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The Power of Protein

Protein is one of the human body's building blocks. Your baby's body needs protein in order to build cells and organs, and your body needs it for a healthy placenta.

But you don't need to go wild eating protein. It's relatively easy to get the 10 extra grams of protein that you need each day. (Pregnant women need about 60 grams of protein daily, compared with 50 grams for nonpregnant women.) In fact many Americans eat too much protein, so it's possible that you are already getting more than you need.

As you choose protein sources for your pregnancy diet, reach for foods that are low in fat, particularly saturated fat. For example, select extra-lean cuts of beef and pork and white-meat chicken without skin. Here are some protein-rich foods, along with their protein content:

  • 3 1/2 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast: 30 grams of protein
  • 4-ounce broiled hamburger patty made with extra-lean beef: 29 grams
  • 4 ounces of baked Atlantic salmon: 25 grams
  • 8 ounces fat-free yogurt: 12 grams
  • 8 ounces of non-fat milk: 8 grams
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter: 8 grams
  • 1 egg: 6 grams


Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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