Protein Powder for Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

Protein powder is an increasingly popular product for pregnant women, given its ability to provide a quick and easy way to get the protein and nutrients needed for optimal health during pregnancy.  Protein is important for both you and the development of your baby.  Not getting enough protein can lead to problems like low birth weight or poor growth. Protein powder can help meet dietary needs while ensuring that you are getting adequate amounts of essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and other important macronutrients. With so many brands available on the market today, it can be confusing to find the best option for your individual needs. Here are some things to consider when choosing a protein powder for pregnancy.

This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. It is always a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplements during pregnancy.

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.*

How To Choose a Protein Powder During Pregnancy

A pregnant woman has higher protein requirements because her body is working hard to support fetal growth.  Protein plays an important role during pregnancy, helping to build and maintain the body’s tissues, including muscles, organs, and skin.

Protein powder can provide a convenient way to get the necessary amount of protein for optimal health during pregnancy. Look for powders that contain enough protein, usually between 20 and 30 grams of protein per serving. Make sure to check the ingredient list to ensure that there are no additives or other added ingredients in the powder. Checking the label is the best way to ensure you are picking the best protein powder for you and your unborn baby. Many products contain a large amount of added sugar with no real nutritional value. Products with too much sugar are not the best choice for meeting your protein needs.

Organic protein powders are the safest choice for your developing fetus. This is because organic products are free of chemicals, synthetic ingredients, and preservatives. Natural protein powder is also a good option and can be slightly cheaper than organic versions. They contain natural ingredients, which can be more easily and completely absorbed by your body.

You will also want to ensure that the protein powder you choose is specifically designed for pregnant women. This means it has been tested and approved as safe for use during pregnancy. Look for protein powders that are free of artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives, and other additives. Additionally, look for powders that contain iron, calcium, B vitamins, vitamin D, and other important minerals for optimal nutrient intake during pregnancy.  Although many protein powders do contain these essential vitamins, you should still take your prenatal vitamin.

Finally, you will need to consider the cost of protein powder when making your selection. Many brands offer different prices depending on the type of protein and size of the container. Consider your budget when choosing a protein powder. Look for one that is reasonably priced without compromising quality or safety. 

A spoon has a scoop of chocolate protein powder.  It rests on top of a plastic bottle containing more protein powder.

Different Types of Protein Powders for Pregnancy

Not every type of protein powder is alike. Each type contains a different amount of protein, calories, and other nutrients. It is important to understand the differences between protein powders to ensure that you are getting the right one for your needs.  The most popular sources of protein include whey, soy, pea, and hemp. Different flavors are also available including vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.  

Whey protein powder is the most popular choice for pregnant women due to its easily digestible nature and bioavailability. Soy protein is another good option as it is high in essential amino acids and provides a plant-based source of protein. Additionally, there are organic and non-GMO options if you prefer to avoid additives, artificial flavors, or artificial ingredients.  Protein powders that contain whey or casein are your best bet, as many of these provide the complete amino acid profile you need. 

Alternatively, pea and hemp proteins offer plant-based sources of complete protein that may be more easily digested.  Pea protein is a great plant-based protein powder option for those who are vegan or lactose intolerant. Hemp protein contains omega-3 fatty acids and provides plant-based nutrition.  Hemp protein is a great choice for a vegan protein powder.  However, it does have a distinctive taste so consider this if flavor is important to you.

Collagen protein is a more recent addition to the protein powder market. It provides essential amino acids and other nutrients that are beneficial for pregnant women, such as choline, magnesium, and zinc. Collagen also supports skin health during pregnancy. 

Casein protein is derived from dairy and is absorbed more slowly than whey protein. It can be a good choice for pregnant women who have difficulty eating large meals frequently due to morning sickness or other side effects of pregnancy.

Pre-made protein shakes are also available if you do not have time to mix a custom protein shake. There are many brands with pre-made shakes that make it convenient to get your daily dose of protein while on the go.  Again, be sure to check the label for large amounts of added sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Protein powder supplements are another option to help increase your daily protein intake.   These supplements are typically a blend of proteins that provide the body with both fast and slow digesting protein sources. They can be used as meal replacements or taken in between meals to help meet your daily protein needs. The good thing about this type of supplement is that it is easy to take and does not involve mixing.

Remember, it is always important to check with your doctor before taking any dietary supplements during pregnancy to ensure safety for you and your baby.

Risks of Protein Powder During Pregnancy

Although protein powder can help to support your pregnancy nutritional needs, it is important to speak with your doctor before using any protein supplements. Additionally, too much extra protein can be harmful, so be sure to only take the recommended dosage. 

Furthermore, some brands may contain heavy metals or contaminants, which can be harmful to your growing baby.  It is advisable to look for a brand with third-party certification from an organization such as Clean Label Project or ConsumerLab to ensure that the product meets their stringent standards.

