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how much protein for 2nd and 3rd trimester?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
So everything I have read and heard insists that all women need 80 - 100 grams of protein per day in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. I am 24.5 weeks pregnant right now, and let me tell you, that is a lot of protein! I am a total fruit and veggie lover, with beans and grains and dairy thrown in, and I've tried upping my protein intake to 80 grams per day and I hate it. I feel like I can't eat what I want to because I have to eat cheese or eggs instead of peanut butter and an apple. I also feel like I am eating past the point of fullness in order to accomodate all this extra food and calories. I think I usually get about 60 grams per day. I am a very active person; not sure if that makes a difference.

I really want to avoid pre eclampsia and my water breaking early in labor, and from what I've read protein is pretty key for those, but I am struggling with how much do I really need?

Any insights and personal stories would be greatly appreciated!
post #2 of 10
I got the protein lecture all the time. I found that I could stretch to about 60 grams when I tried. And I tried really hard. Full disclosure, I started eating meat the cycle I conceived and continued through my pregnancy, after being high-raw vegetarian, sometimes vegan, for 5 years. But I had a really hard time with it. It was what was best for us though.

For veg options on getting enough protein, I ate tons of quinoa and bought packets of hemp seeds and sprinkled them on everything. If you do dairy, try plain kefir. The yummy fruity kinds have so much sugar in them. There's 4 servings in a bottle, but I would have one for breakfast or lunch. It was somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 grams of protein. Yea!

I believe protein and calcium are essential in the 2nd trimester as your baby is growing the skeletal and muscular systems. Third trimester is all about the brain. I cut back on the protein and started eating fish. Tons of salmon. If you don't eat fish, get as much flaxseed as you can. And take an Omega 3 supplement. There are several fish oil free brands.

Good luck! I know it can be so hard. Just know you're doing the best you can. Sometimes I think it's more important to avoid the food you know you shouldn't eat that stress so much about what you should. Just follow your gut, watch what your body and baby say, and talk to your doc/midwife about your eating.
post #3 of 10
I honestly ate whatever I felt like when I was pregnant with both my daughters. I felt like I wanted more protein than usual, but I just ate whatever I craved (I was, and am, vegan).

I didn't have pre-eclampsia, and my waters had to be broken both times after pushing for a while without it breaking naturally. My midwife said I had very thick membranes.
post #4 of 10
Yes, I heard that too! I took part of a Bradley Method class and found it almost impossible to reach my protein intake. And being that their recommendations were not vegan-friendly, I didn't even try to count my protein intake after week 1.

I didn't have cravings; but oddly, I preferred OFTEN to eat beans/legumes. I chose the rice-and-bean burritos or the hummus meals. My body knew what it wanted! I never swelled up. My water broke at 40 weeks and 1 day, but there's a long story to that... I was effacing at 30 weeks. (Note: I learned later effacement tells us nothing about when you will go into labor. Wish I knew THAT beforehand.) My midwives and one doctor was concerned. I had a second opinion from a specialist and he wasn't concerned. I asked an OB from my church (when I was 35 wk) and she agreed that effacement tells us nothing about when we'll go into labor (wish I'd known b/c). I was put on modified bed rest from week 31-ish to 34-ish... (as a precaution)... At 34-ish, the midwives felt there was probably nothing wrong w/ me to begin with!!! So, I got off of bedrest and made it to 40 weeks. However, I did have a really short labor - 4.5 hours. My cervix was probably preparing itself for labor this whole time... and I also contribute it to the squatting exercises and trying to prepare that area for 'opening up'. (Read Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth to understand what I'm saying... but if you ask, I'll write more... later.)

But because of my experience, I may want to eat more protein for the next one. Just to be safe.

Here's a protein counter: http://www.bradleybirth.com/PD.aspx

Someone recommended omega supplement. I used a vegan one: O-Mega-Zen3 by NuTru. Good tips on flaxseed and hemp seed.
post #5 of 10
Those numbers are really high! Honestly, that's much higher than anything I've ever heard. Are they coming from a US source? . . . American's are so over-proteinated. It can actually be very detrimental!

Becoming Vegan (Davis and Melina) is considered that penultimate guide to plant-based living, and in the book they cite the RDA (from the world community, not US) as being between 60-66 grams of protein per day during pregnancy. I aimed for 65 and found I had no trouble at all metting it. In fact, some days I was up over 90 and was worried about getting too much!

