Little is mentioned of men's health before conception but this is also important. A man is producing sperm all the time and sperm takes 70 days to develop. Therefore the state of their health may affect the quality and quantity of the sperm.
It is accepted that a woman should take care of her health before pregnancy and nutritional status is important in relation to pregnancy outcome. The developing foetus is more susceptible to nutritional deficiency during the first trimester (first three months). However a well-planned vegan diet will not leave pregnant women short of any nutrient needed to prepare them for a healthy pregnancy. As in all stages of life, the Vegan Society stresses the importance of ensuring an intake of a reliable source of B12 and of vitamin D at this time.
The Department of Health recommends that in addition to eating foods rich in folic acid women considering pregnancy should take a folic acid supplement of 0.4mg per day before pregnancy and for 12 weeks during pregnancy. Although a vegan diet is generally rich in folic acid, it is recommended that intake is increased. Folic acid is a B vitamin and it can help to prevent spina bifida and other conditions in which the brain or spinal cord does not develop properly. All women wishing to conceive should take 400µg (0.4mg) per day. Folic acid is found in green leafy vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals, wholemeal bread, pulses (beans, peas and lentils) and yeast extract.