Food and Behaviour Research

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The Effects of Vegetarian and Vegan Diet during Pregnancy on the Health of Mothers and Offspring

Sebastiani G, Herranz Barbero A, Borrás-Novell C, Alsina Casanova M, Aldecoa-Bilbao V, Andreu-Fernández V, Pascual Tutusaus M, Ferrero Martínez S, Gómez Roig MD, García-Algar O (2019) Nutrients.  2019 Mar 6;11(3).  pii: E557. doi: 10.3390/nu11030557. 

Web URL: Read this and related abstracts on PubMed here


Vegetarian and vegan diets have increased worldwide in the last decades, according to the knowledge that they might prevent coronary heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

Although plant-based diets are at risk of nutritional deficiencies such as proteins, iron, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, omega-3, and vitamin B12, the available evidence shows that 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. A review of the scientific literature in this field was performed, focusing specifically on observational studies in humans, in order to investigate protective effects elicited by maternal diets enriched in plant-derived foods and possible unfavorable outcomes related to micronutrients deficiencies and their impact on fetal development.

A design of pregestational nutrition intervention is required in order to avoid maternal undernutrition and consequent impaired fetal growth.


This research must be judged in the context of other studies in this area. Our website has comprehensive coverage of reearch over the last two decades - see here for relevant papers.

See here for corresponding news articles on the topic of vegan diets.