What is the best pregnancy-safe protein powder?


If you are looking for the best pregnancy-safe protein powder, you have come to the right place. Learn how to safely supplement your dietary protein intake during pregnancy. 

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This article was written by Jack Schrupp and Brittany Adelman, RDN.

Protein powder and pregnancy

Eating enough protein during pregnancy is both important, and hard to do. This is where protein powder can help.

Adding a protein powder to your diet is an easy way to fill in nutrition gaps and ensure that both you and your baby stay strong and healthy. Not all protein powders are equal, however.

To ensure that you are using a protein powder safe for pregnancy, it is important to take a close look at the ingredients list. Keep reading to learn more.  

best-pregnancy-safe-protein-powder

What is the best pregnancy-safe protein powder?


Many protein powders are made with ingredients that can cause painful side effects and long term health problems for pregnant women. Among these ingredients are food additives, dairy-based proteins, and protein concentrates and isolates. 

Avoid food additives

Regularly eating emulsifiers, thickeners, sugar substitutes, and other additives can not only upset your stomach, but also alter the composition of your gut microbiome – the collection of microorganisms living in your gut. This can lead to gut dysbiosis, which is associated with complications like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and restricted fetal growth. 

Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein powder:

acacia fiber, acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, ascorbic acid, aspartame, calcium carbonate, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dicalcium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, maltodextrin, mono- and diglycerides, ‘natural’ flavors, rice bran extract, rice dextrin, rice hulls, rosemary extract, silica, silicon dioxide, sodium alginate, sodium bicarbonate, soluble corn fiber, soy lecithin, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, tocopherols, tricalcium phosphate, xanthan gum, xylitol, zinc oxide

Avoid dairy-based proteins

Dairy-based proteins like whey and casein, although not an issue for everyone, can cause side effects like bloating and diarrhea. This is in part because they contain lactose, a sugar most women cannot fully digest.

Avoid protein concentrates and isolates

Most protein powders are made from protein concentrates and isolates, which have been mechanically and or chemically stripped of everything but the protein, including the enzymes, fiber, and other natural digestive aids that help you break them down. As a result, they can cause digestive issues and possibly even disruptions to your gut microbiome

Finding a protein powder free from food additives, dairy-based proteins, and protein concentrates and isolates is hard. In fact, 99% of protein supplements contain one or more of these problematic ingredients. This is why we created drink wholesome. Keep reading to learn more about why we make the best pregnancy protein powder.

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Protein Powders

Collagen Protein Powder Starter Kit

Starting at $94.97

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Protein Powders

Egg White Protein Powder Starter Kit

Starting at $94.97

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Protein Powders

Vegan Almond Protein Powder Starter Kit

Starting at $94.97

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drink wholesome is the best pregnancy-safe protein powder


We make the best protein powder safe for pregnancy because we use a short list of simple ingredients free from food additives, dairy-based proteins, and protein concentrates and isolates.

Our ingredients

egg whites

egg whites

coconut

coconut

vanilla

vanilla

monk fruit

monk fruit

NOT our ingredients

  • acacia gum

  • acesulfame potassium

  • artificial flavors

  • carrageenan

  • erythritol

  • guar gum

  • inulin

  • maltodextrin

  • 'natural' flavors

  • silica

  • soy lecithin

  • sucralose

  • xanthan gum

  • xylitol

Note that instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we use whole food protein sources like collagen, egg whites, and almonds, which are easier to digest and absorb. Whole food protein sources also have unique digestive benefits: collagen can reduce bloating and improve digestive symptoms, egg whites can help restore your mucosal intestinal barrier, and almonds can improve the composition of your gut microbiome.

It follows that our customers experience fewer digestive issues with our pregnancy-safe protein powder than with any other type of protein supplement. Order samples to see for yourself. 

Comparison of pregnancy protein powders


Below are the top 5 protein powders made specifically for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. As you can clearly see, some are made with a short list of simple ingredients, while others are not. 

1. Drink Wholesome

Drink Wholesome Vanilla Protein Powder – Made with just 4 simple ingredients – collagen, coconut, vanilla, and monk fruit – this is hands down the best protein powder for pregnancy. You will not find a shorter, simpler list of ingredients.

vanilla-collagen-protein-powder-28-serving-nutrition-facts

Drink Wholesome Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder – Made with just 4 simple ingredients – almonds, coconut, vanilla, and monk fruit –  this is hands down the best vegan protein powder for pregnancy. If you are on a plant-based diet, give it a try.

vegan-vanilla-protein-powder-nutrition-facts

2. Mama Bird 

Made with a blend of pea protein isolate and hemp protein, this is a good option for pregnant women. It does contain an added thickener (acacia gum), though, which is not gut-friendly.

