Are you able to safely have a vegetarian pregnancy?

Many benefits can be derived from plant-based nutrition. Is it possible to eat meat-free when there's a whole-grain bread in the oven? Julia Zumpano (RD), registered dietitian, gives her top tips on how to be a good mom while also being pro-plants.

Vegetarianism and Pregnancy: The Weakest Link

Vegetarian diets have the potential to be nutritional powerhouses.

Zumpano says that the tricky thing about eating vegetarian when you are pregnant is that your protein intake will rise during these months.

Zumpano states that the average woman who is pregnant needs between 71 and 75 grams of protein per day. You may need more protein if you have multiple babies. A dietitian can help you determine your protein requirements if you are planning to be vegetarian in pregnancy.

It is possible to be vegetarian during pregnancy - it worked for me. However, you will need to make sure you get enough protein. This may include taking protein supplements.

Which Type Of Vegetarian Diet Is Superior During Pregnancy?

Although vegetarians tend to avoid meat, there's a lot of gray. A few vegetarian diets also include eggs or dairy. The vegan diet does not contain meat, milk or eggs. A pescatarian diet is plant-based but includes fish. Which is better for pregnancy?

Zumpano states, "If someone is more open to eating less restrictively during pregnancy than they are now, I would encourage them to do so because it will make it easier to fulfill their nutritional needs." For example, someone who is vegan and wants to eat dairy while pregnant would be encouraged to do so. This will allow them to get the protein and calcium they need from food sources.

It doesn't matter if your plan is to have a vegan or vegetarian baby. For your child's nutritional requirements you will only need to take a vitamin or vegetarian product, such as tofu.

Prenatal vitamins are essential for pregnant women who eat vegetarian food. You may require additional vitamin supplementation if your prenatal vitamin is not sufficient in folate and calcium.

A high-variety diet can help you meet your nutritional requirements in pregnancy:


It is necessary for the following: Bone and teeth development; Muscle and Nerve function.

1000 mg daily

Dairy products, rice milk, soybeans, soybeans, and calcium-fortified foods are all good options.


Cell growth is essential. It also helps to reduce the chance of developing defects in the neural tube.

The daily allowance is 600mcg. Foods to consume: beans, dark leafy vegetables, wheat germ and citrus juice.


This is required for: Promoting tissue growth and improving blood flow. To increase your absorption, you should consume 48.6mg per day.

Omega-3s (fatty acids)

Necessary for nerve, brain, and visual development.

Daily intake: 200 mg

DHA is a form of omega-3

For vegetarians, a microalgal source is best (algal oil or fortified meals).

Eat fish.


This is needed for the following:

What is the daily allowance? 71-75 g

Foods to avoid: Soy products, beans and lentils; nuts or nut butters; eggs and dairy products.

Vitamin B12

Supporting nerve cells and red blood cell support are two of the reasons they're needed.

Daily intake: 2.6 micrograms

You can eat fortified cereals, soymilk, yogurt, milk, and eggs, as well as fortified nutritional yeast.

Vitamin D

Calcium and fetal bone growth are both required.

What is the daily average? 600 IU

What to Eat: Cow's milk, eggs, fortified cereals, soymilk.


It is essential for supporting tissue growth, and its function.

The daily allowance is 11 mg

Foods to Eat: Beans, legumes, seeds, milk and some hard cheeses.


Hormone production is required.

Daily income: 220 mg

You can eat iodized sea salt .

You should also avoid certain foods:

Drinking alcohol can increase your risk of having a premature baby and have a low birth weight.

Limit your intake of caffeine to 300mg per day

Artificial sweeteners: Some artificial sweeteners have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Saccharin is a sweetener that can enter the placenta through the skin and stay in the fetal tissue. Reduce your intake of artificial sweeteners.

Pregnant women are more at risk of food poisoning if they eat raw or undercooked foods.

Strategies for successful plant-based eating during pregnancy

It's important to plan in advance if you wish to have complete nutrition throughout a vegetarian pregnancy. Zumpano advises creating a list to identify the vegetables, fruits, proteins, grains, and other foods you want and organizing your meals around those items.

Zumpano states that it is difficult to eat vegetarian successfully during pregnancy's first three months. Morning sickness, nausea or vomiting can make it difficult to eat healthy food. You may feel ill or unable to eat because you fear that it all will come back. This can make it almost impossible for you to have a healthy diet.

Zumpano suggests that you avoid soda crackers and make your main food source a salad.

Juices - Juices contain high levels of nutrients. Investing in a juicer is a great time for pregnant women. It is unlikely that a bowl of kale would be something pregnant women want to consume. Drinking kale juice with lemon, ginger and garlic is healthy. It can also settle an upset stomach."

Smoothies To meet my protein requirements, I would add a plant-based protein powder or hemp seeds to the smoothie. This is a great way to get in dark leafy greens such as spinach or kale.

Take-out snacks She suggests snacking every 2 to 3 hours. Zumpano advises that you focus on whole foods like fruits and vegetables, yogurt, cheeses as well as nuts and seeds.

Trickery: Zumpano suggests that you try sneaking in vegetables and protein as often as possible. Zumpano recommends choosing a bean-based pasta and making veggie patties with cheese, eggs nutritional yeast, veggies, and other ingredients. If you are craving rice, try adding some stir-fries to it or riced cauliflower. Because we are often required to sneak healthy foods into our children's meals, this is a great practice in parenthood.

It will be easier for you to fulfill all of your nutrition needs during trimesters 2 and 3 (provided that you aren't feeling bloated all day). You can still use these tips throughout your pregnancy to make sure your baby has the right nutrition.

Recipes For A Vegetarian Pregnancy

These are some recipes that can be used to help you start a healthy eating routine.