, ,

My Plant based pregnancy

My Plant based pregnancy

My plant-based pregnancy has been such a journey and has proven that this way of eating works for me. yes, there have been hard times, just like any other pregnancy, but in this second pregnancy, I have felt a significant change and shift in how I felt as a whole.

My plant-based pregnancy has been such a journey and has proven that this way of eating works for me. yes, there have been hard times, just like any other pregnancy, but in this second pregnancy, I have felt a significant change and shift in how I felt as a whole.
It’s been almost two years since I have been plant-based and I was kind of scared when I found out that I was pregnant, just because my knowledge of a plant-based pregnancy was non-existent. So my first priority was to do as much research as possible so I could feed this little bub and my body as well as I could.

The first trimester was a tough one, that was the first sign that this pregnancy was going to be different than the first. Man oh man, I was man down from six weeks up until the beginning of thirteen weeks. All I could eat was dry crackers, pretzels, and salted peanuts. I lost four kilograms, within that short amount of time, barely keeping it together from four o clock in the afternoon up until eight at night.

At four in the morning, I would wake up ravenous eating a bran muffin out of the freezer and struggling to fall asleep because of heartburn. My poor husband had two jobs at that point in time, working during the day and helping out with dinner and bath time when he got home. I was completely turned off by smells, anything healthy and I was basically forcing myself to eat during the day. The lack of energy and looking after a toddler was taking it’s toll on me. All I can say is, first trimester, IT WAS ROUGH.

My plant based pregnancy

That’s pregnancy for you, so many things happening at once, so many emotions.

But things started to turn towards the positive during the second trimester. I could eat again, go for a run again and had so much more energy than the first trimester. Here I delved in to eating more nutritious meals, whole foods and adding more plant-based proteins and iron into my diet like pulses, lentils, hemp seeds, hemp seed protein powder, spinach, fresh fruit and vegetables.

I started to take an iron supplement because I was anemic with my first pregnancy and I was already low on iron to start with. I also added on top of my pregnancy vitamin, vitamin C, Folic Acid (I started to drink this before I fell pregnant) and flaxseed oil supplement. I know selenium and iodine are super important as well, so I try to eat one brazil nut a day and try to get iodine through either a supplement or by adding some sort of seaweed source to my diet during the day. Also, Vitamin D drops can be added to your diet as well if you do not have this in your pregnancy vitamin. Here are some other bloggers sources I used to get more clued up or just to give me a general heads up on basic nutrition during a vegan pregnancy.

Blissfull basil’s pregnancy guide

Ellen Fisher’s youtube channel I enjoyed quite a lot.

Eat, move, rest youtube channel

As time passed and I started to gain more weight over time, I still enjoyed smoothies, salads and an array of vegetable-packed dishes with every meal. I ate a lot and still my weight gradually continued to start to rise, now at 36 weeks I have almost gained 7 kg above my normal weight, not counting the four kilograms that I had to gain back after losing in the first trimester. So actually in total, I gained ten kilograms thus far. What I eat in a day post, here. This was anxiety for me because I did not want the baby to lack anything, but she has gained an average amount of weight and will be over three kilograms when she is born. I have been advised by my doctor and midwife that all is good and that I have nothing to worry about when it comes to her health, weightwise.

With my son, I gained 15 kilograms and he weighed four kilograms when he was born. I ate lots of meat and dairy and as far as I can remember my body felt so much sorer because I was carrying so heavy and I was almost 42 weeks when he was born, so I was beyond exhausted. Read more about that here.  

With all of this being said, there is no true indicator that my diet had anything to do with the amount of weight I gained. I trained almost as much as I do now during my second pregnancy and I was very health conscious just like I am now. All change is that I don’t eat animal products anymore and what I feel like today in comparison to my first pregnancy is more energy in total. I have the energy on most days nowadays to do housework, clean, cook and train 3-4 times a week. When it comes to workout, I try to stick to cardio. Doing the elliptical, walking and using the stair master for 40-45 minutes per session. Some days I am too tired to train, so I’ll just ride a stationary bike, but I’ll to workout as much as I can since this aids with the delivery and post natal recovery.