In other words, don't worry! People build babies on all sorts of diets with varying macronutrient ratios. Vegans are not at ANY higher risk of pregnancy complications or anything like that. Just listen to your body - it will tell you what you need. =)
post #6 of 10
Yes, those numbers are high...which is why I don't think I could ever meet them. Actually, I think, if you take the class, they recommend 60 (or was it 80) grams of protein per day.

And yes, too much protein can be bad. I read about a women who had her membranes stripped. She thought she ate too much protein.

Well, the Bradlely Method is good. Dr. Bradley delivered over 22,000 healthy babies using his method, which emphasizes on nutrition and certain exercises. I recommend The Bradley Method.
post #7 of 10
I question the high recs as well. When I had my son, I don't even think the doc mentioned it. I was aware of the 60g a day rec from a pregnancy book. I was pretty sick with him though, but as a typical omni, I'm sure I got that much after the first trimester.

With my DD I had a homebirth MW and she recommended 80-120 a day. I thought it sounded absurd but I aimed for it anyway. I wasn't quite as sick as I was with my son, so I'm sure I got that much (again, as an omni). It didn't do anything for me. In fact, I wonder if the extra protein contributed to my DD's very large size and possibly her brain damage. I don't blame my midwife. It's something all homebirth midwives I know recommend. They have their reasons. I just don't necessarily agree with them anymore.

It doesn't make sense to me that all our nutritional needs only go up a small percentage, but we'd need DOUBLE the protein. They are sure to tell you that you DON'T actually eat for two. You eat for ONE and then a tiny little baby. Why, if our calorie needs only go up by 16% (is that about right?), would we need double protein?

An extra 10-15g seems much more reasonable.
post #8 of 10
The one thing I have read, and that I tried to keep in mind when pregnant, is that sugar cravings in pregnancy are an indication that you might need more protein. So if I started craving sugar, I ate a higher protein snack. If I still wanted sugar afterwards, then I ate the sugar. At the time, I was lacto-ovo vegetarian, so I kept string cheese and eggs on hand for it. As a vegan, when I'm feeling the lack of protein (like when I've been traveling and living on bad salads and white pasta for a weekend), I grab a slice of super-firm tofu, spread peanut butter on it, and top it with Thai chili sauce.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sayward View Post
Those numbers are really high! . . . American's are so over-proteinated. It can actually be very detrimental!

Becoming Vegan (Davis and Melina) is considered that penultimate guide to plant-based living, and in the book they cite the RDA (from the world community, not US) as being between 60-66 grams of protein per day during pregnancy. I aimed for 65 and found I had no trouble at all metting it. In fact, some days I was up over 90 and was worried about getting too much!


My pregnancy was more stressful because my midwife was always telling me that "carbs" are bad, it's not possible to get enough protein, and "vegetarians make big babies" (in contrast to actual research...) She even had me monitor my glucose, and I discovered that my supposedly "high (whole grain, whole food) carb" diet meant that my blood sugar was remarkably stable, healthy and moderate...

Excessive protein is actually stressful to the kidneys and body in general. I followed the "Becoming Vegan" recommendations (which are close to the mainstream nutritionist recs) and had a perfectly healthy vegan pregnancy, birthing and baby. As long as you don't eat mainly raw and if you make an effort to eat protein with every meal and most snacks, it doesn't have to be a struggle. Beans/quinoa and nuts/nut butter were a huge help to me.

I think it's a bummer that the natural birth community has embraced without question the Brewer Diet. The "research" that supposedly supports it is not very strong. Preeclampsia is a complicated condition, and extremely high protein intake is not "the" answer, though good nutrition surely helps.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all your replies. I agree that 80 grams is high; too high for me. I easily get in 60 grams, and since I am lacto ovo, it is prety easy to do since I love peanut butter, yogurt, and beans.

It was just starting to freak me out, all this talk about 80 grams and the Brewer diet and such. I had a good talk with my yoga teacher, though, and felt much more re assured. I still make a conscious effort about protein, because I would live on apples and almonds if I didn't most days, but I feel better consuming the 60 or so grams. And I'm glad it has all worked out pretty well for you!
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