A varied and balanced vegetarian diet should give enough nutrients, vitamins and minerals for you and your baby during pregnancy. However, vegetarian and vegan mums-to-be need to ensure they get enough iron and vitamin B12, which are mainly found in meat and fish, and vitamin D.
If you are vegan (you don't eat any animal products) or follow a restricted diet because of food intolerance (for example, a gluten-free diet for coeliac disease) or for religious reasons, talk to your midwife or GP about how to make sure you are getting enough of the nutrients you need for you and your baby.
All pregnant women are advised to take a vitamin D supplement throughout pregnancy but vegans will need to read the label to make sure it is not of animal origin. If you're a vegan, you'll also need to make sure you get enough vitamin B12 and calcium – usually obtained from dairy foods.
Good sources of vitamins
- Dried fruit such as apricots
- Dark green vegetables
- Wholemeal bread
- Fortified breakfast cereals (with added iron)
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Fortified soya drinks
- Yeast extract, e.g. Marmite
- Fortified soya, rice and oat drinks
- Calcium-set tofu
- Sesame seeds and tahini
- Brown and white bread
- Dried fruit
- Dark green leafy vegetables
Foods to avoid
All pregnant women are advised not to eat mould-ripened soft cheese and soft blue-veined cheese, pâté (including vegetarian pâté), and raw or partially cooked eggs.
See Food dos and dont's for more information.