We all know that during pregnancy, one must consume more protein rich products so as to help the mom-to-be as well as the growing baby. Protein powders are a rich source of protein and other nutrients. But the additives in the powder like the artificial sugars and preservatives make us question if it is safe to be consumed by a pregnant woman. In this article, we will be discussing of protein powders are safe to be consumed by pregnant women.
One can increase their protein consumption through protein rich whole foods like chicken, eggs, fish and beans. These foods also provide with other nutrients that are essential during pregnancy, for instance iron and vitamin B12. It can be a little tough to consume additional protein in the first few months and this is where finding a high-quality protein powder can be one of the best ways to add extra calories and nutrients in your diet.
Can I Use Protein Powder During Pregnancy?
What is the Protein Requirement of a Pregnant Woman?
Basically, the protein requirement of a mom-to-be keeps on increasing as the pregnancy advances. It is at the peak especially during the second and third trimester because that is the time when the baby is growing rapidly. In order to find the amount of required protein every day, multiply the body weight in kilograms with 1.2. by the time the mom-to-be reaches the third trimester, the protein requirement also increases and thus, the weight is multiplied by 1.5.
Is it Safe to Take Protein Powders During Pregnancy?
Generally, protein powders are used by athletes to build their muscles by boosting their protein intake every day. When we talk about a pregnant woman, it may not be a right choice as it consists of artificial sweeteners such as saccharin that can be harmful for the foetus. While other one also consists of the herbs like anise, ginger, chamomile, liquorice root.
If you are planning to take include it in your diet, it is imperative that you consult your doctor for the same.
Which Protein is Best for a Pregnant Woman?
Mostly, protein shakes add up to 300 calories per shake. But some of them can add more than what is your required daily intake. Therefore, you must look for shakes that have low or zero calorie content. Also, highly avoid the ones that consist of artificial sweeteners.
Things to keep in mind before purchasing a protein powder:
Excess Caffeine and Vitamins
It is not only pointless but also harmful for you to consume excess vitamins. You may already be taking prenatal multivitamin supplement or fulfil your micronutrient requirements from a balanced diet. On the other side, caffeine intake should also be limited to 200 mg per day. Thus, avoid taking protein powder with added vitamins and caffeine.
Fillers and Flavouring Agents
Xanthum gum, palatinose, guar guma and other ingredients that have zero nutritional value are some of the most common fillers. These are the substances that are added to the powders to add bulk when mixed into shake. Similarly, flavouring agents also lack any nutrition value and sometimes, are also not as natural as they claim to be.
Some protein powders may be loaded with artificial sweeteners which is not good for the baby. while there is not much evidence on whether powders containing xylitol, stevia, sucralose can pose a threat or not but saccharin containing powders should definitely be avoided. There is more research needed on this aspect.
Almost all the products come with label warnings so one can find out if they are not suitable for the pregnant or breastfeeding women or children. Now these powders consist of creatine, caffeine, taurine, beta alanine, acetyl L-carnitine HCL. Although not all of these powders may come with the labels but it is always a good idea to look for one before purchasing it.
Sources of the Protein
You must check the manufacturer, production methods as well as if the product consists of chemicals, pesticides or hormones. It especially becomes important when you are pregnant or breastfeeding because at this time, everything you consume affects your baby in some way or the other. Moreover, dairy products contain traces of hormones like rBGH which is not considered to be good for the baby. Thus, make sure you do a little research onto what these powders are made of or where they were manufactured.
So, we can say that protein supplementation is safe to be consumed by pregnant women. However, you just need to make sure that you look for a quality protein with minimal ingredients. Also, avoid any additives that could be harmful for you and your baby.