Post-Natal Advice for... Vegetarians

There is so much conflicting information available now that it can be hard to work out what is sensible, what is fad, and ultimately what to do. Here Amelia offers her advice for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. 

Post-natal advice for vegetarians and vegans

It is common to be a little low in iron during the postpartum period (Pavord et al., 2012). This is usually due to a combination of iron taken up by the baby during pregnancy and any blood loss you had during delivery. So if you are vegan or vegetarian, make sure you are including plenty of plant-based iron sources into your meals throughout the day

There are plenty of plant-based protein sources available for vegetarians and vegans. So whilst the requirement for protein does increase during breastfeeding (and so it’s important to make sure you’re including plenty of high-protein foods into every one of your meals, such as legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu etc.), it is still possible to get enough on a vegetarian or vegan diet.

What is perhaps more important to consider if you are a vegan, or indeed a vegetarian, is whether you are getting enough of all the vitamins and minerals both you and your baby require, such as B12, essential fatty acids, calcium and zinc. I would generally advise that you try to discuss your additional nutrient requirements with a nutrition or healthcare professional, particularly if you are breastfeeding.

Lily Simpson