Raw Vegan Diet and Healthy Pregnancy: Which Living Foods Provide Nutrients for Fetal Development?

Raw Vegan Diet and Healthy Pregnancy: Which Living Foods Provide Nutrients for Fetal Development?

Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in their natural unprocessed and uncooked state are superior foods for human bodies. For a generation raised to believe in nutritional “food groups” and “pyramids,” there is a fear that a vegan raw food diet will not meet the needs of a developing fetus. Mothers on a raw food do not need to worry, if they make certain they have an adequate intake of certain nutrients.

Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Vegan raw foodist mothers tend to have minimal weight gain during pregnancy. Because they normally eat nutrient-rich foods, this is not as great a concern as it would be for women eating a Standard American Diet (SAD). Raw mothers do not present with edema, or swelling, that doctors have come to see as “normal” and that adds to weight gain. The products of pregnancy, including the placenta and amniotic fluid, should add approximately 15 pounds to the pre-pregnancy weight of mothers on a living foods diet, while women on a SAD diet are advised to gain an average of 25 lbs.

Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids for Brain Growth

Development of the brain and spinal cord during fetal life depend on healthy fats. The body does not produce essential fatty acids (EFAs); they have to come from dietary sources. Vegan raw foodists do not eat wildcaught coldwater fish, which are a rich source of EFAs, but they may eat the origin of these EFAs much further down the food chain: blue-green algae. Spirulina is a superfood containing EFA’s as well as chlorophyll and all eight essential amino acids. It is a complete protein source that can sustain the needs of fetal growth. Spirulina is rich in folic acid, a vitamin important to prevention of neural tube defects, and vitamin K, which prevents neonatal hemorrhagic disease. Other sources of Omega-3 EFAs include flax and hemp seeds and walnuts. It is important to eat Omega-3 rich foods as well as other foods that contain good fats such as avocados, coconuts, and sunflower seeds which contain primarily Omega-6 EFAs. A pregnant woman on a raw food diet should not restrict her intake of healthy fats.

High Quality Protein Controls Maternal Blood Pressure

Especially for first time mothers, a protein-rich diet supports the added strain on her liver and kidneys. High blood pressure in late pregnancy is one symptom that indicates these important organs are not doing their job. That mother needs to eat more protein.

On a raw foods diet, sprouted seeds and Spirulina are excellent protein-rich foods. Nuts can be soaked to make them more digestible and to increase protein availability. Although they are not thought of as high protein foods, dark green leafy vegetables do contain amino acids which are the components of protein. Increase the amount of these vegetables in the diet during pregnancy by eating daily salads and by juicing wheatgrass, spinach, kale, parsley, and romaine or redleaf lettuce. Greens provide calcium and can be added to smoothies as well. Also consider another source of raw protein in supplement form: brewer’s yeast. Follow label directions.

Probiotics Fight Infections During Pregnancy

Active cultures of “friendly” bacteria are very important in pregnancy. Because of changing pH and immune responses during the prenatal period, the body is more vulnerable to candida (yeast) infections, which can be made worse by overeating fruit. Another common maternal infection that can cause respiratory disease in infants is group B streptococcus bacteria. High colonies of healthy probiotics in the body fight these infections and make it harder for them to take hold. A raw vegan diet may include fermented foods such as cultured vegetables or kombucha tea. Kefir granules can be added to coconut water to make a potent probiotic drink. Non-dairy supplement forms are also available.

Supplement B-12

All modern diets are deficient in vitamin B-12, which is vital for nerve development. It may be that humans have lost the ability to produce and absorb vitamin B-12 in the intestine due to decades of increasingly poorer diets of highly refined foods. To be on the safe side during pregnancy, a sublingual form of methylcobalamine is recommended. Alternatively, injections may be prescribed by a physician.

A More Efficient Body

A pregnancy nourished on raw foods has the benefit of live enzymes, a wealth of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that make mothers feel great. A mother who has energy and feels well will be able to labor effectively and have a healthy baby. With just a few considerations to improve dietary intake of essential fatty acids, high quality protein and probiotics, plus a B-12 supplement, a raw food diet can be an optimum diet for pregnancy.

Categories: Diet, Health, Nutrition