Pregnancy & Childbirth


I loved being pregnant. I felt great and was in awe the entire time of the miracle human life my body was creating. I had minimal symptoms and even comfortably drove a car cross country while 9 months pregnant to Brian's training camp in St. Louis. I know feeling good isn't always the case for everyone and I attribute a lot of this to good genes, but mostly to a diet rich in whole foods and plants. Eat good, feel good is that simple for me and I hope to inspire others to see it that simply as well!


For anyone interested in a plant based pregnancy I encourage you to find a doctor, midwife, naturopath, or even family member or friend in your life that supports a plant based pregnancy. I knew in my gut it was the right decision but it helped to have extra confidence from others, especially being a new mom.


I felt a lot of support from my plant based dad who knows all the science behind this diet, but was also so relieved when my midwife smiled at me and said "My vegan patients always have the best blood work and the least complicated pregnancies."


Some of this might be good luck, but I truly believe food is medicine and my body and baby was responding according to the nutrients it was receiving.


Hopefully the below can help answer any questions, doubts, or fears of a plant based pregnancy and can give a new mama-to-be some much needed confidence.


For Inspiration:

I never threw up

I slept like a rock

My iron levels tested above average in pregnancy (I used to be slightly anemic)

I had a little heartburn but no major digestive issues

I avoided varicose veins and stretch marks for the most part

I was able to exercise throughout the entire pregnancy

My active labor only lasted about 1.5 hours

My milk came in the day after Jameson was born

I was up and walking around the hospital the next day pretty comfortably

I lost my 30 pounds of pregnancy weight in a few short weeks


This is not to say that pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum is easy. I had my fair share of scary, emotional, and painful moments. I wanted to include this simply to inspire others to fuel their body and their baby with healthy disease fighting plants.


Supplements:

Rainbow Light Pre-natal vitamins I took these a few months before I got pregnant to increase fertility and continued to take them all through my entire pregnancy. This covered my daily iron and folic acid needs. Once Jameson was born I switched to their postnatal vitamin.

B12 supplement The only vitamin found in animals that isn't found in plants. B12 is something that lives in soil, so when animals eat it we get it through them. It used to be found naturally on our plants from the soil but over fertilizing removes it.

Vitamin D supplement This is a vitamin you can't adequately get through food, and comes mainly from the sun. If you see at least 10 min of sun a day you don't need this, but most people are vitamin D deficient so I like to play it safe and take one.

DHA supplement that comes from algae - More recent pregnancy studies suggest taking an algae supplement so if I was pregnant now I would as well. It is the vegan equivalent of taking a fish oil supplement and helps meet DHA levels as an alternative to eating fish which is a risky option when it comes to consuming mercury.


That's it though, I didn't go crazy on supplements. Food is where the vitamins are and my blood tests were always normal. Also I made sure to look for vegan labels because a lot of vitamins are made with gelatin which comes from pig fat- who knew?


Books:

Alicia Silverstone's Kind Mama A lot of good stuff in here about ridding your "baby house" of toxins to supercharge fertility and pregnancy

Hypnobirthing Not food related, but I found these breathing techniques soothing and helpful for every day life not just labor

Plantbased Juniors Pregnancy Guide This came out after I had Jameson but wanted to share because it is such a good resource and answers every single nutrition question about plant based pregnancy. They also have a guide on foods to eat to increase fertility

The Mama Natural Pregnancy Guide Not a fully plant-based book but encourages a lot of plants, and has some good stuff and advice in it for things other than diet


First Trimester Food:

Sourdough or sprouted grain toast w/ vegan butter

Smoothies with greens, fruit, and lots of ginger for nausea- (I walked to our Austin, TX Whole Foods every day for one)

Chickpea or brown rice pasta with vegan butter, garlic salt, pepper, & nutritional yeast

mint chocolate chip vegan ice cream

Lemon ginger tea

Decaf coffee with non dairy milk. Favs for coffee are oat milk or cashew milk.


Absolutely zero vegetables unless it was in a smoothie because I couldn't stand the smell. After 12 weeks I was good to eat anything and everything.


All Natural Belly Oil:

Follain's Soapwalla belly oil- I rubbed all over starting in the second trimester. Follain was and still is my go to for clean beauty products since I wanted to be really careful about exposing myself to toxins while pregnant.


Childbirth Preparation:

Whole Foods Plant Based diet

Eating dates during last month of pregnancy

Raspberry leaf tea

Hypno-birthing breathing (I took a birthing class on this and practiced at night)

Lots of walks outside or time at the beach by the ocean


Other great resources: PBJ's pregnancy blog, Dr. Greger's pregnancy studies & articles, Convey The Moment blog, Plant based Pediatrician, Erin Ireland's Vegan Doctor Q&A about pregnancy