Sejal Parikh: vegan pregnancy

“I am often asked to share my experience of natural childbirth and plant-based pregnancy,” says Indian Sejal Parikh. “I was a vegan for over 2 years before I knew that I would become a mother. Without a doubt, my pregnancy was supposed to be “green” too. 

  • During pregnancy I gained 18 kg
  • The weight of my son, Shaurya, is 3,75 kg, which is quite healthy.
  • My calcium and protein levels have been at an excellent level for 9 months with almost no supplements.
  • My delivery was completely natural with no outside intervention: no incisions, no stitches, no epidurals to control pain.
  • My postpartum recovery went very smoothly. Since my diet is devoid of any animal fat, I was able to lose 16 kg within the first three months even without exercise.
  • A week after giving birth, I was already doing household chores. After 3 months, my condition improved so much that I could do any job: cleaning, writing articles, feeding the child and his motion sickness – without any pain in the body.
  • With the exception of a minor cold, my almost 1 year old has not experienced a single health problem or taken any medication.

Women in general are advised to consume more unsaturated fats and as little saturated fat as possible during pregnancy – and rightly so. However, the issue of calcium and protein often remains inadequately perceived. There are so many misconceptions around these two elements that people are ready to “stuff” themselves with animal products containing saturated fats, cholesterol, and artificial hormones. But even this, many do not stop, loading themselves with additional supplements during pregnancy. It would seem, well, now the issue with calcium is closed! However, I have seen many women suffering from a lack of calcium, provided that the above “norms” are followed. Almost all of them had episiotomy sutures at birth (it is the low protein level that is primarily responsible for perineal rupture). There are several reasons why drinking animal milk (for calcium and in general) is a bad idea. In addition to the huge amount of saturated fat and cholesterol, such products do not contain fiber at all. Animal protein, when absorbed as an amino acid, leads to an acid reaction in the body. As a result, to maintain an alkaline pH, minerals such as calcium and magnesium are flushed out of the body. In the meantime, there are many quality plant foods that are rich in calcium: In fact, chickpeas were the only protein-rich food in my diet during pregnancy. It is believed that low protein levels lead to weakening of the pelvic muscles, which results in a vaginal tear (during childbirth) and requires suturing. Guess if I had a similar problem during childbirth? That’s right – no. Now let’s get closer to the question I hear most often: I have eaten a healthy, plant-based diet (with a few niggles on sugar), avoiding refined foods – white flour, white rice, white sugar, and so on. It was predominantly homemade food with little or no oil. Due to the loss of appetite at 3 and 4 months, I hardly wanted to eat much, and therefore I took a multivitamin complex for 15-20 days. I have also introduced iron supplementation for the last 2 months and vegan calcium for the last 15 days. And while I’m not opposed to nutritional supplements (if the source is vegan), a wholesome, healthy diet without them is still a priority. More about my diet. After morning awakening: – 2 glasses of water with 1 tsp. wheatgrass powder – 15-20 pieces of raisins, soaked overnight – an excellent source of iron, mainly fruits and vegetables, sometimes cereals. A wide variety of fruits: bananas, grapes, pomegranate, watermelon, melon and so on. Green smoothie with curry leaves. Mixtures of herbs, flaxseed, black salt, lemon juice were added to it, all this is whipped in a blender. You can add banana or cucumber! A 20-30 minute walk under the sun is a must. At least 4 liters of water daily, where 1 liter is coconut water. were trivial enough – a tortilla, something bean, a curry dish. As snacks between meals – carrots, cucumber and laddu (vegan Indian sweets).

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