It’s no secret that mothers-to-be need extra nutrition.
Besides essential vitamins, this includes plenty of protein.
Unfortunately, morning sickness can make it hard to eat enough.
The solution could be taking protein powder while you’re pregnant.
And that leads us to the question of which protein powder is safe during pregnancy.
We’ll explore the answer in our reviews of the best protein powders for pregnancy today.
The Benefits of Protein Powder During Pregnancy
First off, we have to tell you that you really should discuss your diet with your OBGYN. That includes protein shakes for pregnant mothers.
Even if you have experience supplementing with whey or other types of protein, please speak to your doctor about your needs while you’re expecting and nursing.
With that said, you should also be aware of the recommended daily allowance of protein. That’s because eating too much or too little protein while you’re pregnant can cause harm to your baby (1).
Yes, you read that correctly.
Overdosing on protein is just as bad as not getting enough to eat.
But if you’re having trouble maintaining an adequate diet, or you’ve chosen to avoid eating meat, it’s convenient to take protein powder.
You can blend it in smoothies, add it to soup, or stir it into herbal tea.
Plus, you can purchase it with or without flavoring, sweeteners, or additives.
And you can choose whey, casein, egg, or plant protein powder. There is even brown rice powder for those with food allergies.
How Much Protein Is Needed During Pregnancy?
The USA, Canada, and Europe recommend that between 10 to 35% of your diet comes from protein while you’re pregnant (1).
Mothers who consume less protein than that tend to have smaller children with low birth weight. Some of these babies were more likely to have insulin resistance.
But how do you decide how much protein you actually need?
Like we suggested, it’s best to speak to your doctor. But here are some ballpark figures.
A healthy mom can expect to gain up to 25 pounds during pregnancy. She’ll be eating about 1800 calories a day during the first three months.
This amount rises to 2200 calories during the second trimester and 2400 calories during the third trimester (2).
The total calorie amount includes protein. To figure out the amount of protein you need while pregnant, you need to know your weight.
Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to discover your weight in kilograms. For example, someone who weighs 140 pounds would weigh about 64 kg.
Now multiply your weight in kilograms by the recommended amount of protein. This ranges from 0.88 to 1.1 grams per kilogram of weight.
But what does 56 g of protein look like?
Well, you could eat 8 ounces of chicken breast. Or in the case of protein powder, it’s just over two scoops.
Imagine how convenient it would be to skip cooking for one meal and just drink your protein instead!
Now, let’s look at the top protein powders for pregnant women.
NAKED WHEY 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder
The advantage of NAKED WHEY is that it has only one ingredient: whey derived from small dairy farms in California. It’s non-GMO and free of growth hormones.
Moreover, the unflavored powder has no additives or preservatives.
What is plain whey anyway?
It’s a by-product of cheese production (5).
Fortunately, lactose-intolerant people can still enjoy whey protein. It also shouldn’t trigger soy or egg allergies (6).
Naked Whey provides 25 g of protein, 3 g of carbs, and 120 calories per serving.
Whey Fantastic 100% Pure Grass Fed Whey Protein
Whey Fantastic promotes their blend of whey protein isolate, hydrolysate, and concentrate as perfect for managing weight and enhancing muscle growth. But it’s also handy for pregnant women who want to boost protein in their diet.
Each serving contains 25 g of protein with only 1 g of fat and 1 g of carbs.
The whey comes from grass-fed cows, which are hormone-free. There are no artificial sweeteners or flavoring.
Jarrow Formulas Whey Protein, Unflavored
Jarrow Formulas also offers vanilla and chocolate besides this one which has no artificial sweeteners or additives.
The whey is uncontaminated by rBST (hormones). It’s ultra-filtered to reduce fat, carbohydrates, and lactose. But it’s high in essential amino acids like leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
The only other ingredient is soy lecithin.
But what is lecithin?
It’s an emulsifier found in all sorts of processed foods (7). It simplifies mixing this powder with liquids so that the combination is smooth and creamy, not lumpy.
