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Health & Fitness

Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more






Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Many women who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet are concerned once they get pregnant that their diet will not provide all the necessary nutrients for the baby. Rest assured, with a little extra effort and planning, a vegetarian or vegan diet is safe for you and your baby.

Your need for certain nutrients increases during pregnancy, so it's important you eat nutrient-dense food and stay away from empty calories. You should consume approximately 300 additional calories each day and 10 additional grams of protein while you're pregnant. One of the greatest misconceptions about vegetarianism is that practitioners must struggle to consume enough protein. However, as long as your diet is varied and nutritious and you are consuming sufficient calories, you probably get more than enough protein, and the additional protein you need while pregnant can be achieved simply by drinking 2 cups of soy milk, eating 3-1/2 ounces of extra-firm tofu, 3 ounces of tempeh or one large bagel. The total 71 grams of protein you need each day during pregnancy can be satisfied by eating one cup of tofu, four cups of brown rice, one cup of yogurt and drinking three cups of milk or soy milk.

Legumes (beans and peas), nuts, and seeds are good sources of protein and other important nutrients; so try to eat four servings a day. You should also eat six to 11 servings of whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, or whole wheat bread; and if you eat these along with legumes, you will get the amino acids necessary for a complete protein. Eat four servings every day of foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, such as cow's milk or calcium- and vitamin D-fortified soy milk, and eight to ten servings of fruits and vegetables.

Other important nutritional issues vegetarian moms-to-be should be aware of include:

Calcium - Calcium is crucial for developing bones and teeth. To maintain healthy calcium levels, be sure you consume plenty of dairy products (if you eat dairy), enriched soy or rice milks, calcium-fortified orange juice and breakfast cereals, and vegetables such as kale, collards, broccoli, cabbage, and legumes.

Vitamin D - Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and your vitamin D requirements double while you are pregnant; however, vitamin D is not found in many foods naturally. Therefore, look for fortified milk (cow's, soy, and rice), cereals, and orange juice. In addition, you can reach your necessary levels of vitamin D by exposing your hands and face to the sun for just 20 minutes, two to three times a week. Go out early or late in the day when the sun is weakest, and do not use sunscreen (although use of sunscreen is recommended at all other times).

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