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Melinda Johnson, RD

Pregnant Vegetarian Diet?

I'm a vegetarian. How can I make sure I’m getting the nutrition that baby and I need?

Put your worries aside, mama. It’s fully possible to eat a vegetarian diet during pregnancy and deliver all the nutrients your baby needs to grow and develop. Like other mamas-to-be, you need to ensure you’re getting enough calories and nutrients (especially protein) from a variety of food. “Being vegetarian is no big deal,” assures Melinda Johnson, MS, RD, Director, Didactic Program in Dietetics at Arizona State University and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Since you don’t eat animal protein, you’ll need to include plant-based proteins such as beans, soy, seeds, nuts, and eggs (if you eat them) in your daily diet.” That’s probably not much different from what you usually do.

If you eat fish, make sure to get two servings a week of canned light tuna, salmon or another low-mercury seafood. If you don’t eat fish, Johnson recommends you take a prenatal vitamin that contains DHA. If you’re vegan, you may need additional supplements, too. Talk to your OB or a registered dietitian to get a personalized eating plan. 

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