Importance of protein during pregnancy

Importance of protein during pregnancy

The developing fetus requires protein for its proper cell development. Different types of amino acids are required for the growth and therefore protein intake is important during pregnancy as it is the prime source.

Almost every woman passed through this pregnancy phase and like me there are many questions that arise to other pregnant women also like 

  • How is protein helpful for developing a fetus?
  • How much protein should we take?
  • What kind of protein should we take?
  • Which trimester requires more protein intake?

Based on my personal experience I am going to explain some of the simple basic queries which arise during the pregnancy regarding protein intake. I know that as a working woman it is sometimes quite difficult to prepare those complicated protein-rich recipes and sometimes we just need to fill ourselves in a simple way without going through the complicated recipe protocols.

Let us just answer the simple questions

How is protein helpful for developing a fetus?

As we all know that the proteins are the building blocks of the body. They help in building the primary structure of the body and the development of other organs especially the brain.

Proteins are made up of different types of amino acids. Foetus constantly requires these amino acids via the placenta for its own development. These amino acids are required for the proper and whole-body development from body internal and external parts. For pregnant women, the proper intake of protein is very crucial.

How much protein should we take?

Protein intake should be no more or no less. A balanced intake is very important for the proper development of the baby. According to the recommended dietary allowance (RDA), pregnant women should take around 60 g of protein daily.

High protein intake should be avoided as it causes birth abnormalities. Research done on animal models shows that a high intake of protein more than the recommended diet in their early stage of pregnancy causes congenital problems and high ammonia levels. On contrary, this low protein intake also causes pregnancy complications like low birth weight maternal morbidity (1).

What kind of protein should we take?

We can take all kinds of protein except the supplements, powder, and beverages of protein that are available in the market.

The main protein source for non-vegetarian during pregnancy are

  1. Chicken
  2. Egg
  3. Fish
  4. All kind of meat
  5. Milk and milk products
  6. Beans
  7. Nuts and seeds

For vegetarian main protein source are

  1. Nuts
  2. Seeds
  3. Tofu
  4. Dairy products like milk and cheese
  5. Egg for eggetarian

Which Trimester requires more protein intake?

Definitely, the third trimester requires more protein intake followed by the second and least in the first trimester.

As the studies of the American College of Obstetricians and gynecologists following ounces of proteins, we should be taking during pregnancy(2).

  1. First trimester: 5 ounces
  2. Second trimester: 6 ounces
  3. Third trimester: 6.5 ounces

One ounce is equivalent to 1 egg or 1 tablespoon peanut butter or 28-gram lean meat or poultry.