The internet has been buzzing with vegan pregnancy news this week. With two high-profile vegans giving birth in the coming months - Alicia Silverstone and Natalie Portman - it got me thinking about how a vegan-mom-to-be has a pretty big choice to make when it comes to her diet during the 9-months of eating for two.
When I was reading about Natalie Portman's decision to take a step back from vegan to vegetarian during her pregnancy, I was struck by this quote from Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland:
"If you're not eating a standard diet, the take home message is educate yourself about where the gaps might be and how you can fill them in a healthy way," says Greenfield. (ABC NEWS, article can be read here.)
Yes, educate yourself.
Yes, find those gaps and fill them.
NO, don't assume that a 'standard diet' is without it's own gaps. The Standard American Diet is FULL of nutritional holes. It's low in vitamins and minerals, full of added salt, sugar and chemicals, and leads to an abundance of diseases and disorders.
I would argue that anyone who becomes pregnant, omnivore or vegan, would need to be educated on the standards of nutrition necessary to keep both Mom and Baby healthy.
Now, I will politely step down from my made-of-100%-recycled-materials soap box and tell you that I have never been pregnant. Although, I do dream about wearing flowery maternity sundresses and glowing while I shop at my local farmer's market, sporting a lovely baby bump, with an adoring husband in tow. Romantic, I know (and maybe a wee bit silly). But, I don't think that the idea of keeping vegan during pregnancy is romantic. I think it's like anything else we do - a choice.
If we believe that our way of eating, sans animal products, is best for our bodies now, why shouldn't that extend to our bodies when they're pregnant? If what pregnant bodies need is more calories and higher levels of vitamins and minerals (especially the B's, folic acid, and iron), why suddenly choose to get those baby-sustaining goodies from meat? Or dairy?
What it all comes down to, is a very personal decision. A decision that, when the time comes, will require lots of research and lots of figuring out what will work best for all involved - Mom, Baby, Baby-Daddy (or Baby-Mama, as the case may be).
As much as I'd like to stick to my vegan guns, I do believe in listening to your body. And if your formerly-veg-only body is telling you to eat a nice big cupcake of the conventional sort, well, I am way too smart to stand between a pregnant lady and the sweets she needs!
Here's hoping when the blessed event happens for me, I will find a way to fill my cravings with pickles and Kind Cream instead of Ben & Jerry's. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. (Hopefully we won't be waiting too long...) (tick tock, tick tock) (sigh)
As non-moms (or moms-to-be-someday), we'd love to hear your thoughts! Veg Moms, Non-Veg Moms, what do you think? How did you decide? What did you do to stay happy and healthy with a pregnant belly?
Tweet us @hhbelly, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment below.
xo - Sarah (www.sarahis30andcounting.blogspot.com)
In writing this post, I visited these lovely sites and hope you will too:
thekindlife.com (specifically the vegan pregnancy blog)