Protein shakes for pregnancy—a helpful go-to to meet your nutritional requirements, or a harmful addition to your diet? As it turns out, the story is complicated.
Let’s get into it.
In this article: 📝
- Can you drink protein shakes while pregnant?
- Protein shakes for pregnancy FAQs
- The bottom line?
Can you drink protein shakes while pregnant?
Proteins are found in every cell in the human body and are often spoken of as the building blocks of life.
When you are pregnant, protein plays a central role in the development of your baby’s tissues and organs.
It is also vital in helping your own body grow and develop to support your pregnancy.
So how much protein is enough when you’re pregnant?
According to the American Pregnancy Association, about 75 to 100 grams a day.
You can find protein in several sources, including fish, lean meats, eggs, nuts, and tofu.
So where does that leave protein shakes? Are they a safe way to meet your protein needs—or can they do more harm than good?
Let’s take a look.
Protein shakes for pregnancy FAQs
Can you use protein shakes when pregnant?
Protein shakes can be useful when you’re pregnant if you need them—and ideally not as your primary source of protein.
When we talk about protein shakes, we’re talking about a wide array of different drinks.
From meal replacements to after-workout boosts, from vitamin and mineral “blasts” to frosty treats at coffee shops, there’s no one way to do a protein shake.
The common thread is that they include a protein supplement of some sort, often as a powder.
Typical sources of protein powders are whey (from dairy), casein (also from dairy), egg whites, hemp, peas, brown rice, and soy.
These ingredients are processed to extract the protein and turn it into a powder.
So do you need a protein supplement? According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Americans may already be getting all the protein they require from regular food sources.
If you have a varied diet that includes all the food groups, chances are good you are getting plenty of protein without the need for supplements.
In fact, consuming too much protein is not only unnecessary when you’re pregnant, but could actually be harmful.
As this 2018 review found, excessive protein intake can also get in the way of the healthy growth and development of your baby.
That being said, some pregnant women do have trouble reaching their protein quota.
One of the most common reasons for this is [food aversions](https://www.peanut-app.io/blog/when-do-pregnancy-cravings-start.
If the sight or smell of certain foods makes you literally sick to the stomach, finding an easier-to-digest source can be really useful.
If you are underweight, overworked, or ill, you may also have trouble getting the protein you need.
In these cases, what protein shake is best for pregnancy? That depends on your specific needs.
A chat with your doctor can help you decide on the best supplement for you.
Is protein powder safe during pregnancy?
While these products may help for some, the story is complicated.
As this recent report from Harvard Medical School explains, protein powders may not be as safe as we think.
Beyond possibly containing hidden sugars and empty calories, milk-based proteins can cause stomach trouble for those who have sensitivities to dairy—the last thing you may need to add to your list of pregnancy symptoms.
And because dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA, it’s possible that protein powders could contain harmful ingredients.
According to this report by the non-profit organization Clean Label Project, some protein products on the market have detectable levels of lead, cadmium, and BPA—all of which can be harmful to both you and your baby.
So, while protein powders can be useful if you are struggling to get enough protein right now, it’s best to do so cautiously—and ideally under the supervision of your doctor.
That way, you can make sure that you’re getting maximum benefits with minimal risks.
The bottom line?
So, are protein shakes safe for pregnancy?
They can be, but it’s best to rely on food sources rather than supplements to meet your protein requirements during this time.
Sometimes, they can help, like when you’re very busy or ill. But they do not come without risks.
Keep up with your prenatal vitamins, chat with your doctor when you need guidance, and lean on your Peanut community when you feel you’re wandering around in the dark. We’re here to help!
💡 More from The 411:
Caffeine and Breastfeeding: What to Know
19 Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
14 Scrummy Foods to Eat While Pregnant
Pregnancy Snacks: Healthy Hacks for Pregnancy Cravings
What Are the Best Prenatal Vitamins?
How to Sleep When Pregnant
What to Know About Fasting While Pregnant
Can You Take Melatonin While Pregnant?
What to Know About Running While Pregnant
Can You Take Paracetamol When Pregnant?
Can You Take Benadryl While Pregnant?
Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar During Pregnancy: What to Know
What is a Glucose Test During Pregnancy?
Can You Take Probiotics While Pregnant?