A Vegetarian Diet: Is It Safe During Pregnancy?
You've been a vegetarian for years, but now that you're pregnant you're asking yourself, "is it safe during pregnancy?" The short answer is: yes.
The good news is that you can fulfill your nutritional needs without meat. If you're concerned about pregnancy health as a vegetarian, you should know that you can get enough protein just by drinking cow's milk or soy milk. Whole grains, beans, tofu, and other milk products (cheese and yogurt) also provide protein.
Be sure to get enough omega-3 fatty acids since they help with your baby's brain and vision development. The easiest way to get the omega-3 fatty acids is through fish. But, wait: is fish safe during pregnancy? It generally depends on the fish. But if you're worried about eating fish (or if you don't eat fish), you can get your omega-3s from other foods. Many vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and pretty much anything leafy and green!), kidney and pinto beans and some brands of eggs, milk and soy drinks contain omega-3s. Of course, if you're worried you're not getting enough omega-3s in your diet, you might ask your doctor if you should take a supplement.
Also be sure to get enough zinc, iron, vitamin B12, folate, and calcium (again, dairy products!). Your prenatal vitamin might help with your overall pregnancy health, too. But you might want to ask your doctor if you should take an additional supplement to make sure you're getting enough of these essential vitamins.
So is it safe to be a vegetarian during pregnancy? Yes! There's no reason to quit being a vegetarian just because you're pregnant.