During pregnancy you need extra protein to keep you and your baby healthy. Here’s the best protein powder for pregnancy we’ve curated for you that are safe to consume for you and your baby in the womb!
Speaking as a mom and a Registered Dietitian, did you know that when you get pregnant, you need an additional 300 calories on your daily requirements? This is because your cute baby inside your womb gets all the vitamins and minerals from the food you eat.
What you eat is also vital for his proper growth and development inside the womb. Since we are talking about pregnancy and the Best Protein Powder for Pregnancy, these powders are safe for the consumption of pregnant women.
Some vegan pregnant women have limited options for proteins, so protein powder is their best choice. We have listed down 10 of the safe and best protein powder for pregnancy, so let’s go!
Best Protein Powder for Pregnancy: Quick Summary
|Best Protein Powders for Pregnant Women||Overall Rating by Experts||Check price on Amazon|
|Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein + Superfoods Powder||7/10||Check price|
|Ora Organic So Lean & So Clean Vegan & Protein Powder||9/10||Check price|
|Slimplanet Daily Protein Shake||6/10||Check price|
|Biochem Whey Isolate Protein Powder||8/10||Check price|
|Mommi – PreNatal Protein Shake||9/10||Check price|
|Baby Booster Prenatal Vitamin Supplement Shake||9/10||Check price|
|PlantFusion Complete Plant-Based Protein Powder||7/10||Check price|
|Orgain Organic Plant Protein Powder||6/10||Check price|
|Genius Protein Powder||6/10||Check price|
|Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal Replacement Powder||7/10||Check price|
Safe Protein Powder for Pregnancy
What are protein powders?
I always thought protein powders are for bodybuilders. Until I got pregnant and my OB recommended it. Protein powders help pregnant women get the necessary amount of protein they need along with their pregnancy diet. One serving of protein powder can supplement your body with about 30g of protein.
There are different natural sources that this protein powder is made from:
However nutritious protein powders may seem like, these still cannot give you all the nutrients you’ll find in a well-balanced diet.
Also, not all protein powders are safe for pregnancy. Some protein powders contain artificial ingredients, sugars, flavors, and colors that’s not good for you or your baby.
Which is why this guide will help you find the best protein powder for pregnancy. But before you can go ahead and choose a protein powder, here’s everything you need to know about protein powder. Before you start taking any protein powder, talk to your doctor.
What happens if you don’t eat enough protein while pregnant?
You can experience weight loss, fatigue, experience infections, and fluid retention if you’re not getting enough protein while pregnant. These are the top signs and symptoms that you should watch out for while pregnant, and make sure to check with your doctor or dietitian regarding how much protein should you need depending on which trimester you are in.
Why do you need protein during pregnancy?
Protein is very crucial for your baby’s development. It helps in proper growth and development, and also with organ formation. As for mommies, proteins help in repairing damaged muscles and tissues, which often happen as the body makes way for your growing tummy. Protein also boosts your immune system to fight off infections when pregnant.
Types of Protein Powders
Before you choose a protein powder for pregnancy, learn the types of protein powders:
#1 — Whey and Casein Protein
Milk is basically 20% whey and 80% casein. Obviously, whey and casein are dairy products so if you’re lactose intolerant you should stay away from these. However, for those of you who aren’t sensitive to dairy, whey and casein powders contain all the essential amino acids.
Whey protein is any body builders favorite protein powder as it can digested quickly which builds muscle mass quickly. And Casein, too, is known to promote muscle growth and recover muscles after exercise.
During your pregnancy, however, you want to get as many nutrients as you can while watching your weight and preparing for labor. So is whey and Casein protein powder safe for pregnancy? Yes, whey and casein protein powders are safe for pregnancy as they are ultimately the result of milk and cheese!
#2 — Pea Protein
Made from yellow split peas, this is a plant-based protein powder. Why yellow split beans and not your regular green peas? That’s cause the former is higher in protein content.
I did some digging and found research that says pea protein is as whey protein in building muscle mass – but this is obviously not a concern for pregnant women.
However, pea protein is contains high amounts of BCAA (branched-chain amino acids). But pea protein is not a complete source of protein, unlike whey and casein protein so if you do decide to take this plant-based protein then you must also consider other protein powders to supplement your full required protein intake.
#3 — Rice Protein
Rice protein is also a plant-based protein and not a complete source of protein. It is made with brown rice which is high in arsenic levels. This is one drawback about rice protein. But most branded rice protein powders check the arsenic levels to ensure that it’s safe for consumption.
