Protein supplements are a great way to get that extra protein, but are protein shakes and powders safe during pregnancy? The short answer is yes, the long answer, is well longer. The concern with protein supplements revolve around the type of sweeteners used, how clean (or low heavy metal count) the protein is, and what other ingredients it contains. Most manufacturers don’t make protein supplements with pregnant women in mind and consequently don’t think about ingredients that can have adverse affects on pregnant women. Experts recommend women who are pregnant and nursing to take an extra 25 grams of protein a day. This might be a tall order to fill for women who have an aversion to meat, dairy, and fish.
Heavy metals in proteins
Most, if not all proteins, have some naturally occurring trace heavy metals. Veggie proteins tend to have higher heavy metal counts as do lower quality proteins. Animal based proteins tend to have much lower heavy metal counts and better amino acid profiles (important for digestion), whey and whey isolate proteins in particular. If you are going to supplement your protein with protein powder, be sure it comes from a quality source. You can always request a certificate of analysis (COA) from the manufacturer to determine how many heavy metals and toxins are in each serving. It is a big red flag if they refuse to share their COA.
Sweeteners to avoid
The American Pregnancy Association cautions women who are pregnant or nursing to not take products that contain cyclamate or saccharin. Some nutritionists suggest women who are pregnant or nursing to stay away from artificial sweeteners that haven’t been thoroughly studied on how they might impact a woman who is pregnant or nursing. Rebaudioside A (Stevia), acesulfame potassium (Sunett), aspartame (Equal or NutraSweet), and sucralose (Splenda) sweeteners are all generally recognized as being safe by the Food and Drug Administration and American Pregnancy Association. The biggest challenge with new sweeteners is that they generally have not been tested on women who are pregnant or nursing and there isn’t a lot of data, good or bad.
The final concern with protein supplements relates to what other ingredients or additives it contains and if it is potentially harmful to you or your baby. Products that are marketed to athletes might contain something that is not meant for pregnant or nursing women. Most protein products that are not safe for women who are pregnant or nursing come with a warning label that will say just that. The safest approach is to consult a nutritional expert to ensure you are not taking something that could be harmful. Mommi designed its prenatal protein powder specifically for women who are pregnant or nursing. It is safe, easy to take, and tastes great, no bias here :)!
Why do I need protein?
Protein is very important during pregnancy and you need to getting an extra 25 grams while you are pregnant or nursing. According to Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, director of sports nutrition at the University of the Pittsburgh Medical Center, protein is necessary because “it has its hands in every critical function of the body.” For pregnant and breastfeeding women a protein-rich diet is essential to support the growth and development of your baby. Use the Mommi protein calculator to determine how much protein you need based on your weight and activity level.
Mommi Prenatal Protein Powder
Mommi was created its prenatal protein powder to make it simple and easy to get the extra nutrition you need when pregnant or nursing. Each serving includes 15 grams of protein, a complete prenatal vitamin, and it is NON-GMO, gluten free, and only uses ingredients that are high quality and safe for anyone to take. We designed it so it can be used as a meal supplement or replacement. It is easy to mix with just about anything you would like including milk, water, yogurt, baked treats among other things. Visit mommi.com/shop to order a single pouch to try or sign up for a subscription and save.
No matter which protein you decide to use, read labels and check with the manufacturer to see how they process their protein before knocking back a shake or smoothie; you can always ask for a COA if you want more information. Don’t take products that advise women who are pregnant or nursing not to take them. And of course, talk with a healthcare professional for supplement suggestions or if you have any other questions or concerns.