During the pregnancy, postpartum, and breastfeeding months, it can be a little nerve-racking to wonder if what you’re consuming is safe for your baby. For this reason, many women may wonder if protein shakes are safe during pregnancy and, if so, what would be the best protein powder for pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Protein is a vital macronutrient for any human being, and it’s especially important for a pregnant woman who is growing a baby. In this article, we’ll dive into what’s safe and what’s not regarding protein powders during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Our Top Pick at Amazon
|Milk Dust Lactation Protein Powder | Breastfeeding…||Check Price on Amazon|
|Vega Protein and Greens, Chocolate, Plant Based Protein…||Check Price on Amazon|
|Majka | Breastfeeding Protein Powder | Complete…||Check Price on Amazon|
|Collagen Peptides Powder (Dark Chocolate) | Great in…||Check Price on Amazon|
Milk Dust Protein PowderSafe Protein Shake Recipes for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
- 1 The Best Protein Powders for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
- 2 Full Reviews of the Best Protein Powders During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
- 3 Milk Dust Protein Powder
- 4 Are Protein Powders During Pregnancy Safe?
- 5 Can pregnant women drink protein shakes?
- 6 Is Protein Powder Safe For Breastfeeding?
- 7 How much protein do pregnant women need?
- 8 What are the different types of protein powder?
- 9 What type of protein powder should you choose when pregnant?
- 10 Are there any ingredients you should avoid when pregnant or nursing?
- 11 What are the benefits of protein powder during pregnancy?
- 12 Safe Protein Shake Recipes for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
- 13 Is it Safe to Drink Whey Protein While Nursing?
- 14 Final Thoughts on Protein Powders while Breastfeeding or Pregnant
The Best Protein Powders for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
When we chose the top 5 protein powders for pregnancy and breastfeeding, we opted for products that were recommended by OB/GYNs, had minimal ingredients, and didn’t include any ingredients that should be avoided during pregnancy (more on that later in the article).
We reached out to MD Obstetrician/Gynecologist Andrea Eisenberg and she stated that protein powders are generally safe — and often recommended for those that are having trouble getting adequate protein or nutrition — but you should always check labels and consult with your doctor first.
Most of the products in the table below have minimal ingredients. It is absolutely vital that you practice label inspection during pregnancy! Again, as always, if you’re unsure, simply ask your doctor and they can give you a final answer.
In addition, you may also be interested in this related article covering the best protein powder for women.
Full Reviews of the Best Protein Powders During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Below are the full reviews for the best protein powders for mamas that are expecting or nursing.
Remember to ask your doctor if you’re unsure about a product and that the below does not constitute health advice over that of your doctor’s.
Our reviews are unbiased (we don’t publish sponsored content!) and a portion of any purchase made will help us keep the lights on around Fit Healthy Best.
Milk Dust Protein Powder
We chose Milk Dust Protein Powder as the best overall choice because of it’s clean, plant-based protein, organic ingredients, great taste, and specific ingredients to help fight sugar cravings and hunger.
Milk Dust contains a special lactation blend including fennel, fenugreek, and Milk Thistle to help a nursing mama increase or maintain her milk supply. Reviewers said it helped boost their milk supply in just one day!
And for our expecting mamas? Milk Dust contains folate in the natural form of L-Methylfolate, rather than the synthetic folic acid. This is important before folate can help protect growing babies!
Plant-based protein from pea protein, brown rice protein, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds Dairy-free, Soy-free, Gluten-Free Non-GMO, not artificial sweeteners or chemicals Organic ingredients hand-picked for lactation support Specific nutrients and vitamins that curb sugar cravings to help with weight loss
Some women claimed it did not help their milk supply Some women did not like the taste
Ora Organic So Lean So Clean Protein Powder
First up is Ora Organic’s Vegan So Lean, So Clean Protein Powder. It’s a popular favorite protein shake among pregnant and nursing moms because of the great taste and clean, exceptionally-sourced ingredients.
If you’re looking for basic protein supplementation without added sugars/ingredients, this is a great product to choose. This protein powder is also safe for kids!
20+ Superfoods Dairy-Free Gluten-Free Soy-Free Heavy-metal tested Organic Non-GMO Safe for kids 3 great flavors
The protein blend may cause bloat for some people Some people didn’t love the taste
Naked Nutrition Grass Fed Protein Powder
Next up, we chose Naked Grass Fed Protein for their commitment to providing exceptionally clean, artificial-sweetener-free protein powders.
Their Naked Grass Fed Protein Powder has just one ingredient: Grass Fed Whey Protein. This is an important feature for mamas so they know that their bodies and their babies bodies aren’t getting any harmful ingredients.
