Why is Protein Important During Pregnancy?

You need to get about 25 grams of protein in addition to what you were taking before. So that’s a total of almost 75 grams a day – A LOT when protein doesn’t always sound appetizing.

Most women understand the importance of maintaining a complete diet during pregnancy. Since your baby’s development is completely dependent on your health, it’s essential you fill your body with the proper nutrients you need to support your growing baby; one of the most important nutrients you need is protein. Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said that protein is necessary because “it has its hands in every critical function of the body.”  

How much protein do I need?

So how much protein do you actually need? Daily protein requirements vary by ideal weight and physical activity. For example, a woman whose ideal weight is 140 pounds and engages in moderate physical activity would need 45 grams of protein when not pregnant and 75 grams of protein when pregnant.  Use the Mommi protein calculator to determine how much protein you need based on your weight and activity level.

Why is protein so important?

On the surface, protein can help keep you lean. While you are expected and even encouraged to gain weight during pregnancy, gaining too much weight may cause serious health risks, let alone it’s hard to take off afterward. Good sources of protein will keep you feeling fuller longer, and will reduce the need to eat extra, empty calories.  It will also help you gain weight in the form of lean muscle rather than just fat. Another thing to consider during pregnancy is gestational diabetes. Eating a diet rich in protein helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.

Most importantly, the amino acids in protein are quite literally the building blocks of the human body. Proteins not only repair muscle tissue but also red blood cells. They transport nutrients and oxygen to and from those cells and also control blood clotting, particularly those in and around the uterus and placenta.

Proteins also play a huge roll in hair and fingernail growth along with the regulation of hormone secretion and digestion. And 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. Proteins high in omega-3 fatty acids like DHA provide the nutrients necessary for proper cognitive activity and growth.  Therefore, it’s more important than ever to get an adequate amount of protein during those last few months of pregnancy.

Without sufficient protein in your diet, you are more at risk of contracting an infection, suffering from weight loss, and possibly retaining severe amounts of fluid. Consuming the proper amounts of protein during pregnancy is vital to the health of your baby as it has also been linked to a lower risk of neonatal death and birth defects.

Please note – not all protein powders are created equal! Some are safe for pregnancy, many are problematic. Read labels. If you don’t want that hassle, just order Mommi 3-in-1. It’s pregnancy-safe whey protein powder, plus it includes a prenatal and DHA – everything your OB/GYN will tell you to take for a healthy pregnancy. We made it easy!

Leave your comment