Home Nutrition Can Pregnant Women Drink Protein Shakes?

Can Pregnant Women Drink Protein Shakes?

Written by Jane Summerfield

You are a workout freak, and love protein shakes after your workout. But now you are pregnant and eagerly waiting for your child to be born.

You have started to go for a special pregnancy workout and a balanced and healthy diet for a healthy pregnancy.

But you are still unsure about the protein powder.

To continue or to stop it?

Can you drink protein shakes while pregnant?

You can drink a protein shake or take protein powder during pregnancy.

So, let’s get to the facts relating to protein powder consumption in pregnancy.

Can You Drink Protein Shakes While Pregnant?

Well, there is no harm in drinking protein shakes during pregnancy. After all, protein is an integral part of human nutrition.

However, all the protein powders available on the market may not be suitable for pregnant women.

Hence, you need to consider protein powders designed especially for pregnant women.

The truth is that pregnant women have a special need for protein and amino acids during their carrying term.

Hence, you need to choose a protein powder that meets your needs.

On top of that, many pregnant women also suffer from protein deficiency during their pregnancy.

This can cause impaired growth of babies, including lower weight and birth of premature babies.

For such women, including protein powder in their diet can be beneficial.

A recent study found that pregnant women with protein deficiency who took balanced protein supplements containing a maximum of 20% of energy as protein had a healthier pregnancy.

In addition, their babies showed increased fetal growth, including weight gain of 95 to 324 grams and height growth ranging from 4.6-6.1 mm.

On top of that, protein intake in pregnant women can also decrease the incidence of premature birth and lower birth weight by 6%.

The doctor recommended dose of protein powder for pregnant women

As per doctors, how much protein you need depends on the pregnancy condition.

During your pregnancy, you need to go for A Balanced diet that contains whole foods with enough vitamins and minerals that improve fetal growth.

But, babies need protein to grow inside their mother’s womb.

Hence, a doctor may check if pregnant women have any special requirements for protein during pregnancy to adjust their protein intake level.

But, in general, research has proven that most pregnant women require higher protein intake during their pregnancy. So, how much protein do you need during your pregnancy?

According to the standard recommendation, pregnant women should take at least 79 grams of protein per day during their early pregnancy.

That means they must have a diet consisting of 14% protein in their whole intake.

Those in their late trimester must increase their protein intake by 17%.

They are usually recommended to consume 108 grams of protein per day from the later second trimester.

Those carrying twins or multiples may need to have a higher amount of proteins to meet the nutritional needs of the babies.

Some doctors recommend combining dietary supplements, whole foods, and prenatal vitamins to form a healthy diet that offers the needed nutritional boost for both the mother and the unborn baby.

Suppose your doctor finds you are not getting enough protein during pregnancy or suffering from protein deficiency.

In that case, they might prescribe you special prenatal high protein health supplements to ensure your baby does not have detrimental growth.

There are no issues with the type of protein powder you choose for increased protein intake.

You can choose a vegan protein, pea protein, or any animal protein, like a whey protein supplement, as per your diet choice.

How to choose the best protein shakes for a healthy pregnancy

So, it is clear that having protein shakes while pregnant is generally safe.

But, not all protein shakes, or protein powder will be suitable for your protein needs.

Here is a simple guide on how to choose the best protein powder to meet the goal of doctor-prescribed grams of protein daily-

1) Avoid added sugars or sweeteners

While choosing a protein powder for pregnancy, avoid choosing something that contains sugars or artificial sweeteners.

Too much sugar has not been great as it often causes you to gain weight more than the desired level.

Excessive weight can cause pregnancy complications.

Overweight women also have a higher chance of gestational diabetes or pregnancy diabetes.

Hence, while buying protein powder, check the ingredients list.

If it contains too much sugar, go for other brands.

On top of that, it is also advisable to choose protein supplements without sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, or similar artificial sweeteners.

Instead of these, go for natural sweeteners like stevia extracts which will be safer for both the baby and you.

2) Protein sources

While choosing protein shakes, take a minute to observe the food sources.

Animal proteins are often higher in protein content and can offer you enough protein if you eat animal products.

Milk-based protein like whey protein is also a great choice.

On the other hand, there are also enough options for vegan protein in the market.

