I am no vegetarian, not by a long shot. Before I got pregnant I was a big Bacon buttie fan, chicken was one of the main things I ate, and a nice bit of steak was always the top of my list when I was going out for a meal.
But, since I found out I was pregnant 5 weeks ago (plus another 2 weeks previous as I wasn't feeling well before I found out I was pregnant which was the reason I toom the test in the first place!), just the look of meat sends me running to the bathroom, I cannot go into a Supermarkets meat sections without wanting to be sick. I was really worried about going off meat during pregnancy, worried that the baby wasn't going to be getting the right vitamins etc as I wasn't eating any meat, or rarely any meat anyway!
I am now 11 weeks gone, and I still find it very hard to stomach any meat, probably now more to do with the fact it's been so long since I ate any! I can just about eat meat when it is in something like a curry, but chicken is the worst making me want to throw up just at the sound of the name!!!
The reason I am writing on here under this heading is because when I stopped eating meat, my mind was whirring that my poor baby would be under nourished and I was a bad mum for it. BUT, for all of you ladies out there with precious loads, whether you're vegetarian by choice, by medical advice/necessity, or if you're like me and find it hard to stomach meat whilst pregnant (it is apparently quite common in early pregnancy), I would like you all to know that this is NOT the case.
You may get snotty remarks for been a veggie during pregnancy for whatever reasons, you may get the odd sly remark that "oooh that can't be good for the baby", especially from the older generation, I want you to know that they're not right, the baby is perfectly happy in there! So long as you eat HEALTHILY and not stupidly (i.e. just because your veggie doesn't mean all you can eat is a carrot and some veg). Make sure you are getting a good amount of ALL the food catagories.
Take pregnancy supplements, never buy "multi vitamins" as these contain Vitamin A which you should try to stay away from in pregnancy as it can be bad for the baby, so you should always choose Pregnancy Supplements which you can buy from Supermarkets or places like Holland and Barrat. They contain everything you need during pregnancy to ensure the baby is getting all the vitamins it needs, now of course this isn't all you need to do, but it sure does help, and means that even if you're not eating much in pregnancy due to morning sickness that you and the baby are both getting the vitamins you need, they also include your daily amount of Folic Acid, and they don't cost too much! (I got two boxes of 30 tablets from Asda for £4 for the two boxes which isn't too bad! Especially as it's mainly the first 12 weeks when you need to take them).
Eating lots of pasta and rice is great during pregnancy for any woman, but perfect for veggie mummy's as it means you can have a nice mushroom risotto which not only tastes delish but is great for the baby!
If you aren't eating meat during pregnany then you need to get protein from somewhere, protein is essential for the baby. It ensures the development of the cells meaning the heart, lungs etc etc need protein to develop properly. The main place to get protein from is of course meat, as well as milk, fish and nuts. A good supplement to meat is tofu, quorn, pulses and beans so just substitute the meat in recipes for any of the above!
Drinking lots of milk and eating eggs (making sure they are cooked through!) is also a great way of getting protein into your system!
Now I know this is probably telling all you long term veggies nothing new, but for women out there who are like me, who feel sick at the look/smell/taste of meat during their pregnancies, know that it won't affect your unborn baby so long as you subsitute the meat for sensible things like lentils, nuts, beans (this can be Kidney, Harrico etc etc not just baked beans in tomato sauce!) and maybe even tofu or quorn but if you are put off the smell of cooking meat then this may not be the best option for you.
I do hope this helps people out there like me, and I hope it lets you know that been veggie isn't bad for your baby!
