Pregnant Vegetarian 1: Pregnancy Test

Youngest Savvy Vegetarian Shocked to Be Pregnant

Positive Pregnancy Test

Pt 1 of a vegetarian pregnancy series written by Zoë Keeland, pregnant vegetarian, and youngest daughter of Savvy Vegetarian.

Zoë has a positive pregnancy test and starts to realize what it means to have a vegetarian diet during pregnancy.

Zoë has agreed to write hormonally driven pregnancy posts more or less regularly until her brain completely dissolves into mush – or she has a baby, whichever comes first.

Vegetarian and Pregnant in the Kitchen

Having been married for almost six years, and casually trying to get pregnant for most of the time, I had mostly given up pining for a baby. I wasn’t even tracking my cycle, aside from the vague: it oughtta show up pretty soon, I think. So when my boobs got tender, and stayed that way for two weeks, I thought I had a heckuva bleed coming on, probably soon.

My husband Bryan, who obviously pays way more attention to my boobs than I do, gave them a critical eye. “Go get a pregnancy test,” he said. I humored him, and picked one up at the grocery store. I got the box that has three in it. “That way I won’t have to run out for one next time Bryan gets paranoid,” I thought.

Anyone need a pregnancy test? I have two I won’t be needing….unless they stay good for a couple years.

Screw this pink line stuff, I thought, and bought the digital one that would either say: Pregnant, or Not Pregnant. I didn’t want to be squinting at the thing trying to decide about colors.

When it came up Pregnant, I nearly fell off the toilet. “Really?” I choked, squinting at it anyway. “Pregnant,” it said – no NOT anywhere in sight. I was stunned. I was thrilled. I wondered how the heck we were going to pay for this!

I sat on the steps and called Bryan with the news. Then I sat on the steps some more, my brain firing with all the things I would now have to do and worry about.

You would think, after years of going wistful over other people’s babies, having the odd cry over my non-pregnant state, that I would be dancing and singing and posting it on Facebook. Nope. I went straight to worrying.

“Crap,” I thought. “I’ll have to give up coffee.”

If I had realized that I was still allowed to take Tylenol before I quit coffee abruptly, it could have been a less awful experience. As it was, I staggered through my work day, pale and headachey, worrying my coworker. I felt wretched. I went home from work and went straight to bed. Bryan kindly did some research and went out to fetch some Tylenol for me. My hero!


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Having jumped that hurdle, I dreaded the prospect of facing the medical establishment. I worried that they would freak out over my vegetarian diet and try to convince me I had to eat meat to survive.

Preparing myself to combat hidebound institutional veg-skepticism, I did what any angsty pregnant woman does – I called my mommy .

“Just cite the American Dietetic Association position paper on vegetarian diets,” she said. Aha! Now I was armed with medical clout! If anyone gave me trouble, I could just sneer and imply that their medical knowledge was sadly out of date.


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“Don’t you people even read your own literature?” I would say, raising an eyebrow in disbelief. The doctor would be cowed, and never bring up meat again – to anyone.

It was disappointing, after all that build-up, to get only one ignorant comment, from a nurse. All she said, on hearing about my vegetarian diet, was: “Oh, well, you want to be sure and get all your protein.”

All my protein? Really? That’s all she could think of? Hadn’t she heard of B12, or Omega 3’s? Wasn’t there a nutrition class in her curriculum? There were too many scathing comments to pick from, and the moment passed before I could settle on one. Probably just as well. It’s not a good idea to flame the people who will be taking care of you.

The ObGyn was a total let down. She didn’t even blink about my diet. I suspect that since she had my lab results, she could already see I wasn’t anemic or otherwise malnourished. All she wanted to talk about was breastfeeding being the best option and not needing to supplement it with formula, no matter what some pediatricians say. I rather liked her.

So there. I guess the medical establishment does read its own nutritional studies – eventually. Or at least has learned that it’s not PC to ask a vegetarian to eat dead animals. They do still make you wear hospital gowns, though. And put your feet in stirrups.

Zoë Keeland

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2 Responses to “Pregnant Vegetarian 1: Pregnancy Test”

  1. Amanda Black says:

    congrats!! I look forward to your future posts!! We are trying to get pregnant too, and I’m worried about facing Oklahoma down-home doctors with my healthy veggie diet. I really wish you the very best, and look forward to more adventures!!

  2. Lisa says:

    Congrats on the pregnancy!Love this post, I was vegetarian for almost 2 years after I had surgery to remove my gallbladder and afterwards not being able to tolerate ANY kind of meat.I was vegetarian until 25 weeks with my last pregnancy and the doctor sent me to a dietician so she could make sure I had a guideline on how much I needed to be eating and when I should up some things such as protein and calcium.My baby from that pregnancy will be 2 in March and is as healthy and smart as a whip had all of his teeth by 11 months,already says 2 word sentences and says at least 30 words.I commend you for not switching your diet for “others”,the way I see it is as long as you are eating healthy,getting proper nutrients and exercising that the baby will be fine!The only thing I had problems with was my iron at 32 weeks but it happened with my first pregnancy and I ate meat during that one.Congrats again!

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