National Protein Day: Importance Of Proteins During Pregnancy

A pregnant woman snacking on protein-rich seeds and nuts

There is no denying that a woman’s body is extremely vulnerable during pregnancy. A lot of changes happen during this critical period – ranging from hormonal fluctuations to the growth of breast tissue. Hence, the importance of proteins can’t be overlooked during this period.

Protein in pregnancy acts as a building block for the baby’s cells and ensures the proper growth of their organs and tissues. The macronutrient also helps with uterine as well as breast tissue growth.

There is so much more that protein does for both the pregnant woman and her baby. With National Protein Day, which falls on February 27, we decided to look at the importance of protein during pregnancy.

Nutrients Required During Pregnancy

Research says the following nutrients are essential during pregnancy and lactation:

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Calcium
  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D

Apart from these micronutrients, macronutrients, including protein, fats and carbohydrates, are required during pregnancy.

Why Do You Need Protein During Pregnancy?

Proteins are critical during pregnancy to ensure the tissue and organ development of the growing baby. They also ensure the proper functioning of muscles and support breast and uterine growth. Other roles the macronutrient plays for pregnant women are:

  • Repair of tissues and muscles
  • Hormonal and enzymatic balance
  • Maintaining the balance of fluids
  • Increasing blood supply to the fetus

How Much Protein to Consume During Pregnancy?

Research says that pregnant women require 70 to 100 grams of protein each day, depending on their weight and current trimester. The Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) of protein for an average sedentary adult per day is 0.75g per kg of their body weight. Pregnant women need an additional 6g per day. That means, if you weigh 65 kg and are pregnant, you will need: 65 x 0.75g/d = 48.75 g + 6 gram = 54.75 g of protein each day

Ways to Curb Pregnancy Cravings

Cravings are normal during pregnancy. But the type of pregnancy craving varies from woman to woman. While some women may crave sugary things, others may love to have anything that’s sour. However, a pregnant woman needs to limit such cravings and eat healthily. Here are some ways to handle cravings during pregnancy:

  1. Eat a balanced diet comprising low-fat dairy foods, whole grains, whole proteins, fruit, vegetables and legumes.
  2. Do not skip a meal to avoid drops in blood sugar levels that could trigger food cravings.
  3. Limit portion control. Instead of overeating, divide your meals into 5-6 small and satisfying meals.
  4. Focus on lower-calorie foods, such as Greek yoghurt, veggies, guacamole and baked potato with chives.
  5. Instead of sugary snacks, consider healthy snack options like sugar-free dark chocolate fudge bars, mixed berry smoothies and frozen fruit bars.
  6. When you desire ice-creams, count on frozen yoghurt, sherbet, or sorbet to satisfy your cravings.
  7. Choose homemade baked potato chips, banana chips, or kale chips if you crave chips.

Superfoods for Pregnancy

The following superfoods will ensure you and your baby get the essential nutrients for your bodies to function optimally:

  • Eggs
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Fruits
  • Fatty fish
  • Dark green vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Beans and lentils
  • Chia seeds
  • Lean meat
  • Spinach
  • Berries

When to Consume Protein during Pregnancy?

While getting sufficient protein throughout pregnancy is indispensable, protein intake is vital during the second and third trimesters. Make sure your daily protein requirement is met every day without any hitch. For this, count on high-quality protein sources, such as legumes, meat, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

Your gynecologist may also recommend protein supplements, depending on your condition and health status. These supplements are usually available in the form of powder, shakes, or snack bars. Before buying these supplements, keep the following things in mind:

  • Evaluate your protein needs and get something based on your doctor’s recommendation.
  • Pick a protein supplement with the fewest ingredients possible.
  • Ensure the supplement is without added sugar, artificial flavorings, oils and additives.
  • Ask your doctor whether you need whey protein or casein protein, and then opt for a suitable supplement.
  • Evaluate the label carefully before settling for any protein supplement.

Conclusion

Pregnancy is a critical period in a woman’s life. Every pregnant woman must ensure their nutritional needs are met during this period. No doubt, relying on nutrient-rich foods will help her do so, but drinking healthy drinks also helps.

A healthy drink like Prohance Mom can prove to be a boon for every pregnant and lactating woman. Formulated with 7.56 grams of high-quality protein and 31 standard nutrients, this protein powder for women offers energy balance and meets all the nutrient needs required during pregnancy. Consider this health drink after consulting your gynecologist to offer high-standard nutrition to your body.

Disclaimer: This blog/publication/editorial/article is meant for awareness / educational purposes and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship, or recommendation of any products. Please consult your doctor/healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication, or exercise.

Enhancing lives of pregnant and lactating women and their babies

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