While the actual recommended amount of protein might vary from doctor to doctor, all health care providers agree protein is a vital component of a healthy pregnancy diet. Protein supports a wide variety of important body functions for expectant mothers, while providing the raw materials necessary to build a healthy new human life.
Daily Recommendations for Pregnant Women
The recommendation of protein as part of a daily diet for a pregnant woman fluctuates. These fluctuations are reflection of the ever-changing food pyramid recommended by the USDA, the care provider's personal leanings and the latest medical research.
Some providers recommend as little as 40-50 grams of protein daily, while others bombard women with a minimum recommended amount of 90+ grams daily as part of a healthy pregnancy diet.
Most doctors recommend moderation, which splits the difference between these high and low numbers landing at 60 grams of protein daily. This amount stays steady as part of diet during first trimester pregnancy as well as every subsequent trimester. Protein needs to be high priority from pregnancy's beginning to its end.
Getting adequate protein is of such vital importance that some doctors even go so far as to advise against a vegetarian diet in pregnancy.
The body uses protein in many ways. During pregnancy, the multi-tasking elements of protein's nutritive powers are pushed to the limit.
Waste Removal Systems Have Added Strain for Pregnant Women
During pregnancy, mom's waste removal systems kick into over drive. This means the kidneys, liver, blood stream and all other body components used to scour toxic substances from the body need extra support.
Protein is a key player in waste removal. As protein digests, it is broken into small pieces. The smallest of these elements are indigestible sponge-like molecules. The body uses these protein sponges to soak up and remove waste particles from the blood stream.
Without adequate proteins, wastes build up resulting in fatigue, swelling and potentially the life-threatening complication, toxemia. Research in this aspect of protein's benefits is still ongoing.
Fetal Development and Protein
Proteins are made of long strands of amino acids as well as vital fatty acids like omega-3. Both nutrients play important roles for mother and baby.
Amino acids are the basic building blocks of life. Trying to develop a healthy baby without amino acids would be like trying to build a log cabin without logs.
Maintain Steady Blood Sugars with Protein
Proteins also help mom's body to maintain normal blood sugar levels. This helps with mood swings, energy levels, appetite control and even reduces or eliminates morning sickness.
As you can see, protein is a vital part of a healthy pregnancy diet for both mother and child.