Protein During Pregnancy

Protein Makes strong mamas and strong babies

During your first trimester, protein requirements increase by nearly 40%. By the end of your third trimester protein needs are nearly 75% greater than when not pregnant.

Why this leap in protein needs?

Because every cell, metabolic pathway and hormonal communication requires protein. Although you can get all the protein you need from vegetarian sources, animal sources of protein are particularly rich in immune boosting zinc, energizing vitamin B12 and iron to deliver oxygen to your cells.

Healthy Weight Gain

High protein diets are all the rage right now. It's true that protein has a higher thermic effect, meaning it burns more calories to digest. It's also true that dietary protein promotes fat loss in favor of building lean muscle, assuming you eat enough protein with each meal and within 60 minutes of each vigorous workout.

All of that said, more is not always better. Your body cannot absorb more than ~30g of protein at a time. Anything more than that, you pee out. This means that there's no need to go crazy with protein powders. Just be sure to eat a normal portion size of protein every time you eat (i.e. a cup of yogurt or 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, a palm-sized piece of meat or fish or 2-3 eggs).

See below for good protein choices.

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CHOOSE THESE PROTEINS:

»» FISH + SHELLFISH

»» CHICKEN, BEEF, LAMB + PORK (grass-fed or organic)

»» EGGS (look for pastured, organic or omega-3 enriched)

»» DAIRY (Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, kefir)

»» TOFU, TEMPEH + EDAMAME

»» BEANS + LEGUMES

Want to learn more about balancing your macro and micronutrients during pregnancy?