Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-20-2020

Class Instructor(s)

Jacob Adkison Keplinger, S. Charity


Globally, plant-based diets are continuing to increase with knowledge that such diets may prevent coronary heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. In the United States, vegan diets have seen recent growth with the vegan population growing past 1.6 million. In simple terms, vegans refrain from consuming any animal products such as meat, eggs, dairy products, as well as other animal-derived substances [1]. Vegan diet has several known risks, as it exposes its participants to various nutritional deficiencies such as proteins, iron, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, omega-3, and vitamin B12 [2]. These nutrients are typically found in a balanced diet that includes red meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, nuts, and vegetables. A well-balanced diet is especially important in promoting healthy pregnancy and healthy fetal growth and development. There is an abundance of research regarding vegan diets and their effect on pregnancy and fetal growth and development. Unfortunately, some studies reached differing conclusions on the effect of a vegan diet during pregnancy. Majority of these studies concluded that a strict vegan diet is harmful during pregnancy. However, there are contradictory studies on this subject. One contradictory study concluded that the evidence around vegan-vegetarian diets in pregnancy is controversial and limited, as such the study determined that vegan-vegetarian diets may be considered safe in pregnancy [3]. With contradictory studies, there is an elevated risk of inadvertently following an incorrect study. It is therefore critical to understand the impact a strict vegan diet has on pregnancy and fetal development, as well as determine optimal treatment options to prevent pregnancy complications and potential birth defects.