Pregnancy Articles

Protein: Crucial for Growth and Development

Key Nutrients for the Mom-to-Be

Protein is a very important nutrient during your pregnancy. Protein supplies you with the amino acids that are crucial for the growth and development of your baby, the placenta, uterus, breast tissue, amniotic fluid, and blood volume. Getting the recommended 71 grams of protein each day is easy for most women. Lean meats, poultry, and fish are good sources of protein. Milk, cheese, eggs, dried beans and peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, and tofu are other high protein foods. It is easy to meet your protein needs each day. As you can tell from this chart, the typical diet is abundant in protein, and most women have no trouble getting adequate protein. (See related content links for more information on how protein affects your body.)

Food sources Grams
Serving of meat, poultry or seafood, 3 ounces   21
Yogurt, 8 ounces 10
Tofu, 1/2 cup 10
Milk, 1 cup 8
Peanut butter, 2 Tablespoons 8
Beans/Legumes, 1/2 cup 7
Cheese, 1 ounce 7
1 egg 6
Nuts, 1/4 cup 6
Non-starchy vegetables, 1/2 cup 2


Protein needs for pregnant women who are following a lacto-ovo (milk and egg) vegetarian diet can also be easily meet. Pregnant vegans, who eat only plant foods, should discuss their diet with their healthcare provider. Additional nutrients may need to be supplemented.

This article was reviewed by Tanya Jolliffe, a BabyFit healthy eating expert.

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