mama-bird-ingredients

3. Boobie

Made with pea protein isolate, this is a good option for pregnant women. It does contain an added thickener (guar gum), though, which is not gut-friendly.

boobie-ingredients

4. Ritual 

Made with pea protein isolate, this is an ok option for pregnant women. It does contain added thickeners (xanthan gum) and emulsifiers (sunflower lecithin), though, which are not gut-friendly.

ritual-ingredients

5. Pink Stork

Made with whey protein isolate, this is another ok option for pregnant women. Whey protein isolate is a heavily-processed dairy-based protein, but it does contain less lactose than whey protein concentrate. That said, there is no way of knowing exactly how much lactose an isolate contains. Moreover, Pink Stork uses natural flavors and stevia, which are probably not as natural as you think. 

pink-stork-ingredients

Note that of all the protein powders on the list, drink wholesome is the only one that is completely free of added junk. If you use protein powder regularly, this can make a huge difference in terms of your gut and overall health, as well as that of your baby. 

Why is eating enough protein important during pregnancy? 


Dietary protein fuels the growth and development of the fetus. Without sufficient protein, the baby’s growth and development could be compromised, leading to a low birth weight and other complications.

Protein is also crucial for the mother’s health during pregnancy as it helps to maintain the body’s fluid balance, supports the immune system, stabilizes blood sugar, and provides energy. Adequate protein intake may also help to reduce nausea and prevent morning sickness in pregnant women. Here are the top reasons why adequate protein intake is important during pregnancy:

Placental development

From as early as conception, protein plays an important role in the formation of your baby’s tissues, organs, and overall growth. Research emphasizes the significance of adequate protein intake for the development and maintenance of the placenta, a vital organ that facilitates the exchange of nutrients and waste between mom and baby.

Increased blood volume

Pregnancy triggers an increase in blood volume to meet the growing needs of both you and your baby. Protein is crucial for the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood. Current literature highlights the substantial protein demands required for the expansion of blood volume and the growth of maternal tissues during pregnancy.

Prevention of preeclampsia

Adequate protein intake during pregnancy is associated with a reduced risk of developing preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure and organ damage. Protein contributes to maintaining vascular integrity and regulating blood pressure, crucial factors in preventing the onset of preeclampsia and promoting a healthier pregnancy.

safe-protein-powder-for-pregnancy

Immune system function

Protein is crucial for the immune system during pregnancy as it supports the production of antibodies, cellular immunity, immune system regulation, tissue repair, adaptations to maternal immune changes, and protection against infections, ensuring a balanced and effective defense for both the mother and the developing fetus.

Amniotic fluid formation

Protein is a vital component of amniotic fluid, the protective liquid surrounding your baby in the womb. This contribution to the amniotic environment supports the healthy development of your baby.

Energy and satiation

Protein serves as a crucial nutrition source during pregnancy, not only providing a sustainable source of energy but also promoting a sense of satiety that helps expecting mothers avoid energy crashes and mood fluctuations.

Blood sugar

Adequate protein intake, coupled with a balanced diet, helps to support improved satiety after meals, thus helping you avoid eating too much. Additionally, sufficient protein intake optimizes blood sugar, a foundational tool for preventing gestational diabetes, which is a dangerous condition affecting glycemic control during pregnancy.

How much protein do pregnant women need?


Given that protein needs increase during each trimester of pregnancy, it is crucial that pregnant women establish a plan to ensure that they are eating enough protein. Here is what most registered dietitians recommend:

First trimester (week 1-12)

During the first trimester, protein needs are relatively consistent with non-pregnant levels, ranging from 46-56 grams per day. This period is crucial for early fetal development.

Second trimester (week 13-26)

Protein requirements increase slightly in the second trimester, ranging from 71-86 grams per day. This uptick accommodates the growing demands of the developing fetus, especially as organs and tissues continue to form and maternal blood volume expands.

Third trimester (week 27 through pregnancy)

The third trimester sees a further increase in protein needs, ranging from 71-100 grams per day. During this stage, the fetus undergoes rapid growth, and protein becomes vital for the development of organs, muscles, and the preparation of the mother’s body for labor and breastfeeding.

Some women, however, may eat more protein than the recommended amount as a way to feel satisfied and improve glycemic control. It is always recommended that women consult with their healthcare providers to determine their personal protein requirements.

Thinking about eating 70+ grams of protein per day can be overwhelming. As you can see below, even if you eat a protein with every meal, you are still likely not meeting your optimal protein needs.

Breakfast: 2 eggs – 12g protein
Lunch: 4 oz chicken breast – 32g protein
Snack: ¼ cup almonds – 7g protein
Dinner: 4 oz salmon – 23g protein
Total: 74g protein

On top of all of this, pregnant women can have a hard time eating due to food aversions, decreased appetite, and morning sickness. This is where pregnancy-safe protein powder can help. Protein supplements can be a safe and convenient way to boost your overall protein intake.

protein-powder-safe-during-pregnancy

What should you consider when choosing a protein powder?


