Our expert says:
Congratulations on your pregnancy. If you don't eat any meat or chicken, but do still eat eggs and fish (?) then you would be consuming sources of easily absorbable iron and vitamin B12. The non-animal sources of iron in the diet are wholegrains and cereals, legumes (dry cooked or canned peas, beans, lentils and soy) and dried fruit (esp raisins with pips - chew the pips when you eat raisins). Nowadays all wheaten flour and maize meal sold in SA is fortified with iron and vit B12 by government decree, so you should obtain some iron and vit B12 from bread and maize meal. Most commercial breakfast cereals are also enriched with iron and B vitamins. Have a glass of orange juice or half a grapefruit with your breakfast because the vit C in the citrus fruits helps the body to absorb the iron in the breakfast cereal. Also mention that you don't eat meat or chicken to the dr who is monitoring your pregnancy so that he/she can check you for anaemia in case you require iron-folic acid and/or vit B12 supplements. It is perfectly possible to ensure the health of your baby and prevent anaemia during pregnancy provided you eat plant foods that contain iron and vit B12 and take a supplement if this should be necessary.
Wishing you a happy pregnancy
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