I had a frustrating morning...I'm only 5 weeks pregnant and my first appointment with my OB doctor is still over 3 weeks away. Since I am experiencing pressure from my family about my vegan diet, I went to my PCP to ask questions. Her reaction to my vegan diet was that I should be lacto-ovo-vegetarian (she said to have dairy every day) while pregnant because (A) It's easier (really?! Isn't it up to me to decide how much effort I want to put into my health and the health of my baby?) and (B) so I don't have to worry about complementing protiens (a concept that has been disproved). Although it's clear that I have more information on the topic at this point than she does, she still managed to plant that seed of doubt that I should have some dairy. What has your experience been with doctors who tell you to have dairy while pregnant? How did you handle the dietary advice from other people during your pregnancy?
Unfortunately the doctors do think they're doing a good deed with their advice, but I think most doctors have only had about an hours nutritional training during their degree! They cannot possibly know all there is about everything. Have confidence in your own research, I'm sure you're probably better informed than she is sadly.
I have a newborn and am breastfeeding and I talked to my doctor about not consuming dairy and he recommended getting calcium through green veggies. He did not seem at all concerned with the idea of no dairy. I stressed that I wanted my baby to get all the nutrients she needs and I wanted to be sure my diet was meeting her needs for proper development.
My doctor is not a vegan, he is a traditional medical doctor and after talking to him I felt secure in knowing that dairy is not required. I have been juicing green veggies including kale and broccoli stems for a morning drink.
Oh gosh....how frustrating! Did your doctor have a little milk mustache? No seriously.....like other posters said doctors don't know everything there is to know about nutrition. I'd start searching now for a doctor who is on the same page as you and has some real knowledge about your concerns and diet. There is no excuse for that disservice...oh yes there is.....doctors are taught to give out drugs. Period. They don't know crap about caring for the body with food. I'm not pregnant, but the last time I asked my doctor about weight loss he told me to eat only two salads a day. And nothing else. I kicked him to the curb years ago.
LOL, straycat. I don't recall a milk mustache, but maybe... :) I did try to find a list of vegetarian doctors before I got pregnant, but I couldn't find such a list. And since it's usually not an additional note on the insurance website under "find a new doctor", next to the other languages spoken, you basically just have to make and appointment and feel them out in your first visit. Clearly, I need a new PCP, but I hope the OB doctor I'm going to see in March is either a little more informed or at least can refer me to a nutritionist and we can get this resolved. Either way, I'm not going to incorporate dairy unless my body is telling me I need it or my blood work comes back with some deficiency. I'm going to keep a detailed food log from now until my appointment and definitely make more of a conscious effort to get all the nutrients I need.
Thanks for the support all! It's such a weird time in your life...This is my first pregnancy, so everything is new and I just want to make sure I'm doing the best possible thing. But at the same time, I feel more educated than the doctor about nutrition! You'd expect a doctor to be delighted that their patient is putting in so much effort and research to stay healthy...c'est la vie.
I liked Lara's experience - you don't need a vegan/veg doctor, you need a doctor who is informed and respects your choices. Believe you me, you could find a vegan gyn who insists that you only, for example, eat a 100% raw diet during pregnancy etc.....a vegan gyno could be just as small minded and disrespectful - the key is shopping around until you find a doctor who supports and respects your choices - they are out there - good luck!
I'm so glad you are standing your ground and determined to find the right doctor for you. Sadly it is "luck of the draw" picking a doc off an insurance list. Do you know any other vegan/vegetarian moms? Maybe they can give you guidance. Like I said, I have no experience in this except the frustration of having an overworked, overstressed doctor. I asked around and found a young women who is enthusiastic and willinging to listen...no matter how long it takes. Best of luck to you and your new baby!!!
Krispy - keep in mind that even if your bloodwork comes back 'deficient,' deficiencies, with the exception of B12, can be met by eating non-animal products. Dairy is hardly necessary, and is actually more of a health detriment than meat. Have you read many vegan nutrition books? If you haven't, now would definitely be the time to check some things out so that you are very clear, with a list at the tip of your tongue, about where some of your most questioned nutrients come from - like calcium, iron, protein, etc - all the big ones.
I know this aggravation quite well. I had my first appointment at 7 weeks and told my doctor that I was vegan and she said "well how do you get all of your protein and calcium?". My first reaction was aren't YOU the doctor? Shouldn't you know more about nutrition than me? I actually had to school her on nutrition. Just try to remember that they're are not the know-it-alls that we would like to think they are. Sometimes we know better. You know to monitor your diet and to take your vitamins and yada yada yada. So just smile and nod when they "suggest" the lacto-ovo diet. We know our bodies and what feels right and wrong and what is good for us and that should be trusted.
With all the dangers facing our youth and infant children, the most profound relate to a poor diet. The food eaten while the infant grows in the womb combined with the food given as formula and baby food are currently contributing to the largest, most destructive tsunami of degenerative illness yet seen on the planet, in our entire history.
This carnage directly results from the standard American diet. It is what is causing all this pain and disease. Many young people are loosing their lives and health doing exactly what everyone else is doing. These unhealthy foods are pushed by the industries that stand to make money from the sale of their products and those professionals craven and ignorant enough to act as their lackeys.
It is difficult to accept clinicians that ignore the peril faced by the majority of their patients while using fear and ignorance to try and dissuade those trying to do the right thing.
I can think of no excuse for this. The damage they do to those willing to take their advice at face value is incalculable. Luckily it serves the pharmaceutical industry, the ultimate master of this abomination.