Amino acids like play an important role in a healthy pregnancy for mom, as well as for the growth of the baby. Some of these amino acids include L-arginine, leucine, lysine, phenylalanine and  tryptophan, although there are 22 amino acids in all. Amino acids can be gotten from supplements as well as food.

Healthy pregnancy and fetal growth should probably include all of the amino acids, but what are some examples of specific amino acids that are necessary for a healthy pregnancy? Maternal diet can include proteins such as meats (beef, chicken, or turkey), eggs, or fish, which is where amino acids come from, to ensure that the baby stays on track for proper development.

Amino Acids and pregnancy — moms lacking in amino acids are associated with spina bifida or preeclampsia

One study checked the amniotic fluid for concentrations of amino acids in pregnant women whose unborn babies were known to have spina bifida. Their levels of “alanine, cystathionine, cysteine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, and tyrosine amino acids” were discovered to be lower than the control group of healthy fetuses, suggesting that “loss of amino acids from the fetus through the spinal cord may contribute to the etiology of spina bifida.”

Another study found that L-arginine may protect against preeclampsia in pregnant women. Preeclampsia affects 5-8 percent of all pregnant women in the US and is marked by protein levels in the urine and causes dangerously high blood pressure. If not treated it can cause preterm labor, low birth weight in the baby, or even death. Globally the figures show that 76,000-500,000 infants die due to hypertension disorders and preeclampsia in pregnancy. The amino acid L-arginine in the proper amounts appears to help promote a healthy pregnancy and alleviate these conditions.

The most important factor regarding amino acids in protein foods, or any supplement of any kind, is that any pregnant mother promotes a healthy pregnancy through adequate amounts; meaning, not too much nor too little. Please seek your doctor’s recommendation regarding restrictions or recommendations on diet and proteins (such as beef, chicken, fish, or eggs) that contain amino acids.