But there isn’t much research on rice protein and its effects on pregnant or non-pregnant women.
Though it’s not completely unsafe to choose rice protein powders, I’d still encourage you talk to your doctor first.
#4 — Hemp Protein
Hemp protein powder is derived from grinding hemp seeds. Since hemp seeds are safe to consume during pregnancy we can assume that hemp powder is safe for pregnancy too. However, there’s no real research on hemp and its effects on pregnant women.
Hemp seed powder is rice in minerals like iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium. Other than this it also contains omega-3s and fiber.
Hemp protein is a good choice for pregnant women who are vegetarian. However, like I already mentioned before, hemp is not a complete protein and it doesn’t contain all the necessary amino acids like whey and casein protein powders. So, it’s important that you find other sources of protein to complement this.
#5 — Collagen peptides
Bones, organs, skin, blood vessels, teeth, corneas, and connective tissue – collagen is found in our body in these parts.
So how are collagen peptides made? From animal sources!
When pieces of animals (marine or bovine) contain collagen are crushed to powder you get collagen. It’s pretty much like eating meat but ground to powder, that’s all. According to research, collagen peptides can be safely consumed by pregnant women. Collagen provides you with the additional protein you need during pregnancy along with amino acid glycine.
#6 — Mixed Protein Powders
Mixed proteins are also a great source to complement your protein intake during pregnancy. Mixed protein powders are basically made by blending protein powders like flax, pumpkin, and hemp together.
Only thing I don’t like about some mixed protein powders is that some of them may contain soy protein isolate. This ingredient should be avoided before and during pregnancy.
How Much Protein To Take During Pregnancy?
The exact amount of protein you need to take during pregnancy depends on your weight. It can be anywhere between 70-100g.
How to calculate protein content in your food? A chicken breast piece (skinless) contains 26g of protein while a hard boiled egg contains about 6g. If you prefer getting your protein from plant sources then that’s not a problem at all. You can get about 9g of protein from just ½ cup of lentils!
Here’s a daily protein intake suggestion (total protein = 86 g)
- 2 boiled eggs = 12 grams of protein
- 1 ounce of nuts = 6 grams of protein
- 2 glasses of milk = 16 grams of protein
- 1 cup cottage cheese = 28 grams of protein
- 3 ounces of baked salmon = 15 grams of protein
- 1 bowl of lentil soup = 9 grams of protein
Sometimes it’s not possible to get all protein you need just through your normal diet, this is where protein powders come in. Please remember that protein powders can’t replace a proper meal but can definitely be taken as a supplement along with your food.
Talk to your doctor to understand the correct amount of protein intake during your pregnancy.
Benefits of taking protein powders during pregnancy
- During pregnancy it’s not easy to get in all the proteins required for your pregnant body. Between morning sickness and aversion to certain goods like meat, eggs or fish – protein powders are the best way you can make sure you have your daily protein intake
- You’re often tired when you’re pregnant and cooking elaborate meals may not always be an option. Protein powders, in this case, can be your quick and easy protein fix!
Protein powders are very common amongst pregnant women. It’s just that you have to be extremely careful when selecting a protein powder during pregnancy.
But don’t worry, with the help of this guide to choosing the safe and best protein powder for pregnancy and along with your OB’s recommendation – this should be really easy for you!
Top Protein Powder for Pregnancy
Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein + Superfoods Powder
Protein powders are not just for people who go to the gym every time, but for pregnant women too! Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein + Superfoods Powder has no additives, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners and flavors.
This fresh plant protein blend contains organic veggies, herbs, greens, and more, which would also help in the development of your little one. The protein powder also contains antioxidants to fight any free radicals that can harm your pregnancy journey.
The protein powder is ready for consumption, so all you need to do is grab your favorite cup and splash some water and add some ice!
- Free from common allergens
- 21 g of protein per 40g serving
- Plant proteins
- No cholesterol
So Lean & So Clean Vegan & Protein Powder
Have the goodness of chocolate on your daily meals with the Ora Organic So Lean & So Clean Vegan & Protein Powder. You don’t need red meat with lots of fats just to get your daily protein requirement, because you can switch to a cleaner source!
It contains organic cocoa, which makes it tastier and healthier for you and your baby. Drinking this protein powder can help with your cardiovascular function, growth, and healing of your body. It also contains enzymes that can help with your digestive functions.