Since there has been some controversy over the effects of large amounts of soy lecithin on animals, some manufacturers have moved on to sunflower lecithin.
Tera’s Whey Protein, Plain Unsweetened
Tera’s Whey Protein has 22 g per serving with all nine essential amino acids, too.
Feel free to add it to shakes, smoothies, dips, pasta, and even baked goods.
It’s certified to be free of antibiotics, GMO ingredients, hormones, and gluten. It’s Kosher, and it comes from family farms in Wisconsin.
Besides the whey protein itself, it has Vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, and sunflower lecithin.
TGS All Natural 100% Whey Protein Powder
The TGS protein powder is also sourced from and manufactured in the USA. The unsweetened and unflavored product is packaged in a resealable bag.
Each serving has 25 g of protein, and each bag contains 30 servings.
In case you’re wondering what unflavored whey protein concentrate tastes like, it may remind you of cottage cheese. It’s very mild, but not tasteless.
The powder is free of soy, gluten, and hormones. There are no other ingredients besides sunflower and lecithin.
Raw Organic Whey Grass-Fed
Raw Organic Whey doesn’t have lecithin or any other additives at all. It’s non-GMO and free from hormones and heavy metals. It comes from grass-fed cows raised on small farms in the USA.
Also, the whey protein is processed at low temperatures so that it retains antioxidants and nutrients.
Primal Kitchen Primal Fuel Chocolate Coconut Whey Protein Powder
Not everyone appreciates unflavored powder. And it’s perfectly acceptable for pregnant women to eat chocolate (8).
That’s why we included the Primal Kitchen Chocolate Coconut powder.
The powder is also compatible with the Paleo diet.
It has no added sugar, and it’s low in carbohydrates – only 6 g per serving.
It’s flavored with cocoa powder and Stevia among other natural ingredients.
If you’ve been concerned about artificial sweeteners, you’ll appreciate Stevia as it doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste. There’s no reason to believe that it’s cancer-causing, either.
It’s been approved as a sweetener in food since 2008 in the USA and 2011 in the European Union. Japan, meanwhile, has been enjoying it for decades (9).
Levels Nutrition 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein, Pure Chocolate
Levels Nutrition also sells a chocolate-flavored protein powder. It’s sweetened with both Stevia and monk fruit and has sunflower lecithin.
Monk fruit also comes from plants, and it’s hundreds of times sweeter than sugar. Some studies show that it has potent antioxidants that slow damage to cells (9).
Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder, Unflavored Protein Smoothie Mix by BlendItUp
Don’t you hate it when your smoothie is gritty? Then choose this powder as it blends well and won’t alter the flavor of your drink.
It contains whey protein isolate, vitamins, soy lecithin, Stevia, and organic grains like millet and quinoa.
Each serving provides 24 g of protein and no growth hormones, pesticides, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, or added sugar.
VINTAGE BRAWN Protein Powder by Old School Labs
Get the richest of all animal proteins in one Vintage Brawn powder. It combines milk, egg, and beef protein. The milk protein includes casein and whey isolates.
There are no artificial additives or preservatives. If you choose the chocolate flavor, it has Dutch chocolate powder and Stevia.
Naked Casein – 100% Micellar Casein Protein Powder from US Farms by NAKED Nutrition
Casein is a milk protein that’s a by-product of making cheese just like whey is. But casein is the solid substance or the curds.
Micellar casein releases protein slowly while whey releases it quickly.
Naked Nutrition’s powder digests slowly, which makes it excellent for drinking at bedtime. It’s made without artificial dyes and sweeteners and offers 26 g of protein per serving.
Double Bonded Protein by Mt. Capra | Whole Goat Milk Protein, Dark Chocolate Flavor
Mt. Capra combines casein and whey protein from goat milk and flavors it with organic cocoa and Stevia.
Please take note that it also has Xanthan gum which should not be given to premature infants (10). The label also lists guar gum which could trigger soy allergies for some people.
