Protein intake during pregnancy

How much protein should you eat during pregnancy? The number that I’ve seen recommended as far as ideal protein intake during pregnancy is 100 grams, and I’ve always thought this is a good guideline.  A lot has been written about how high protein intake is linked to significantly better maternal/infant outcomes.  It also lessens the risk of toxemia and intra uterine growth retardation, among other things.

But if you’re anything like me, ounces are a lot more familiar to me than grams, and I can’t easily picture what 100 grams of protein  looks like. I’ve been assuming for years that I’ve been eating about that amount during pregnancy.  I was happy to see this chart, because it’s so helpful in clarifying how much protein that actually is!

http://www.babylady.com/pdfs/11Daily%20Sources%20of%20Protein.pdf

After looking at this chart, I realized that I’m usually below a hundred grams, despite eating what I thought was a nice amount of protein daily.  I asked my midwife her opinion, and she said many women have a hard time eating that much, and that eighty grams was a good amount.  I’m definitely getting eighty grams in, so that’s very doable for me.

But honestly, I’m not one for counting grams or making charts of what I eat – I’d probably make myself crazy if I had to figure out how much protein was in everything I ate daily .  I find the recommendations here easier to use: http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/diet-for-pregnant-and-nursing-mothers.  And Dr. Tom Brewer is the source to go to for information about how diet affects toxemia, among other things.  His recommendations are similar to the Weston Price Foundation: http://www.blueribbonbaby.org/ifyouarepregnant/what-is-a-good-nutritious-balanced-diet/

How do I measure up as far as the recommendations of those two sources?  I usually have three cups of milk for breakfast (not the recommended four), and six ounces of protein at both lunch and dinner.  That is almost always eggs, meat/chicken, fish, or cheese, so it is pretty close to their suggestions.  I don’t usually use beans as a protein, because I like the other proteins more. :)   I try to use broths to cook my grains with, use butter or coconut oil as the fat for my meals most of the time (though I don’t use as much as is recommended), and until I reread the list, had forgotten all about liver.  :(  I’ll have to look for that during my next shopping trip.

As far as Brewer’s recommendations, I don’t eat that many starches – he doesn’t say what a serving size is, but I eat three servings of starch daily (about a half cup each).  I think from a health perspective that grains are best eaten in limited quatities.  As you can see, they both have very similar guidelines, and to me, the Brewer and Price recommendations are doable and easy to integrate into a regular diet.

Avivah

5 thoughts on “Protein intake during pregnancy

  1. B”H very interesting and informative! I’m wondering how you manage with the queasiness in the first few months, I am unable to eat chicken and meat, can’t eat eggs because the child I’m nursing is allergic to them, I eat little cheese, lentils and beans make me queasy now…the choices are very limited!

  2. I do sometimes feel slightly nauseous in the first trimester, but it’s never been anything major. I once threw up after an hour long bus ride on a windy road (lots of people who weren’t pregnant threw up, too!), but that’s about it as far as I can remember.

    One thing I think makes a very big difference is 1) to eat as soon as possible after you get up; and b) improve the quality of your diet! It’s ironic; when you don’t feel like eating and put it off, you’ll end up feeling lots more nauseous! The pregnant woman who eats a high quality diet will feel lots more energetic and suffer significantly less morning sickness than someone who eats the standard American diet.

    So eat what you can in appropriate quantities, even if you’re not having much variety. I’d especially suggest you eat liver three times a week if you can, even if you can’t do anything else to improve your diet. B’shaah tova!

  3. Thank you so much! That’s pretty much what I do already, I’ll have to see if I can stomach the liver now, usually I eat it but now everything is different…

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