Is it safe to have a vegetarian or vegan diet during pregnancy?
It is important to eat healthily during pregnancy. If you have a varied and balanced vegetarian or vegan diet, you should have all the nutrients you and your baby need.
Vegetarians typically avoid meat and fish, but eat eggs, dairy products and all plant-based foods. Vegans typically eat only plant-based foods. Individuals may however eat different combinations of foods within these definitions.
It is important to plan your diet carefully, to make sure you are getting enough nutrients that are found in large amounts in animal or dairy products. This might mean you need to change the amount of certain foods that are included in your diet.
A vegetarian diet that includes a good variety of foods will get you all the energy and nutrients you need. Meat and fish replacements that provide a good range of nutrients include:
- beans and lentils
- soya foods such as tofu
- quorn, textured vegetable protein and tempeh
- nuts and seeds.
Try not to rely on dairy products like cheese as a replacement for fish or meat and try some of the other options above. Cheese contains a lot of fat and can be replaced with healthier alternatives. There are also some types of cheese that you should avoid during pregnancy.