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How does protein contribute to baby’s development?

Spoon of Protiva powder

“You are what you eat,” the saying goes, but for a fetus the expression is more like “you are what your mother eats.”

Proper nutrition is important in all aspects of a baby’s development in the womb, and a mother’s nutritional choices while pregnant can have profound and lasting effects on her child’s health.

Protein is especially important for a pregnant woman’s diet because it provides the amino acids—the body’s building blocks—necessary for fetal tissue development and expanding maternal tissue expansion. Proper protein consumption also supports the body’s increased blood volume and maternal storage reserves (for labor, delivery, and lactation). Protein is also cited as the single most critical element for fetal neurological development.

A protein-deficient diet can lead to health problems for both the mother (fatigue, muscle atrophy) and baby (hampered growth, learning disabilities).

How much protein do pregnant moms need?

Pregnant women require about 70 grams of protein per day, according to the USDA. That’s 25 more grams than non-pregnant women, who need just 45 daily grams. Because the fetus grows faster during the second and third trimesters, protein levels during these periods are more important than during the beginning of the pregnancy.

This additional protein can be acquired by eating protein-rich foods—including beans, salmon, egg whites, peanut butter, low-fat yogurt, and tofu—as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Animal proteins contain all the essential amino acids you need to build proteins within your body, but you’ll want to avoid fish that may contain mercury and processed deli-style meats. Plant products generally contain some, but not all, of the essential amino acids and may need to be paired together to meet nutritional requirements.

Are you getting enough protein?

Even women who feel they are eating properly may still be protein deficient. In a recent clinical study, 85% of women in their third trimester had protein levels at or below the minimal protein range.

Protiva is clinically proven to help increase protein levels during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and has has been formulated to work with any prenatal vitamin regimen. We encourage you to have a discussion with your doctor about your protein levels and whether Protiva is right for you and your baby.

Download the fact sheet for your doctor

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