When you think of protein shakes, the first thing that comes to mind is bodybuilding and long hours at the gym.
But protein powders aren’t just made for athletes!
Protein shakes for pregnant mothers can support the healthy development of your baby by helping you get your daily intake of protein in case you’re not getting enough of it in your everyday meals.
Growing a baby requires a lot of essential nutrients, so while you’re pregnant, you’ll need to consume between 75 and 100 grams of protein daily.
That can be a tall order if you’re not used to eating a lot of protein – even just keeping track of how much of it you eat on a daily basis can be a mission – so a shake is an easy way of ensuring your baby gets enough protein.
However, there are certain risks to keep in mind, one of which is consuming too much protein.
It can be harmful to your baby, so a balanced diet is necessary.
What’s more, the brand of protein you choose should be as “clean” as possible, meaning it should be without any unnecessary chemicals that could be potentially toxic.
Read on to discover the best high-quality proteins for pregnant women and to get more useful information on your protein needs!
The Best Protein Powders For Pregnancy
If you’ve decided that you definitely need more protein on a daily basis, then these prenatal protein powders are the solution you’re looking for.
As always, talk to your health care provider first before taking any kind of dietary supplement while pregnant, including protein.
1. Naked WHEY 5LB 100% Grass-Fed Unflavored Whey Protein Powder
Offering 25 grams of protein per serving, Naked Whey is one of the best options to consider because it doesn’t contain any other ingredients except for whey.
If you’re worried about added sugar, toxins, and other chemicals in your shake, this brand will give you peace of mind.
It’s non-GMO and gluten-free as well.
Apart from protein, Naked Whey contains 5.9 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) per serving.
They’re also known as essential amino acids, which means that your body can’t produce them, so you must ingest them through food.
In addition, they’re responsible for building muscles and helping with muscle soreness.
Although this powder is unflavored, you can blend it with fruit to create a delicious shake that doesn’t have any artificial flavorings or sweeteners.
It’s available in 1-pound and 5-pound packaging.
2. Pure Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein Powder
Most protein companies don’t create their products with future moms in mind.
However, this collagen protein was carefully designed for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have recently given birth.
However, this product is not suitable for vegans as collagen protein comes from animals, in this case, bovines.
The company behind this protein, promises that it will aid in the recovery of your postpartum body, regardless of whether you have had a C-section or gave birth vaginally.
What’s more, their collagen protein can prevent stretch marks and help with nausea which is great news especially if you’re in the first trimester and finding it difficult to deal with morning sickness.
It’s recommended to take this protein in the morning – you can add it to your breakfast oatmeal or a smoothie before lunch.
Because it doesn’t taste like anything, it blends well with other foods.
When compared to other brands, Needed’s prenatal protein is certainly a little pricey.
But it has rave reviews and is tailored to pregnant women, so it’s definitely worth the investment.
3. Designer Protein Totally Egg
Are you allergic to dairy? Then the Totally Egg protein is a fantastic choice for you.
It’s made from egg white and egg yolk protein and is available in both chocolate and vanilla flavors.
It only has 6 ingredients in total. Of course, if you’re allergic to eggs or soy, you should avoid this product.
If you’re trying to be mindful of your sugar consumption, you’ll love Totally Egg as it contains no sugar.
It contains vitamin B12, which is very important for a healthy pregnancy, as well as potassium.
It tastes really good too, although you can always blend it with your favorite fruit for an extra dose of deliciousness.
If you decide to go keto or paleo for your postpartum diet, you can continue drinking this protein as it’s suitable for them.
4. Chocolate Whey Protein
True Nutrition is a brand with only two ingredients – whey protein isolate and soy lecithin, so you don’t have to worry about extra additives or preservatives.
When it comes to the price, it’s more affordable per ounce than the egg protein mentioned above while offering 27 grams of protein per serving.
It’s available in a 1-pound and 5-pound pack – if you’re unsure about whether you’ll like the taste or not, it’s better to start off with the smaller pack and then move up when you need to.
All in all, this is a great protein to consider if you’re looking for a brand that keeps it clean and simple.
5. Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal with Plant-Based Protein
The Seeking Health protein is the second one on my recommendations list that was made with pregnant women in mind.
It’s GMO-free and doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners. It’s also suitable for vegetarian diets.
With the addition of trace minerals and ginger, this protein will aid in treating all the uncomfortable digestive issues that occur during pregnancy.
For the healthy development of your baby, this powder includes folate which plays a key role in the prevention of birth defects.
