. Do I need more protein during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
A. During pregnancy and lactation, your need for protein significantly increases. Protein is necessary for development of all new cells. For the duration of pregnancy, experts recommend that protein intake be a minimum of 60 grams per day. Women having twins or a multiple pregnancy need even more. Protein is required for the physical growth and cellular development of your baby. It is also required for the placenta, amniotic tissues, and maternal tissues. Further, a woman’s blood volume increases by 50% during pregnancy, and protein is needed to produce new blood cells and circulating proteins.
Lactation similarly affects protein, increasing needs by up to 20 grams over nonpregnant women. Protein is utilized to produce breast milk and nourish the growing baby. Altogether, pregnancy and lactation significantly impact protein demands.