FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:
This open-access narrative review concerns the potential health effects for pregnant mothers and their offspring of vegetarian and vegan diets. The overall summary is a familiar one:
"well planned vegetarian and vegan diets may be considered safe during pregnancy and lactation, but they require a strong awareness for a balanced intake of key nutrients"
The key question is to what extent most vegan or vegetarian mothers do
actually have 'a strong awareness for a balanced intake of key nutrients'
(as well as both the willingness and the ability to put that 'strong awareness' into practice).
Research in this area remains very limited, and fraught with confounds.
Most studies of vegetarians or vegans vs omnivores show that diets that exclude or restrict animal-derived foods are linked with higher risks of deficiencies in many key nutrients particularly important for healthy brain development and function - including Vitamin B12, omega-3 DHA, iodine, choline, iron and zinc, among others.
However, there still remains a serious lack of high-quality studies involving pregnancy or infancy in this important area.