You’ve heard the benefits of adding this protein to your diet—and now you’re wondering, can you take collagen while pregnant? Read on to find out.
Keeping up with the pregnancy list of dos and don’ts can feel like a full-time job.
You want to do this right—take the right supplements, avoid the dangerous ones, and generally do everything you can to support your health and the little one growing inside you.
So what’s the deal? Can you take collagen while pregnant?
The short answer is: while we don’t have enough evidence to say with 100% certainty, collagen supplements during pregnancy appear to be safe.
Just be careful about what type you take.
And like all things health and pregnancy, check in with your healthcare provider about whether it’s a good idea for you personally.
In this article 📝
- What is collagen?
- Is collagen safe for pregnancy?
- Is collagen good to take while pregnant?
- How much collagen is safe during pregnancy?
- Collagen and pregnancy: the bottom line
What is collagen?
Heard the glowing reports of how collagen can do everything from improving the look of your skin, hair, and nails to boosting your bone and gut health?
Yep, collagen is definitely trending.
This may make you gasp, but US consumers spent $293M on collagen supplements in 2020—and its popularity appears to be only on the rise.
So what’s the deal here? Is it worth all the hype? Let’s dive in.
Collagen is a protein that occurs naturally in our bodies.
It has all sorts of jobs, from keeping our skin smooth and supple to supporting our bones, cartilage, and connective tissue.
In fact, collagen is so important (and abundant) in our bodies that, as this study reveals, as much as a third of the protein in our bodies is made up of it.
And not having enough naturally occurring collagen—called endogenous collagen—in our bodies is linked to a few different health conditions, including the now-rare disease scurvy.
As we age, collagen production decreases.
And one of the most noticeable effects of this is the change in our skin’s elasticity.
(Sidebar: we’re all for the beauty of laugh lines.
But we also know that it’s totally okay to seek out younger-looking skin. You do you.)
Enter collagen peptides—tiny pieces of protein made from animal collagen that can help your body recover its lost collagen.
Collagen peptides come in all sorts of forms—pills, powder, drinks, and creams, as well as dermal fillers that can be injected into your skin.
The colorless, tasteless powders that can be popped into smoothies or your favorite drink are a particular hit.
The research looks promising.
This 2019 review of oral collagen supplements showed that they had a positive impact on skin elasticity and wound healing.
And this 2018 study exploring the use of collagen to improve bone mineral density in postmenopausal women was also really promising.
It may also help increase muscle strength in older adults.
So yes, overall, there seems to be a reason for all the fuss.
But, like all supplements, collagen products are not regulated by the FDA.
And the use of collagen during pregnancy is not well studied.
Let’s take a look.
Is collagen safe for pregnancy?
Very little research on this gives a definite answer, but from what we know, collagen appears to be safe during pregnancy.
Before loading up that shopping cart, though, know that not all collagen products are created equal.
The two most common sources of collagen are bovine collagen (from cows) and marine collagen (from fish).
The general rule? Stick to the cow.
That’s because there’s a chance that marine collagen could bring you into contact with some other fishy pregnancy issues.
While fish can form an essential part of your pregnancy diet—so much so that the USDA recommends eating between 8 and 12 ounces per week—there are some risks associated with it.
Fish collagen is made from fish cartilage and scales, which may come with some risks when pregnant.
There are no regulations around the types of fish used in these products, so there’s a chance that they could have a high mercury content or contain other toxic substances.
And this could be harmful to both you and your developing baby.
On the other hand, bovine collagen is pretreated by boiling the bones and other byproducts of cattle for about five minutes.
With all that prep time, food-borne illnesses shouldn’t be a risk.
Is collagen good to take while pregnant?
While getting the protein you need is important during pregnancy—75 to 100 grams a day is recommended—there’s no evidence to suggest that you need to take collagen at this time.
If you want to, it’s a good idea to run it by your healthcare provider.
Talk to them about the specific product you’d like to take.
Different products have different ingredient lists—so it might be a good idea to run it by them to see if your product of choice contains anything that could be harmful to you right now.
Some pregnant people take collagen to prevent or treat stretch marks, but as the American Academy of Dermatologists tells us, it may not be that simple.
While we know that stretch marks are caused by a rupture of the collagen and elastin in our skin, we just don’t know whether collagen supplements can prevent this from happening.
How much collagen is safe during pregnancy?
While there are no specific regulations around this, a typical dose for healthy adults is between 2.5 and 10 grams.
But again, it’s important to check in with your doctor about an appropriate dose for you.
If you’re not keen to go down the supplement route, several healthy foods contain collagen, including poultry, fish, pork, red meat, dairy, and eggs.
You can also make an animal bone broth by simmering bones in water and a bit of vinegar for between 4 and 24 hours.
And for vegetarians, there are options here too.
While plants don’t make collagen, they do help your body make it.
Foods that contain zinc and vitamin C are particularly good for this, so adding leafy greens, nuts, broccoli, and berries to your diet is a win.
And these can be great additions to your pregnancy diet anyway.
(As a guide, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends getting 85 milligrams of vitamin C if you’re over the age of 19.)
Collagen and pregnancy: the bottom line
While collagen peptides show much promise as a supplement to a healthy diet, the research is still young.
Talk to your doctor to see if they’re a good idea for you and your unique pregnancy.
And if you feel like bouncing some ideas around with other mamas-to-be, join our Peanut community.
We don’t have to do this alone.
All the best, mama!
💡More on pregnancy foods:
Can You Drink Coffee While Pregnant?
Can You Take Probiotics While Pregnant?
Can You Drink Wine While Pregnant?
Is Orange Juice Good for Pregnancy?
Can You Drink Green Tea While Pregnant?
Can You Drink Chamomile Tea While Pregnant?
Can You Eat Mozzarella When Pregnant?
Can You Eat Cherries While Pregnant?
Can You Eat Seaweed While Pregnant?
Can You Eat Seafood While Pregnant?