In the United States, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate most dietary supplements, so it is important to do your research and be sure you are buying a product with the highest quality ingredients that is free of contaminants. 

By keeping these factors in mind, you can confidently choose the right protein powder for your individual needs.  With proper use, you can get the benefits of protein powder such as increased energy, improved muscle recovery, and better overall health during pregnancy. 

A container of protein powder sits next to a smoothie and some fresh produce.

Ways to Use Protein Powder While Pregnant

Protein powder can be used in a variety of ways to help meet your dietary needs during pregnancy. It can be added to smoothies, baked goods, and other recipes for a protein boost.

  • Combine a scoop of protein powder with fruit, milk, and other ingredients to create a tasty smoothie or shake. Experiment with different recipes until you find one that works for you! 
  • Use when baking to provide a protein boost.  Add it to pancake or muffin recipes to make a nutrient-dense snack.
  • You can also add protein powder to soups or stews for an extra boost of nutrition. It is easy to customize recipes with different flavors, textures, and ingredients. 
  • Protein powder can be used to create a healthy breakfast cereal or bowl. Simply combine your favorite flavors of protein powder, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits for a delicious and filling meal. 

By adding protein powder to your meals during pregnancy, you can ensure that you are getting the nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy. With so many options available, you can find a protein powder that meets your nutritional needs and satisfies your taste buds. 

Additional Sources of Protein for Pregnant Women

There are a wide variety of whole foods and protein-rich foods you can include in your healthy diet to help meet your protein needs during pregnancy.  There are even a large number of protein sources for those following a plant-based diet.

Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese are all excellent sources of protein. Eggs are another high-quality source of protein that can be easily incorporated into meals. 

Seafood and lean meats such as chicken, turkey, or beef provide great sources of animal proteins. Beans and legumes such as black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, and split peas are all high in protein and fiber. 

Nuts, nut butters, and seeds are great plant sources of protein. Whole grains such as quinoa, oats, and brown rice provide a good source of complex carbohydrates along with protein. 

Making sure to eat a variety of these foods as part of your balanced diet will help you meet your additional protein needs during pregnancy and help support your baby’s growth.

Best Protein Powder for Pregnancy

Boobie Body Superfood Protein Shake for Moms

This protein is made specifically with pregnant and lactating mothers in mind. It comes in four different flavor options including chocolate, vanilla cookie, vanilla chai, and coffee caramel. It contains plant based protein along with both prebiotics and probiotics.

Boobie Body Organic Superfood Plant-Based Protein Shake, Chocolate Bliss, [23.4oz, 1 Tub] (Package May Vary)

Pink Stork Pregnancy and Nursing Protein Powder

Pink Stork protein is a chocolate favored whey and collagen protein that has 20 grams of protein per serving. It contains electrolytes to help you stay hydrated, especially during times of bad morning sickness.

Pink Stork Pregnancy and Nursing Protein Powder, Chocolate Whey Protein with Collagen Peptides and Electrolytes, 20g Protein, Prenatal Support, Breastfeeding and Postpartum Essentials, 21 Servings

Baby Booster Chocolate Mocha Prenatal Vitamin Supplement and Protein Shake

The Baby Booster protein was developed alongside an OB/GYN and contains all natural ingredients. It is free from preservatives and artificial sweeteners.

Baby Booster Chocolate Mocha Prenatal Vitamin Supplement and Protein Shake, Caffeine Free, All Natural, Vegetarian DHA, High Protein, Methyl Folate, B Vitamins, Great for Morning Sickness, 1 lb

Mama Bird Prenatal Protein Powder

Mama Bird protein powder is a vegan option made with hemp and pea protein. It is an organic vanilla flavored protein and includes all 9 essential amino acids your body needs.

Mama Bird Prenatal Protein Powder for Women, Certified Organic, Vegan, Non-GMO, Hemp & Pea Plant Complete Protein, 15g, Dairy Free, Includes Bonus Healthy Pregnancy Secrets, Vanilla, 13.8 oz

Needed. Expertly-Formulated & Tested Prenatal Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein Powder

Needed protein powder contains collagen protein from grass-fed and pasture-raised sources. It is also free from heavy metals and toxins.

Needed. Expertly-Formulated & Tested Prenatal Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein Powder for Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, & Postpartum | Grass-fed, Pasture-Raised, Hormone-Free | 1lb

Protein powder can be a great way to meet the increased protein requirements during pregnancy, as long as you choose the right one. Consider your needs and preferences when making your selection, including type of protein source, flavor, added ingredients or additives, cost, third-party certification for safety standards, and dosage amount. Additionally make sure to consult with your doctor before taking any supplements during pregnancy. With proper use of protein powder in recipes or drinks throughout the day, pregnant women can ensure that they are getting adequate amounts of essential amino acids.  This also allows them to provide their body with other important macronutrients for optimal health during this special time.

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