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Protein powder during pregnancy is an awesome way to consume more nutrients for both mama and baby, but choosing a safe prenatal protein powder can be a bit tricky. I also talk about protein powders that are safe for breastfeeding, and the guidelines and products for pregnancy are very similar. I am going to walk you through what makes a safe protein powder, the benefits of prenatal protein powder for pregnancy health and which ones fit the bill on all these terms! I’ve been fortunate to try many of these protein powders, so I can describe to you the taste as well.
What Are The Benefits of Prenatal Protein Powders For Pregnant Mamas?
- Protein is an essential nutrient that pregnant mamas and growing babies need
- Prenatal protein powders often have added essential nutrients
- Protein helps pregnant mamas feel full and satisfied
- Protein shakes help manage weight gain by offering a healthy snack or meal replacement
According to the APA (American Pregnancy Association),
Experts recommend 75 to 100 grams of protein per day. Protein positively affects the growth of fetal tissue, including the brain. It also helps your breast and uterine tissue to grow during pregnancy, and it plays a role in your increasing blood supply.
Protein is essential during pregnancy, and depending on your weight, activity level and lean muscle mass, your protein needs will vary, but 75 grams a day is a good minimum.
What Does 75 Grams Of Protein A Day Look Like?
That’s actually quite a bit of protein. One large egg contains around 7 grams of protein. So, you could literally eat 10 eggs, but not many pregnant mamas want a day full of eating eggs. This is where a yummy, sweet protein shake with 20 grams of protein can really help. Start your day with one of these, and you only have around 50 grams of protein to go! Of course, this is a very generalized recommendation, but still important to consider. A great food, if you aren’t dairy free, is cottage cheese. This has around 15 grams of protein per serving. Add a serving of cottage cheese, a chicken salad and maybe a tuna sandwich, and you will be getting very close to your protein needs. Vegetables also have protein in them, so by adding in peppers, greens and roasted veggies, you can hit your protein needs.
I highly recommend blending a protein shake with frozen cauliflower, a little avocado and strawberries. This makes a delicious, creamy, protein-rich meal that will also leave you feeling super full because of the added fiber with the protein.
What Does A Safe Prenatal Protein Powder Include?
Choosing a safe prenatal protein powders includes looking at a few important points on the labeling and ingredient list. Here is a run down of what to look for:
- Artificial sweeteners like sucralose and/or aspartame
- NON GMO
- Looking for allergy statements
- Checking for fillers and chemicals
Protein powders in general aren’t going to be as perfect as real food. But, with the way things are processed, tested and created today, improvements are consistently being made to ensure the highest quality ingredients. As a creator of a protein powder myself, I know the ropes on choosing high-quality ingredients and what that looks like. This involves many steps on the manufacturing side, where they certify and test their ingredients. As many organic ingredients as possible is going to be a good direction as well, but that often means a more expensive product. I’ve learned that some ingredients can’t be labeled organic because the protein is extracted, but it is still from an organic source. An example of this would be chia seed protein. The seeds themselves are organic, but the extraction process for the protein makes it unable to be labeled as organic.
Making sure to read the labels in search for any unknown chemicals is really important. If you recognize the ingredients as whole foods on the back, then you are in really good shape.
Let’s get into my top picks, as the safest prenatal protein powders.
The Safest Prenatal Protein Powders For Pregnant Mamas:
Milk Dust Protein Powder:
I created Milk Dust as a safe protein powder specifically for breastfeeding mamas, but it is also amazingly safe and beneficial to start taking now, while pregnant. The reason my protein powder is good for pregnancy is because I added the herb red raspberry leaf tea into the powder. This is one of the best herbs for uterine health and pre-labor preparation. I drank red raspberry leaf tea for all three of my pregnancy, and I had very fast labors. After pregnancy, red raspberry leaf tea is wonderful for hormonal balance. Balancing hormones after pregnancy is key for producing plenty of breast milk.
Milk Dust also contains the live version of folate, L-Methylfolate, which is an important vitamin during pregnancy. It is also full of iron, with greens such as spirilina and chlorella which can help combat anemia in pregnancy. My protein powder is plant-based, soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, corn-free, vegan and organic ingredients. The taste is smooth and sweet, with a hint of vanilla. I wanted something nice and sweet, so it tastes like a dessert. I LOVE a sweet smoothie, and the sweeteners are natural vanilla, monk fruit, stevia and organic cane juice.