It also gives your immune system a boost with the help of vitamin C.
You can get this powder in chocolate or vanilla, and it tastes delicious!
Price-wise, this brand is more expensive compared to the Raw Grass Fed Whey above but you have to account for the fact that it includes many nutrients found in prenatal vitamins, which justifies the higher price point.
6. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Balanced Protein + Fiber Powder
Curious about hemp protein? Then you should give Manitoba Harvest a try!
Consisting of only organic hemp protein, this is a great choice for vegans and people who are allergic to dairy. What’s more, it’s GMO-free.
In one serving you’ll not only get 15 grams of protein but also 2 grams of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 is particularly important during pregnancy because it plays a key role in the development of your baby’s brain.
The Hemp Yeah protein also includes 8 grams of fiber which is great if you’ve been dealing with some digestive issues.
Although you might find the taste a bit hard to get used to, depending on your diet, you can always blend it with other vegetables and fruit to make it tastier.
7. Organic Vegan Protein Powder
Even if you’re not vegan, I encourage you to consider this protein by BlendItUp! Keep in mind, however, that it contains soy.
There are no artificial sweeteners or sugar in the mix, and one serving has 14 grams of protein.
It doesn’t have a heavy taste so you can mix it with other fruits and vegetables.
As for the price, it’s quite affordable considering how much product you get.
8. Growing Naturals Pure Rice Protein Powder
Rice protein is another plant-based option to keep in mind, especially if you have multiple food allergies that limit your choices.
The Growing Naturals protein is low in sugar (only contains 1 gram per serving) and one serving has 16 grams of protein.
What’s more, it’s certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is an important certification to look out for whenever a company claims its products are organic.
The protein mix is Non-GMO Project verified as well.
When it comes to the price, this is not the cheapest of proteins but given its certifications and the fact that it’s suitable for all sorts of dietary restrictions, it’s definitely worth it!
However, the company recommends first consulting with your OB/GYN before taking this protein if you’re currently pregnant or breastfeeding just to make sure it’s the right choice within your individual context.
9. Naked Casein – 100% Micellar Casein Protein Powder from US Farms
Available in chocolate, vanilla, or unflavored powder, the Naked Casein protein is another one that has only one ingredient.
One serving contains 26 grams of protein. The protein is free from GMOs, gluten, and soy.
10. Tera’s Whey Protein
Tera’s Whey offers 22 grams of protein in one serving, and the only other ingredient that can be found in this mix is sunflower lecithin, which also happens to be a breastfeeding supplement.
While it does blend well with liquid, it’s flavorless so you’ll need to find alternative ways of giving it some extra tastiness.
11. Levels 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein
If you’re a fan of chocolate-flavored drinks, here’s a protein for you!
The Levels protein is available in a variety of flavorings but there is an unflavored option as well.
One serving packs a powerful punch with 24 grams of protein and also includes calcium and iron.
The protein doesn’t have any artificial flavorings either.
It’s available in 2-pound and 5-pound packaging, and the price per ounce is very affordable!
12. Julian Bakery Paleo Thin Protein Powder
This egg white protein by Julian Bakery is available in 10 different flavors, which is great if you’re not a big lover of tasteless protein.
There’s 0 grams of sugar in one serving and there are no other ingredients except sunflower lecithin and egg whites.
13. PaleoPro Protein Powder
With 26 grams of protein and 0 grams of sugar, the PaleoPro powder will make the perfect addition to your healthy shakes and smoothies.
You can get it in a variety of flavors, including cocoa and vanilla.
14. Prenatal Vitamin Supplement Shake
Specially designed for moms-to-be, the Baby Booster protein powder promises to relieve the symptoms of morning sickness while giving you and your baby the necessary prenatal vitamins.
It contains vitamin D, B6, folate, calcium, and DHA, so it’s a step above in terms of nutrients when compared to traditional protein brands.
At the same time, it’s GMO-free, gluten-free, and doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners. But don’t worry – you’ll love the taste!
To mix, add 1 scoop of protein to 8-16 ounces of water or milk. You can use a blender or simply stir it in a glass with a spoon.
15. Mommi Prenatal Protein Shake
Made from whey protein, the Mommi protein shakes for pregnant mothers are a delicious way to increase your daily dose of protein while getting other important nutrients as well, such as vitamin B6 to help with pregnancy nausea.
In addition, it contains vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, folate, biotin, magnesium, and many other essential nutrients.
You can mix it with milk or plain water or use it to make a delicious shake with fruit, for example.
