If you’re vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or don’t eat carbs, you may be wondering if it’s okay to continue with your current diet once you become pregnant. Friends, family, and some doctors will advise you not to cut corners or avoid certain foods during pregnancy so you can ensure your baby grows in the healthiest possible manner without facing risks or complications.
But is it really necessary for you to add meat back into your diet if you’re a vegetarian? If you’re gluten-free, what are you supposed to do if you have celiac disease and can’t eat gluten? Here are tips you can follow if you’re not sure what to do about your diet once you become pregnant.
Staying vegetarian or vegan
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can continue to maintain your diet throughout pregnancy as long as you’re getting the right amount of nutrients needed through certain foods. If you’re vegan, stick to consuming higher amounts of dark leafy greens to boost your calcium intake, and make sure you’re consuming foods that contain high amounts of iron and vitamin B.
You may also want to increase your intake of various seeds and nuts to benefit from healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which help contribute to your baby’s brain, eye, and cardiovascular development. Protein is also essential to your pregnancy diet. Make sure you consume legumes in addition to nuts to get the recommended amount of protein. As long as you’re sticking to eating healthy, whole foods throughout pregnancy, you can continue to maintain a vegetarian or vegan diet. Meat isn’t necessarily essential for your pregnancy diet; it’s more about the vitamins and nutrients you can get regardless of the source.
Keep in mind that foods that contain gluten aren’t necessarily bad for your health unless you suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease. But if you’re insistent on avoiding gluten regardless of whether you have a gluten-related illness or not, you can continue to stay gluten-free throughout pregnancy as long as you’re making up for those nutrients elsewhere in your diet. The key to thriving on a gluten-free pregnancy diet is making sure you consume the needed amount of B vitamins, iron, and fiber. Ideal types of foods you can eat to ensure you’re getting these nutrients are quinoa, green vegetables, and chicken.
Limiting carb intake
Limiting your intake of refined carbohydrates is wise in general if you’re trying to lose weight or just want to maintain your overall health. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates can supply your body with the energy it needs to help your baby grow. Limit your intake of white bread, muffins, pretzels, and pastas, and increase your intake of oats, quinoa, and organic dairy products that lack sugar and additives.
If at any point you’re unsure about the types of foods you should be eating during pregnancy, make an appointment with your OB-GYN, dietitian, or nutritionist to verify whether your current diet is deemed healthy and efficient for both you and baby.
CarePoint Health is dedicated to providing you with the individual care and attention you need so you can relax and focus on what is most important — the birth of your new baby. Contact us today to learn more about our obstetrics and maternity services.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.