One of the largest issues in producing enough breast milk is postnatal depletion. If you are already depleted in nutrients while pregnant, this makes it harder to produce the breast milk necessary for baby! Milk Dust helps with this while you are pregnant, as well as increasing lactation postpartum with herbs like fenugreek, milk thistle and brewers yeast. I specifically created this protein powder as a solution so many mamas need. A product that is safe, made with organic ingredients and nutrients hand-picked for both the pre/postnatal seasons of motherhood!
Majka Lactation Protein:
Majka is a lactation nutritional supplement. It has a bit less protein per serving, but offers similar nutritional and lactation benefits. Majka was also made my mothers for nourishment, BUT it doesn’t have the fenugreek as a lactation supporting herb. Most of the other herbs are said to increase milk supply based on anecdotal studies. Fenugreek is the herb that has the MOST research and proof as a galactagogue. That being said, if you are sensitive to fenugreek, this is a great option for you. I actually LOVE their lactation bites, which taste amazing and offer similar nutritional benefits in a small, cookie-like bite! This protein powder has a more natural taste, with a hint of tumeric. It blends well, but is a bit grittier because it is a plant-based protein powder. This is something you can’t really get around, but if you blend it with frozen fruits and veggies, I think it tastes great!
Ora Organics Protein Powder:
I have used and loved Ora Organics for quite some time now. I LOVE that they are full of healthy, superfood ingredients, have a full 20 grams of protein and taste great. Most of my smoothie recipes are based off of Ora Organics, and if you want something with less of a nutritional impact, but still the highest quality, plant-based protein powder, this is a great option. They also have more flavors to choose from as an older company. They have Chocolate and Chai Tea, which I haven’t tried the Chai yet, but the chocolate is also very good. The flavoring isn’t as sweet as my Milk Dust, with soft hints of vanilla or chocolate. Nothing too elaborate, and I’ve added cocoa powder to the vanilla in various shakes, which makes a great chocolate smoothie. The nutrient count isn’t specifically formulated for pre/postnatal mothers, but overall it is an awesome product that is of course vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free etc.
WOW MOMS Whey:
I don’t often recommend whey protein powders to mamas because many are sensitive to dairy, or breastfeeding a baby with dairy sensitivities. Whey protein powder is also not the best for weight loss, which most mamas come to me looking for protein powders that will help with weight loss after baby arrives. But, if you can’t stand the grittier nature of plant-based protein powders, then a whey protein powder is probably a better choice for you. The WOW MOMS Whey is very simple and clean. It is sourced from grass-fed beef and cold-processed. It doesn’t get much better than that. The vanilla is my favorite flavor, and the texture is super creamy – almost like a milk shake. For pregnant mamas having a hard time with texture, the taste and texture of this is awesome. BUT, you can always add a little avocado to plant-based proteins and you get a very similar, if not better, effect.
These are my top four, safest protein powders for pregnant mamas. I’ve linked their sites, so you can check the ingredients, but I’ve checked and tried them all. What inspired me to create my own protein powder is the need for a helpful, nutritional product that fully nourishes mothers both pregnant and postpartum. The nutrients I chose are very specific to prenatal and postnatal mothers, specifically who are breastfeeding. I also included minerals and herbs that combat sugar cravings, which is one of the biggest road blocks for breastfeeding mothers to lose weight. The other big road block is losing milk supply while trying to lose weight. Milk Dust combats all of this because it nourishes for milk supply, encourages an increase in supply, as well as providing the essential nutrients that when deficient, cause sugar cravings.
I hope this gave you a lot to think bout, and some informative direction on how to choose the best and safest prenatal protein powder to help you stay healthy during pregnancy.
If you need help losing the baby weight and keeping up your milk supply, I have a very popular program, The Postpartum Cure, which comes in an app you can download. This program has helped hundreds of women lose their baby weight, while also keeping up their milk supply. It can be done!
Get more details and see what other mamas are saying!