Protein Intake during pregnancy and following birth

Researchers have determined that protein requirements during pregnancy should be:

  • 1.22 grams per kg per day in early pregnancy (under 16 weeks)
  • 1.52 grams per kg per day in late pregnancy (over 31 weeks)

Protein is important to support Mum and baby, the amino acids of protein are the building blocks of muscle, tissues, bones, cartilage, skin, hair and nails.

It not only supports the baby’s growth and development, but it is important for the placenta and the changes and growth of the mother’s uterus, breasts and skin.

Post-birth, protein is required for healing and recovery. It is vital to maintain your own muscle mass while you make milk for your baby.

It supports your uterus as it shrinks back to pre-pregnancy size and assists in the healing of your tissues, ligaments tendons which naturally go under stress and strain during pregnancy and birth.

Results obtained from the study by Rasmussen et al. suggest that the protein requirements for exclusively breastfeeding women ( 3-6 months Postpartum ) is 1.7-1.9 g/kg/day

Further research is required; however, this is a guide for now.


The first recommendation is always whole foods from good quality sources such as organic meat, fish, legumes, pseudo-grains (such as quinoa buckwheat), eggs, and organic milk products.

Because many women become nauseous early on in pregnancy, it can be challenging to consume a lot of nutrient-dense food.

Smoothies are a good option with protein powder and additional ingredients, some fruit, yoghurt, seeds ( chia or hemp) or nut butter and milk (organic dairy or plant-based/coconut water) to create a nutrient-dense snack and is it also good to maintain this throughout pregnancy and postpartum because of the variety of flavours and food that can be added and ease of consumption.

I like Go Good protein powders, they are made in New Zealand, they source their ingredients from the highest quality and, are free from artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners and contain no fillers or stimulants.

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A great supportive addition to the amount of protein required during the postpartum stage for recovery and to maintain muscle mass while breastfeeding.


  1. Stephens et al 2015 Protein Requirements of healthy pregnant women during early and late gestation are higher than current recommendations. Journal Nutrition.
  2. Rasmussen et al 2020 Protein Requirements of Healthy Lactating Women Are Higher Than The Current Recommendations. Current Developments in Nutrition Vol 4, Issue Supplement 2.