Pregnancy Nutrition for Vegetarians?

QUESTION

Dear Nutritionist,
I am a pregnant vegetarian. Is there anything I need to know?

ANSWER

There is definitely information to be aware of if you are a vegetarian! But with careful planning, a vegetarian diet, no matter what type, can be healthy and safe during pregnancy.

When following a vegetarian diet it is essential to assess your intake of certain nutrients that are especially important during pregnancy. These nutrients include vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, iron, zinc, and protein. Even if you feel you have mastered the skills of eating a vegetarian diet or if you are new to the eating style it is important to learn all you can about making the right choices. The choices you make directly affect the amount of nutrients you get and that are needed to properly support you and your baby during pregnancy.

I highly suggest that you seek the guidance of a registered dietitian to ensure you are getting what you need. He/she can analyze your current diet to make sure you are getting the nutrients you need and can help you to make any changes that are necessary! It can be very individualized because there are many different types of vegetarians.

--Kimberly A. Tessmer, R.D., L.D

Kimberly Tessmer

Kimberly A. Tessmer, RD LD has been a registered dietitian since 1992 and is also an Ohio licensed Dietitian. Her educational achievements include a Bachelor of Science in Technology (Dietetics) from Bowling State University in Bowling Green, OH. She currently owns and operates a consulting business called "Nutrition Focus" www.nutrifocus.net, in which she specializes and offers services in the areas of weight management, general nutrition, authoring, menu development and a variety of other services.

To date Kim has authored three books including "The Everything® Nutrition Book", "Tell Me What To Eat If I Have Celiac Disease", and "The Everything® Pregnancy Nutrition Book". In addition, Kim has written numerous articles for various health/nutrition web sites and magazines including Bally Total Fitness Magazine, Well and Healthy Women Magazine and Healthology.com, Inc as well as continuing education courses for www.care2learn.com. She is a member of the American Dietetic Association and the ADA Practice Group, Nutrition Entrepreneurs.