A nutritious, well-balanced food intake can be one of the greatest gifts a mom-to-be gives to her developing baby. Pregnancy nutrition is essential to a healthy baby and hence adopting a healthy eating plan before pregnancy is best. However it’s never too late. Apart from several other nutrients, one of the most important nutrients that a developing foetus needs is Protein.
Protein forms an essential component of a healthy diet in women to support both growth and maintenance. A mom-to-be’s diet takes care of supplying all the proteins that a baby needs; so, if the diet of a pregnant woman is deficient, her baby can suffer. Here is why a pregnant woman must not miss protein from her diet and must avoid being protein deficient.
Role of Protein in Pregnancy
Protein in the body plays structural and functional roles. It is essential to build the cells of baby’s body in a pregnant woman. Proteins are found in every cell of the body, making up skin, muscles, hair, fingernails and all other tissues. They provide structure to cells and help them function properly, as well as helping cells repair themselves. During pregnancy, the protein you eat positively affects the growth of fetal tissue, including the brain.
Mom-to-be’s need for protein increases during pregnancy too. Within several weeks of conception, adjustments in protein metabolism occur to support fetal growth and development while maintaining mom-to-be’s internal equilibrium and preparing for lactation. Protein is also known to help mom-to-be’s breast and uterine tissue to grow during pregnancy, while also playing a major role in increasing mom-to-be’s blood supply.
Sufficient Vs Deficient
Did you know the additional energy required during the full term of pregnancy has been estimated to be approximately 77,000 kcalories? Mom-to-be’s dietary intake during pregnancy must have sufficient energy and protein to ensure the full-term delivery of a healthy infant.
Protein Source & Intake
Protein deposition in maternal and fetal tissues increases throughout pregnancy. The baby grows more rapidly during the second and third trimester; hence, the protein levels during the latter half of the pregnancy is more important than earlier in the development of foetus.
Protein for adults is 0.75g per kilogram body weight per day, plus an additional 6g/day for pregnant women. Protein is not just about quantity but also variety because different proteins provide different amino acids. A good rule of thumb is to include a portion of a protein variety in every meal so that you’re getting 2-3 portions per day.
Pregnancy is the one time in a woman's life when her eating habits directly affect another person. It also determines the basic nutritional health that her children will be born with and provides a model for their eating habits during childhood and beyond. Hence consuming a well balanced nutrition enriched with protein intake during pregnancy is a must to ensure all needs are met.
Disclaimer: It is important to consult with your Doctor before deciding the dose and content of nutrition before consumption.
The views, opinions and recommendations expressed in this article are solely those of the author and intended as an educational aid