When choosing a pregnancy-safe protein powder, here are the key factors to consider:

Ingredients

As you have probably gathered, the ingredients list is by far the most important factor to consider. Prioritize protein powders made with whole food protein sources, and avoid those that contain food additives. 

Nutritional quality

Look for a protein powder that contains at least 15 grams of protein per serving, and essential nutrients such as iron, folate, and calcium, which are vital for prenatal health. Avoid protein powders with lots of Added Sugar, as they can contribute to weight gain and gestational diabetes. 

Safety standards

Choose a protein powder that has been thoroughly tested and meets safety standards established by regulatory agencies such as the FDA. Choosing a protein powder with third-party certifications such as USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified can also help ensure that your supplement is free from harmful substances such as pesticides.

It is also recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before adding protein powder to your diet during pregnancy, as specific health conditions may require additional precautions when it comes to protein supplementation. If you experience side effects while using a protein powder during pregnancy or breastfeeding, discontinue use and consult with your healthcare provider immediately. Some potential side effects of consuming protein powder during pregnancy or breastfeeding include:

  • Upset stomach
  • Allergic reactions
  • Excessive weight gain

By following these safety tips, you can enjoy the benefits of protein powder without compromising your health or that of your baby. 

How do you incorporate protein powder into your diet? 


Now that you know what a protein powder safe for pregnancy looks like, you may be wondering how to add it to your diet effectively. Below are some practical tips and ideas:

Make protein shakes

Protein shakes offer a quick and versatile way to incorporate protein powder into your diet. You can add fruits, vegetables, and other healthy ingredients to make them even more nutritious.

Add protein powder to meals

You can incorporate protein powder into meals or snacks to enhance their nutritional value. For example, you can add it to oatmeal, yogurt, soups, and sauces. 

Use protein powder in baking

You can also use a pregnancy-safe protein powder in many of your favorite recipes. Brownies, pancakes, muffins and cookies are just a few examples of treats you can make with protein powder. Not only does adding protein powder make your baked goods more nutrient dense, but it also makes them more blood sugar-friendly. Check out our easy, high protein recipes for more inspiration.

Reviews

Kelynn

1 week ago

Verified Purchase Hi! Your powder has been life-changing for me! I wear many hats as a military spouse, mom of a toddler, and yoga teacher. However, the hats I wear of being a human, living with endometriosis and IBS, are the ones these simple ingredients have most impacted! Thank you! Thank you for creating a product for stomachs that is sensitive, simple, AND still packs a punch protein wise!

For Egg White Protein Powder

Tom

2 weeks ago

Verified Purchase Your protein is seriously a game changer for me. I went from 135 to 170 in a few months due to the shakes I made with your protein powder. I've been drinking 1 each day for the last bit of time. Most protein kills my gut. You guys are seriously making a life support for me. Thank you for all that you do and create!

For Egg White Protein Powder

Mimi

3 weeks ago

Verified Purchase I've spent the past decade searching for the perfect protein powder, and I've finally found it!!!! Not only does it make me feel incredible, but it's also transformed my fitness recovery in ways I never thought possible. Thank you drinkwholesome for changing the game and helping me feel my best! <3

For Egg White Protein Powder

Frequently asked questions

Collagen vs egg white vs almond protein powder?

You may have noticed that we make three types of protein powder: collagen protein powderegg white protein powder, and vegan almond protein powder. As long as you are eating a balanced diet, any type of protein powder can help you boost your protein intake. Just pick the type that best suits your dietary needs and personal preferences.

Protein powder vs meal replacement powder?

You may have noticed that we make protein powders and meal replacement powders. The difference between protein powders and meal replacement powders is the nutrition content. Protein powders are high in protein and low in everything else, whereas meal replacement powders contain fats, carbs, and protein because they are intended to replace the nutritional value of a healthy meal.

Learn more

My name is Jack and I created drink wholesome because I was sick of protein powders that upset my stomach. Read my story, check out my short list of simple ingredients, and browse reviews from other customers to learn more.

TEST

TEST

Protein Rice Krispies Treats

PREP TIME

15 min

COOK TIME

0 min

SERVES

2+

Ingredients
Instructions

In a large pot, melt the butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows, and stir until the mixture is smooth. Remove the pot from the heat, and incorporate the protein powder. Add the Rice Krispies, stirring until combined. Transfer the mixture to a 9×13 inch greased pan. Let your Protein Rice Krispie Treats sit for 30 minutes before eating.

Disclaimer

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. drink wholesome is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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