Let’s go through the nutrients listed in our google search.
When you first start your vegan journey, very often you just leave out the animal based foods and you don’t focus so much on how to replace them. This leads to meals that are mainly based on carbohydrates.
There’s nothing wrong with carbohydrates per se but they cannot be the only macronutrient represented on your plate. You need protein and fat as well. The standard recommendation is that you get at least 0.75 g of protein per kg of body weight plus an extra 6g in pregnancy.
That is likely to amount to at least 60 g per day in early pregnancy increasing to 100g by the end of your pregnancy. Sources of protein include tofu, tempeh, seitan, nuts, beans, lentils and grains.
Vitamin B12 is hard to find in plant based food. The good news is that most plant milks are fortified. Nutritional Yeast and marmite are also fortified. So if you make a point of including fortified foods in your daily menu then you are unlikely to become deficient in Vitamin B12. If you want to be sure, you can supplement with a good pregnancy vitamin supplement. Because of these options, vegans are less likely to be deficient in Vitamin B12 than people on a conventional diet (Vegan Society).
You can get all the calcium you need on a vegan diet. Green leafy vegetables, pulses, tofu, sesame seeds and fortified plant milks are all plant based sources of plant milk.
Low Vitamin D concentration in the blood is relatively common in the UK, especially in the winter. Sunlight is a reliable source of Vitamin D and spending time outside is one way of replenishing Vitamin D levels. As a result our Vitamin D levels are higher in the summer. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) states that in the winter up to 4 out of 10 adults are low in Vitamin D.
Dietary sources of Vitamin D on a vegan diet are limited to fortified cereals, margarine and supplements. There is Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is always animal based whereas Vitamin D2 is plant based. When you buy a supplement be sure to check before you buy. Vitamin D2 is generally the one that foods are fortified with but it is always worth checking.
Vitamin D deficiency is thought to increase your likelihood of developing pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. It is therefore sensible to supplement during pregnancy.
There are plenty of vegan sources of iron. Eat lots of beans, lentils, green leafy vegetables, beetroot and seeds. Chia seeds in particular are high in iron and are easy to add to your breakfast. Your care providers will routinely offer you screening for anaemia and they will recommend supplementation if they have diagnosed an iron deficiency anaemia.
DHA is a long chain essential fatty acid and it is mainly found in seafood. The fish get it from algae and so can humans. Humans can also convert the ALA fatty acids found in seeds and nuts into DHA. The Vegan Society advice that you have a tablespoons full of ground linseeds or chia seeds and six walnuts daily in order to get your daily dose of essential fatty acids. However, you may wish to supplement with vegan Omega 3 DHA suitable for pregnancy.