Knowing what tiny bit I know about Alicia Silverstone and her passion for healthy vegan eating , I have a feeling she’s done her homework on pregnancy and nutrition. A vegan diet should be absolutely fine during pregnancy.
There are many health benefits to eating tons of real vegetables and fruits, it’s bound to benefit women like Alicia Silverstone who decide to go through pregnancy meat and diary-free. These tend to be people who have paid a lot of attention to a good, clean diet of real (not processed) food. There are huge advantages to that right off the bat.
But there are some dietary needs vegan and vegetarian women should be aware of during their childbearing years.
Women who don’t eat meat tend to have lower body stores of Vitamin B 12. A pregnant woman who is deficient in B12 is at a greater risk for pre-eclampsia and other pregnancy-related complications. There is also increased risk for neural tube defects in the fetus. There are supplements and B12 shots that can be given to women before or around conception and tests can be done to measure B12 levels.
Sometimes vegans have low iron, too. But so do non-vegans. Pregnancy anemia can be helped with an iron-rich diet and supplements. Vegetarians often get an earful about how much protein they will need. But it doesn’t have to come from meat. In fact, a good number of meat-eating women find they are completely repulsed my meat during pregnancy and do perfectly fine with other sources of protein.
If you’re planning on going through pregnancy and breastfeeding as a vegan or vegetarian read up on foods that can be most beneficial to you now– here’s one place to start–and talk to your doctor of midwife about your diet.
I’ll be curious to see if Ms. Silverstone writes a sequel to her Kind Food recipe book: Kind Food For Mothers And Babies. For now it seems she’ll be making do with Your Vegetarian Pregnancy, a book she promotes on her blog The Kind Life.