Just because a woman becomes pregnant does not necessarily mean she has to alter all of her eating habits. If she lives off of take out Chinese food and Oreos, it should be changed, but if she's determined to live a healthy and well balanced vegetarian lifestyle, it can easily be incorporated into her new pregnancy diet.
The most important thing when choosing what to eat when pregnant is putting foods into the body that will be healthy and nutrient rich. Many times vegetarians are acutely aware of everything that they put into their bodies and oftentimes already have a healthy outlook on diet and eating. Eating a variety of vegetables can do nothing but good for both mommy and baby as long as the basic nutritional values for the day are met. Some guidelines to follow are:
– Iron: Eat lots of leafy green vegetables, along with bran, nuts, and seeds to obtain the daily recommended values.
– Vitamin B: This is most often found in dairy products so chances are you getting enough without even realizing it; wheat germ, beans, whole grains, eggs, and cheese are all sources of Vitamin B.
– Calcium: The best way to get calcium, which is essential for a healthy pregnancy, is through dairy or soy products. Calcium supplements are also a good alternative.
– Folic Acid: This can be obtained by eating nuts, dairy products, and yeast.
– Protein: Beans, nuts, seeds, and soy all contain hardy doses of protein.
While everyone knows that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, the American Dietetic Association recommends that a pregnant mother increase her fruit and vegetable servings from five to seven a day. Fat content should also be limited as much as possible, and any food with poor nutritional value should always be avoided.
There are also some natural solutions available for the mother who is not keen on taking a supplement:
– Energy levels can be naturally increased by eating more legumes and whole grains.
– Milk production can be increased by certain teas, such as raspberry.
– Drinking ginger tea can relieve feelings of nausea and morning sickness.
– Increasing fiber by eating whole grains can reduce any problems of constipation.
It's important when pregnant to discuss any diet with a doctor. While a vegetarian diet may be a healthy option most of the time, only the doctor knows if there are certain things that should be avoided as each pregnancy is different.