On the contrary, this protein powder contains 1g of sugar per serving. So, if your doctor needs you to cut your sugars, you might want to count your sugar intake from other food items. Don’t worry about the sugar too much because it was sourced from organic stevia extract, which is safe for pregnant women.
- Organic plant-based protein source
- No common allergens
- No artificial colors and flavorings
Slimplanet Daily Protein Shake
Enjoy protein shakes without any guilt with the Slimplanet Daily Protein Shake. This protein shake is intended for women who are trying to lose weight, but who said pregnant moms could not have this too?
What’s great about this protein shake is it is low in calories. So, if you are the type of pregnant lady who loves eating for two, you do not have to worry too much if you are taking more than the additional 300 calories needed!
This protein shake amazing has only 70 calories per serving, and that is equal to less than a half cup of rice! You can take this protein shake any time of the day, and you can add some berries and fruits for a healthier drink.
- Vegetable protein sources
- No sugars
- No fat
- No cholesterol
Biochem Whey Isolate Protein Powder
Taste the creamy vanilla flavor on your Biochem 100% Whey Isolate Protein! This protein powder can replace your meals, especially if you are rushing off to work. Your pregnant body needs an additional 300 calories per day, so if you need an extra boost of calories, drink a glass of this!
- Grass-fed cow protein source
- No artificial coloring
- No artificial sweeteners
Mommi – PreNatal Protein Shake
Shake up your mornings with the Mommi – PreNatal Protein Shake. This is not just your ordinary protein powder because it is safe for pregnant and lactating moms! It is clinically proven to help moms with their breastfeeding journey.
So, if you loved this protein powder when you were pregnant, you would surely be having this by your kitchen up until you give birth!
Collagen is the primary protein source of this smoothie powder, plus added vitamins and minerals. You can add this powder on unsweetened almond or coconut milk then put some of your fave fruits!
Not only will this help with your pregnancy protein requirement, but it also aids you in healing faster after you give birth to your little one.
- 15g of whey protein per serving
- No preservatives
- No allergen
Baby Booster Prenatal Vitamin Supplement Shake
This protein powder gives you increased energy with balanced nutrients to support your body as it takes care of your baby inside. You will immediately get improved protein requirements that support your immune functions and metabolism.
It also has a new formulation with fewer sugars, making it safer for moms to be. This protein powder has clinically proved that it helped pregnant women maintain and achieve their standard protein requirements all throughout the pregnancy.
- 20g protein per serving
- Low in sugar
- With DHA for baby’s brain development
PlantFusion Complete Plant-Based Protein Powder
Get your proteins from mother nature with the help of PlantFusion Complete Plant-Based Protein Powder. You can have the protein benefits from peas, artichokes, algae, and organic superfoods that are all hand-selected for maximum quality.
This protein powder will help you build your muscles and tissues that must have been worn out in bearing your big baby bump!
You would also love this red velvet flavor in which you can always drink without any guilt! There are no artificial flavors or sweeteners, making it much healthier than ever!
This protein powder does not contain any cheap fillers like traditional protein powders. So, you can get all pure and 100% natural protein from the top to the bottom of the bottle.
- 21g of protein per serving
- No allergens
Orgain Organic Plant Protein Powder
If your pregnant taste buds do not prefer flavored protein powders, but you need some vegan-friendly protein powder, you must try the Orgain Organic Plant Protein Powder.
This protein powder is unsweetened so that you can add it to any of your meals, or smoothies. What’s inside the bottle are pea, chia seeds, brown rice, and fiber that are all organic and natural!
This powder is the perfect way to fuel your tired pregnant body with energy and organic nutrition that you and your baby need.
- 21g of protein per serving
- USDA Certified Organic
Genius Protein Powder
Be a genius when it comes to selecting your protein powder and choose the Genius brand! This protein powder supports your immune functions, which is essential for pregnancy. We cannot risk getting ill while carrying our babies inside the womb!
This protein powder contains fast and slow-acting protein sources, which can help you maintain your protein requirements throughout the day.
It is also made from 100% naturally flavored and sweetened lean cocoa, so this is a much healthier choice than chocolate drinks from the café! It only contains 2.5g of sugar, so your sugar levels won’t spike up unlike eating choco cakes!
