Flip open any muscle magazine and you’ll find trainers and athletes touting the importance of protein in your diet. Bodybuilders swear by protein when it comes to repairing muscle tissue. But what does protein intake have to do with pregnancy?? I mean, you are building a body but the focus isn’t on you right now, right? Well, here’s the truth – protein is responsible for a lot during pregnancy. After-all, its amino acids are quite literally the building blocks of the human body.
How does protein help pregnancy?
Protein has a huge benefit for pregnant women:
- Transportation of nutrients and oxygen to and from red blood cells and control of blood clotting
- Increases blood supply
- Hair and fingernail growth and strengthening
- Regulation of hormone secretion and digestion
- Proper cognitive activity and growth
During pregnancy, proteins are providing the very same cell-building tasks for your growing baby. The third trimester of your pregnancy is when your baby’s brain will be developing. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to get an adequate amount of protein during those last few months of pregnancy.
How can lack of protein hurt pregnancy?
When you don’t get enough protein during pregnancy, here are the risks:
- A higher risk of contracting infections
- Weight loss
- Retain severe amounts of fluid
All these symptoms of protein deficiency can prove to be detrimental to the healthy growth of your baby.
How much protein do I need?
Before you rush off to buy protein powder to help supplement the extra need during pregnancy, it’s helpful to know how much protein you actually need. Non-pregnant women are encouraged to consume about 45 grams of protein per day; women who are nursing or pregnant need about 75 grams. Your protein needs may be higher or lower depending on your ideal weight and physical activity. Because all of us are different – we created the Mommi protein calculator so you can know exactly how much protein you need based on your ideal weight and physical activity.
Other things to consider
It’s also a great idea to supplement your protein with B6 because it helps absorb the protein more efficiently. Like folic acid, B6 helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects and also aids in the development of the brain and nervous system.