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A lot of people choose to be vegan. It’s certainly a commitment, since vegans refrain from eating all animal products — not just meat, but also eggs, dairy products and other animal-derived foods and ingredients. And some of those people are also individuals who can, and sometimes do, get pregnant. If they do, they have to make a choice — continue their dietary restrictions through the pregnancy, or make some adjustments because of it? Unfortunately, studies about being vegan while pregnant show some pretty mixed results, so every person has to decide for themselves — with the help of a doctor, of course.
In 2015, Tania Lombrozo wrote a piece for NPR about the safety of vegan diets during pregnancy, and recounted her own experience of being both a vegan and a pregnant person at the same time (because, of course, women and other people who can get pregnant are diverse and contain multitudes, and don’t cease being the other important aspects of their personalities when they also decide to follow through with a pregnancy).
Lombrozo cited an analysis of 22 studies used in a systematic review of literature on the topic, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the journal of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. The conclusion? There just haven’t been enough studies done on veganism and pregnancy to really come up with an informed conclusion.
That NPR piece reported that there was a lot of variability in both the studies in question and their results. For example, five of the studies found that vegan/vegetarian mothers had babies with lower birth weight — but just one of them reported that the difference was at all “statistically significant.” Alternatively, two studies found that vegan/vegetarian mothers had babies with higher…