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Pregnancy and Veganism: What to Eat for Healthy Baby Development

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Elaine Felicitas · Updated Feb 16, 2023

Pregnancy and Veganism: What to Eat for Healthy Baby Development

More people are looking for alternative diets which support a more sustainable, cleaner, and healthier lifestyle. Veganism becomes an option. However, when it comes to pregnancy, being vegan becomes a concern as there are certain nutrients that can only be found in meats. Learn more about pregnancy and veganism and if it’s ok to be both.

Veganism and Vegetarianism

Some interchange the meaning of veganism with vegetarianism as both abstain from eating meat and poultry. Vegetarianism focuses on eating more plant-based food and can include milk, seafood, and eggs depending on its type.

On the other hand, vegans not only exclude all animal-based food but also refrain from using products made from animals such as bags and shoes. There are certain vitamins and minerals that they might miss out on by not eating meat, but there are more alternatives in the market that make it possible.

While changing diets can be beneficial as it lowers the risk of heart disease with less fat and sugar and more fiber, it is best to consult with a medical professional before changing your diet. There may be some that need to gradually change their diet instead of changing it immediately.

Pregnancy and Veganism

Most of the studies show that there are no adverse effects when the mother chooses to be vegan while carrying a baby. The nutrients needed by the body can be substituted by a plant-based alternative. If the food still lacks the nutritional requirement for pregnancy, there are supplements that can be taken to help meet what is needed by the body.

What needs to be considered, however, is that the same studies show that babies born from vegan mothers also have lower birth weights compared to non-vegan or vegetarian mothers. Also, there is a risk of nutrient deficiencies, especially for those which commonly come from animals. Careful food planning should be done to avoid missing out on the required nutrients to keep your baby healthy.

Nutrients to Watch Out for Vegan Mothers

It is possible for vegan mothers to be lacking in nutrients that are essential for the baby’s growth. Here are some of the nutrients that are essential during pregnancy which can be a challenge for vegan mothers. 

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is only present in animal-based foods so supplements may be needed to avoid nutrient deficiencies. There is also B12 enriched nutritional yeast, which can be added to other foods.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Fish and fish products are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. An alternative to this is to eat chia seeds and flax seeds. It may not be sufficient to receive omega-3 through plant-based foods, so similar to vitamin B12, some people still take supplements to support the body’s needs.


Iron helps in the development of tissue and blood supply for both mothers and babies. These are present in dried fruits, tofu, beans, and dark leafy vegetables. It is great to add vitamin C-rich foods to improve the absorption of iron in the body.

Vitamin D and Calcium

Vitamin D and calcium aid the baby’s bone development. There are not many vegan alternatives for vitamin D but getting a bit of sunshine at the right time can give a little dose of it. Fortified foods and supplements can support what’s lacking in the body.

Whether there’s a deficiency or excess in nutrients during pregnancy, what is important is to make sure that it is a well-balanced meal. 

Key Takeaway

There shouldn’t be much to worry about pregnancy and veganism. There is no direct link that shows that a vegan diet will negatively impact your baby.

However, mothers need to be extra mindful of the food that they eat especially when it comes to deficiencies in vitamin B12, omega 3, and protein. Consult your doctor to help you find the right approach to your diet to keep both mother and baby healthy.

Learn more about Being Pregnant here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jezreel Esguerra, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Elaine Felicitas · Updated Feb 16, 2023

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