- No fillers
- No artificial sweeteners
Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal Replacement Powder
There are some moments that a pregnant woman has no appetite. Don’t ever judge that we are always a hungry food machine! LOL! Anyway, you can replace your no appetite body with the Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal Replacement Powder.
This is not just a protein powder, because it gives you all the macronutrients and vitamins just like a complete meal.
As a pregnant mom, we cannot risk being insufficient for nutrients because our hungry baby inside needs lots of it!
This powder is packed with 21 vitamins and minerals. Plus, it is delicious too!
- 20g plant protein
- 6g fiber
Herbalife Protein Powder
If you are a vegan pregnant momma, try out the Herbalife Protein Powder. This protein powder will not just fill your always hungry pregnant tummy.
It also repairs your tired tissues, especially on your legs and feet, from carrying your bouncy baby. This protein powder is perfect for your breakfast meal, and it can help you feel full longer.
The Herbalife Protein Powder contains no fat, sugar, yeast, cholesterol, salt, or artificial sweetener, making it 100% safe for you and your baby.
- Soy and whey protein sources
- Provides 5g of protein per serving
What ingredients should you avoid in protein powders during pregnancy?
#1 — Preservatives
The lesser the preservatives, the better. Preservatives in general aren’t good – pregnant or not!
If you see ingredients like:
- Locust bean gum
- Guar gum
- Xanthan gum
- Carboxymethyl cellulose
Most of these preservatives are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by USDA but further investigation on these preservatives lead to the removal of carrageenan, in 2016, from the National Organic Standards Board.
#2 — Added Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners
We already spoke about this. Added sugars in protein powders are bad! Too much sugar during pregnancy can lead to unnecessary weight gain, spike your blood sugar levels, gestational diabetes and increase in baby’s weight.
Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have sugar during pregnancy at all. According to the American Heart Association, women shouldn’t have more than 25g of sugar per day.
Instead of taking your daily limit of sugars from protein powder, you’d be happier eating a piece of chocolate or maybe a scoop of ice cream!
#3 — Soy Protein isolate (Processed Soy)
I don’t like this ingredient and neither should any pregnant woman!
Soy is highly controversial when it comes to nutrition because there’s always some new research about soy.
During pregnancy your body needs extra minerals and unfermented soy can affect mineral absorption as it’s high in phytic acid. Soy also disrupts the digestion of protein – so I don’t understand why are there soy protein powders, honestly.
Soy can also disrupt iodine absorption which can in turn disrupt your body’s ability to produce the thyroid hormone. Soy is not good for those trying to conceive either because of the same.
Another reason pregnant women should avoid soy is that it’s contaminated with glyphosate, a pesticide residue which is bad for your growing babies in the womb.
So if you see soy protein isolate on the ingredients list of the protein powder, burn it. (Kidding, just keep it back on the shelf and walk away)
#4 — Herbs
Many protein powders are formulated with a mix of herbs and are called all ‘natural’ protein powders. The thing about these herbs is that not all of them are proven to consume during pregnancy but not all of them are proved to be unsafe either. So my question is if there’s no proper proof that suggest these said herbs are good or safe to consume during pregnancy then why take the risk? It’s best to then avoid it all together or at the very least limit the herb content in protein powders during pregnancy.
Risks Of Taking Protein Powders During Pregnancy
Honestly, when you’re pregnant anything and everything can be a risk and so can protein powders, unless you’re super careful, ofcourse. Read on to find out the risks of taking protein powders during pregnancy and how to avoid these risks.
#1 — Toxic ingredients
Since protein powders fall under ‘dietary supplements’, it’s not regulated by the United States FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Which means that the consumers are at the mercy of the manufacturers being genuinely concerned about their users’ health.
This basically means that you cannot completely trust what the ingredients label says as the manufacturer could add ingredients that aren’t mentioned in the label. Or you may not be getting the right amount of protein that the brand claims.
Which is why keep the protein powders to a minimum, try to get most of your proteins from whole foods. And make sure that you only use a scoop of your most trusted and doctor approved protein powder when you really need it.
#2 — Over Consumption
If you’re already eating a range of high-protein foods in your diet then you probably don’t even need protein powders. Having too much protein during pregnancy is not good for you or your baby.
According to research, less carbs and too much protein slowed down the growth of the babies. Which is why doctors don’t recommend a keto diet during pregnancy. Which means it’s best to keep protein powders to a minimum and get your protein source from natural sources like nuts, eggs, or milk.
