Vegan Pregnancy Supplements
When I first announced that I was going to have a vegan pregnancy, and raise a vegan baby, I was met with some negativity. People would say that children "need animal protein and dairy" for protein and calcium. Having a vegan baby would "make the baby weak" and not allow him to have all of the nutrients that he needs to be healthy. Honestly, I felt hesitant about the whole thing. I said things like, I will be vegan unless I NEED something to keep the baby healthy, which is of course true, but I was thinking that maybe the neigh sayers were right. Maybe mothers did need meat, and children did need animal products? I've never been pregnant before and I'm certainly not a doctor!
I found vegan prenatal vitamins that are neurologically advanced from Best Nest Wellness. Best Nest is owned by a female doctor and you need to read up on the company because it's really incredible. It is recommended that all pregnant women take prenatal vitamins, especially in the first trimester when the baby's spinal cord is forming. These vitamins were great for me! I never felt sick, and they also really helped with the first trimester fogginess that had taken over my brain. I've never enjoyed taking a vitamin, but I genuinely loved these.
I started doing what I assume every first-time pregnant woman does; Researching what the next 9 (really 10) months would bring. I bought books, read blogs, talked to friends, and searched for answers everywhere! My first pro-vegan pregnancy clue came when I started reading about food aversions. Most pregnant women get sick from eating meat and dairy when pregnant. Well, I guess I don't have to worry about that! Then, I read about the dangerous foods to avoid. I would have to cut out soft cheeses, deli meat, sushi, oysters... Oh, wait. I don't eat any of that shit. Great! It seemed like a vegan diet for pregnant women would be the most obvious choice for all pregnant women, right?
I began researching what pregnant women needed to be healthy. Folic Acid, which comes from leafy green vegetables, broccoli, beans, strawberries, oranges, etc. Calcium, which you get from chia seeds, leafy green vegetables, fortified juices, plant milks, etc. Iron, which you can get from chia seeds, spinach, dried fruit, dried beans, etc. Protein, of which you need at least 71 grams daily. Wow! That seems like a lot. Thankfully, 8 ounces of chia has 60.16 grams of protein. 1 Beyond Bratwurst has 21 grams of protein. 1 cup of edamame has 20 grams of protein. 2 tablespoons of peanut butter has 7 grams of protein. 100 calories of beef has 6.4 grams of protein, while 100 calories of broccoli has 11.1 grams of protein! Okay, getting enough protein while vegan would not be as difficult as it originally sounded!
I had an old bag of chia seeds that I never really got around to using. Well, one time I made a coconut chia seed pudding, but I never ate it because I don't like pudding. Instead, I decided to just start sprinkling chia seeds on everything. I did not have the energy, especially in the first trimester to make ANYTHING! Instead, I sprinkled dry chia on top of baked potatoes, peanut butter toast, vegan ice cream, chili tots... Everything! And it was so great because I also felt less guilty eating vegan junk food since I was getting iron, protein, and calcium from the chia! #Winning An added bonus is that chia helps absorb acid and prevents heartburn! Don't just eat dry heaps of chia, though. It does produce a gelatinous substance and can cause blockage if you just shovel it in by itself. I've never had any issues eating it dry, sprinkled with other foods!
I told my new OB/Gyn that I was vegan and he didn't try to change my mind on the subject, which I found to be very refreshing! I told him that I had taken my vegan prenatal for the first trimester, but I ran out and after reading that most vitamins had been scientifically disproven to do anything, felt like I shouldn't have to continue taking prenatal vitamins. He laughed and said, "No, you're vegan. You're getting way more nutrients than most of my patients. There's no reason for you to take vitamins." GASP! Please keep in mind that my doctor is not vegan and he is a legitimate, works in a hospital in downtown Nashville, real doctor. If my doctor thought that I was healthy, surely my baby and I were going to be okay.
I have gained the recommended amount of weight throughout my pregnancy. My blood pressure is completely normal. I have no swelling. I've experienced zero morning sickness. I haven't had any mood swings or even wild food cravings. However, I do have an anterior placenta, but it hasn't affected my ability to feel the baby move. He kicks CONSTANTLY and HARD! Like, really fucking hard. They say that lots of movement is a sign of good neurological development. So, there is a very strong vegan baby inside of me, despite what the critics say. I don't take any vitamins or supplements, and I would encourage all of my other vegan mommas out there to do the same. Try to listen to your body and find foods that complete your diet, instead of pills, if you can help it.
Listen, pregnancy is scary, no matter who you are. Even though everything with my pregnancy has been great up until this point, that doesn't mean that something won't go wrong tomorrow with my baby. That's life, and that's the risk that we all have to take as mothers. I just wanted to share my experiences so far with you, because it is possible to have an extremely positive pregnancy, and a ridiculously strong, active baby without ever eating animal products. However you decide to have your pregnancy will be perfect for you and your baby!
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