Generally speaking, protein often has a strange taste, regardless of its flavor.
But the Mommi protein gets rave reviews in this department – you’ll love it!
16. Ora Organic Vegan Protein Powder
The Ora Organic protein is plant-based and as such is suitable for vegans or anyone sensitive to dairy.
More specifically, it’s made from rice and pea protein.
The protein is certified organic by the USDA and contains clean ingredients that aren’t harmful to your health.
It’s also an excellent choice if you’ve been experiencing digestive issues during your pregnancy as this protein won’t make you bloated.
17. Nuzest Clean Lean Protein
The Nuzest Clean Lean protein comes from peas, making it a suitable choice for vegans or anyone who is lactose intolerant.
However, some people have found that it tastes too sweet (it’s vanilla flavored) so you might want to consider other options if you don’t like sweet drinks.
18. Primal Kitchen Primal Fuel Chocolate Coconut Whey Protein Powder
The Primal Kitchen protein comes in delicious chocolate and vanilla coconut flavors – perfect for smoothies and milkshakes!
There are 10 grams of protein in one serving and only 1 gram of sugar.
Protein Shakes For Pregnant Mothers Recipes
The best part about protein shakes is that they’re so easy to make, as long as you have a good quality blender!
Whenever you have any extra fruit, pop it in the blender with the protein mix and a bit of milk or water, and you’ll get a refreshing drink that will keep you full until your next meal.
If you’ve just bought a protein mix and are unsure how to prepare it, here are some delicious recipes to help you get started.
Feel free to tweak the recipes according to your own preferences!
1. Berry shake
This is a refreshing and delicious recipe that’s perfect for when you’re craving something sweet but would like to stay away from chocolate.
You’ll need the following:
• 1 scoop of protein powder (any flavor is fine);
• 1 cup of milk (you can replace it with another drink of your choice such as water or yogurt);
• 1 cup of frozen strawberries;
• 1 cup of frozen blueberries;
• half a cup of frozen blackberries;
• half a cup of frozen raspberries.
Mix the fruit, milk, and protein in a blender until the shake has a smooth consistency.
Feel free to use fresh fruit instead of frozen, but if you do, I recommend adding a few cubes of ice to make it extra refreshing. Enjoy!
2. Mango and orange shake
If you love the zesty taste of orange, then you’ll love this shake.
You’ll need the following:
• 1 scoop of protein powder of your choice;
• 1 cup of milk (water or yogurt is also okay);
• 1 cup of orange;
• 1 cup of mango.
Mix the protein, fruit, and milk until smooth and enjoy! If you don’t have mangoes, try adding peaches – it makes for a delicious combination.
3. Chocolate and peanut butter shake
This is one of my favorite protein shakes for pregnant mothers, especially for those days when you’re craving chocolate.
You’ll need the following:
• 1 scoop of protein (chocolate-flavored if possible);
• 1 cup of milk;
• 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder;
• 1 frozen banana;
• 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.
Place all the ingredients in a blender, mix until smooth, and your shake is ready!
You can also add a couple of ice cubes for a more refreshing drink. If you don’t drink regular milk, you can add almond milk or any other milk alternative.
What Is A Protein Powder?
Protein shakes for pregnant mothers are made using protein powder, a common dietary supplement used by athletes, bodybuilders, and people who’d like to build muscle.
During pregnancy, you can drink protein shakes to supplement your diet as well.
The protein found in such products can be derived from rice, eggs, soy, potatoes, milk, and other foods.
The ingredients of protein powders can also contain various nutrients to support your health but it’s important to double-check the ingredients label of the brand you’re interested in to make sure it doesn’t contain any ingredients that aren’t safe for pregnant women.
Different types of protein powder
Here are some of the different types of protein that you’re likely to come across:
• Whey protein that comes from milk
• Casein protein that comes from cheese curds
• Pea protein
• Soy protein
• Rice protein
• Egg protein
• Hemp protein
• Collagen protein that is made from animal bones or hides
As you can see, there are both dairy and dairy-free options available in case you have any allergies or dietary restrictions.
How Many Grams Of Protein Do Pregnant Women Need?
Protein is a key macronutrient in your diet and the amount of protein you need to eat per day varies on your age, gender, and whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnant women need to consume between 75 and 100 grams of protein daily.
For comparison’s sake, the protein requirements of an adult woman who isn’t expecting a baby are 46 grams while an adult man needs around 56 grams.
But, what could happen if you don’t consume the amount of protein you need while pregnant?
