Nutrition During Pregnancy for Vegetarians

Types of vegetarians

Vegetarian nutrition

Research verifies that vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate in pregnancy.

During pregnancy, it is important to choose a variety of foods that provide enough protein, calories, and nutrients for you and your baby. Depending on the type of vegetarian meal plan you follow, you might need to adjust your eating habits. Follow the guidelines below for healthy vegetarian eating during pregnancy.

It is also important to choose safe foods and prepare foods safely because pregnant women are at increased risk of food poisoning.

Goals for healthy eating

Breads and grains

9 or more servings/day

Fruits and vegetables

4 or more servings/day of vegetables; 3 or more servings of fruit


4 or more servings/day


3 servings per day

Fats and oils (healthy liquid unsaturated oils preferred)

Approximately 8-12 tsp./day

Sweets and snacks

In limited amounts

Seafood nutrition and seafood safety

Seafood is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of essential fatty acid. Many studies suggest that these fats, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are beneficial to both moms and the babies. Eating seafood is encouraged and supported by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists.

Recommended intake goals are for 8-12 ounces per week of low-mercury, low-contaminant seafood. For food safety information for locally caught fish, please contact the local health department or the Environmental Protection Agency (

Seafood to eat and to avoid

Eat (eight to 12 ounces per week)

LIMIT to 6 ounces per week

Avoid: Do NOT eat

Food safety

Food safety is important for all pregnant women, including vegetarians. Produce, grains, and dairy can pose risks.

Take the following precautions for these food groups:



This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional health information, please contact the Center for Consumer Health Information at the Cleveland Clinic (216) 444-3771 or toll-free (800) 223-2273 extension 43771. If you prefer, you may visit or This document was last reviewed on: 1/25/1996