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Importance of Protein in Pregnancy

The female body undergoes many changes during childbearing. Now the mother’s body must also provide nutritional components to the fetus. To give a developing child a complete set of vitamins and minerals, it is necessary to eat different foods, including meat, fish, and milk.

Not all women have the opportunity to make a menu in such a way as to get enough protein. Many pregnant women do not eat meat or suffer from lactose intolerance in dairy products. The amount of protein that enters the body with food does not correspond to the daily requirement for the substance in this way.

It is extremely important to avoid deficiencies in key nutrients for the proper functioning of the mother’s body and the development of the child during pregnancy. It is worth discussing with your doctor the use of synthetic protein supplements if your lifestyle does not allow you to get enough protein from food.

What is the function of protein in the body?

Protein is one of the most important components for maintaining human health. Proteins contain essential and non-essential amino acids. The body synthesizes the essential amino acids, but the essential ones can only be obtained from food. Tissue growth is impossible without a daily protein intake.

Protein performs the building function of body cells. Protein is extremely important for the production of antibodies, ensuring the resistance of the immune system to external threats. Proteins transport oxygen, albumins, and fatty acids between cells. A number of proteins perform a regulatory function.

Protein is necessary for the synthesis of hormones: insulin, calcitonin, and somatotropin. These hormones are responsible for regulating the level of glucose in the blood, calcium in the bone tissue, and the development of the body as a whole. It is important to consume a daily rate of protein during pregnancy. Protein is essential for fetal brain development and infant weight gain.

Protein foods recommended during pregnancy

Getting enough protein per day is essential for fetal development and maternal health. It is possible to fully meet the body’s needs for protein by adhering to a proper diet. The substance is found in a large list of animal and vegetable products. People with different food preferences will be able to create a balanced menu. The highest percentage of protein is found in meat: beef, chicken breast, and turkey. Lots of protein in fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, whole milk, and dairy products. Proteins of animal and vegetable origin can be combined. They will be better absorbed this way. Consideration should be given to the way food is prepared. Fried meat is less useful for humans than boiled meat (due to its high-fat content). Processed meats such as sausages or ham should be avoided. It is recommended to introduce broccoli, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts into the diet.

Protein in Common Foods per 1 LB:

Eggs 204 g
Hard Cheese 160 g
Red Caviar 144 g
Chicken 139 g
Milk 117 g
Red Lentil 119 g
Pears 102 g
Beans 95 g
Fish 92 g

How much protein do you need per day?

The National Academy of Medicine recommends that adults consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. The age and way of life of a personal matters. It is enough to get 60-100 g of protein per day for an adult with a healthy mass index.

Expectant mothers need to receive a protein norm (60-70 g) throughout the entire period of bearing a child. It is worth increasing the amount of protein consumed in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. This is a period of the rapid growth of the fetus. The mother’s body grows with the child to accommodate physiological changes.

According to several studies, it is worth increasing protein intake from the first to the second trimester of pregnancy: up to 1.2 g per kilogram of body weight per day. Protein intake should be increased to 1.5 g per kilogram of body weight per day in the third trimester of pregnancy. The recommended amount of protein is 100-120 g per day in the last trimester of pregnancy.

How much protein do breastfeeding mothers need?

Women who are breastfeeding should consume vitamins and minerals in increased amounts. Breastfeeding moms need healthy compounds from quality food sources. Women during lactation need to consume approximately 30% -40% more calories than before pregnancy.

Eating protein-rich foods allows the body to produce enough milk. A diet with the right amount of protein products contributes to the production of breast milk rich in protein. Children under one year old need to receive 2 g of protein per 1 kg of body weight.

Not only the amount of protein is important, but also it’s quality for newborns. The most valuable protein for babies can be obtained from the mother’s milk. Protein deficiency in the diet of newborns threatens delays in intellectual development and bone tissue and a decrease in immunity.

Protein shakes during pregnancy

Sometimes women during pregnancy cannot establish proper nutrition. Expectant mothers often resort to taking multivitamin complexes and protein powder. You should consult with a gynecologist before taking an artificial protein.

Getting protein from natural foods is considered the best way to saturate the body with a useful component. Adding protein powder to your diet may have some risks. Protein shakes are often high in added sugars and caffeine, which are dangerous for mothers and babies.

Some supplements are loaded with additional vitamins and minerals that may already be in a prenatal multivitamin. A woman is at risk of overdosing on vitamins in this way. It is important to read the composition of protein supplements. Snacking on a protein shake without dangerous ingredients is allowed from time to time.

Do Vegans or Vegetarians lack Protein?

People who refuse meat and dairy products are thinking about the lack of proteins in a vegan diet. Meat, fish, and eggs contain a large amount of protein. Sometimes you can hear the opinion that plant sources of protein are worse than animal ones. Such a statement cannot be called correct.

Vegetarians and vegans can get all the essential amino acids found in proteins. It is important to balance the menu so that you eat a variety of foods. You should eat as many types of cereals, legumes, herbs, and nuts as possible. Many fruits (avocados, bananas, dates) contain protein.

It is important to combine food sources. The body will be able to obtain essential and non-essential amino acids in this way. Vegans can get the protein they need through nutrition and protein supplements. It is worth checking the protein content in the body before introducing artificial protein supplements.

Having Too much or Too little Protein in System

It is important to maintain a balance of essential vitamins, trace elements, and amino acids for pregnant women. An excess of substances is just as dangerous as a deficiency. An excess of protein in the body can be suspected by disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Bloating, indigestion, nausea, and bad breath are formed.

Often there is increased thirst and swelling of the extremities with excess protein. An overdose of protein affects the emotional state: mood swings, irritability, and anxiety are possible. An excess of protein leads to weight gain and provokes the formation of kidney stones.

It is difficult to provoke an excess of protein if a pregnant woman adheres to a proper diet and takes supplements on the recommendation of a gynecologist. You can talk about excessive protein intake if you take more than 2 g of a substance per kilogram of body weight for a long period.

Protein deficiency during pregnancy

It is extremely rare to meet people with acute protein deficiency in the body in developed countries. Protein deficiency occurs when a person has been on a strict diet for a long time. Sometimes a deficiency occurs in people who suffer from poor protein absorption. The body signals a lack of a substance with certain symptoms.

Deterioration of the skin, hair, and nail plate Hair becomes thinner, falls out, nails exfoliate, and peeling of the skin is possible.

Loss of muscle mass Proteins are the building blocks of muscles and body cells.

General weakness and fatigue Amino acids found in proteins are essential for energy production and transport of oxygen throughout the cells.

Frequent viral diseases A deficiency of essential amino acids adversely affects the body’s resistance to fighting viruses.

Poor wound healing Tissues cannot regenerate properly without adequate protein in the diet.

Only based on symptoms it is impossible with a one hundred percent probability to declare a protein deficiency. A doctor should be consulted if there are signs of a protein deficiency. You can confirm the level of a substance in the body using a blood test.

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