Vegan Pregnancy

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It is not a secret if you know me that I do not like being pregnant.  It doesn’t agree with me:  I feel nauseous a lot, I get heart burn, and I do not like the feeling of being large.  You can read more about my pregnancy with FVB here.  I’m currently pregnant with FVB2 (still figuring out a good blog name for him) and nothing is better; in fact it may be a little bit worse!  Pregnancy this time around is a little different in other ways, too.  I’m not teaching anymore, so I don’t have the stress of work to contend with. It was pretty challenging to manage my sickness while teaching; I threw up in my classroom more than once and I really struggled with not being able to eat or go to the bathroom whenever I needed/wanted to. (If you have ever tried eating in front of children without sharing with them, you know the struggle is real.  I had twelve 5-year-olds.  You best believe I wasn’t just snacking openly. Also, you do NOT want to leave a room of 5-year-olds unattended while you pee. Trust me).   So, this time around I don’t have an outside job, but I do have a 2.5 year old. This comes with some pros and cons.

PROS:

  • I can stay in my PJs for the entire day if I feel like it
  • I can participate in many activities while laying down (reading books, playing trains, etc)
  • I can nap in the middle of the day (providing FVB naps)
  • I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want

CONS:

  • FVB is not the most empathetic companion to hang out with all day when I’m feeling nauseous or tired
  • FVB doesn’t fully grasp my limited physical capacity (he wants to sit on my lap, be carried, etc with no mind for my large stomach)
  • My “job” of mommy doesn’t end at 3:30pm like my teaching job did.  There is no checking out and heading home to lay down and watch TV.

I’m doing my best though, and trying to keep a positive attitude on crappier days.  I am so excited to welcome FVB#2 into our family, and that joy is helpful to keep in the back of my mind when I’m struggling. (Side note: please help me with a name for this little guy….FVB2 is just not flowing off of my tongue/fingertips).

I am always sweet, kind, and patient with my very pregnant mommy.
I am always sweet, kind, and patient with my very pregnant mommy.

Despite the struggles with pregnancy, I am NOT concerned about having a vegan pregnancy.  At the beginning of my pregnancy with FVB, I was just making my transition to veganism (in fact I did eat a bit of dairy here and there at the very beginning), so I wasn’t fully confident.  I spent a long time researching veganism while pregnant. This in part was to appease hubs (who was not even vegetarian at this point), but also to make sure that I was fully knowledgeable about what I needed. I bought The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book by Reed Mangels and Your Vegetarian Pregnancy by Holly Roberts. A quick search on Amazon results in many others, so there are many options out there! I definitely recommend buying a few (or borrowing from the library). I learned a lot and felt more confident discussing my diet with my OBGYN after spending time reading.

At first, I charted my meals, calculated my protein/calcium/vitamin/mineral intake, and was a tiny bit obsessive about tracking my food. I wasn’t super keen on the idea of taking prenatal vitamins, and I really wanted to try to meet my needs through whole foods. When I visited my doctor, I shared my food notebook with her. She was shocked. She actually said: “If you can promise me that this is how you eat ALL OF THE TIME, then you are OK without the vitamins.” Of course, this was in my super early pregnancy days, when I was eating like a normal person, before I started feeling like absolute crap and gagging at the sight of leafy greens. I did take a vitamin sporadically during that time because I wasn’t eating much besides potatoes and bread (and chocolate).  With this second pregnancy, I am trying to be better about taking my vitamins, just because it’s an easy way to make sure I’m getting what I need. I have felt just as sick with this one, and it’s lasting longer, plus I’m also nursing a toddler, so this feels like the best way to stay as healthy as possible. I take the Deva Prenatals. You can find them here. There are a number of options for vegan prenatals, but this was the most economical so I went with that!

Also interesting to note, I am slightly anemic. I always have been, as has my mom. It has never really affected my life and I don’t have symptoms. In pregnancy, it’s fairly common for women to experience slight anemia anyway, and it generally is not a problem. I’m certainly not dramatically anemic, and my mid-wife is not concerned. She actually never even mentioned it, I only found out because I asked!   During my first pregnancy, my doctor was really pushy about me taking iron supplements, and they obsessively tracked my iron levels.  I did try taking the supplements, but they didn’t do much to boost my levels. I’ve read more about it now, and it seems that you have to take them for MONTHS before seeing any noticeable difference. Fortunately, my mid-wife is not pushy about me supplementing; she suggested a brand of supplement that I could try if I wanted to and gave me a few ideas of iron-rich foods.  Good sources of iron for vegans include: tofu, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, spinach and other leafy greens, dried apricots, and blackstrap molasses.

I have found, with both of my pregnancies, that I try to listen to my body as much as possible. I eat when I’m hungry, and I eat what I’m craving (to an extent). With FVB, I gained just shy of 32 pounds, and with baby #2 I am on track to gain about the same. I think that if you have a healthy relationship with food, and you listen to your body, you will naturally eat the necessary amount of calories.  In the first trimester, when I was especially nauseous, my weight gain was slow, and I did have one month where I didn’t gain at all, but it all evened out and I have been gaining steadily as I should.

We do this every four weeks and it's soooooo boring!
We do this every four weeks and it’s soooooo boring!

I am seriously looking forward to feeling and eating like a normal (well, as “normal” as I am) person again!  It will be a relief to be over the nausea, heart burn, and general discomfort of pregnancy.  Can’t wait to meet this sweet baby boy!

 

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  1. Baby Led Weaning….Take 2! – The fat vegan baby

    […] of fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts/seeds, and whole grains. And I try to drink a lot of water. Click here to read more about how I eat while pregnant and/or […]

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