One consequence of insufficient protein intake is weight gain and frequent illness.
Since common foods such as eggs, lentils, cheese, milk, nuts, and chicken are great protein sources, it should be relatively easy to incorporate more of it into your diet and fulfill your pregnancy protein needs.
However, if you find it difficult to eat enough protein on a daily basis, a protein smoothie can be a quick way to supplement your diet – but remember, you shouldn’t replace any of your meals with a protein shake or smoothie.
The Benefits Of Protein Shakes For Pregnant Mothers
If you’ve, up until this point, associated protein shakes exclusively with bodybuilding and sports activities, you might find it strange to drink them while pregnant.
But there are many ways you can benefit from consuming protein powder while pregnant!
First, it helps when dealing with nausea.
If you’re in your first trimester and wondering when does morning sickness go away while finding it difficult to stomach any food, a tasty shake can be a great way to get some nutrients in your body without getting sick.
If you’ve developed food aversions, particularly to important sources of protein, a shake can also increase your protein intake.
Vegetarian or vegan moms-to-be can enjoy a delicious vegan shake and easily get their daily dose of protein.
Plus, a shake is a quick way to ensure you’re getting enough protein when you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to cook an elaborate meal.
You can always blend in other superfoods like mangoes and bananas for a healthy kick.
During pregnancy, your body uses protein for the following:
• To support the development of your growing baby’s organs, cells, muscles, etc.;
• To increase your blood supply;
• And to help the growth of uterine and breast tissue.
As you can see, the importance of consuming enough protein can’t be overstated.
Apart from powdered protein, you can add any of the following foods to your diet (unless you have certain dietary restrictions) to give your developing baby all the necessary nutrients:
• Chicken breast
• Cottage cheese
• Peanut butter
Before you reach for a big tub of protein powder, you should be aware that there are certain risks to keep in mind.
Because such powders are considered to be dietary supplements by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they’re not as heavily regulated when compared to medication for serious illnesses, for example.
That’s why it’s important to opt for reputable brands that have had their products evaluated by third-party companies to ensure their quality.
In addition, make sure to opt for a brand that’s low in sugar as you don’t want to exceed your daily sugar intake with just one pregnancy smoothie.
Eating too much sugar increases the risk of gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and causes you to gain weight.
Another risk is consuming too much protein. If you’re already getting enough of it through dairy products such as cheese or yogurt, meat, or other foods, chances are low that you’ll actually need to drink shakes on a daily basis.
A 2014 article established that consuming high amounts of protein and low amounts of carbohydrates during pregnancy led to reduced fetal growth.
Another study from 2018 discovered a link between low-carb, high-protein diets, and an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes.
Keeping this in mind, it’s clear that you can have too much of a good thing, so it’s important to not go overboard with protein.
As always, consult with your doctor regarding your options before adding a protein powder to your diet.
Finally, be mindful of your own dietary restrictions – if you’re lactose intolerant, it’s best to opt for a dairy-free powder that won’t cause any uncomfortable side effects.
To Sum Up
If you were wondering if protein shakes for pregnant mothers were safe, now you know that they’re a good way to supplement your diet if you’re worried about not ingesting enough protein.
Remember that most protein products aren’t made with future mothers in mind (apart from a handful of exceptions) so it’s key to study the ingredient list carefully and make sure there are no harmful chemicals, fillers, or artificial ingredients.
If possible, go for organic products with as little sugar as possible.
My best advice is – the fewer ingredients the better, even if the protein doesn’t taste exactly like vanilla ice cream or chocolate milk.
You can always use it to make a milkshake with other fruit that will make it more delicious!
Finally, remember that a milkshake is not a replacement for a healthy meal.
It’s okay to have a shake every now and then as a snack to tide you over until lunch or dinner but no matter how tempting it is, don’t replace one of your meals with it.
Focus on getting your daily dose of protein from whole food sources and supplement with shakes when needed.
I hope you enjoyed this post and that you’ll enjoy the shake recipes even more!
• “Pregnancy Nutrition”. American Pregnancy Association. Retrieved from the American Pregnancy website. 2012, April 27.
• Blumfield, M. L., & Collins, C. E. (2014). “High-protein diets during pregnancy: healthful or harmful for offspring?”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 100, Issue 4.
• Zhou, X., Chen, R., et al. (2018). “Maternal dietary pattern characterised by high protein and low carbohydrate intake in pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of gestational diabetes mellitus in Chinese women: a prospective cohort study”. British Journal of Nutrition, 120(9), 1045-1055.
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