If you have a restricted diet, either by choice or for medical reasons, you will probably be more aware than most people of what you eat. However, you may need to make some changes when you are pregnant in order to ensure that you are obtaining the correct nutrients in the correct proportions to meet the nutritional needs of both yourself and your baby.
Vegetarian and vegan diets
It is not true that a vegetarian or vegan diet is bad for your baby. Like any pregnant woman, you need a balanc4ed diet that supplies all the nutrition that you and your baby require and you only need to make a few changes to your normal eating habits.
Meat, fish and dairy food supply protein, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. To get the correct balance from a vegan or vegetarian diet simply takes a little ingenuity.
Essential Amino Acids
Proteins are made up of substances called amino acids, eight of which cannot be manufactured in the body and are called essential amino acids. Vegetarians who eat dairy products and eggs will get all eight from these foods.
Apart from buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, soya beans and soya based products such as tofu, no single plant source of protein contains all the essential amino acids, so non-dairy vegetarians and vegans need to ensure that they eat a mixture of each type every day.
You can boost your iron absorption from plant sources, such as beans, lentils, nuts, breads, fortified breakfast, cereals, pasta, spinach, watercress and dried fruits by eating them with foods rich in Vitamin c, such as glass of orange juice. Egg also contains iron.
Essential Fatty acids
Sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, linseed and walnuts are all rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Sesame and sunflower seeds, linseed and walnuts also provide Omega-6 fatty acids.
Food Allergies: If you suffer a food allergy or intolerance, you should avoid eating the food in question while you are pregnant or breast-feeding because you could pass on the allergy to your baby.
If the baby’s father, anyone in your immediate families or any of your older children has eczema, asthma, hay fever or a medically diagnosed food allergy, avoid peanuts and foods containing them, while you are pregnant or breast-feeding.