Baby Size: A head of cauliflower.
Weight gain: 20lbs
Maternity clothes? Yes! My belly grew quickly this time, so I’ve been rocking maternity workout clothes AND everyday clothes.
Belly Button in or out? Out
Best moment this week: Realizing that I have not lost much strength this pregnancy, and in face am gaining strength! This will be extremely helpful in recovering from birth, and carrying 2 kids around (because I doubt big brother will be compliant with not being held since he loves being carried everywhere now!).
Miss Anything? Being able to comfortably put my son in his crib.
Movement: Lots of movement, especially when I eat.
Food cravings: I’m back to early pregnancy stage of not having cravings, but also not being super interested in food either. Nothing sounds very appetizing. We have been eating Chipotle and Modern Market as a result.
Gender: Boy number 2!
Looking forward to: Watching big brother and baby interact.
Importance of Protein In Pregnancy
Are you getting enough protein in your pregnancy? Moms-to-be are advised to get about 1/3 more protein in pregnancy than they do pre-pregnancy. All three of your macronutrients (carbs, fats, protein) are important for various reasons. This week let’s talk about a few key reasons protein is important in your diet, and sources of protein.
- Baby’s brain development – Protein, and more specifically the amino acides in protein, provides the building blocks for the body. Providing enough protein for your baby helps baby’s brain have the foundation to properly grow. Protein helps your baby build cells, which are necessary for brain development.
- Stabilizing blood sugar/hunger – Quality sources of protein help keep you feeling full longer. This keeps you from munching on non-nutritive calories, because your hunger signals are balanced. Moreover, pregnant women are at risk for gestational diabetes. By eating the appropriate amount of protein, you will stabilize your blood sugars, decreasing your risk of gestational diabetes.
- Keep weight gain in check – Of course in pregnancy the goal is to gain weight, especially if you are starting in a normal weight range. Too much weight too fast can be difficult on your system, as well as baby’s. By ensuring you are getting enough protein, you are more likely to gain at a steady rate, and some of that weight might go toward lean muscle, vs fat, which will help with your health postpartum as well.
I have posted in the past about sources of protein, so be sure to check that out. My favorite way to get in a protein boost right now is smoothies. Here’s a simple recipe I like to have after my workouts that is delicious and a quick jolt of protein, plus tons of other vitamins:
- 8 OZ Unsweetened almond milk
- 1/3 C Plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 Scoop Protein Vanilla or Snickerdoodle protein powder
- 1 Handful spinach
- ½ C Frozen Strawberries
- ½ C Frozen Peaches
Blend and enjoy. Super simple, and full of vitamins for growing baby. Another favorite of mine is plain Greek yogurt with 1 TBSP of protein powder, mixed with heated blueberries. This kicks my sweet tooth and keeps me full for hours.
So, how much protein do you need? This will vary based on activity levels and ideal weight. The dietary reference intake (DRI) is 0.36g per pound of body weight. For example, a sedentary 150lb woman would want to aim for a minimum of 54g of protein per day. This is a meager amount for many people. If you are looking at someone more active, who is looking to build muscle, the recommendation tends to be 1g of protein per pound of body weight. That has a 150lb woman shooting for 150g of protein per day. If you are looking to maintain health but are not striving to build muscle, you’ll want to fall between these two ranges.
Another way to determine your protein needs would simply be to figure out the percentage of your calories. If you track how many calories you consume daily, you’ll want your protein to be 15-30% of your caloric intake. Again, this will vary based on activity and body needs. Some people respond to a lower carbohydrate diet, and need a little more protein. Other people find that the less carbs they eat, the more weight their body holds onto. So you would want to play around to find what works best for you. If you find yourself hungry often, you may not be getting enough calories in general, or your protein might be too low. If you find yourself constantly craving sweets, your carbs might be too low.
Bottom line: protein is important in pregnancy. If you know how much protein you were consuming pre-pregnancy, by the third trimester you’ll want to be consuming about 1/3 more protein daily. If you have no idea how much protein you were consuming pre-pregnancy, try to have some protein at each meal and snack you consume. By listening to your body, you will likely meet its needs.