Importance of Protein in Pregnancy Diet
The birth of a child is one of the most cherished moments in the life of a mother. All the nine months of pregnancy actually leads up to that one cherished moment. All these months are spent by the expecting mother in fantasizing about how the baby will look, whether the baby will be healthy or not etc. However during this period, the expecting mother should also take care of herself and the unborn child. All she needs to do during this period is stay healthy and happy.
Doctors, various studies and articles suggest that going on a diet during pregnancy is not a very clever decision as it can leave harmful effects on the unborn baby. There is no denying the fact that during pregnancy essential items like protein play a very constructive role in the proper development of the baby within the mother’s womb.
Why protein is needed during pregnancy
The amino acids within protein play a very significant role in making of human cells and is also able to facilitate swift cell development of the baby (in the mother’s womb). Throughout the pregnancy period, mothers need to get enough protein in their diet. During thirty seven weeks of pregnancy items like protein are very essential for the proper development of the baby’s brain. These elements will help in enhancing the bodily activities of the baby like the baby’s breathing, talk, walk etc.
During pregnancy it is advised that expecting mothers should consume protein diet through 3 servings (it should be around 70-75 grams. For non-pregnant women it could be 45 grams). Three different sources can be fixed for separate meals, like for breakfast-cheese omelet, fish for lunch & chicken for dinner. In addition to the above cereals, yoghurt, milk breads are also additional sources of protein that a pregnant lady can consume.
For expecting mothers who are vegan, their diet should include some good sources of non-vegetarian proteins like soy, legumes, lentils etc).
Food sources of protein
- Grass fed lean meat
- Lean meat
- Fish (like sardines, wild salmon, anchovies etc. However it should be kept in mind that all fish are not very safe during pregnancy, specially fishes like swordfish, tile fish, king mackerel etc, because they contain a metal called methyl mercury, which could be harmful for fetus. According to FDA during pregnancy the total consumption of fish should be about twelve ounce per week.)
- Milk as well as other milk/dairy products
- Eggs (specially DHA for enhancing omega 3)
Vegan food option for protein:
- Soy products as well as tofu
- Peanut butter
- Other seeds & nuts
- Whole grain
- Wheat germ etc.
Indications of protein deficiency:
- Frequent occurrence of infections
- Muscle fatigue
- Fluid retention
- Weight loss etc.
In addition to keeping up the necessary levels of protein consumption, it is also necessary to consume things that help the mother’s body and the unborn child to utilize all the protein consumed in the cell building process. An element that can help in this process is pyridoxine. It is a form of vitamin B6 that plays a very important role in the development of the nervous system and brain of a child. If an analogy can be drawn, if protein is the brick, then B6 plays the role of mortar to perfection. Similar to folic acid, B6 plays a very important role in preventing neural tube defects. Some common sources of B6 are oatmeal, spinach, tomatoes, watermelon, soybeans, avocados etc.