Hey I know you, you’ve adopted a plant-based diet to help save the animals, the planet and yourself. But now you’re knocked up–congrats! And you’re wondering, could a vegan diet be detrimental to your unborn child? New research claims that consuming milk and eggs during pregnancy can lower your baby’s risk of developing a stress-related illness as an adult.
I’m no doctor, and this is just a side note but: No matter who you are, as long as you have bills, deadlines and relationships… you’re going to be stressed. I do understand that stress-related illnesses are serious and prevention is important; especially when it comes to your own child.
Pregnant women who eat foods that are high in choline (meat and eggs) have babies with lower levels of cortisol which is a hormone that affects the response to stress in the body. Apparently, Natalie Portman tweaked her vegan diet and consumed dairy and eggs to provide this nourishment to her son. After she gave birth, she ditched the dairy.
On the other hand, according to the American Dietetic Association, a plant-based diet planned in accord with current dietary recommendations can easily meet the nutritional needs of pregnancy.
This photo is from my sister-in-law’s baby shower [she's in the pink & blue]. All the dishes in the photo are vegan!
Pregnancy is definitely a period of time in a woman’s life when nutritional needs increase. Obviously, as for pretty much every food known to man there are alternatives. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, the richest vegetarian source of choline is toasted wheat germ. Other sources include Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Peanut butter can do the trick as well.
If it makes you feel better, in a Q&A, Alicia Silverstone said that all of the vegan pregnancies she had witnessed have been way smoother than those of her non-vegan friends.
Vegan or not, the diet you chose to stick to during pregnancy is probably the first of many decisions you will make as a parent. Make it easier on yourself, do the research to ensure that you provide your baby proper nourishment throughout your pregnancy as well as the rest your child’s life.
Have any vegan pregnancy stories? Want to weigh in on this topic? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!