If you’re on a plant-based diet and pregnant (or planning to), finding just the right vegan prenatal vitamins are a must!
Prenatal vitamins are especially vital for vegans because they help bridge the gap of any potential nutrient deficiencies.
But just because you’re not eating any animal products or animal by-products doesn’t mean you can’t have a perfectly healthy pregnancy.
A plant-based diet can be exceptionally healthy for mama and baby to be, as long as you’re mindful of your daily vitamin and mineral intake.
“What Are Prenatal Vitamins?” gives a great overview of the nutrients you need during pregnancy.
Let’s take a look at the specific nutrients vegan mamas should be on the lookout for in their prenatal pills.
What To Look For In Vegan Prenatal Vitamins
Image via Mom Loves Best
Being vegan, you’re at a slight disadvantage when it comes to getting in your daily dose of nutritious baby goodness.
Don’t let this discourage you, though!
You just need to keep a few things in mind while searching for a vegan prenatal pill.
1. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is an exceptional nutrient and so necessary for a healthy pregnancy.
B12 plays a crucial role in making DNA and keeping your blood cells and nerves in tip top shape.
A deficiency in this water-soluble vitamin may lead to major problems for both mother and baby.
A lack of B12 could result in neural tube defects, anemia, preeclampsia, early miscarriage, and intrauterine growth retardation.
So we need to avoid these at all costs!
However, the best sources of B12 are found in milk, cheese, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish.
Notice the problem here?
They’re all animal foods aka NOT vegan friendly.
This is why it’s especially important to find a prenatal pill with a sufficient amount of B12.
During pregnancy, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin B12 is: 2.6 micrograms (mcg).
Boost your daily levels by eating fortified foods like almond milk, coconut milk, and some breakfast cereals and bars.
Image via VegKitchen
Iron is another very important mineral.
This special mineral helps support proper placental and fetal growth and development.
It’s also needed to support the high demand of red blood cells that are responsible for the vital transportation of oxygen.
Foods rich in iron are eggs, lean red meat (especially beef), poultry, tuna, and salmon.
Again, another hurdle for plant-based eaters.
Luckily, it can be found in vegan friendly foods such as:
- Grains: Oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, fortified cereals
- Legumes: Lima beans, lentils, edamame (green soy beans), snap peas, tofu, tempeh
- Nuts and seeds: Pumpkin, almonds, cashews, pecans, pine, sunflower, walnuts, and macadamia
- Veggies: Pureed tomatoes, asparagus, spinach, swiss chard, sweet potatoes, collard greens
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Iron is 27 mg in the 1st trimester and 30 mg in the 2nd & 3rd trimesters.
Iron is a trace mineral, so you’re body doesn’t need large doses of it.
Too much iron can actually lead to iron toxicity and health problems.
So make sure you don’t get more than 45 mg of iron per day.
Calcium is a multi-functional mineral needed by mama and baby.
It’s necessary for baby because it supports the growth and development of their bones and teeth and nervous, muscular, and circulatory systems.
A sufficient amount is needed for mommy because calcium is taken from her bones and transferred to the fetus.
This makes you more susceptible to calcium loss.
Foods rich in calcium are: Milk, cheese, yogurt, and some fish such as salmon and sardines.
Again, we’re faced with another minor animal related obstacle.
But not to worry!
Just make sure your vegan prenatal vitamins have a sufficient amount of calcium.
The RDA for Calcium during pregnancy is 1,000 mg.
The Upper Limit or the maximum daily amount is 2,500 mg.
There are plenty of vegan friendly options to help boost your calcium levels.
Calcium rich vegan foods:
- Seeds – sesame, poppy, celery, and chia seeds
- Beans and lentils
- Dark leafy greens – spinach, kale, collard greens
- Fortified foods – cereals, breads, and milk substitutes
There’s no need to fret if you’re following a plant-based diet before or during pregnancy.
Just be mindful of your daily nutrient levels and keep an eye out for areas you may be lacking.
And make sure to find vegan prenatal vitamins that check all of your boxes.
Especially for Vitamin B12, Calcium, and Iron, since vegan mommies are more susceptible to deficiencies in these areas.
Utilize your perfect vegan prenatal pill and eat a wide variety of fresh, plant-based foods for you and baby to be nothing but a bundle of health and joy!