Vegetarians and vegans can eat a healthy diet in pregnancy as long as they follow certain rules.
- Establish the appropriate weight gain: There is no better indication of healthy pregnancy eating than healthy weight gain. During the first visit to the obstetrician, a generic weight gain chart should be established offering the vegetarian a guide to the right amount of weight they should be gaining along the way.
- Protein: Many people believe that vegetarians and vegans eat no protein. This is not the case. Instead of protein coming from animal sources it comes from vegetable sources. When pregnant, it is ideal to add an extra 25 grams of protein to the daily diet. This can be achieved with 1 1/2 cups of soy milk which can also provide calcium and other healthy nutrients.
- Calcium: Pregnant women need at least 8 servings of calcium rich foods every day. This can be difficult for the woman eating traditionally, let alone vegetarian. Again, calcium fortified soy milk is a great option. The serving size is usually no more than 1/2 a cup so it is easy to add extra servings with a glass or two of soy milk. The milk will also play a double role by adding that protein.