Pregnant women need between 30 and 45 mg of iron every day. Eat food that are rich in iron, folate and vitamin C. The 3 work together to enhance the absorption of iron. Make sure you take your prenatal vitamins as well. If you take iron pills, do not take them with dairy product or calcium supplement, since calcium blocks iron.
Way back in 1989 I was pregnant with my son, I was consuming a healthy vegan diet. During one of my appointments my iron count was low. I was not taking any prenatal vitamins during my pregnancy, but the nurse suggested I start taking iron supplements. I told her that I would just concentrate on eating more hummus (beans are a good source of iron) with foods containing Vitamin C, as this helps our bodies absorb the iron in our foods. I did this and the next time they checked my iron it was fine. If I were to do it today, I would probably take a vegan prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement especially for the folate which is needed to avoid spina bifida in the baby. But nothing will replace the nutrients that you get from healthy plant based foods that include lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. You only need 200-300 more calories a day when pregnant to support the growth of the baby and you don't want to gain too much weight. Hummus is a great food especially since you are at high risk and most likely can't stand for long periods of time to prepare food. Just purchase store bought hummus and eat it with whole grain crackers or bread and with an orange, kiwi fruit or orange juice to promote iron absorptiion. Eating dried fruit like apricots and prunes is also an easy way to get iron and nutrients if you can't cook. Dark leafy greens also give you iron and are a great source of calcium (as are beans). Add kale or collard greens to your fruit smoothies that will have lots of vitamin C from the berries in your smoothie! Delicious!! I recommend you go to www.cancerproject.org and sign up for their reciped of the week and watch the Food for Life.TV show. You'll get lots of great recipes and free advice. Hope this helps!
P.S. Both of my children have been vegetarian since birth. They have never consumed any meat, fish, or foul. They did have some cheese when they were younger, but have been eating a vegan diet for over 6 years now. They have always been incredibly healthy and have never been overweight. There are a lot of resources available for raising children vegan from birth. You want to make sure they get enough Omega 3 fatty acids, so supplementing with this nutrient is important. Vegan supplements are available. The other nutrient that must be supplemented when consuming a vegan diet is B12, which is made by bacteria. We take vegetarian formula sublingual B12, but I think all vitamins have B12 and many people who don't eat a vegan or vegetarian diet are B12 deficient.
P.P.S. Raising children on a vegan diet is not only possible, but a very responsible way to support your children's health, avoid animal cruelty and help the environment! If you are still not sure about your diet or the diet you will feed your child, be sure to consult with a dietician who is knowledgeable about a vegan diet.
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