Pregnancy can be a difficult time for any woman. Studies show that expectant mothers find it difficult to maintain a healthy level of protein consumption, especially in the early stages of pregnancy.
Many expectant mothers find it difficult to meet their daily protein requirements because of an aversion to foods or if they’re watching their weight during the pregnancy.
With all the precautionary measures we take to make sure harm doesn’t come to the child you’re carrying, it can be difficult to know which ingredients are harmful or helpful to the baby and the mother.
That’s why we’ve compiled seven of the best protein powders for expectant mothers and everything you need to know about them below.
- 1. Ora Organic Vegan Protein Powder – #1 Best Overall
- 2. Naked Nutrition
- 3. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder
- 4. Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed
- 5. Baby Booster Kona Mocha
- 6. GNC TOTAL LEAN
- 7. IDEALLEAN
7 Best Protein Powders for Pregnant Women 2021
Any mother-to-be wants only the best for their baby. You may want to take a plant-based protein supplement for many reasons, and there’s no reason why you can’t safely do so. That’s why we’ve compiled seven of the best brands that are safe for mothers and your precious little ones.
1. Ora Organic – Best Protein Powder for Pregnancy
This Ora Organic 100% vegan-friendly protein powder features one of the leanest and cleanest formulas you’ll come across on the market. It contains a complete amino acids profile, which means you’re getting all your BCAAs, and it comes in three perfectly reasonable and delicious flavor choices as well.
Here’s why you’ll like it:
High-Quality Protein Source – Ora not only packs 21 g of pure protein per portion, but it also contains digestive enzymes that help you more easily digest it. This means you don’t have to worry about bloating or stomach distress.
Summary: This Ora is specially formulated by professionals to be as safe and pure as possible. It comes in three delicious and classic flavors without any additives or artificial ingredients as well. One of its best qualities is that it contains two servings of greens, so you’re getting more than just protein. It’s also easily digestible. However, it can get quite expensive and it’s also only available in flavored options.
2. Naked Nutrition – Best Whey Protein Powder
Naked Nutrition Whey Protein is our top choice if you’re looking for a pure and sustainably sourced whey to sustain you through your pregnancy.
It contains an adequately high protein yield per portion and about 5.9 g. of your daily BCAAs as well. Moreover, it only contains one ingredient (which is all you really need): Hormone-free Grass Fed Whey Protein.
Here’s why we like it:
Premium Protein Source – Naked Nutrition is free from any additives and is cold processed, free from bleach or any other chemicals. It’s sourced from hormone-free grass-fed dairy cows from small Californian farms as well so you know it’s top quality.
Summary: Although you won’t find any random particles of the powder still floating around your drink after mixing it for some time, this product does not mix as quickly as we would like it to. So we recommend adding it into your smoothies instead. However, it is as pure as whey protein powders get.
3. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
One of the things that I like about Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides is that it comes in sample sizes. This means it’s ideal if you’re not trying to buy protein powder in bulk or if you want to try it out first to see if it would be a good fit for you.
It’s also available in capsule form if you’re not keen on drinking a whole glass to get your daily protein fix.
Here’s why you’ll like it:
Formulated for Women – not only does this Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides pack a good amount of collagen peptides per portion, but it also does a lot for women. Of course, the pregnancy glow does wonders for a woman’s appearance, but let’s face it: you might want to look even better and keep that glow for as long as possible.
This Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides improves your skin elasticity and gives you an overall youthful appearance with stronger nails and shinier hair. But more than that, it also promotes bone and joint health.
Summary: Pregnancy does wonders for your appearance. However, it can also lead to stretch marks, joint pain and it can also take a toll on your bone health. That’s why this protein powder is ideal for any woman who wants a great solution to most pregnancy woes. Unfortunately, it can get expensive. But hey, you’re only taking it for a few months, right?
4. Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate – Best Tasting
One thing we appreciate the most about this 100% Grass-Fed Whey by Transparent Labs is its inventive and unique flavor options. It’s a truly good choice if you’re looking for something that would give you less of a fuss. It tastes good on its own, so you don’t need to add it into complex smoothies or shakes.
Here’s why you’ll like it:
High-Quality Protein Source – this Transparent Labs packs a high protein yield per portion and contains zero artificial additives despite its colorful flavor choices.
Summary: You’ll love this Transparent Labs if you’re looking for something that mixes well and tastes great on its own. You can simply add it into water and you’re good to go. Moreover, it comes in many different flavor options so you’ll have plenty to choose from. However, it can get quite expensive.
5. Baby Booster Kona Mocha Prenatal Vitamin Supplement Shake – Best for Morning Sickness
This OB/GYN-approved prenatal Baby Booster protein shake is specially formulated for pregnant. It contains your daily dose of necessary vitamins, and it helps with morning qualms as well. It’s vegetarian-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about bloating and gassiness as well.