On the bright side, this product has 20 g of protein per serving and comes from grass-fed goats.
PaleoPro – Paleo Protein Powder
PaleoPro packs 25 g of protein per serving in their powder. It’s not based on whey or soy. Instead, it comes from easy-to-digest animal protein.
The beef comes from cows raised in pastures that were fed grass as well as free-range chickens.
It’s non-GMO and has no added hormones or antibiotics. There are no preservatives or artificial sweeteners, either.
Paleo Thin Protein Egg White Powder
Paleo Thin offers egg white powder as an alternative to whey, casein, and beef protein. It mixes easily with water or almond milk and has 25 g of protein per scoop with only one gram of carbohydrates.
NOW Sports Nutrition, Egg White Protein, Unflavored Powder
NOW packages this egg white protein in the USA according to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). If you were a college athlete, you’d be interested to know that it’s been tested for banned substances.
Enjoy it in 12 ounces of milk or water, or add it to a recipe in the place of egg whites. Each serving is packed with amino acids.
NAKED EGG –Non-GMO Egg White Protein Powder from US Farms
NAKED Nutrition recommends egg protein powder for the Paleo diet. Each serving provides 25 g of protein, 2 g of carbs, and 110 calories.
Since this is just pure egg white powder, it has no added flavoring or coloring.
Vegan Fantastic! Plant-Based Protein Powder
If you’d prefer to avoid eating animal protein, check out the Vegan Fantastic powder. It’s a blend of chickpea, rice, and pea protein plus vegan BCAAs and sunflower lecithin.
BCAAs are branched-chain amino acids which are essential for a healthy body.
Every serving has 125 calories with 23 g of protein, 4 g of fiber, and under a gram of sugar.
There are no fillers or sweeteners.
Nuzest Clean Lean Protein – Premium Vegan Protein Powder
Nuzest’s vegan powder provides 21 g of protein with only one gram of carbs. It’s soy and GMO-free with no added sugar. But it contains all nine essential amino acids.
Interestingly, it’s sweetened with West African Katemfe fruit which is rich in protein as well.
Organic Vegan Protein Powder – Plant-Based Unflavored Smoothie Mix by BlendItUp
BlendItUp makes their vegan protein powder from organic soybeans, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, chia, vitamins, and Stevia. Each serving has 120 calories with 35 calories from fat, 14 g of protein, 3 g of fiber, and 8 g of carbohydrates.
Although it doesn’t provide as much protein as some vegan powders do, it has certified organic and non-GMO ingredients.
NOW Sports Nutrition, Sprouted Brown Rice Protein Powder, Unflavored
NOW ensures that those with food allergies can enjoy protein powder, too. This one is made from sprouted brown rice with no other ingredients. It’s manufactured free from gluten, wheat, soy, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, and tree nuts.
One level tablespoon offers 15 calories with 4 g of protein.
As you saw today, there are many protein powders for pregnancy available without harmful additives and artificial ingredients.
If you take the time to determine what your needs are, I’m sure you’ll find one to supplement your diet.
We wish you the best of health for you and your baby.
If you have a moment, let us know in the comments below which powder you’re enjoying.
1. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/100/4/993/4576606 by Michelle L. Blumfield and Clare E. Collins, published October 2014, accessed September 2, 2019
2. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000584.htm accessed September 2, 2019
3. https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/protein-and-pregnancy-everything-you-need-to-know.html by Mandy Wray, published December 7, 2018, accessed September 2, 2019
4. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/145/1/73/4585822 by Trina V. Stephens et al., published January 2015, accessed September 2, 2019
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whey_protein accessed September 2, 2019
6. https://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-whey-protein published June 12, 2017, accessed September 2, 2019
7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lecithin accessed September 2, 2019
8. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/306103.php by Honor Whiteman, published February 16, accessed September 2, 2019
9. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322769.php by Jon Johnson, published August 15, 20 18, accessed September 2, 2019
10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanthan_gum accessed September 2, 2019