It can be difficult enough trying to get all of your nutrients when choosing a vegan lifestyle but throw pregnancy into the mix and the prospect seems downright impossible. Luckily, just like multivitamins can supplement a meatless diet, vegan prenatal vitamins have exactly what the body needs to help both mom and child through that challenging time. While traditional prenatal options may have additives you’d like to avoid, the vegan options ensure you’re following your diet while contributing to a healthy and stress-free pregnancy!
Who Needs Prenatal Vitamins?
The decision to have a baby is an important one, especially if you live with a nutrient-compromised diet. As the fetus develops, it requires certain vitamins and minerals that the female body already doesn’t have in abundance. In order to make sure the little one gets what it needs, a prenatal supplement is often suggested by regular doctors and OBGYNs alike. These necessary compounds include:
- Folic Acid: Necessary for proper brain and spinal cord development, taking supplements helps to avoid birth defects such as anencephaly and spina bifida.
- Iron: Extra iron helps transport well-oxygenated blood to your baby, and aids in avoiding premature births.
- Calcium: As your baby grows, it needs to get the calcium for its bones from somewhere. As it takes it directly from the mother, vegan prenatal vitamins help to restore balance.
Having a baby grow and develop in the womb literally takes a lot out of the parent. With prenatal vitamin supplements, you can stave off some of the negative effects while contributing to the baby’s health.
Do Vegans Need Vitamins?
No matter the reasons you choose a vegan lifestyle, it is still difficult to keep up with all of the nutrients your body needs. A vegetable-rich diet gives you an abundance of vitamins and minerals, but it becomes necessary to turn to specific foods just to get the same nutrients that meats provide. Some of the compounds that are missing in a vegan lifestyle are essential during pregnancy, too!
A vegan prenatal vitamin can replace a lot of what’s missing from a vegetable-based eating program. Vitamin D and B12 are necessary for bone, muscle, and brain health along with preventing some forms of anemia. Zinc is another important nutrient, and a vegetable-rich diet actually prevents its absorption. Multivitamins add an extra amount of the mineral to combat this. As far as pregnancy goes, a good prenatal supplement provides the calcium, iron, and folic acid you and your baby need as well.
Why Vegan Prenatal Vitamins?
Choosing the vegan lifestyle means supplementing nutrients to make up for the biological necessity for meat, that much is evident. While it would seem logical that any multivitamin should do the trick, not all are safe for vegans to use. Some supplements actually incorporate animal byproducts into their formulas, leading you to inadvertently break your diet! Some of the more egregious compounds that are slipped into vitamin production include:
- Gelatin is generally used as a filler and is traditionally sourced from animal proteins.
- Magnesium stearate is another filler that usually comes from animals but there are vegetarian sources as well.
- Lanolin is often found in creams and Vitamin D supplements and comes from sheep’s wool
- Carmine, or Red-4, is a dye created from crushed insects
- Honey and other bee products are often used thanks to their health benefits and binding properties.
Choosing vegan prenatal vitamins helps you to avoid taking in unnecessary animal products that are often used to bulk up pills and capsules. If it doesn’t directly say vegan on the label, look at the ingredients list for some of these sneaky inclusions and you’re sure to stay on your preferred diet.
As you move forward with pregnancy plans, it’s important to note that building up reserves of some nutrients is always a good idea. Many obstetricians suggest starting prenatal vitamins before you even get pregnant to help prepare your body for the ordeal. Specifically, look for supplements that provide calcium and B12 to bolster your bone strength and keep you energized throughout the day.
In addition to taking vegan prenatal supplements, there are plenty of nutrient-rich foods to help boost their effects while also giving you a healthy diet! When filling your plate, choose legumes such as beans, peas, and peanuts for plant-based proteins. Whole grain cereals are rich in B vitamins, and fermented foods such as kimchi and kombucha are excellent sources of probiotics to promote gut health.
The Possibilities of Vegan Pregnancy
Deciding to have a baby is a big step, especially when there are already nutritional concerns due to a vegan diet. Even so, choosing the proper prenatal vitamin will help fill those dietary gaps, supplementing the necessary vitamins and minerals that both you and your baby need. With the right supplements, it’s completely possible to have an untroubled pregnancy while still staying true to your dietary values.