Protein Hacks During Pregnancy (and Beyond)

We have all probably heard it said a time or two that a pregnant mama should be
getting enough protein. Just how much protein is enough though? And what’s the big
deal anyway?

The recommended DAILY amount for a pregnant woman is around 80
grams. To put it in perspective, one large egg is 7 grams and a 4-ounce chicken
breast contains around 35 grams of protein.

It is important to get enough protein throughout your pregnancy because the amino acids that make up protein are the building blocks for you and your baby. The recommended amount promotes healthy
development.

Below you will find several hacks to help you sneak in that extra protein to keep you
energized and healthy throughout your pregnancy.

  1. Upgrade those oats: add a scoop of Greek yogurt and a fistful of sliced
    almonds to make your breakfast even more luxurious.
  2. Opt for eggs (over cereal): two eggs in the morning will begin your day with
    approximately 14 grams of protein.
  3. Beans, beans, beans: throw some beans in that salad (or in that taco) to
    increase the yummy-ness factor.
  4. Power Up Those Smoothies: Throw in some extra greens, flax, and chia seeds
    in the blender for an even healthier treat.
  5. Energizing Snacks: Cheese, Boiled Eggs, Nuts/ Nut Butters, Beef Sticks. These
    are all excellent and portable protein options.
  6. Guava Goodness: This is the most protein rich fruit containing almost 5
    grams. Add it to a salad, eat it as a snack, or in a smoothie!

But…there will be days where you may not reach those 80 grams. It is ok. You have
not failed yourself or your baby. Just try again the next day.

“Be kind to your body, gentle with your mind and patient with your heart. Stay true to
your spirit, cherish your soul and never doubt yourself. You are still becoming, my love,
and there is no one more deserving of the nurturing grace of your love.”
-Becca Lee

3 Things Every Pregnant Mom Must Know

Pregnant in Baltimore

You’re pregnant, congratulations! There is so much to do to prepare for a new baby and even more to learn. We recommend taking a quality childbirth education class, but in the meantime, here are 3 things every pregnant mom must know.

Eat protein.

Eating adequate protein is essential to a healthy pregnancy. Not only does it help grow and heal muscles (we are going a human after all), but it provides moms-to-be with energy, all while stabilizing blood sugars and helping reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes.

Blood volume increases 50-60% during pregnancy, and daily protein intake supports that extra volume.  Without it, mom’s blood vessels constrict, increasing blood pressure and potentially leading to pre-eclampsia.  It is recommended that pregnant moms consume 80g of protein daily.  Eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, yogurt… eat all the protein!

 

An epidural is more than just a needle. 

I support women in their birth choices, regardless of what they are.  I also believe in true informed consent.  Many times, women decide to get an epidural and they don’t realize or aren’t told all that comes with the epidural.  Epidurals, like dehydration, can lower blood pressure.  Therefore, before the epidural can be given, mom must receive 2 bags of IV fluids to ensure she’s hydrated.  Once the epidural is given, mom will be hooked up to an electronic fetal monitor.  A pulse oximeter will be placed on her finger, and a blood pressure cuff on her arm.  Because mom won’t be able to get up to use the bathroom, a catheter will need to be placed.  Epidurals are known to slow contractions, so pitocin will likely be given to make contractions stronger. As you can see, there’s a lot more to an epidural than just a needle.  

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Choosing a care provider and birth location are the biggest decisions you will make during your pregnancy.

You can prepare for your birth for 9 months.  You can eat well, take a childbirth class, and hire a doula, but if you don’t choose your care provider carefully, it can derail the birth you are hoping for.  It is imperative that you and your care provider are on the same page and have the same values regarding birth.  For example, if you are desiring a natural birth, choosing a provider with a high induction or cesarean rate will only make achieving your birth goals an uphill battle.  It’s important to ask your care provider tough questions, but it’s equally important to get satisfactory answers.  If you feel rushed, blown off, or mocked, it might be time to shop around.

Midwives-in-Maryland-200x300

 

If you’re pregnant in Baltimore and looking for a modern, comprehensive childbirth education class, take at look at our Birth Boot Camp curriculum.  We cover these topics and many more in our 10-week class and will leave you and your partner feeling confident and ready.  Contact us to discuss how we can help you and your partner prepare for an amazing birth!

Salt & Protein Can Reduce Risk for Pre-eclampsia

Salt & Protein can reduce risk for preeclampsia

Eating a whole foods diet, with adequate amounts of protein, and water to thirst, can help alleviate many of the complications women face during pregnancy.  A diet high in protein can help repair and grow muscle, stabilize blood sugar, and can lower a mother’s risk of pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. Pre-eclampsia, a potentially life threatening condition, affects between 5-8% of mothers.  Symptoms include high blood pressure, edema, rapid weight gain, visual disturbances, headaches, and pain in the upper right quadrant.  The only cure for pre-eclampsia is delivery of the baby.

When I was pregnant with my first son, my midwife suggested I eat 80-120 grams of protein a day.  Without fully understanding why this was so important, I gave it a shot, but really didn’t track my protein intake too closely.  Around 35 weeks, my blood pressure started to rise, and at every prenatal appointment it was higher and higher.  In an effort to reduce my blood pressure, friends and family told me to cut my salt intake, and unfortunately, I listened.  As a result, I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia at 36 weeks and risked out of my homebirth.  At 37 weeks, I went to the hospital for an induction and had a very difficult birth that ended up being vastly different than anything I had hoped or planned for.  I learned the hard way just how important protein and salt intake is in the maternal diet.

As someone who has experienced pre-eclampsia, it is important that I help spread the message about how diet can impact your and baby’s health and birth.  This graphic explains how the body reacts when mom does not consume enough protein, calories and salt.

pregnant woman prepares a meal

(The Brewer Diet can be very beneficial to pregnant mothers and focuses on a whole foods diet that is high in protein. This website is a wonderful resource to for those interested in learning more about The Brewer Diet. Proper nutrition really can make a huge difference in your birth experience.)

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