolenic acid). Omega 3 fatty acids are important for the formation of the baby's cell membranes, especially those of the brain cells. The conversion of these fatty acids is very difficult, therefore they should be included directly from the diet such as:

What is best to avoid during pregnancy?

  1. Alcohol during pregnancy Consuming alcohol while pregnant can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which weakens the baby's mental and physical development. Even a drink a day is completely out of the question, the risk of miscarriage increases considerably and the general health of the baby is compromised.

Smoking during pregnancy

  1. Anyone who smokes can be sure that the baby will be born underweight. The overall health of the baby is also compromised. So quitting smoking is the only way to give birth to a healthy baby. However, caution is advised when quitting smoking as it can also have harmful effects on the body and mind. It is therefore recommended to stop smoking several months before pregnancy. To learn more about these drawbacks read the article: Drawbacks of Quitting Smoking.

Caffeine during pregnancy

  1. Caffeine is associated with several problems during pregnancy. Coffee and caffeinated tea reduce iron absorption by more than half. Cola also contains caffeine and is therefore excluded.

What if I'm sick in the morning?

  1. Especially at the beginning of pregnancy, a woman is often sick in the morning. Here are some tips to avoid this uncomfortable feeling:

I have constipation, now what?

  1. Many pregnant women complain of constipation. The cause of this constipation is hormonal changes caused by calcium and iron supplements. Those who suffer from it should drink a lot, walk and eat a lot of dried fruits (raisins, figs, ...) also fruits, vegetables and grains can help.

Will I become pregnant less quickly as a vegetarian?

  1. When all the rules as prescribed here are followed, a vegetarian has no more problems conceiving than any other woman. Of course there may be other factors at play.

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