Vegan Nutrition for Mothers and Children: Practical Tools for Healthcare Providers

Nutrients. 2018 Dec 20;11(1):5. doi: 10.3390/nu11010005.


As the number of subjects choosing vegan diets increases, healthcare providers must be prepared to give the best advice to vegan patients during all stages of life. A completely plant-based diet is suitable during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, and childhood, provided that it is well-planned. Balanced vegan diets meet energy requirements on a wide variety of plant foods and pay attention to some nutrients that may be critical, such as protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. This paper contains recommendations made by a panel of experts from the Scientific Society for Vegetarian Nutrition (SSNV) after examining the available literature concerning vegan diets during pregnancy, breastfeeding, infancy, and childhood. All healthcare professionals should follow an approach based on the available evidence in regard to the issue of vegan diets, as failing to do so may compromise the nutritional status of vegan patients in these delicate periods of life.

Keywords: plant-based diets; vegan breastfeeding; vegan children; vegan diets; vegan infants; vegan pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet, Vegan / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Mothers
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Pregnancy