There are over 3 million vegetarians in the UK alone and this number continues to rise each year. But, while and more and more people choose to cut out meat, there’s growing concern over whether vegetarians are getting all the nutrients they need.
Knowledge on vegetarianism and vitamins has come a long way in recent years, proving that when done correctly, this diet choice can provide you with more than enough nutrients. When pregnant as a vegetarian, however, you may have to pay closer attention to what you eat.
This guide will take you through how to safely enjoy a healthy vegetarian pregnancy.
Is It Safe To Be Vegetarian While Pregnant?
Don’t believe the rumours and speculations – it is perfectly safe to be vegetarian while pregnant, just as long as your balanced diet continues to contain healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates. These things don’t just exist in meat products! From vegetables to legumes, there are a whole range of meat-free foods packed with nutritional goodness.
How To Get The Right Vitamins During Pregnancy
When going through pregnancy, it’s important to obtain all of the right nutrients for both you and your baby. If you’re vegetarian, it’s crucial to focus on your iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin D levels in particular. This is because these are mainly found in meat and fish, which is not accessible as a vegetarian.
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
As always, there are plenty of other ways to obtain these vitamins. Let’s take a closer look at how to get these golden three.
How To Get Iron
When wondering if vegetarianism is safe while pregnant, most people talk about iron. This is because iron is most commonly found in meat and fish products, but fear not. Vegetarian-friendly sources of iron include:
- Dark green vegetables
- Dried fruit
How To Get Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is essential for energy metabolism, which of course, is important when carrying a baby. Good vegetarian sources of vitamin B12 include:
- Dairy products (milk and cheese)
- Fortified breakfast cereals
How To Get Vitamin D
The great thing about vitamin D is that we get it from sunlight. However, this isn’t always reliable, as the UK sun is not strong enough during the winter months. You might not be spending as much time outside while pregnant either, which is why it’s important to seek alternative sources.
Although vitamin D is found in some foods, this also isn’t that reliable. With this in mind, you should consider taking vitamin D supplements to safeguard your intake and support your pregnancy.
Look After Yourself
Giving your body everything it needs is important through all stages in life, but especially during pregnancy. In terms of nutrients, there are many pregnancy-focused supplements that contain all of the vitamins required to support a healthy pregnancy.
If you are concerned about your diet while pregnant, speak to your doctor or midwife about what’s on your mind. They will be there to help and provide you with lifestyle changes that can help.