Grass-fed whey Non-GMO Just one ingredient Mixes well Very reasonably priced
Some may not like the taste
Boobie Body Prenatal Protein Powder
We included Boobie Body Protein because of the clean ingredients, exceptional customer reviews, and the fact that it’s made specifically for pregnant and breastfeeding mamas.
As an added reassurance, this protein powder was actually formulated by OB/GYNs, and is recommended by OB/GYNs, as well. This protein powder is also great for breastfeeding mamas, which is great for when you’re re-focusing on your health in those postpartum days.
Whey protein Non-GMO Chocolate and vanilla flavors Gluten-free Mixes well, not clumpy or chalky Great taste! Reasonably priced
Majka Lactation Support Protein Powder
Majka Lactation Support Protein Powder is ideal for breastfeeding mamas. It boasts organic clean ingredients, healthy sweeteners, non-GMO, and excellent taste.
Importantly, it includes Methylfolate which is an active form of folate that is more easily metabolized by many women. As pregnant and breastfeeding moms know, folate is a critical nutrient for growing baby’s brains. Another critical brain-nutrient included in Majka Protein Powder is Choline.
Finally, many of us mamas know how important galactagogues are for milk production and this protein powder contains these ingredients. Some users stated their milk supply increased from this protein powder blend.
Great taste Non-GMO Organic Lactation boosting galactagogues Plant-based ingredients/protein Methylfolate included Made in the USA Chelated minerals Digestive enzymes Contains choline (a critcal brain building block)
Some users said the taste was too overwhelming for them Some users stated that this did not mix well or settled
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
We chose Vital Proteins as the best option for preventing stretch marks based on our first-hand experience (2 pregnancies with 10-pound babies and no stretch marks!), simple ingredients, and rave customer reviews.
Grass-fed Pastured-raised cows 1 ingredient: collagen peptides Proven to make skin more elastic and supple Comes in travel stick packs Mixes instantly Whole30 Approved Flavorless Joint and bone support (great for pregnancy and for weight lifting) Hair health support Contains glycine to support your immune system May help prevent stretch marks!
Some may want a flavored option On the higher price end
FitMiss Delight Protein Powder
First up is FitMiss Delight Protein Powder. It’s a popular favorite protein shake among mamas because it’s a women’s complete vegetable-based protein shake with vital nutrients and it tastes outstanding!
On top of the great taste (seriously, it tastes like chocolate ice cream), it includes a superfood blend of healthy greens so you’re sure to get all your nutrients needed to support you and baby!
Finally, the price point is great and it’s sold at convenient retailers like Walmart.
Superfood greens blend Vegetable-based protein Gluten-Free Soy-Free Heavy-metal tested Excellent taste High protein Low sugar/low carbs 2 great flavors
Only 2 flavors available
Are Protein Powders During Pregnancy Safe?
Of course, it’s important to speak with your OBGYN, Midwife, or health care practitioner before you consume anything you’re unsure about.
I spoke with my OB and she advised that it was safe for me in small amounts. However, each woman and each pregnancy is different, so please do speak with your doctor if you have questions. However, based on the below research, it is generally safe to consume protein powder, with a few precautions.
Andrea Eisenberg, MD Obstetrician/Gynecologist, shared her thoughts with us:
Yes, for the most part, protein shakes are fine in pregnancy. In fact, patients who…are malnourished or have a calorie deficit…I encourage them to drink (pre-packaged protein shakes) to add healthy calories to their diet…I would caution patients about…protein drinks with caffeine and a high amount of Vitamin A.
Additionally, she pointed out that if a woman already consumes a healthy diet with adequate protein, protein shakes may not be needed as it is preferred to consume protein from actual food sources like lean meats, dairy, nuts, and beans.
Can pregnant women drink protein shakes?
Unless specifically advised by your doctor, many protein powders are safe for pregnant women. Again, you need to consult your doctor first.
But because protein powders are simply dried, ground whole foods in powder food, they are generally safe. As mentioned earlier, many doctors actually advise their patients to drink protein shakes if they are lacking in protein or nutrition.
Is Protein Powder Safe For Breastfeeding?
Similar to pregnancy, protein powder while breastfeeding should be safe for most moms, considering you’re checking ingredient labels and ensuring that you’re consuming powders with safe ingredients. If you’re unsure of which ingredients to avoid, we addressed that below.
How much protein do pregnant women need?
According to the Mayo Clinic, pregnant women need about 71 grams of protein per day, give or take depending on the woman and the pregnancy. This number equates to approximately 20-25% of your total daily values. The Mayo Clinic states that protein is crucial for your baby during pregnancy, which can be derived from protein powder.
While protein is vital during your pregnancy, you’re probably getting enough if you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet of produce, lean meats or dairy, and healthy fats like avocado and olive oil. Therefore, as long as you feel that you’re eating healthy, there is no reason to overdo it on protein.