I am another mother who has been Vegetarian for many years and then had children whilst still following a vegetarian lifestyle. I did not find much opposition to my diet whilst I was pregnant. (The only time was a discussion with my consultant about blood transfusions……I did not want a meat eaters blood…but luckily I did not need a transfusion!) If you are a vegetarian and are planning a family, (or indeed already pregnant) then you should pay even closer attention to your diet. Naturally, Dooyoo’s opinions are a good start, but a book aimed at Veggie mums is a necessity. I suggest Sarah Brown’s book as that is the one I found the most useful. I saw my ‘job’ during pregnancy as eating a well balanced and nutritious diet, therefore giving my children the best start in life. This is a time when you will pass the effects of your diet onto your children. So I have tried to outline some of the parts of my diet that I paid attention to whilst I was pregnant. These are a few of the areas of my diet that I paid attention to: - Energy (calories) During the last two trimesters your intake needs to increase by about 300 calories. This is best achieved with unrefined and wholefood, nothing fancy just wholewheat pasta and pesto sauce or homemade flapjacks are the type of food that I ate. Protein In this food group you will find amino acids, which have caused some debate in this section. I do not fully understand how they work, but proteins build and repair cells throughout the body, so food containing protein is definitely essential! Tofu, wholewheat bread and baked beans on toast all contain protein. (If my memory has not failed me completely then all but one of the amino acids are found in baked beans on toast…. but I am sure someone more knowledgeable will correct me.) Vitamins and Minerals Different ones do different things, but if you eat plenty of
fresh fruit and veg then all the hard work is for these is done. Natural and wholefoods are excellent sources, but try making your own vegetable juice. That way you can make it to suit your taste, include veg such as carrot, celery, beetroot, or cabbage. Calcium This is necessary for helping your baby to develop strong teeth, bones and skin. Calcium is best absorbed when your body is rich with Vitamin D and Boron, the latter is found in apples. A good source of calcium is hummus, or again vegetable juice. Cheese and milk are a good source, but there are many other foodstuffs that are nutritionally better. Folic Acid An increase in folic acid before and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy has shown to reduce the risks of spina bifida. Folic acid can be found in green leafy veg, such as spinach. Iron This is necessary to form new blood cells for mum and her growing child. It is needed to form blood and for carrying oxygen in the blood. A lack of iron can cause anaemia, but being vegetarian does not mean you are more likely to have a lack iron while pregnant. Women are all different and therefore differ greatly at absorbing iron, so eat iron rich foods with foods rich in Vitamin C, as this vitamin helps the body to absorb more of the iron. Iron rich foods that I indulged on were dried apricots, red kidney beans and the good old baked bean! A well balanced and healthy diet was essential for me and my children, as all three were premature. This meant that they needed all the extra help that I could give them before they were born. I now have healthy children and I do not know whether this down to ensuring that I ate a well balanced diet. But I believe that I did all that I could to ensure they had a fighting chance. What I am really trying to say is…..all pregnant women should ensure that they are eating as healthy as possible. The more refined the food you eat is, the less good
ness your body can extract from it. Get yourself clued up on the facts about the food you eat and then you can feel satisfied that you gave your children the best start that you could possibly provide.
I have been a vegetarian for a good many years now and I remained so all through my pregnancy and breast feeding. My daughter is now 10 months old and physically and mentally very advanced, in fact she is standing independantly, is about to walk and can understand a couple of dozen words already. I think that any poor diet during pregnancy can damage a baby, that is not an issue. What is at question is whether a vegetarian diet is a poor one. It is a medical fact that we need certain nutrients during our lives and especially during pregnancy. A good dietician could tell you what they are and in what quantities. During my pregnancy I sought out this information and made sure that I included ALL of what my baby needed in my diet, both during pregnancy and breastfeeding. If more mothers, meat eaters and vegetarians alike, would do this then our children would be a lot healthier. Another big factor is the introduction of toxins to the unborn baby. Many a smoking mum to be asked me "are you doing the right thing?". Not only smoking is dangerous, but the toxins present in meat, introduced by modern farming methods BSE and 'foot and mouth' are just the high profile failure of such methods. My message is simple, omit all harmful toxins (smoking ,alcohol,caffine etc), and simply give your baby the nutrients it needs and, whatever your diet, you will be giving your baby the best start.
I am currently the manager of a group home for Developmentally Disabled adults. There are 4 men in our home whose Mother's were strict vegetarians. One is of Indian descent. All of these gentlemen suffered from malnutrition while in their Mother's womb. They all have intelligence scores of before 48, which means their brains stopped learning at approximately age 6. They unfortunately are the way they are because of a decision that their Mother's made when pregnant. I have been in this field for 7 years, and have come across many cases where the children were malnourished because of a vegetarian diet, and they are the ones who suffer because of it. Your child has no choice in the matter. They depend upon you to take proper care of yourself while pregnant. Now these men are not even with their families, they have been in group homes and institutions most of their lives. Their Mother's decided to follow a vegetarian diet while pregnant, but when the child was born did not choose to take care of and raise the child that they gave birth to because the child was not "normal"! Don't do this to our child, PLEASE!