Here’s why you’ll like it:
All-in-one Vitamin Source – this Baby Booster Kona Mocha is great for getting your daily dose of DHA, Folic Acid, B6, and protein. Moreover, it also helps reduce morning qualms so you feel better.
Summary: This Baby Booster Kona Mocha is ideal for expectant mothers who are suffering from morning qualm and are having trouble taking your prenatal vitamins. It doesn’t taste great on its own, but it does well when blended into smoothies and shakes.
6. GNC TOTAL LEAN
Total Lean comes in many great flavors like the iconic Girl Scout Thin Mints. This allows you to take something you should be avoiding and indulge in it without the guilt. It’s also an ideal meal replacement because of the essential nutrients and minerals it packs per portion.
Here’s what you’ll like:
High-Quality Protein Source – this GNC TOTAL LEAN is an ideal meal replacement for those days where you don’t really feel like eating anything. It’s well-balanced and contains fiber as well as 22 vitamins and minerals that are essential to pregnancy.
Summary: Price aside, this GNC TOTAL LEAN is certainly a great choice for any expecting mother who suffers from aversion to certain food. It’s low in carbohydrate content, yet rich in minerals and vitamins that you need daily.
7. IDEALLEAN – Good For Breastfeeding
This IDEALLEAN is specifically formulated for women. It’s low in calories, so you don’t have to worry about it interfering with any dietary restrictions while you’re pregnant. Plus, it’s packed with 20 grams of pure whey isolate protein per serving too.
Here’s why you’ll like it:
Great Mixability – this IDEALLEAN is surprisingly easy to mix into other beverages. This makes it ideal if you feel a bit adventurous and would like to change your drink every day.
Summary: Unless you have a sensitive stomach, you’ll find IDEALLEAN ideal for any phase of your life. It’s a great starting point for when you’re pregnant and will remain ideal for you even after you’ve given birth.
Ingredients Pregnant Women Should Avoid
Consuming protein is an incredibly important part of pregnancy. This will help you maintain a healthy growth rate for your baby and will help keep you full as well. However, not every pregnancy is the same.
And while most mothers-to-be will tell you they’ve been eating more than they’ve ever eaten before in their life, you might be having trouble keeping all the solid foods down.
This is where protein powders come into play. They are a highly convenient source of protein and allows you to take them with food and drinks you can tolerate well.
However, with pregnancy comes many precautionary measures. There’s a list of things you need to cut back on, and this can make it difficult to choose the right protein supplement that will be good for you and your baby.
Generally, here are the things you should watch out for when choosing any protein powder:
- Harmful Additives – if you see a long list of ingredients you don’t understand on your protein powder’s ingredients list, you’re better off choosing another one. In general, you should choose protein powders that are as pure and clean as possible. This means you need to avoid supplements that may include thickeners, preservatives, artificial additives like flavorings, colorants, and harmful sugars. These are not only harmful to your health, but they can also affect your baby.
- Excessive Sugars – the only sweetener I’d fully recommend would be monk fruit. This gives a naturally sweet taste that doesn’t linger and isn’t too overpowering. Alternatively, you could also choose an unflavored protein powder. This allows you to control the sugar content better.
- Toxic Components – it’s fairly easy for companies to claim their protein powders are 100% clean and pure. While there’s no guaranteed way to immediately check if it contains toxic components, you can avoid this issue by purchasing from a well-trusted brand. You should also try to get as much protein as possible from solid food and supplementation only when necessary.
That said, you should also make sure you’re taking just the right amount of protein daily.
You have to be careful not to consume too much protein. This can be harmful to you and your baby as well. Generally, consuming too much protein during pregnancy is harmful to you and your baby.
Summary: It’s important to make sure you’re careful about consuming any protein powders that can be harmful to you. Basically, if it isn’t healthy for you, you definitely shouldn’t be taking it when you’re pregnant. Make sure you’re purchasing from well-trusted brands so you’re not getting any harmful ingredients and you can rest assured that your label is as straightforward as possible.
Benefits of Protein Powder During Pregnancy
The benefits of this supplementation for a pregnant would be similar to its benefits to anyone, but extending to an unborn child. It can be difficult to get your pregnancy proteins, especially if you’re suffering from aversion to a portion of certain food like a pregnant.
If you’re facing difficulty keeping solid food down or are trying to avoid certain solid foods simply because they don’t agree with your palette, protein powder is a suitable supplementation. There are a variety of protein supplements that can be used in a variety of ways.
Make sure you choose one that is highly versatile such as something unflavored so you can add it into your cooking, baked goods, and homemade pregnant protein shakes.
