A lot of vegetarian women who are planning on getting pregnant anytime soon worry about encountering uncontrollable cravings — it’s not unlikely for a vegetarian who is in the family way to be drawn to steak, burgers, hot dogs and many others most especially during the first trimester.
Well, experts say that it’s completely normal, and it all boils down to how strong-willed a woman is. But just in case she gives in, no one’s judging!
But there’s a far more serious matter that vegetarian women who like to become moms soon are worried about, and that’s the health and safety of the growing and developing babies in their wombs.
Actually, giving birth to perfectly healthy babies is very much possible, experts confirmed, provided that careful planning is done.
Everyone knows very well that someone who is pregnant is eating for two — whatever it is that she puts in her mouth she also puts in the mouth of the baby in her belly.
Needless to say, it’s very important for her to have well-balanced meals every single time to ensure that her baby is getting all the nutrients it requires until such time it’s ready to face the outside world — nutritional deficiencies can lead to disastrous consequences such as serious birth defects.
It’s not uncommon for vegetarian women to worry that their babies may not be getting all the nutrients they need since they are opting for a diet that is devoid of meat and other foods that are from animal sources.
For instance, two of the most important nutrients that a woman who is in the family way needs to have are iron and vitamin B12 — iron is vital for the production of red blood cells or RBCs, while vitamin B12 is crucial for the proper development of a baby’s nervous system.
According to experts, vegetarians are highly susceptible to being deficient in both iron and vitamin B12 since they can be found mostly in animal food products.
While it’s true that there are plant sources of the said nutrients, not a lot of them are in existence. What’s more, the very few plant sources of iron and vitamin B12 available usually do not contain plenty of these nutrients.
But with careful planning, however, experts agree that nutritional deficiencies can be kept from happening while a vegetarian woman is in the family way, thus enabling her to have a completely healthy pregnancy and eventually give birth to a perfectly healthy baby.
One of the things that she may do to ensure that both she and her baby are getting plenty of iron for optimum RBC synthesis is by adding generous amounts of iron-rich grains, legumes, nuts and seeds to her daily diet.
For superb iron absorption, she should consume them with foods that contain good amounts of vitamin C — experts say that vitamin C promotes better absorption of iron. Similarly, she should avoid having coffee and tea with meals as they can impede absorption of iron.
In order to obtain plenty of vitamin B12 vital for proper nervous system development, a vegetarian woman should add to her diet shiitake mushrooms, nori, soy milk and fortified cereals.
Aside from making sure that her every meal is well-balanced, a vegetarian woman who likes to become an expecting mom sooner or later should ask her doctor about supplementing with iron and vitamin B12.
If she still has doubts in her mind, it’s a good idea for her to momentarily quit being a vegetarian while she’s in the family way, and then simply resume her diet of choice after giving birth. While pregnant, it’s not just a woman’s health that should be taken into account but also that of the growing and developing baby in her belly.