Friday, 1 April 2016

Battle of the Vegan Pregnancy Books

I've had two vegan pregnancies, and I've got 3 books on the subject - so that makes me an expert, right? No, really these are just my thoughts on a few of the books out there on having/enjoying/surviving a vegan pregnancy. 

Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide
An adorable little pocket guide written by blogger, scientist and all-around relatable chick Sayward Rebhal. It's genuinely funny, with a chatty tone, but the nutritional information is sound and the practical advice useful. For example, which brands of antacid are vegan? What are some good meals to freeze before the birth? What should you pack for the hospital? As it's short and sweet, it's not exhaustive - more like the advice of a good friend who's recently had a baby. But a friend who is really up on vegetarian nutrition and herbal remedies. 
Best for: Nervous first-timers, evidence-based nutrition and supplement advice - really, all pregnant vegans should read this one.

The Kind Mama
This one is by Alicia Silverstone - yes, the one from Clueless. She's a vegan and serious hippie. I bought this one knowing full-well that I might not like everything in it, because it's not just a vegan pregnancy book, it's a hardcore macrobiotic vegan pregnancy book, AND an attachment-parenting, home-birth-advocating, western-medicine-mistrusting, elimination-communicating, bed-sharing, eco-warrior-ing love letter to a more natural, some might say alternative, parenting style. She came under fire for being vaguely anti-vax (I'd bet my life that her kid isn't vaccinated), but really, if you read it all, she's actually deeply mistrustful of ALL conventional medicine - I don't feel that way (hey epidural, love you forever xx), but at least it's not just this one thing, based on that one bad study. (For the record, my kids are vaccinated. My position is basically 'yay vaccines'. I know this is a tangent, and controversial in some circles, but I feel strongly about our collective responsibility to public health. Just an example, an old friend's daughter had a heart transplant at 7 months old, and has to be immune-suppressed so her little body doesn't reject the heart that saved her life. She can't be vaccinated, and relies on that herd-immunity. Vaccinate for her too. Anyway...) It tends to set out one path (her path) as being THE path, and in the grand tradition of baby books, the writing style is a little twee. All that said, her positivity is refreshing, the photography is lovely, and the recipes are actually fantastic. I happen to love macrobiotic-style food, so for me, yum. I also really like some of the parenting philosophy, in terms of gentleness to both mama and baby. For instance, she advocates 'laying in' postpartum,  a practice I mentioned recently - basically staying in bed or not far from it to rest, recover, bond and breastfeed after the birth. Nice work of you can get it. 
Best for: Macrobiotic recipes, attachment parenting, serious earth-mother types, movie stars. 

Mama Glow:
Random find in Foyles, and probably my favourite! Written by NYC doula, yoga teacher and lifestyle guru Latham Thomas, whose positivity is completely infectious. Do you know many yoga teachers? It is SO written by a yoga teacher. Out of everything I read about pregnancy and birth, this is the book that made me want to try to enjoy it, to luxuriate in the absurd, spectacular miracle that was happening to me. I've said before that I don't exactly relish the physical experience of pregnancy, so that's no mean feat. It made me want to take care of myself, because I effing deserve it. There's a confidence to her positivity that feels very New York to me, as opposed to the more wide-eyed, earnest (slightly flakey?) style in The Kind Mama. It has yoga suggestions for pre-conception, each trimester, and postpartum. The recipes are pretty standard healthy vegan fare, but no less yummy - I've made quite a few of her smoothies. 
Best for: Yoga, healthy recipes, self care. 

Are there any others that you know of? What did you enjoy reading during pregnancy?


  1. This is an awesome post. I wish you did affiliate links because I'm going to Amazon right now to look for Mama Glow. Anyways, I always enjoy reading your blog!

    1. Thank you so much! Hope you like it - was definitely my favourite for wallowing in pregnancy info!
      Jo x