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Protein powder is safe during pregnancy, as long as you choose a high-quality and well-formulated protein shake. There are many protein shakes on the market that may or may not be the best protein powder for pregnant women. Protein powder is one of my favorite ways to get more protein into my diet, without having to eat chicken, eggs or other sources of protein that just aren’t as appealing to me during pregnancy.
As a mom who is pregnant with her fourth baby, I am so thankful to have a protein powder that is safe, full of nutrients, tastes amazing, and a tool to help keep me from gaining too much weight. I am going to go over how to tell if a protein powder is safe for pregnancy, my top pick for a pregnancy protein powder and why we need enough protein during pregnancy.
How much protein do you need during pregnancy?
It is important to know how much protein you need in general during pregnancy. Generally, experts like Lily Nichols, RDN suggest 60 grams of protein a day. This is not an exact amount for every pregnant mama, but in general, protein requirements are higher during pregnancy, than when you are not. If you are 5ft tall, and petite, you may not need that much protein simply because you are smaller. If you are almost 6ft tall, all muscle and lifting weights, you may need more. The 60grams are a general guideline to help you find your sweet tooth.
Why is protein important during pregnancy?
Protein needs are increased during pregnancy, and protein plays an important role in fetal development all through pregnancy. Protein plays a role in expansion of blood volume, growth of maternal tissue, and development of the fetus and uterus. Specific amino acids become more important during pregnancy because your body’s need for them increases. Glycine is an amino acide that plays an important role in the formation of fetal DNA, internal organs, bones, connective tissues and joints. There are other amino acids that are important too, which is why a complete protein source in your protein powder is so helpful. I go over those sources in just a few paragraphs. Protein supplements like shakes are a great way to ensure you get in enough essential amino acids for a healthy pregnancy and baby.
How to tell if a protein powder is safe for pregnancy:
With so many protein powders on the market, it can be really confusing on which ones are safe for pregnant mamas. There are many factors that play into choosing a safe protein powder, so here are some things to check off your list:
Is the protein powder plant-based or animal-based (whey, casein)?
A protein powder may not be safe for you if you are sensitive ot dairy proteins. Whey protein powder and casein protein power are animal protein sources, which can cause issues if you are vegan or sensitive to dairy. This is where you want to make sure you know exactly what type of protein powder you need. If you have any issues with dairy, then choosing a plant-based, vegan protein powder is gonna be a good idea. If you are sensitive to soy, corn or legumes, then make sure to read the full ingredients of a plant-based protein powder, or choose a whey or casein protein powder. You may also have digestive issues from dairy proteins, animal proteins, or even some plant proteins. Your first step is to choose a protein powder that doesn’t have any ingredients that may cause your body to become inflammed.The ingredient list is very important to read, and be sure you know what every ingredient is. The ingredients should be whole foods or real animal-based protein sources.
Look for mostly organic protein powders:
Many times, organic ingredients are cleaner, especially for a prenatal protein powder. When it comes to plant-based, vegan protein powders, the more organic ingredients the better. This helps eliminate the possbilitiles of any fertilizers and pesticides used. Many times, the cheaper the prenatal protein powder, the less quality the ingredients are. I know from developing my protein powder that the more expensive ingredients are the best. This make the total cost of the protein powder more, but very worth it for both mom and baby. Natural ingredients aren’t always organic, but if there are mostly organic ingredients on the label, that is a great start.
What extra vitamins are included in the protein powder?
Because a prenatal vitamin is essential during pregnancy, you don’t need a protein powder that is full of non-essential vitamins. This means that you may be paying for additional vitamins that you are already taking in your prenatal vitamin. If you need a good prenatal, make sure you are taking one with folate, rather than foiic acid. I have a favorite one that I love, which you can read all about.
The protein powder I use has specific vitamins to help minimize sugar cravings like chromium, magnesium and turmeric, which aren’t usually included in a prenatal vitamin. A basic protein powder may contain a few essential vitamins, and additional superfoods that are helpful for phytonutrients, antioxidants and more. These specifica nutrients can also help relieve morning sickness in pregnant moms.
