By : Sheryl Salis (Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator)

Protein Requirement During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a magical phase of a woman’s life. Maternal nutrition during gestation plays a critical role in foetal survival, growth and development.

A surge of hormones in the first few weeks leads to loss of appetite, senses and mental health which eventually affect the eating pattern of the mother to be.

Nutrition deserves special attention during pregnancy because of the high nutrient needs and the critical role of appropriate nutrition for both mother and foetus.

Nutrients like folic acid, iron, calcium, omega 3, magnesium and protein are of utmost importance during gestation.

A balanced meal with all the essential macro and micro nutrients with a good combination of food choices are important for the health of the mother and for the growth of the baby.

Protein is one of the most important nutrients during pregnancy for growth and development of the foetus.

Expansion of blood volume and growth of the maternal tissues require substantial amounts of protein.

Ways to improve Protein Intake during gestation:

• Include good sources of protein like milk and milk products like curd, buttermilk, paneer, etc., all dals and pulses (Preferably cereal and pulse combination like khichdi as it forms a complete protein), soybean, soymilk and tofu (soy paneer).

• Nuts like Almonds and walnuts can be included.

• Include healthier snacks for munching like roasted chana, boiled chana or moong chat with veggies, hummus with salad sticks, unsalted nuts, plain yoghurt, protein cookies (GRD Bix or GRD Lite) or protein supplements (preferably whey protein along with DHA & Taurine like GRD Smart)

• Bed time milk can be included as milk provides protein as well as it is a good source of calcium.

• Avoid partially cooked meat, eggs and other non-vegetarian foods which can possibly harbour microorganisms hazardous for the growing foetus.

A moderate protein intake with a balance of other essential nutrients with mindful eating is essential for nourishment of the mother and baby.

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