Hey, best wishes on your pregnancy 🙂
Every pregnancy is special. As we swing through our pregnancy days and prepare ourselves to welcome the new member, we become more and more protective and concerned about every little choice that we make, especially the foods that we eat or drink.
One such concern, especially for vegan, “whether I can take plant-based protein powder while I am pregnant?“
Sure, a diet high in protein is especially critical for pregnant women; one scoop of vegan protein powder helps a pregnant woman get the daily protein intake she needs to keep her and her growing baby healthy, while it also reduces the side effect of animal proteins.
Every day everyone needs about one gram of protein per pound that they weigh, and, contrary to popular belief, our protein does not have to come from animals.
As an alternative, vegan protein powder is a great source of amino acids in the form of a protein supplement.
So, step out of the whey animal protein powder because the Global Vegan Protein Powder market is expected to grow 14.01% by 2026.
The vegan protein powder market is on the rise, mainly because a vegan diet is proven to be better in terms of lower blood pressure and cholesterol and a lesser risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Is vegan protein powder safe for pregnancy?
What a mother eats will impact the development of her baby. If she eats too much or not enough protein, it will affect the baby’s body composition and birth weight and even long-term health complications.
In addition, for the mother, without enough protein, she will be more prone to illness and skeletal muscle atrophy and likely to gain more weight, which will make it challenging to keep her blood sugar levels in check.
So, we know that pregnant women need substantial protein, but what kind? And more importantly if vegan protein powder safe for pregnancy?
Yes, Vegan protein powders are dairy-free, soy-free, and sometimes non-GMO, organic, and gluten-free. Having no added pesticides, synthetic herbicides, hormones, and antibiotics make most vegan powders so safe for pregnancy.
However, each protein powder brand will vary, and women should look out for its organic properties. To be safe, women should always consult first with their doctor or dietitian before adding something new to their diet.
Every pregnancy is different, which means certain ingredients, vitamins or minerals can impact pregnant women differently.
What are the benefits of vegan protein powder during pregnancy?
Vegan protein powders such as pea and rice protein are not only safe but beneficial for pregnancy. They help to improve muscle development while providing enough fiber and BCAA’s to keep pregnant women full and aid digestion.
They also can help to improve insulin and glucose sensitivity.
No matter which type of vegan protein powder a pregnant woman chooses to incorporate into her diet, plants are so high in nutrients, that makes plant-based protein powders nutrition rich as well.
Besides protein, fiber, and healthy fats, vegetable based protein powders also provide critical nutrients for pregnant women such as Iron, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Folate, and Calcium.
The Folate found in leafy greens can reduce the risk of congenital disabilities. The vitamin C found in plant products is critical to bone growth and health.
Vegan protein powder can help to safely provide enough protein any pregnant women would need to support healthy fetal tissue growth, as well as their own breast and uterine tissue development.
What ingredients should you avoid in vegan protein powders while pregnant?
Hidden sugars and sweeteners
Taking in too much sugar and artificial sweeteners while pregnant can increase a woman’s risk of gestational diabetes and increase her baby’s risk of becoming overweight or obese later in life.
It can also lead to a condition called preeclampsia, where high blood pressure can cause damage to the liver and kidneys.
Fortified minerals and vitamins
Especially for women already taking a prenatal vitamin, they should avoid vegan protein powders high in added vitamins and minerals.
Because taking vitamins or minerals in more than it is required can be dangerous during pregnancy days. That can lead to miscarriage or cause congenital disabilities to your baby.
Taking in too much caffeine while pregnant can lead to low birth weight and even a miscarriage.
As a relatively new product that is now booming in the market, there is not enough research on this yet, which is why experts recommend that pregnant women should avoid CBD for now.
This recommendation is primarily based on the fact that marijuana and its properties are not pregnancy-safe. It has been shown in different studies, CBD can impact the birth weight and cause other developmental issues in early pregnancy days.
Artificial flavors and coloring
Pregnant women should avoid labels that list food dyes, which can lead to long-term cognitive issues such as ADHD in children.
Why do women prefer vegan protein shakes when they are pregnant?
It is always recommended that pregnant mamas should eat whole foods, a complete meal every day for adequate proteins, fibers, healthy fats, and carbs.
Full balanced diets offer all the essential nutrients that help in proper fetus development throughout all three trimesters of pregnancy until the birth of the baby.
The full amino acid profile is one such essential building blocks for muscle growth and brain development. It is mostly obtained through animal proteins.
However, for vegan, animal protein is not an option. Even non-vegan women who do not like whey protein need to depend on organic proteins which are mostly sourced from plants or vegetables.
Plant-based proteins are absolutely ok to offer you the required macronutrients and enough calories when you are pregnant. But it misses out on certain amino acids.
That is exactly where organic protein powders work as supplementation for vegan moms to cover up those missing amino acids, omega 3, and some other key nutrients, which are otherwise found in abundance in animal proteins.
Needless to say, when it comes to eating protein powders, there is no better option than protein shakes and smoothies.
In addition, protein shakes are convenient for pregnant women and allow them to get the smaller, more frequent meals they need to help ease things like morning sickness.
With so many flavors and combinations, they are also helpful to have around when experiencing appetite changes and mood swings.
Five safe and healthy protein shakes you should try during pregnancy
Here are the five best vegan protein shakes that would-be moms can enjoy during their pregnancy days. These are healthy, pregnancy-safe, and nutritional drinks made with vegan protein powder as their base ingredient.
Green Berry Blast Protein Shake
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1/4 cup almond or cashew milk
- 1/2 banana
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup blackberries
- 1 cup spinach
- 5-6 ice cubes
Spinach is high in Folate, critical for the healthy early development of a child’s brain and spinal cord.
Blueberries also contain Folate and Vitamin C that help with tooth and bone development for the baby and metabolic processes for the mother.
Strawberry Banana Protein Shake
- 1 scoop strawberry protein powder
- 1 frozen banana
- 1-2 ice cubes
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/3 cup frozen strawberries
Strawberries contain a powerful antioxidant called Ellagic Acid that works as a probiotic for a healthy gut.
Strawberries are also very high in Vitamin C, which reduces inflammation and is critical for building collagen.
Collagen helps build a baby’s skin, bones, and cartilage, and for moms, it helps promote skin elasticity and relieve joint pain.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Protein Shake
- 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1 cup mixed frozen berries
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
Oats help provide critical carbs and fiber for pregnancy and Iron, Zinc, Vitamin B1, and Folate.
The Iron in oats will work alongside Potassium and Sodium to increase blood supply and prevent anemia.
The berries and peanut butter provide antioxidants, which can help result in a healthier pregnancy and reduce the risk of your child developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes in adulthood.
Chocolate Cherry Protein Shake
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
- 1 cup sweet cherries (pitted)
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 1/2 cup milk
Constipation is a common condition during pregnancy and can be caused by anxiety, a diet low in fiber, or uterine pressure on the intestines.
Bananas are an excellent source of Potassium and Fiber to help ease constipation and cramps. Both bananas and cherries are high in Vitamin C to boost pregnant women’s immune systems.
Blue Banana Protein Shake
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 frozen banana
Blueberries contain Vitamin C for a stronger immune system while pregnant, preventing the risk of infection. Their soluble and insoluble fiber helps aid digestion and prevent constipation.
Both fruits in this shake are high in Potassium, helping control and prevent hypertension during pregnancy.
Plus, the antioxidants found in blueberries can help prevent pregnancy-related stress that occurs due to the emotional, mental, and physical changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy.