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Vegan and TTC?

(17 Posts)
Nell96 Sun 05-Jun-16 21:49:21


I'm new to mumsnet smile

I was just wondering whether there are any vegans out there who are currently ttc? Or any vegan mums who would like to share their experience?

I'm 31 and stopped taking the pill around 18 months ago. I've been vegetarian since my early teens and vegan for about two years. My partner and I started ttc in February this year, though I have long cycles, which recently seem to have settled at 40-41 days. I'd say I'm healthy and active - though could probably do with loosing half a stone or so and cutting down on the red wine!

Anyway, it's still early days (currently on our third cycle), but I was just wondering if there are any vegan mums / mums-to-be out there and if so, how long did it take you to get pregnant? Do you think that your diet had a any impact, either positive or negative?


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SkyLucy Mon 06-Jun-16 09:44:08

Welcome Nell96! Confession....I'm not vegan - I'm a very strict vegetarian currently making the transition to veganism. Hope you don't mind me posting!

I'm 32 and have been TTC since the new year - sadly no joy as yet. Do have a browse of the many TTC #1 threads - some are fab - you'll learn things you never even realised you needed/wanted to know shock!

In terms of how my diet affects TTC...hard to say. I wouldn't change being veg for the world, but I did find out the hard way that years of no meat/fish had severely depleted my ferritin and vit D levels. I rectified my vit D levels very quickly, but ferritin's been trickier. It's the protein that stores and releases iron...I wasn't eating enough iron and I have horribly heavy periods (sorry if TMI), which unfortunately was a perfect storm! So, I've been taking hefty doses of ferrous sulphate since Feb and my ferritin levels are increasing, which is great. I've been told to stop though if I get preggers, as too much iron can harm the foetus, which is rather terrifying.

Apart from those slight wobbles, I'm pretty healthy...I lost a bit of weight last year in preparation and am fairly active. In short, I would always extol the virtues of being veg. I have a militant vegan friend who naturally conceived gorgeous twin girls (and is raising them vegan too), so I know it can be done, and done beautifully.

Best of luck to you!

crunchymommy Sat 11-Jun-16 18:47:13

Hi I'm vegan, ttc and a parent already. I've never tried to conceive while vegan though as I've only been vegan for a handful of months so can't comment on how easy or hard it will be. I can say though my other babies where fertility treatment babies but since going vegan my fertility specialist thinks I'm ovulating on my own now so looks like its having a positive impact on my ttc journey. grin

earlyriser Sat 11-Jun-16 19:00:19

I am vegan with two children. Conceived pretty much the first month of trying with both babies!

SkyLucy Sat 11-Jun-16 19:05:14

A little update - I'm pregnant! Fx it sticks and thrives smile

Nell96 Sat 11-Jun-16 19:21:55

Thanks for the replies, and congratulations SkyLucy, fab news! This is all very reassuring. I think my general feeling is that being vegan is unlikely to affect fertility, as long as you're eating a healthy, balanced diet and really, the same can be said for vegetarian and meaty diets as well. I suppose it's just something which has been niggling at the back of my mind... You spend so long avoiding pregnancy, that when you do actually start ttc and it doesn't happen instantly, you immediately start worrying that something's wrong...

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SkyLucy Sun 12-Jun-16 09:46:54

Absolutely nell...I think it's natural to start looking for problems, and unfortunately a slightly different diet is an easy scapegoat. Always remember that a vegan diet can be amazingly healthy/nutritious, and even if everything's working perfectly for you and your partner, and you manage to DTD at your peak fertile time, the chances of becoming pg are only 20% in any given month. (Contradicts what we were told as teenagers eh?!) Stay patient, and best of luck to you.

Me624 Sun 12-Jun-16 11:54:32

I am not vegan but have been vegetarian for 15 years and am not particularly careful to make sure I eat a good diet. I would echo SkyLucy and get your iron levels checked. I was ttc for a year with no luck despite ovulation tests showing that I was ovulating regularly. DH and I went to the doctor to kick off tests and the first thing they did was run a full set of blood tests on me which showed that I was ridiculously anaemic. My levels were so low, the doctor was amazed that I was managing to work, walk up stairs etc. I didn't feel awful at all and he concluded that my levels must have dropped gradually over so many years that my body had got used to it.

After 4 months on a super high dose of iron, my HB and ferritin levels were finally back up to where they should be and the following month I got my bfp.

So if I were you, I'd consider asking your GP for a blood test and look at the iron in your diet (although my levels were so low that improving my diet couldn't possibly have brought them back up)

Stardustlady Sun 12-Jun-16 11:56:20

I got pregnant by surprise age 37, 1 month after turning vegan! Ds is now 4. I am still vegan. Good luck!

SkyLucy Sun 12-Jun-16 12:40:17

Hi Me624 - I had the same thing - steady decline in ferritin over 9 years...unnoticeable for me, until I started to lose my hair! sad Did you continue taking the big iron doses when you got your BFP? I'm only taking Pregnacare now but worried that my iron's going to deplete again, but was told categorically not to continue with ferrous sulphate.

Me624 Sun 12-Jun-16 15:28:53

Sky I just took Pregnacare for the first few months and my iron levels were fine at my booking in bloods. When they did bloods again at 24 weeks it had dropped considerably and at that stage they put me back on ferrous sulphate. I know a lot of people who have been prescribed iron in pregnancy so I don't think it's unsafe, but you should be ok just to take Pregnacare and once they've done your booking in bloods they'll let you know if you need more.

I always had really fine hair and I used to find it impossible to walk up hills without getting really out of breath, I thought I was just unfit! As soon as my levels had returned to normal I was bounding up hills with no problems and my hair is much thicker now! At its lowest my HB level was 5.3 shock the doctors wanted to give me a transfusion but as I felt so normal and I didn't want one they agreed I could just stick to the tablets.

crunchymommy Sun 12-Jun-16 19:55:41

I take Holland and Barrett's vegan multivitamin and minerals so I'm hoping that's helping keep everything balanced for me

crunchymommy Fri 17-Jun-16 21:40:59

Okay so thought I'd update. Since being vegan I conceived naturally for the first time in 6 years on my first month NTNP. Unfortunately today I'm miscarrying but still a miracle I even conceived alone at all!

SkyLucy Tue 21-Jun-16 22:42:49

Oh crunchy I've only just seen this, I'm so sorry to hear your bad news. All very best wishes to you x

Nell96 Sun 15-Nov-20 10:21:21

Hi, just wanted to update this thread. I did eventually conceive, but it took 2.5 years. I conceived a few months after I went back to a vegetarian diet. I'll never know if my vegan diet was the cause of our fertility problems, other factors may also have been at play - husband worked away a lot, I have cysts on my right ovary, I stopped drinking alcohol a month before we conceived etc. My feeling is that it was probably a combination of different things. Now I'm pregnant for the second time after only 3 months of TTC.

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Moon12345 Mon 16-Nov-20 09:00:15

Hello just wanted to add my experience. Been vegan for nearly 3 years and came off the contraceptive implant after 11 years using that method. I fell pregnant 3 months later without actively trying (wasn’t tracking ovulation). I had to have some blood tests very early on in my pregnancy due to some spotting and all my levels including iron were perfect. I do make a conscious effort to have a really balanced, healthy vegan diet, with lots of leafy greens, protein (tofu/beans/lentils) and a focus on variety. I also practice yoga everyday so say I’m pretty healthy. If anything I would say my diet the last couple of years is the healthiest and most fulfilling it’s ever been. Of course I have no idea if/how it affected me conceiving, but wanted to reassure any vegan women TTC that it certainly didn’t hinder me. Good luck ladies x

Nell96 Mon 16-Nov-20 13:24:48

@Moon12345 I'm glad that you didn't have any problems conceiving. I think that this is also the case for many vegan women. Just to clarify, I'm really not trying to scaremonger, I just wanted to share my experience - often we read these threads online and have no idea what the outcome was. I'm generally supportive of vegan diets - my husband is still vegan and so a large part of my diet remains plant-based. However, I do think that it's really important to do a lot of research into nutrition to make sure that your body is getting everything that it needs (which is entirely possible with a vegan diet). Although I did eat a pretty varied diet, including lentils, beans, nuts, green veg etc., I did also find myself relying a lot on bread, pasta, vegan alternatives etc., which I don't think was great. I also spent a lot of time feeling quite stressed out about what I was eating, which again, probably didn't help. So, personally, I do feel that my diet was a contributing factor to our fertility issues - I'm not saying it was the only cause. As I said, it's perfectly possible to have a healthy and balanced vegan diet, and lots of vegans have no trouble conceiving, but I do think that some people find it harder to adapt to a vegan diet than others, and enjoy it less, and to those people, I'd say don't be too hard on yourself and just go with whatever makes you feel healthy, happy and more relaxed.

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