Best Protein for Pregnancy:
Eggs are also a great protein source and the egg yolk is an excellent source of choline, a relative of B-vitamins. Low choline is a major risk factor of neural tube defects and about 94% of women do not get the 450mg of choline needed per day; so, eat the yolk! The yolks also contain Vitamin A, which is important for proper lung and liver development, and a healthy birth weight.
Omega-3 fats, such as DHA, is found in fatty fish, seafood, grass-fed meat, and pasture-raised eggs and are important in your baby’s brain and vision development. The fat found in meat, chicken skin, and full-fat dairy are excellent sources of fats. There is some evidence showing eating high-fat dairy improves fertility. However, switching to whole fat dairy products is only recommended temporarily. You can switch during the time you are trying to conceive and then switch back to low-fat or skim options after. Other great sources of fats include avocados and nuts for my vegetarian and vegan moms out there.
Proteins are the building blocks of human life. Proteins are basically long pearl necklaces, where each pearl is an amino acid. There are a total of 20 amino acids, nine of which you must get from your diet because your body cannot produce them. Some protein sources that contain these nine essential amino acids include: eggs, milk, cheese, soybeans and quinoa. Protein foods are filling, and help stabilize blood sugar which makes them an integral part of a pregnancy diet especially for women with gestational diabetes.
Protein is so critical to human development because pregnant women need double or triple what is normally needed, about 70-100g per day. Under 20 weeks, your protein requirements are 39% increased, and after 31 weeks it is 73% higher! Eat up those animals, organ meats, cheeses, fish, nut butter, bone broth, and more. Organ meats and bone broth are rich in folate, vitamin B12, and glycine which is essential for fetal formation of DNA, internal organs, connective tissue, bones, blood vessels, skin, and joints. Try sneaking liver into your soups because it is a complete source of all 3. And although every prenatal vitamin (as discussed in Episode 3 Why take Prenatal Vitamins) and many enriched foods contain folic acid. The needed 400mcg of folic acid needed per day prevents birth defects, specifically neural tube defects. Luckily pre-natal vitamins, legumes (beans and lentils) and enriched grains often contain folic acid.