Eating for Two - Nutrition During PregnancyVegetarianism during pregnancy
Pregnant women who are vegetarian can still enjoy a carefully planned vegetarian
diet. There are many health benefits to vegetarian diets, but women who are
pregnant need to take extra care to get enough protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin
Protein is essential to promote normal fetal growth, so it is an important
nutrient for a healthy pregnancy. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for
women and men is 0.80 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per
day. During pregnancy, most doctors suggest women increase their daily protein
intake by 6 grams (about the amount in one 250 mL glass of partly-skimmed
milk, one cup of broccoli, one egg, or one-third cup of dry-roasted almonds).
Vegetarian sources of protein include grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and egg
or milk products. Keep in mind that the protein in vegetables is less concentrated
and less easily absorbed so you may need more or larger portions to get the
required amount of protein.
The Vegetarian Food Guide published by the Dietitians of Canada suggests that
pregnant women consume the following amount of these foods daily:
- vitamin B12-rich foods: 4 servings
- beans/nuts/seeds: 7 servings
- calcium-rich foods: 8 servings
What about vegans? The Alberta Health and Wellness During Pregnancy Guide states
that vegan diets can be low in calories, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, B6, calcium,
and vitamin D. If you are vegan, talk to your doctor or a dietitian about ensuring
you get enough essential nutrients during pregnancy.
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