Protein-Rich Foods for Pregnancy: The Right Nourishment for You & Your Baby

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Are you concerned about what to eat during your pregnancy? Wondering what's at the heart of a healthy pregnancy? Don't fret, because we're here to guide you on the path to nourishment and well-being.

When you're pregnant, proper nutrition is vital for both you and your growing baby's health and development. One key nutrient that plays a crucial role in this process is protein. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks for cells, tissues, and organs. It's essential to incorporate a protein-rich diet during pregnancy to support the many biochemical changes as well as promote the growth and repair of maternal tissues.

The Importance of Protein-Rich Food During Pregnancy

What you eat during pregnancy has a direct impact on your health as well as the health of your baby. Protein-rich foods in pregnancy offer many advantages, including:

  1. Fosters foetal growth and development
    The growing baby needs enough amino acids to sustain the growth and development of its organs, muscles, and tissues during pregnancy. Protein-rich foods in pregnancy are essential for procuring amino acids, which are considered important precursors for foetal’s healthy development and growth.
  2. Enhances maternal tissue growth
    Significant physical changes in a woman's body occur during pregnancy, including a rise in blood volume and the development of maternal tissues like the uterus and breasts. Protein is essential for fostering the development and repair of various tissues. Protein-rich foods in pregnancy benefit the mother's overall health by assisting the body in adjusting to the enormous physiological changes.
  3. Prevents Complications
    Eating a protein-rich diet in pregnancy may help lower the risk of several problems like gestational diabetes, which affects many pregnant women. This can also result in a number of health issues for both the mother and the unborn child. Dietary protein can help control blood sugar levels, which lowers the risk of developing gestational diabetes.
  4. Supports the Production of Vital Hormones
    Protein is required for the production of hormones that control a variety of bodily functions, including those related to pregnancy. In order to maintain a healthy pregnancy, hormones including progesterone, growth hormone, and insulin are essential. Consuming protein-rich foods during pregnancy may help your body achieve this.
  5. Prevents Low Birth Weight
    Inadequate protein intake throughout pregnancy can lead to low birth weight which is a risk factor for a number of health issues for the infant. Low birth weight newborns are more likely to suffer delays, have weakened immune systems, and become chronic disease-prone later in life. Consuming sufficient amounts of protein-rich foods during pregnancy can help support healthy growth and prevent low birth weight.

How Much Protein Does a Pregnant Woman Need?

During pregnancy, the need for protein-rich foods becomes even more important for expecting mothers. The general recommendation is to consume an additional 25 grams of protein each day compared to non-pregnant individuals. This means aiming for a minimum of 60 grams of protein daily, which is about 20-25% of your calorie intake. However, it's worth noting that individual protein requirements may vary depending on factors such as pre-pregnancy weight, activity level, and overall health.

To determine the best protein-rich diet for a healthy pregnancy, it's always best to consult with a healthcare professional or a trained dietitian. They can offer personalised advice and support to ensure you're receiving adequate protein for a nourishing and thriving pregnancy for both you and your baby.

7 Protein-Rich Foods Recommended for Pregnancy

Curious about the best sources of protein-rich foods during pregnancy? Refer to our below-mentioned list to have a healthy journey with your baby.

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1. Lean Meats and Poultry

Lean meats, such as beef, pork, and poultry are great sources of high-quality protein. They also include vital minerals like iron and vitamin B12, which are known to be important for red blood cell growth and the healthy operation of the brain system.

2. Fish And Seafood

Fish and seafood are enriched with protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, which can be beneficial for the baby's brain and eye development. They also play a vital role in determining the length of gestation and in preventing perinatal depression.  However, due to the potential presence of mercury in fish, it is imperative to exercise caution when consuming fish during pregnancy. 

Salmon, trout, prawns and sardines are low-mercury choices. Larger predatory fish, which have a tendency to collect higher levels of mercury, should typically be avoided.

3. Eggs

Eggs are a versatile and wholesome source of protein. They include vitamins, minerals, and vital amino acids. Additionally, they offer choline, a nutrient crucial for brain growth.[9] Cook eggs thoroughly to lower your risk of contracting salmonella. Including eggs in a well-balanced diet can contribute significantly to meeting the increased protein needs during pregnancy.

4. Legumes And Pulses

Legumes and pulses, including beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas, are excellent plant-based protein sources. Additionally, they are a good source of fibre, iron, folate, and other necessary nutrients.



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5. Dairy Products

In addition to being great sources of protein, dairy products like milk, yoghurt, and cheese also include calcium, which is essential for the growth of strong bones and teeth.

Along with milk, you can include protein supplements like Horlicks Mother’s Plus which contains an abundance of nutrients. The Choline and DHA composition in the drink fosters brain development and function of the baby. In the first 6 months, a newborn baby solely depends on the mother's milk for nutrition*. Horlicks Mother’s Plus provides the right mix of vital elements that help improve the quality of breast milk.

6. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are delicious snacks packed with protein, healthy fats, fibre, and essential nutrients. Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds are just a few of the delicious options available to you. 

7. Plant-Based Protein Sources

Plant-based protein sources play an important role for the requirement of protein-rich foods for pregnant women who are vegetarian or vegan mothers-to-be. Tofu, tempeh, seitan, quinoa, and edamame are excellent sources of protein and necessary amino acids.[12] A well-balanced and protein-rich diet in pregnancy can be achieved by including a mix of these plant-based foods in meals.

The Takeaway

The power of protein-rich foods during pregnancy cannot be overstated! It helps provide the right kind of nutriment and care you and your baby need. Remember - this is a remarkable moment in your life, and taking care of yourself and your baby is crucial. Speak with medical specialists or certified dietitians to make sure you satisfy your specific protein needs and keep a balanced diet during your pregnancy.



1. Are protein powders safe during pregnancy?

Although generally safe to be consumed during pregnancy, it is highly recommended to consult with your doctor before adding any protein powders or supplements to your diet.

2. Is horlicks safe during pregnancy?

Mother's Horlicks Plus is scientifically designed with 25 vital nutrients, taking into account the specific nutritional needs of pregnant and lactating mothers. It can be a beneficial addition to your protein-rich diet in pregnancy. However, it is important to consult your doctor or healthcare professional before adding any new supplements or products to your pregnancy routine.

3. How can I fulfil my protein intake during pregnancy?

Protein-rich foods during pregnancy, such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, dairy products, nuts, seeds, and plant-based protein sources, can help fulfil your protein intake.

4. What not to eat when pregnant?

It's generally advised to stay away from meals like raw or undercooked meats, unpasteurized dairy products, raw or partially cooked eggs, raw seafood, certain fish high in mercury, as well as excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol when you're expecting. It's critical to speak with a healthcare provider for individualised guidance on which foods to specifically avoid while pregnant based on your individual situation.

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Horlicks Protein Plus

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