This is a very important question. There are a lot of vegetarian woman who worry that they might be neglecting their child, if they do not eat meat during their pregnancy. I want to reassure you and other women like you, that as long as you are mindful and intentional about what you do eat, then your diet is not going to harm your child. On the contrary, by being mindful about your diet, you are going to put your child off to a good start!
For all pregnant women I recommend eating a balanced diet. A quick way to see if you are eating a balanced diet is to look at the proportions of foods you are eating:
â€¢About 1/2 of what you eat should be fruits and vegetables
â€¢About Â¼ of what you eat should be protein from beans, nuts, soy
â€¢And the last Â¼ of what you eat should be everything else, focusing on whole grains, and dairy.
SOME SPECIFIC DIETARY GOALS ARE:
â€¢WATER Staying well hydrated is important. Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day.
â€¢PROTEIN. Make sure you are eating 60g to 75g of protein a day.
â€¢FIBER. 25g to 30g every day. Eating 10 full servings of fruits and vegetables (a serving is the size of your fist) every day will get you your fiber needs. This also helps protect against constipation, which is common in pregnancy.
â€¢FOLIC ACID. Folic acid or Folate is extremely important of proper neural tube development. I recommend all women of child baring age to take 800mcg to 1,000mcg daily, continue to take this much throughout pregnancy.
â€¢IRON. Iron needs increase in pregnancy and anemia is common. I recommend a daily intake of at least 30 mg daily of iron. If you are anemic, you might need more.
â€¢ZINC. Zinc is important in the first trimester. 15 mg a day is the recommended intake. Red meats are one of the best sources of meats, so vegetarians need to make sure they are getting enough through other sources.
â€¢CALCIUM. Adequate calcium intake is important in pregnancy. Take at least 1000 mg daily (1,300 mg if you are under 19 years old) to make sure you are meeting your baby and your calcium needs.
Dr. Jeff M.D.