Is a Vegan Diet Safe For Pregnancy?

This is a huge debate that has been going back and forth and it seems that there isn’t a lot of information on the matter.

To understand this you have to understand one question, what is a diet? Diet is the specific intake of food for nutrition or weight management according to Wikipedia. A vegan diet, on the other hand, is the total abstinence from animal meats and all animal products.

Veganism and omnivorous eaters are usually compared to assess the damage that veganism causes. Well in pregnant women it was noted that the number of cases of the child’s affection was equal in vegans and omnivorous mothers.

With the high consumption of strictly vegetable-based products and refraining from animal-based products expecting mothers are seen to have:

1. High levels of:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Folic acid
  • Dietary fibre
  • Phytochemicals

2. Lower levels of:

  • Saturated fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Omega 3
  • Calcium
  • Zinc

The vegan diet, when done correctly, has been attributed to numerous health benefits the outweigh the negatives.

As there is no consumption of meat and meat products that are high in cholesterol, vegans are noted to have lower chances of being obese, having high blood pressure and acquiring ischemic heart disease.

Almost all vegan food has a low glycemic index. This means that they don't heavily change the amount of insulin released by the patient. It is because of this that vegans have low incidences of acquiring type 2 diabetes. In pregnant women, this is important because the fetus alters their hormonal levels and this usually results in mothers having gestational diabetes. If eating and dietary habits aren't controlled and monitored gestational diabetes may permanently turn into type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The low calcium found in vegan foods is also an area of concern. This is because expecting mothers generally need double the amount of calcium as compared to non-expectant mothers. Calcium helps with the bone development of the fetus and also ensures the heart of the mother is functioning optimally. The pros of being on a vegan diet are numerous but we shouldn't overlook the cons, because there are present and rather serious.

The strict abstinence from meat and meat products causes a lower level of vitamin B12 in the body. This results in a type of anaemia (low blood level) called macrocytic anaemia. The condition would cause the mother to easily be fatigued and it also reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to the fetus which could cause congenital defects.

All this should not be a reason for concern, as being a vegan doesn’t mean that you are dooming yourself and your fetus. Veganism over the years has been studied and experts have realized how to do it properly. This has been implemented by foods like tofu, soy and soy milk. Supplement to calcium, zinc, vitamin B12 and omega 3 have been developed making vegans like life as healthy as or healthier than their omnivorous peers.

About the AUTHOR
Sophia D. Hope - is a gardener and outdoor enthusiast. She writes about gardening, Health, Diet and related product reviews. She shares creative and affordable ways to DIY and DECORATE a yard and garden.
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