That said, many women cannot stomach meats or dairy during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, so a daily protein shake may help you meet your protein needs.
According to ScientificAmerican.com, it’s safe, provided it’s not used in excess or in conjunction with excess calories.
What are the different types of protein powder?
There are a number of protein powders on the market today which include:
Because all of these types of proteins are derived from food products, the protein themselves is not harmful to pregnant women. You would simply choose the type of protein that suits your particular dietary needs depending on specific restrictions or allergies.
What type of protein powder should you choose when pregnant?
The proteins that are derived from the food sources listed above should be safe.
However, you will want to avoid protein powders will a large number of additives or artificial sweeteners, as listed below.
Some women are advised to remove dairy from their diet when breastfeeding due to their baby having a possible dairy intolerance, so, in that case, a woman would want to avoid whey or casein protein powders.
Are there any ingredients you should avoid when pregnant or nursing?
Pregnant women should check the label on their protein powders and analyze each ingredient to make sure it’s safe. In general, protein powders (or any food product) with a shorter list of ingredients are better. However, each ingredient should be vetted to ensure safety for you and baby.
Herbs (listed below) Arsenic/Heavy Metals Saccharin (an artificial sweetener that is not recommended during pregnancy) Excessive Vitamin A Caffeine/stimulants
We have chosen the best protein powders for pregnancy and provided that list here and have ensured that each of these protein powders does not contain the above ingredients or the herbs listed below.
Always consult with your doctor first.
What are the benefits of protein powder during pregnancy?
Surprisingly, some doctors do recommend protein powder during pregnancy.
Your doctor may recommend it if you’re struggling to consume adequate protein or if you’re malnourished.
Of course, since protein is a vital macronutrient for optimal health and for the health of a developing baby, it’s an easy way to consume protein for women who are nauseous or who have trouble eating a lot of food — a common complaint during the third trimester when there is just not much room left for extra food!
Bottom line: aim to get your protein from real food sources. However, if you find that you are having trouble eating a healthful, well-rounded diet due to pregnancy ailments like nausea, indigestion or something else, a protein shake may actually be preferable for you.
Safe Protein Shake Recipes for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Flavored protein powders can be tasty enough just mixed with water or your choice of milk. You can even use your favorite motivational water bottle or breastfeeding water bottle to enjoy these shakes. The below recipes are super easy to whip up in your kitchen and are also a delicious option packed with other healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats!
Berry Spinach Blast Protein Shake
1 scoop vanilla protein powder 1 cup spinach (fresh or frozen) 3/4 cup cashew milk 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
1 scoop chocolate protein powder 1/2 TBSP honey 1 cup frozen cherries 1 cup spinach (fresh or frozen) 3/4 cup cashew milk 1/2 cup water 1 TBSP chia seeds (optional)
You May Also Be Interested In: 50 Tips for Postpartum Weight Loss
Is it Safe to Drink Whey Protein While Nursing?
As we’ve discussed, protein powder in and of itself is usually safe for many breastfeeding mothers.
However, because whey protein is made from dairy, some nursing mothers may not be able to consume it while breastfeeding. Many newborns and infants cannot tolerate dairy and their mothers are advised to cut dairy from their diet so their breast milk does not upset their baby’s digestive system.
In this case, you may opt for an alternative form of protein, and, luckily there are many! Try pea, hemp, soy, or brown rice protein powders instead!
Final Thoughts on Protein Powders while Breastfeeding or Pregnant
Overall, protein powders in limited amounts should be safe for pregnancy, but you should always check with your health care provider and show them the exact protein powder product you would like to enjoy.
Most importantly, Your doctor can review the ingredients list and give you the seal of approval to give you peace of mind.
Finally, I consumed protein powders and collagen peptides when I was pregnant and felt confident knowing I was meeting the recommended amounts of dietary protein for pregnant women, leading a healthy lifestyle, and protecting my babies. Bonus: I didn’t get stretch marks which I swear is thanks to the collagen!
Cheers to good health, mama!
Amber is a recognized health and fitness expert and has been quoted by Reader”s Digest, Yahoo!, MSN, US News & World Report, Weight Watchers, SparkPeople, Bustle, SheKnows, Apartment Therapy, My Fitness Pal, and more.
Amber spent 2 years teaching classes as a YMCA certified group exercise instructor before having children. She is also an extreme weight lifting and home gym enthusiast and has been relentlessly lifting weights for over a decade. In her free time, you”ll probably find her in her home gym, playing around with her latest toys or trying to get her next PR.
She claims she can”t live without 2 pieces of workout equipment: here and here. When she travels, you”ll always find a set of these in her carry-on.