Is the protein a complete protein with all amino acids?
This is an important question that will help you choose a good protein source. Not all proteins, specifically plant protein have a complete amino acid profile. Complete amino acid profiles are found in animal proteins and mostly pea protein. Quinoa, hemp, chia seeds and soy also have complete amino acid profiles, so choosing a protein powder with at least one of these plant-based proteins will help ensure the protein you are consuming is giving you all the benefits.
Are there artificial sweeteners and chemicals?
Most protein shakes are sweetened and flavored to make a delicious taste. It is really important to read the ingredients to see what kind of sweeteners are used. Stay away from chemicals and artificial sweeteners in any dietary supplements, especially protein powders. Safe, organic sweeteners like organic cane sugar, monk fruit and Stevia. Also be sure that the label states Non-GMO, because that means that the flavors and ingredients are not genetically modified in any way. This helps eliminate the possibility of putting harmful chemicals into your body.
Are there heavy metals in the protein powder?
Testing for heavy metals, especially in plant-based protein powders is important. It wasn’t known for quite sometime the amount of heavy metals found in protein powders, and more companies are working hard to test and eliminate the existence of heavy metals. Find a protein powder that does testing for heavy metals, like mine, or reach out to their customer service to ask if they do!
Ask your midwife, doctor or doula to review your protein powder
Finally, getting some help from your midwife, doula or doctor will help tremendously when choosing a safe protein powder. They will be albe to guide you on your nutritional needs and the best way for you to eat a healthy diet full of protein. Show them the powders you are considering, and have them help you make the decision. Or, if you know a registered dietician, they could be a great help too. Getting some expert guidance for your pregnancy specifically is one of the safest ways to ensure you are making the right choice. I’v ehad Bump Dust reveiwed by OBGYN’s, nurses and registered dieticians to ensure it is high-quality and provides the essential nutrients a pregntant woman needs, while also tasting amazing!
What are some good, protein-rich foods for pregnancy?
Protein shakes are full of healthy protein in addition to essential nutrients. There are some great foods you can add to your diet that are also great protein sources!
- Eggs (both egg yok and egg whites)
- Dairy products like greek yogurt and cottage cheese are high in protein
- Soy protein like tofu is great for vegans
- Peanut butter
- Lean meats like turkey and chicken
- Beans and legumes
I have a great, high-protein and fat-burning diet plan that is FREE to grab, with some amazing prenatal protein shake and real food recipes that will help you get in your protein for growing baby, manage your body weight, and even help you stay away from gestational diabetes.
Protein shakes can help manage gestational diabetes:
Protein shakes can also be a wonderful tool to help keep insulin and blood sugar stable during pregnancy. Bump Dust in particular is formulated with ingredients that are proven scientifically to balance blood sugar and insulin. By swapping a meal or snack for a protein shake, new moms can dramatically improve blood sugar levels and weight gain, even during pregnancy. The third trimester is never too late to start either. Whether it the first trimester or the last, a good protein powder like Bump Dust with very little added sugar and no artificial flavors is an easy way to get in vital nutrients and manage diabetes.
Why is Bump Dust my top choice for a safe protein powder during pregnancy?
Well, considering I created the formula, I know exactly what is in the powder to ensure it is a good, nutritional supplement for pregnancy. I also have heavy metal testing done, source high-quality ingredients, and do my best to ensure the manufacturing is top quality. I actually drink my own protein powder, which is very different than many large companies, who have a profit-margin in mind.
I hand-picked super important ingredients like turmeric, folate, chromium, vitamin b 12 (so many mamas are deficient in this both during and after pregnancy!), spirulina (I drank this in previous pregnancies), pea protein, brown rice protein, chia seed protein…and so much more. Each nutrient is beneficial for a pregnant mama, but there is an over abundance of vitamins you are going to just pee out later.
Bump Dust also tastes so good. It has a sweet vanilla flavor, with a hint of cinnamon. It is a signature flavor that we use for both Milk Dust and Bump Dust.
Feel free to use code: LACTATION for 10% off your first order if you want to try it!