When you decide to go vegetarian, you opt for a change in lifestyle. Not only will you remove meat from your diet, but you’ll also change the way that your body receives nutrients. In turn, this could have major implications on your pregnancy.
That being said, choosing a vegetarian lifestyle doesn’t mean that you can’t have children. People may ask, “Are you going to start eating meat for your baby?” The fact of the matter is that it isn’t necessary, as long as you maintain a healthy diet. Pregnant women can safely maintain a vegetarian diet with a little help from a nutritionist or medical provider who can monitor vitamin and protein intake along the way.
The Importance of Variety
As you look to conceive, you’re going to want to make sure that both you and your child receive all of the necessary nutrients throughout your pregnancy. To do so, variety is key. For instance, you can get the protein you need through eggs (assuming you are not vegan), nuts, and soy products such as tofu. You can obtain fiber through whole-grain breads, pasta and rice. Iron can be found in leafy greens, such as broccoli and peas. Your doctor can provide you with a list of foods that contain the nutrients you need during your pregnancy.
Focusing on Iron
Iron is essential during your pregnancy, and you don’t have to go without it just because you’re a vegetarian. There are a couple of ways you can make sure it’s a substantial part of your diet.
Ensuring that you’re getting enough vitamin C can help. This vitamin boosts your body’s ability to absorb the iron from the food you eat. Cutting back on caffeinated beverages can also help. The caffeine in coffee and tea can reduce your ability to absorb iron.
Iron will not only help you maintain your immune system while you’re pregnant, but it will boost the production of hemoglobin. This is the protein in red blood cells that is needed to carry oxygen to other cells.
A Healthy Pregnancy
Being a pregnant vegetarian is not all that different from being a pregnant meat eater. There are still some guidelines that pregnant women need to abide by, regardless of their dietary choices.
For instance, daily exercise is still recommended for women who are expecting. Staying hydrated is important as well, and all women can potentially benefit from integrating a prenatal vitamin into their diet.
It’s critical to talk to your doctor about dietary restrictions before and during pregnancy. He or she can give you the information you need to maintain the health of you and your child. As for the friends and family who show concern over your vegetarian choices, approach them with the facts. Let them know that you’ve done your homework and you are giving your unborn child the nutrients needed to thrive.
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