protein during pregnancy madison wi
Women's Health

The Importance of Protein During Pregnancy

Disclaimer: The following information has not been approved by the FDA. This information should not be interpreted as medical advice and is not a substitute for a visit with a medical care professional. Always speak to your doctor about any health concerns. 

Protein is a macronutrient that is extremely important. Understanding the importance of protein during pregnancy may increase your commitment to meeting your daily requirements!


Your whole body is changing; your uterus, your breasts, not to mention you’re growing a whole new organ, i.e. the placenta. Growing a fetus, which changes and develops by leaps and bounds on a weekly basis, requires protein to grow the new tissues and organs. Protein also assists in the formation of hair, nails, and bones, and helps with milk production. As your body changes its demands for protein increase. During the second and third trimester, your baby is growing the fastest, and consequently, your demands for protein peaks.

STABILIZE BLOOD SUGAR

Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the fundamental building blocks of your cells as well as your baby’s. Not only do you need extra protein to accommodate these growing tissues, but also to stabilize your blood sugar.

It’s common for women to develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, but eating a diet rich in protein can help lower your risk significantly. When you experience swings in your blood sugar, you’ll experience symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, weakness, nausea, fainting, and hunger pains. While pregnancy can produce these symptoms anyway, they escalate when your blood sugar is not stable. Increased intake of protein can keep your blood sugar from spiking and dipping, which is dangerous for you and your baby. It’s great to have a protein snack after dinner to help keep your blood sugar stabilized overnight.

DEALING WITH MORNING SICKNESS

Many women experience nausea, or morning sickness, during their pregnancy. Women may experience this anytime of day and during any trimester. Due to this, many women don’t or can’t consume the recommended amount of calories each day. Because of this, I like to recommend a high-quality protein shake to my clients. This is a great way to take in a good amount of calories and protein, and can optionally add in other ingredients such as healthy fats, omega 3’s, fruits, and vegetables. Boosting your protein this way can help ensure you are meeting the daily requirements for you and your growing baby.

PROTEIN NEEDS DURING PREGNANCY

The majority of women need a minimum of 75 grams of protein per day when pregnant and depending on the individual’s weight and physical activity levels, needs can be as high as 100 grams per day or more.

Great sources of protein include meat, beans, eggs, milk, nuts, fish, and tofu, but due to a lot of meat aversions during pregnancy some women find they are unable to eat meat and fish. Keeping a high-quality protein powder on hand can help fill in the gaps where you’re lacking protein.

In conclusion, due to obstacles such as gestational diabetes, morning sickness, and meat aversions during pregnancy, it can be difficult for women to consume the recommended amount of calories and protein per day. Adding in a high-quality protein powder will help you meet the needs of you and your growing baby.

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Andrea Short is a Maternity Nutrition & Wellness Specialist as well as a Pre & Postnatal Fitness Specialist. She guides and supports women during all stages of their pregnancy with nutrition and exercise so they can feel their best, have a healthy weight gain, and reduce pregnancy symptoms and complications, which leads to a healthier mom and baby. She also works with postpartum women by supporting and guiding them with nutrition and exercise and helps them get back on track with their exercise program so they can feel confident, lose the baby weight, and get back to their pre-baby body-or even become more fit than prior to baby. You can find her at www.andreashortwellness.com.


*Disclaimer: All information and recommendations given on this site, in email correspondence, newsletters or other materials provided by The Healthy Place is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice nor be viewed as a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider. Consult a licensed healthcare practitioner before modifying, stopping, or starting the use of any medications, health programs, diets, and/or supplements, as well as regarding any health concerns you may have. Our statements and information have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. As with any health-related program, product, or service, your risks and results may vary. We expressly disclaim responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the information provided to you here.”


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