What to Look for in Protein Powders and Shakes for Pregnant Mothers
There are a number of things you need to consider when choosing any protein supplementation. Your number one priority, aside from getting the right amount of protein, would be to get the right amount of nutrition for you and your baby.
Here are my key takeaways:
Consider Your Protein Source
- You may not think it’s important, but the different types of protein powder you’ll get play a good part in its efficacy. While WHEY may be the most popular option, I highly recommend plant-based like pea protein or brown rice protein instead. These are not only more easily digestible, but they usually come packed with a host of other vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial to you and your growing baby. If you want something different, you could also try a collagen protein powder, which will help you maintain a healthy appearance as well.
Sweeteners or Added Sugars
- Try to make sure you’re getting a protein powder that contains as few sweeteners as possible. While stevia is a popular option, it would be better to choose something sweetened with monk fruit instead. Stevia may not be the best option for a prenatal protein powder. However, if it can be avoided, opting for an unsweetened one would be best since it’s also more versatile.
- Pregnant or not, additives are unnecessary when it comes to protein powders. Make sure you’re getting a supplementation that is as pure as possible. You should also remember that artificial additives of any kind should be avoided.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve taken the time to sift through some of the most asked questions regarding prenatal powders and answered them below.
Is Hemp Protein Powder Safe During Pregnancy?
Certainly. Hemp protein powders are processed to not include any hallucinatory components. This means you’re unlikely to get any of its negative or high-inducing effects when you take hemp protein powder (link).
How Much Protein Do I Need During Pregnancy?
It would depend on your total body weight. But in general, you should take between 70 to 100 grams of protein per day. It would be best to get as much of this from solid food, but supplements should also be taken when necessary.
To be completely sure, you should consult your OB-GYN to determine the correct amount of protein you need daily.
Is WHEY Protein Powder Safe While Breastfeeding?
Generally speaking, yes. Unless you have a highly sensitive stomach, you’re unlikely to develop discomfort from whey protein. However, you should be careful when taking whey while breastfeeding.
Although it might not affect your breast milk production, the discomfort of any kind is not ideal for any mother. There are many alternatives, such as pea or collagen protein.
Can You Have Pea Protein While Pregnant?
When it comes to choosing a protein-packed snack, it can be tricky to make sure you’re getting the correct level. For instance, is it OK to eat pea protein during pregnancy? If you’re struggling to figure out what foods to include in your diet, and if they’re safe to eat while pregnant, there are three good news: There’s a lot of protein in the pea. Just three ounces of cooked yellow peas provide as much protein as an egg, about 13 percent of your daily requirement for protein, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It’s higher in protein than other traditional sources such as soy or beans.
More than 70 percent of women with gestational diabetes get most of their protein from protein sources like pea protein. Both oat and soy protein powder is considered a lower-risk source for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Oat protein can provide amino acids that aren’t usually found in animal-based protein, such as the amino acid cysteine, which helps rebuild and repair blood vessels and is essential for healthy development.
Which Fruit Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?
Despite high-quality clinical trials proving that certain fruits can be safe to eat during pregnancy, the scientific community has become more aware of the fact that certain fruits may have certain risks, or they may have other side effects during pregnancy. That is why the FDA, during its consultations with health and medical experts, put together the Safe Food Guide, a list of foods that can be consumed during pregnancy.
For example, the FDA has classified mangoes as a “food to avoid” during pregnancy and nursing, although the agency has no specific health risk associated with them, there are a couple of studies linking mangoes to birth defects in the child. For a complete list of foods to avoid during pregnancy, you may refer to this FDA website. To have an open discussion with your health care provider about which fruits can be consumed during pregnancy, read this article from the Mayo Clinic.
Quite frankly, if you’re seriously considering taking a supplement during pregnancy, there are many brands you can choose from. We’re confident you’ll find the right one with any of the seven protein powders we’ve listed above.
The main thing you should remember and consider is that you should refrain from consuming too much protein and anything that you wouldn’t be comfortable consuming for yourself.
In general, you should make sure your choice is as clean, pure, and free from unnecessary components like sugars and flavorings as possible.
I also highly recommend that you try plant-based or vegan protein powders since they’re quite often more nutritious compared to whey. And you’re less likely to develop bloating and gassiness.
Our top choice goes to Ora Organic Vegan since it contains a good protein yield per serving, and it’s also one of the cleanest and purest protein powders you’ll find in the market.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something that is still clean and has a high protein yield, but tastes better on its own, Transparent Labs 100% Whey would be the best choice for you. You’ll enjoy their unique and inventive flavor choices that are free from any artificial flavorings as well.
Ultimately, we’re confident you’ll find the right product for you and your growing baby above. It’s important to keep your preferences and your overall nutrition at the top of your mind when you’re thinking about choosing a protein powder to sustain you during your pregnancy.