Modifications for Vegetarians
If you are a vegetarian and avoid dairy products, you may need to take a calcium supplement. It is very unlikely that you can obtain sufficient dietary calcium needed for pregnancy from plant sources without using calcium-fortified foods. These days, it is relatively easy to find calcium-fortified juices, cereals, and soy milks on your grocery store shelves.
Moms-to-be can easily meet their protein requirements by substituting one cup of cooked dried beans, lentils, or peas, or four tablespoons of natural nut butters (peanut, cashew, tahini, soy, etc.), or ¼ cup of nuts or seeds for a two- to three-ounce serving of meat.
Although you may not be a vegetarian in the pure sense, you may have cut back on you intake of red meat, a primary source of iron. In this case, replace meat with servings of iron-rich foods such as dried beans, peas and lentils, iron-enriched cereals and breads, and dried fruits.
During the early weeks of pregnancy, nausea and vomiting—often caused by your body's reaction to the pregnancy hormones and/or an inadequate amount of vitamin B-6 or glycogen (a natural sugar that's stored primarily in the liver)—sometimes make it difficult to obtain adequate nutrition.
If nausea is preventing you from getting adequate nutrition, talk to your doctor about using vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine). In one placebo-controlled study, women who received 25 milligrams of vitamin B-6 every eight hours found significant relief compared with the women receiving a look-alike placebo. Since nausea most often occurs on an empty stomach, eat small but frequent meals during the day, and try to eat them slowly. If nausea is especially troublesome in the morning, eat a protein snack before you go to bed at night. Protein takes longer to digest and should help take the edge off morning queasiness.