Bone Broth and Pregnancy
Congrats mama! You're expecting!
Time to really take a good look at how you're feeding your body and your sweet growing babe. In a time when you:
...it's important to make sure you are getting all the nutrition you and your baby need.
"In those early days of pregnancy, bone broth can be a godsend for a lot of mamas-to-be. Broth is a good way to keep up your nutrient intake when you’re feeling unable to eat." - Well and Good
Since bone broth is nutrient dense, it's the perfect addition to your pregnancy diet! Because bone broth supports the nervous system, endocrine system, and brain function, consuming it while pregnant helps your developing baby build healthy organs.
"Bone broth is simmered for quite a long time. As the broth simmers, minerals and other nutrients leach from the bones into the water, leaving you with an incredibly nourishing liquid. This is a wonderful thing for anyone to consume, but it can be especially beneficial for pregnant and breastfeeding women." - Oh Baby Nutrition
In part, that’s because bone broth is one of the most reliable food sources of glycine. Glycine is typically a conditional amino acid, meaning your body can make it from other amino acids. But in pregnancy, the body needs additional glycine. In fact, some researchers have said that glycine becomes conditionally indispensable during pregnancy. It’s really that important!
Glycine is responsible for the synthesis of fetal DNA and fetal collagen, and is particularly important in the later stages of pregnancy when your baby is rapidly gaining weight. At this stage, your baby’s bones, connective tissues, and organs need glycine in the highest amounts. And your growing body needs glycine too! Your expanding uterus, growing breasts, and stretching skin require glycine. The bones, skin, and connective tissues of animals are rich in protein, gelatin, collagen, glycine, and minerals. An added bonus of consuming enough collagen and glycine? A decreased chance of stretch marks!
Aside from glycine, slow-simmered bone broth is also a fantastic source of calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and other trace minerals. Bones actually contain more minerals per ounce than any other body tissue, and yet our modern diet includes so few of them. Ancestral cultures didn’t eat boneless, skinless chicken breast, but instead opted for nose-to-tail eating, including using bones and skin for broth.
Plus, consuming too much poultry, dairy, or lean meats without adequate glycine may provide your body with too much methionine, an amino acid that reduces glycine and may be toxic in large amounts. Excess methionine may lead to increased inflammation, neural tube defects, preeclampsia, and premature delivery.
Bone Broth + Pregnancy:
Bone broth is the perfect, nourishing addition to your pregnancy routine for so many reasons!
- Rich in minerals, especially calcium, magnesium and phosphorus: Essential minerals for your baby to grow strong, healthy bones.
- Contains copious amounts of gelatin and collagen: Key nutrients in supporting joints, connective tissue, as well as skin, hair, and nails.
- Contains glucosamine and chondroitin: Assists in forming baby's joints, but also supports your joints throughout pregnancy as well.
- Good source of amino acids, the building blocks of protein: Amino acids boost the immune system, improve digestion, fight inflammation, promote sleep and calm the mind.
- Assists with nausea: "When nausea hits in the earlier weeks of pregnancy, it can be hard to get and keep food down. Bone broth is soothing and nutrient dense. It is very easy to digest, and often calms the stomach very quickly." -Oh Baby Nutrition
- Great for balancing blood sugar: In addition to all of the other amazing ways it supports the body, glycine also plays a role in blood sugar regulation. Bone broth is also naturally low in carbs and contains moderate protein, macros that are made for blood sugar balance!
- Electrolytes: Think of bone broth as a healthier version of gatorade, with naturally-occurring electrolytes like sodium, magnesium, and potassium. Electrolytes help keep your energy up and may prevent issues like headaches and leg cramps. Though salt gets a bad reputation, it’s essential, particularly when pregnant! The healthiest form of salt is unrefined sea salt (it’s what you’ll find in FOND!), which is less processed than other forms of salt and contains trace minerals.
- Helps you meet your fluid needs: An added bonus of consuming bone broth during your pregnancy! While pregnant, fluid needs go up, not only because your baby is actually swimming in amniotic fluid in your uterus, but also because blood volume increases beginning in your first trimester. Adequate fluid helps improve circulation, eliminate waste products, and deliver nutrients to your growing baby.
Bone Broth + Postpartum:
Bone broth’s benefits don’t stop once your baby is born! It’s also particularly helpful during the postpartum period.
- Bone broth is wonderful for regulating hormones.
- Supports ample milk production.
- Helps your body heal from delivery: Healing after labor and delivery requires plenty of protein, especially from amino acids like glycine and proline, since your body uses these to make collagen. Both glycine and proline are found in abundance in bone broth!
- Builds back all the energy you put out during labor and delivery, and also helps replace electrolytes and fluids lost during labor.
- Bone broth contains ample micronutrients, helping to prevent postnatal depletion, the leading cause of brain fog, memory loss and exhaustion in postpartum mothers.
Continue to learn all about postpartum, the baby blues, and prenatal depletion here.
Try drinking 5-8oz of broth 3x a day. Enjoy it in the morning, with lunch, as an afternoon snack, alongside dinner, or as a nightcap. The options are endless! Just warm the broth on the stove, pour into your favorite mug, and enjoy!
Want to level up your bone broth? Try adding healthy fats like grass-fed ghee, butter, or coconut oil before sipping. During pregnancy, your body’s need for fat-soluble vitamins and other nutrients found in healthy fats goes up. Your developing baby’s brain is about 60% fat and requires cholesterol, omega-3 fats, and other fat-soluble nutrients to grow properly.
You can also try adding a scoop or two of grass-fed collagen to your broth! While bone broth contains naturally-occurring collagen, an added boost is never a bad thing. A staggering stat: your uterus contains 800% more collagen at the end of your pregnancy when compared to pre-pregnancy. Yet another reason that it’s important to consume adequate glycine and collagen throughout pregnancy.
Not ready to sip bone broth straight? Check out our delicious recipes for ways to incorporate broth into your meals.
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Kühne, T., Bubl, R. & Baumgartner, R. Maternal vegan diet causing a serious infantile neurological disorder due to vitamin B12 deficiency. Eur J Pediatr 150, 205–208 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01963568
Davenport, C., Shields K, West A. Choline intakes exceeding recommendations during human lactation improve breast milk choline content by increasing PEMT pathway metabolites. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 26, 903-911 (2015).