I just learned that I’m 6 weeks pregnant! Is there a good vitamin supplement for vegan pregnancy?
First and foremost, I like to stress that women of child-bearing age who could potentially become pregnant should attempt to eat a well-balanced vegan diet because one’s nutrition status pre-pregnancy is just as important as during pregnancy. Fetal development draws on certain nutrient stores, like calcium, already within your body before becoming pregnant, while other nutrients are dependent upon the mother’s daily intake, like vitamin B12, while pregnant. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for nearly every micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) increases during pregnancy to reflect the additional needs of the fetus and to replenish maternal stores.
There are several brands of vegan prenatal vitamins on the market. I do not recommend one over the other. Personally, I have found that many pregnant women eating a nutritionally-dense vegan diet can meet the majority of their micronutrient needs, but there are always exceptions. Calcium is one of the nutrients I encourage all moms-to-be to be aware of in their day-to-day food choices. Again, baby is using your calcium stores to develop his/her own bones—so you need to replenish! Vitamin B12 needs to always, always, always be supplemented or consumed daily via fortified foods. No exceptions—ya hear me?! When it comes to iron, I personally do not recommend supplementation unless iron levels are determined low by lab testing. This is something that should be discussed with your physician.
Additionally, severe morning sickness and poor nutritional intake can warrant a prenatal vitamin. That being said, I know women who have wonderful diets who take prenatal vitamins essentially for peace of mind. Others may opt to only supplement specific nutrients in which they may be more likely to fall short. I encourage you to just be aware of what is in the supplement as not all prenatal vitamins are the same in terms of contents. Some may have several times the RDA, and I am typically not one to say more is better when discussing supplementation. Other prenatal vitamins may leave out certain nutrients altogether. At the end of the day, I will always recommend meeting with a dietitian who ideally specializes in plant-based nutrition and can provide one-on-one advice about your personal dietary needs during this major life change.
Disclaimer: Although Anya Todd, R.D. and Kara Rienzo, R.D.N. are registered dietitians, the nutrition content provided on GenerationVeggie.org is for educational and informational purposes only. Any or all changes to your diet and lifestyle should always first be discussed with your professional healthcare providers. GenerationVeggie.org assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequences resulting directly or indirectly from any action or inaction you take based on the information found on or material linked to on this website.
Posted in Advice Columns, Everyday Nutrition, Pregnancy