NB: Coffee and tea act as an absorbent of iron with meals, so if your deficient then this is a no go. Even if your plant-based or not. I really try to drink one or two cups a day in between a meal, but pregnancy has kinda aided me to drink a whole lot less and focus on drinking water instead. I also have been living off smoothies the last trimester because I just felt like it just worked better with my digestion since little bub was taking up so much space in my tummy.

I absolutely love peanut butter and found that it gave me such bad heartburn in the third trimester, especially if I start my day with a cup of coffee and peanut butter. So my go-to would be drinking coffee made from chicory and eating a green smoothie, going to the gym, eating a snack like fruit when I got home. Sip on the water as much as possible. Have a soup or salad for lunch with some rye bread and hummus on the side. For an afternoon I’ll try to have carrot sticks and hummus and then for dinner I’ll go for a vegetable protein-packed meal. I found that I was certainly more hungry in the second trimester than the other two combined. I would wake up to eat early morning eat some yogurt or a rice cake and struggle to sleep due to heartburn, lol common dominator in the trimesters for me.

Now with a couple of weeks left, sleep deprivation does sink in because obvious factors like having a bit of anxiety looking after two little humans and who am I kidding by this point I’m beyond uncomfortable. All in all, I feel great most days, some days I feel tired, achy all over and even a bit depro since I don’t get to share my pregnancy with my family or friends back home. That’s pregnancy for you, so many things happening at once, so many emotions. This time around it felt it went by a lot quicker just because I never can really rest or sit down as much as I’d like. My little man has kept me on my toes that’s for sure and the washing and cooking ain’t going to do itself if you know what I mean. But i try to be present more, since our lives are going to change quite a bot over the few coming months.

Maybe that has been my saving grace since the first pregnancy was particularly long. I was reminded the other day by my midwife to just sit and be with my baby and enjoy her little kicks because it’s a new baby, a new season, new pregnancy and a new life coming into this world. I was so focused on not having the same experience as I had with my first labor and pregnancy that I forgot about her. She is new, she is the priority and that’s why I am so happy that I focussed on being healthy for her and I will continue to do so if I can breastfeed again.

Key points:

  • Eat an array of fresh produce as much as possible, wash them obviously beforehand.
  • Limit coffee and tea if you can. 
  • Stay away from fermented foods, even though you crave them like crazy. I did indulge in Kombucha during my pregnancy, but stopped after a while. 
  • Make sure that you get the accurate amount of Vit B12, Iron, Selenium, Iodine, Vit D, Flaxseed oil, Protein and into your diet.
  • See a nutritionist if you’re not sure how to go about a plant-based pregnancy.
  • Don’t start being a vegan right off the bat when becoming pregnant, leisurely ease yourself into the lifestyle I would say.
  • Educate yourself by reading articles online, or even buying vegan pregnancy books.

My top meals during the pregnancy would be:

Breakfast usually would be either a green smoothie of some sort, oats with peanut butter and banana, chia pudding or pancakes. 

Mains:

Lentil bobotie

Cauliflower walnut bolognese

Chickpea sweet potato quiche

Cauliflower Stir fry bowls 

Bobotie sausage rolls

Hummus

Rusks 

Sweet tooths treats:

Vegan cheesecake 

Vegan peppermint crisp tart 

Frozen dates or homemade snack balls 

Quick baked raisins so they become these chewy jewels

Roasted salted nuts and spelt pretzels

Almond butter with banana on a rice cakes

Chocolate banana nice cream

I would try to eat as balanced as I can, adding 1-2 snacks in between meals depending on how hungry I am.

So post-natal meals I am focussing on eating lots of plant-based proteins and pulses since this aids with breastfeeding. Also thus far I have prepped precooked quinoa, lentils, falafels and burger patties for easy defrosting that I could just add a salad or veg with. Wholewheat pasta and organic tomato-based pasta sauces are in my cupboard, alongside canned beans. For breakfast and snacks, I have made batches of muffins, pancakes, granola, and rusks. 

So my endpoint being, do the best that you can, try to be as healthy as you can for yourself and your baby. Whether you eat animal products or not, this life your growing deserves the best. Try to enjoy your pregnancy with all of the up’s and downs, because it might be the last time you’ll ever experience it. Don’t focus too much on weight, allow the occasional indulgence, you deserve it after all. It’s a gift, some don’t get the chance, so make it count*

M*

In Lifestyle

Share the Love