May 5, 2023

Pregnancy & Vegan Dieting

Benefits of veganism for vegan moms and social tips on how to navigate around criticism

It is normal for pregnant women to have concerns about their vitamin and nutrient intake.

The bottom line is: There is no risk imposed for the baby nor the expectant by following a balanced vegan diet, and all needs can be covered if done correctly.

A vegan diet can be healthily maintained at all ages, including pregnancy, infancy and old age.

Photo by Matilda Wormwood

Visit activeplantbased for professional help and plant-based nutrition training.

It is important to note, however, that a pregnant woman’s diet (vegan or otherwise) is best to be adjusted and optimised in a way that will provide her and the baby with the necessary nutrients. That is true during pregnancy and after the baby is delivered, especially while you’re breastfeeding.

Not only is a balanced vegan diet safe both for the mother and the child, but it can also greatly benefit them!

Advantages for both you and your child

  • Your risk of infection significantly lowers since you do not consume products like milk, eggs, meat, poultry or fish.
  • A plant-based diet is associated with less weight gain than in pregnant women following an omnivore diet.
  • Women have less frequently reported postpartum depression following a vegan diet.
  • Plant foods are high in micronutrients whilst also being low in calories, making it easy for you to absorb all the necessary nutrients.

Important note

Choosing to raise your child vegan will favour their physical health and teach them about compassion, respect and love for animals, the planet, and other human beings. Still, always consult with your doctor first for possible health needs your child may have.

Tips and advice for when people criticise you

Living vegan, realistically, often comes with being criticised for your food choices and beliefs, especially when it comes to vegan parenting and what non-vegan people often see as imposing your beliefs on your child.

People often give vegan parents unsolicited advice or strong accusations. While some of that, especially if it is from a loved one, comes from them caring about your and your child’s wellbeing, it can be mentally strenuous having to always fight back and prove yourself.

Suppressing your thoughts and emotions isn’t good either, so here is what you can try instead.

  1. Acceptance: Accept the fact that not all people perceive the world the way you do, and think about the fact that people’s views often vary. If it helps, keep in mind that it all comes from concern and try to see things from their point of view. Try this sentence: “I am thankful for your advice, and I know it comes from a place of concern for the baby, but I have researched lots, spoken to my doctor (hopefully), and I have consulted a nutritionist. I wouldn’t do anything that harms my child. In fact, I think this is healthier, which is why I choose to do it.”
  2. Communication: Depending on your relationship with them and their willingness to receive information about the subject, you can try communicating your reasons and try to break through any misconceptions about veganism.
  3. Agreeing to disagree: Knowing when it is best to remove yourself from the conversation and move forward will save a lot of your time and energy. If someone isn’t willing to listen, don’t try to make them.
  4. Staying true to your values: Make sure to set boundaries and stand up for what you believe in. And while it’s important to be open to different opinions, it’s also important to stay firm on your beliefs. You can politely but assertively explain your beliefs, present evidence to support them, and allow for civil debates, or choose not to engage in any conversation.
  5. Keep it a secret, or don’t tell the truth: When acceptance, communication, agreeing to disagree and standing up for yourself don’t work, there is another way out. In my humble opinion, protecting yourself from stress while pregnant is also a healthy choice for you and for your child. For people you do not know well, you can simply avoid answering a question, though that often indicates an answer in itself, or plainly — don’t tell the truth. When it comes to protecting one’s own headspace, I can appreciate the freedom of lying. I’m not encouraging you to lie, but the truth isn’t the best option at all times, either, and I’m merely pointing out that it is an option.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide how best to handle the situation.

Final point

If you want to raise your child vegan, do not let other people’s attitudes or comments discourage you. Remain confident in your decision and let your actions and the overall well-being of you and your little one speak for themselves. Surround yourself with other pregnant, vegan mothers and get the support of your nutritionist or dietitian so you don’t feel alone because you’re not alone. :)

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