You can choose from options like pea protein or hemp protein supplements to meet your daily protein intake as a pregnant woman.

On top of that, look for the source of the protein powder.

For example, if you plan to intake whey protein, it is advisable to do it for grass-fed whey.

For plant-based protein supplements, go for organic ones that contain no harmful trace elements.

3) Avoid ingredients that cause you allergy

Most pregnant women develop certain allergic reactions to some food items or certain food groups.

Morning sickness is also common in pregnancy. So, it is better to check out for food allergies.

A lot of women often become lactose intolerant during their pregnancy.

So for them, avoiding whey supplements is better.

Instead, they can choose plant-based protein powders to meet their daily protein limit.

4) Avoid excess caffeine

You love your regular dose of caffeine in the morning. But during pregnancy, it is better to avoid excessive caffeine intake.

Too much caffeine can cause a low birth rate and complicated birth procedures in pregnancy.

Researchers recommend that pregnant women not exceed the daily caffeine intake limit of 200 mg.

So, look closely at the ingredients label to check the caffeine percentage in the protein powder.

Then, if possible, go for decaf or caffeine-less protein shakes.

5) Avoid artificial flavors and fillers

Artificial flavors on fillers can be common in many protein drinks. But, these additives can cause detrimental effects on fetal growth.

Artificial flavors are often made with chemicals that contain harmful metals and trace elements.

These may cause your baby to grow premature and have natal ailments, including pneumonia or other issues.

So, it is better to opt for a flavorless and filler-less protein shake for those nine months.

6) Avoid CBD

Many vegan protein supplements often contain CBD or trace elements of CBD.

But CBD contains THC, which can cause complications for the baby and harm fetal brain development.

Hence, avoid it at any cost.

7) No meal replacements

Avoid any weight loss shakes while choosing protein drinks for your pregnancy.

You will find that many protein powders contain weight-losing ingredients.

But, such items may not be good for your baby.

So, meet your daily protein intake, and go for protein drinks that are not for eight watchers.

Besides that, also avoid meal replacement shakes. You need to have enough whole food besides a protein shake.

So, meal replacements will not work here.

8) Keep special needs in mind

Some women develop conditions like gestational diabetes during their pregnancy.

It is a condition where the pregnant woman cannot produce enough insulin and suffers from imbalanced blood sugar.

If you already have diabetes and regularly experience blood sugar imbalances, consult your doctor before getting a protein powder.

In case you are lactose intolerant, it is better to avoid milk-based proteins during pregnancy.

Many pregnant women also suffer from choline deficiency in their carrying term. For them, protein drinks made with egg yolks or egg extracts are a good choice.

Those deficient in amino acids can include plant-based protein drinks to prevent the impaired growth of their babies.

Is a protein shake a must for every pregnant woman?

Well, it depends on the protein intake of the woman. If she is not getting enough protein, it is better to go for a protein supplement.

On top of that, having protein supplements also helps to add the required protein for a healthy pregnancy.

But, it is better to combine whole protein-rich foods that contain vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and carbs alongside protein powders.

You should also not use meal replacement shakes if you have been advised to lose weight during pregnancy.

If you follow all these tips, you can choose the best protein powders to help you have a good pregnancy and a healthy baby. 

Conclusion

Having protein powder during pregnancy can help you meet the increased protein intake for healthy baby growth, as the baby cannot create proteins in the womb.

Therefore, nearly 20% of pregnant women’s calories should contain protein.

But, avoid too much protein in pregnancy.

It can cause extra complications. Hence, it is better to get a doctor’s advice to choose the best protein powders. 

References

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are protein shakes safe in pregnancy?

Yes, protein shakes are generally safe during pregnancy. There are many protein powders available in the market for pregnant women.

Which protein shakes are safe during pregnancy?

Protein shakes that do not contain artificial sweeteners, harmful chemicals, fillers, CBD, extra caffeine, or flavoring agents are safer for pregnancy.

Can you drink whey protein shakes while pregnant?

Yes, you can drink whey protein shakes during pregnancy, But if you have an allergy to milk or pregnancy lactose intolerance, it is better to avoid whey-based options.

Can you drink meal replacement shakes while pregnant?

No, it is better to avoid meal replacement shakes for weight loss protein supplements during pregnancy, as these can cause harmful effects on the unborn baby.

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