Protein Shakes for Pregnancy – What to know

Protein Shakes for Pregnancy ? Nutrition During Pregnancy ? Supplements and nutrition During Pregnancy ! Which foods and supplements are important for you and your child , Lets find out

Proper nutrition and getting all the necessary nutrients during pregnancy is the key to the health of both the mother and the child she will give life to.

However, what qualifies as proper nutrition? Are nutrient and energy needs different than before pregnancy and if so, how?

Nutrient and calorie balance
The recommendation for balance in nutrition probably surprises no one, but what actually qualifies as balance?

Balanced eating refers to the fact that one should not resort to unconventional diets in the first place, as is increasingly common on the internet. Leave experiments with ketogenic eating, 90-day or other “magic” diets for another time.

The structure of the diet of pregnant women should not differ much from that of other people. Sufficient amounts of all macro (protein, carbohydrates and fats) and micro (vitamins and minerals) nutrients should be obtained.

Examples of a balanced diet can be found in the articles An Evenly Balanced Diet and The Mediterranean Diet.

The key question in this case is: what should the amounts be?

Experts pay special attention to the fact that the statement “you should eat as if for two” is a myth and should not be taken seriously.

Recommendations of world health organisations suggest that it is advisable for mothers to increase their energy intake by about 85 kcal/day in the first trimester, by about 285 kcal/day in the second trimester and by about 475 kcal/day in the third trimester.

According to other scientific sources , averaged over the entire pregnancy period, mothers need about 300 extra calories per day. This figure comes from the fact that, according to scientists’ calculations, a total of about 80,000 calories are needed for the entire period of pregnancy, which needs include both those of the mother, necessary for the wear and tear of the fetus, and for the development and metabolism of the embryo itself.

In general, energy intake in advanced pregnancy is about 10% above normal.

Some authors advise that women should be cautious of their weight gain during pregnancy. Overeating during pregnancy and excessive body fat gain often leads to health problems typical of overweight and obesity, as many mothers find it difficult to regain their pre-pregnancy weight after they give birth.

The latest official recommendations on what is advisable and normal to gain weight during pregnancy vary according to women’s body mass index (BMI) at the start of pregnancy.

BMI before pregnancy Total weight gain
Subnormal (<18kgm2>) 12.5 – 18 kg
Normal (18.5 – 24.9 kg/m2) 11.5 – 16 kg
Overweight (25 – 29.9 kg/m2) 7 – 11.5 kg
Obesity (>30 kg/m2) 5 – 9 kg

In pregnancies with more than one child, the recommendations for weight gain are almost twice as high.

However, the advice of some researchers is for mothers to focus on choosing and consuming healthy and nutritious food. Not to set weight gain as their main goal, but to let it happen by itself, keeping it under control.

Factors that would lead to higher energy needs are:

  • The presence of poor nutrition and malnutrition before pregnancy itself;
  • Age of the mother in which her body is still developing;
  • Regular strenuous physical activity, including the performance of duties involving strenuous physical labour;
  • Specific health problems that lead to reduced absorption or impaired metabolism of certain nutrients;
  • Pregnancy with more than one child.

Regular fish consumption

It is recommended to eat fish, including oily fish (mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring), at least 2 times a week.

The reason for this recommendation is that fish is practically the best source of two omega-3 fatty acids well known for their health benefits – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

While both are essential, the scientific evidence to date has focused mostly on DHA and its critical role in healthy fetal development and wear.

A recent study analyzing the diets of 100 pregnant women even showed that only 10% of them managed to get more than 200 mg of DHA per day.

In the event that for one reason or another the mother cannot consume fish regularly, it is highly recommended that she obtain fish oil and a minimum of 300 mg of DHA per day in the form of a dietary supplement.

Intake of specific micro nutrients

During pregnancy, the need for certain specific vitamins and minerals increases significantly, and many mothers find it difficult to get enough through food. That’s when the intake of supplements can be of help.

Well known to most people is the recommendation to take folic acid (vitamin B9) as a dietary supplement. The vitamin is critical for fetal health and significantly reduces the risk of so-called neural tube defect.

It is recommended to take 400 mcg per day of folic acid as a dietary supplement, both shortly before conception and during the pregnancy itself, especially during the first 16 weeks. In pregnancies with more than one child, some experts recommend increasing folic acid intake to 1000 mcg/day.

In some more specific cases, for example when following a vegetarian diet or a poorly balanced diet, supplementation with other micronutrients, for example vitamin B12, vitamin D, iodine, iron and vitamin A, may be necessary. It is not a bad idea to have their blood levels tested in case pregnancy has occurred.

The only sources of vitamin B12 are animal foods and if these are not consumed, supplementation is mandatory.

Of the food sources of vitamin D, the richest and most practical one is fish, especially oily fish.

If for one reason or another fish is not consumed, regular, direct (not outside a window) exposure to sunlight on as much of the body as possible may serve as a good source. In colder seasons, and in general, taking vitamin D as a dietary supplement is a very beneficial and convenient way.

Other vitamins and minerals can be obtained through increased intake of fruits and vegetables (especially leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables) as well as nuts and seeds.

Apart from folic acid, where the recommended supplementation of 400 mcg is almost mandatory, the recommended amounts of the remaining vitamins and minerals will be highly dependent on whether there is a deficiency and insufficiency in the blood and the body as a whole.

Experts draw attention to the fact that taking excessive doses of vitamins and minerals, e.g. through a vitamin-mineral complex type product or other supplementation with increased doses, is not appropriate or advisable, as excessive intake will not lead to additional benefits, but risks leading to complications.

Vitamin and mineral requirements differ little between pregnant and non-pregnant women, with the exception of vitamin D and iron, whose requirements are almost double.

Exclusion of alcohol

Alcohol is part of many people’s menu and daily routine.

While most mothers know they should stop consuming it completely, some data shows that at least 1 in 10 women continue to do so during pregnancy.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is extremely dangerous as it significantly increases the risk of what is known as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). This is a term used to describe a complex of complications and damage that can be inflicted on the child due to incomplete or suboptimal development.

Other general recommendations

As specific foods and their processing may pose risks of certain infections, it is strongly recommended that:

  • Do not consume food products raw without undergoing heat treatment;
  • Raw fruit and vegetables should be thoroughly washed before consumption;
  • Foods, especially in the category of fruits and vegetables, that have grown close to the ground should be peeled and stored away from other foods;
  • Avoid the consumption of pre-prepared and pre-packaged salads;

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Sources used for Protein Shakes for Pregnancy