Vegetarian and pregnant

If you are vegetarian, vegan or allergic to dairy products, you need to discuss with your doctor the best way for you to obtain adequate levels of iron, calcium and vitamin B12, in particular, as you may well be deficient in one or all of these elements. Vitamin B12 naturally only exists naturally in animal products, although it is found in yeast extract spreads and fortified cereals. If you are a vegan, you may need to take supplements during pregnancy and while you are breastfeeding.

For a vegan diet you can combine different plants proteins in order to receive your full complement of essential amino acids. For example, a handful of nuts or a portion of peas can be combined with a serving of rice or sweetcorn. To ensure you have enough iron, eat extra portion of haricot beans, cereals and dried fruits such as apricots, raisins and prunes.

If you are a vegetarian, you should eat more dairy products and eggs to ensure you keep up your intake of proteins, vitamin B12, calcium and iron.

Note: Vegan vs. Vegetarian: vegans eliminate all animal products from their diet, including dairy and eggs. Those following a vegan lifestyle generally do not wear leather and avoid products made from animals such as wool, silk and down. Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or poultry but they tend to consume dairy products and eggs. Lacto-vegetarians consume dairy products but not eggs, ovo-vegetarians eat eggs but not dairy products and lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat eggs as well as dairy products. Vegetarians also do not eat products that contain gelatine or other meat-based products.

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