#3 — Added sugars
Protein powders may contain hidden sugars that can result in increase in blood sugar and weight gain – both of which aren’t good during pregnancy.
Isn’t it better to have your sugar from fresh fruits, dried fruits, or even ice cream or chocolates — all of these by the way are recommended!
Other Sources of Protein During Pregnancy
If you’re not uncomfortable with taking protein powders, no worries at all. It’s, then, best to stick with natural sources of protein from whole foods.
Low mercury fish, lean meats like turkey and chicken, some legumes and grains can also provide you with all the protein you need during your pregnancy!
You can consume about 24g of protein by just having 4 ounces of ground beef. Having a burger or a steak once or twice a week can help you get the protein points you need! But don’t over-indulge cause red meat is high in fat and cholesterol.
You can eat certain fish to gain your protein during pregnancy. But avoid bigger fish as they may contain mercury.
According FDA, pregnant women should avoid these fish: Mackerel, Swordfish, Tilefish
It goes without saying that pregnant women should definitely avoid undercooked or raw seafood. Steer clear of fish-based sushi when you’re pregnant or nursing.
If you’re not into meat or fish, you can also take plant-based proteins like:
- Brown rice
- Whole grains
What protein powder is safe for pregnancy?
Whey powder is widely considered to be safe for pregnancy. Since whey is made from milk, it’s a natural protein powder. But whey protein powder may not be the best option for pregnant women with lactose intolerance or those allergic or sensitive to dairy. You can try a pea protein powder instead which is a plant-based protein powder.
Can you have pea protein while pregnant?
Pea protein can be safely consumed during pregnancy and nursing. Pea protein is a plant-based protein that offers some of the essential proteins a pregnant woman’s body and her baby needs.
What protein is best for pregnancy?
Aside from protein shakes, mommies can also opt for proteins from natural sources. Here’s a list of the best protein sources you can find on your food choices:
- Cottage cheese: 28g PRO per 1 cup
- Poultry: 26g PRO per 3oz.
- Fish: 17g PRO per 3oz.
- Lentils: 9g PRO per 1/2 cup
- Milk: 9g PRO per 1cup
- Peanut butter: 7g PRO per 2 tablespoons
- Eggs: 6g PRO per 1 large hard-boiled egg
So should you take protein powder or not during pregnancy?
Protein powders are a great source for adding the additional protein you will need during pregnancy. But if you’re already on a protein-rich diet, you may not need any protein powder to supplement your diet.
It’s best to consult your OB and follow doctors orders. IF your OB gives you the green signal for protein powders, ask your doc which protein powders they recommend for you.
My opinion is that you opt for an unflavored protein powder that has very very few ingredients. If you don’t understand the ingredients on the back then don’t buy it! It’s just as simple as that. Or if you’re super curious then at least google it to find out what it really is.
My choice of protein powder during pregnancy is pure whey protein powder without any added ingredients. Whey powder is made from milk and luckily I’m not lactose intolerant. But if you are lactose intolerant then steer clear of any milk-based dairy protein powders. This can cause bloating, gas, or an allergic reaction and honestly, you have enough problems when you’re pregnant! If you’re lactose intolerant or sensitive, allergic to dairy then also avoid other milk ingredients like lactose or casein in your protein powder.
Pea Protein powder is a great alternative to whey protein for those who are sensitive to dairy. Pea protein is plant-based protein so it’s not a complete protein. If you’re taking pea protein then you may have to supplement your diet with other sources of protein.
Protein is essential for your baby’s tissue growth and brain development. Plus, it also increases your blood supply during pregnancy.
Taking protein powder is considered safe as long as it is consumed in moderation. It is vital to check with your dietitian or OB-GYN first before taking in such products.
You are most probably taking your prenatal supplements, and protein powders usually have vitamins and minerals too. Taking in too much of these vitamins and minerals can pose some health risks to your pregnancy, so be careful with that.
Lastly, make sure to check all the ingredients of these protein powders and watch out for any caffeine, artificial sweeteners, fillers, and flavoring agents. Oh, do not worry too much, and I hope you enjoy your pregnancy journey with your little one!
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Ora Organic So Lean and So Clean Vegan Protein Powder
Here's everything you need to know about how to choose the best protein powder for pregnancy. And our recommended protein powders for pregnant women!
Product SKU: 00254488POK8856996
Product Brand: Ora
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Product Price: 37.99
Price Valid Until: 2021
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