This is our review for the best protein powder for pregnancy.
Expectant mothers may have morning sickness or an aversion to food - especially in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. For this reason, they can use a protein supplement to meet their protein needs every single day.
We have found that Opportuniteas Grass Fed Whey Isolate is the overall best protein powder for pregnant women because it is high in protein, low in calories and sugars, and has just a couple of non-GMO ingredients.
However, every mother-to-be is different. So we have included recommendations and reviews for different products suited for different needs.
Let's get started.
Our Best Protein Powder For Pregnancy
7 Best Protein Powders For Pregnancy Reviewed
After scouring the internet, reading dozens of reviews, and testing some products we have found what we believe to be a selection of the best protein powders for pregnancy.
Let's get started.
Best Protein Powder For Pregnancy Overall
30g ~ 1oz ~ 1/4 cup
If you are looking for the overall best protein powder for pregnancy, then the grass fed whey isolate from Opportuniteas may be the right choice for you. The unflavored option contains only two ingredients: whey protein isolate and non-GMO sunflower lecithin for better texture. The lack of fillers makes it ideal for any expectant mother.
You can choose the unflavored version to add to different meals, your coffee, smoothies, or drink on its own as a shake. However, if you would like some flavor with your protein shake, Opportuniteas gives you this option too. You can choose from chocolate, vanilla, or coffee. Each option will add just a couple more ingredients like organic flavoring and sweeteners.
With that being said, I would be careful with the chocolate and vanilla flavors, as they are sweetened with organic cane sugar. Even though it is healthier than regular sugar, organic cane sugar can still have the same harmful effects if consumed in large quantities.
However, if you limit your protein shake consumption to one or two shakes per day, or you choose the unflavored or coffee options, then Opportuniteas is one of the best choices in terms of pregnancy protein powders.
Best Value Protein Powder For Pregnancy
30g ~ 1oz ~ 1/4 cup
We like BulkSupplements because they offer high quality for a bargain. Their whey isolate is, in our opinion, the best value protein powder for pregnancy. But how can they afford to be one of the cheapest brands without sacrificing the quality of the product? It is because, even though they sell small packages too, you can also get a 44-pound (20kg) bag of protein powder!
And with that quantity you don't get fillers either. The BulkSupplements whey isolate is made of only two ingredients: whey protein and soy lecithin as an emulsifier. And even though you might have heard that soy is bad for you, soy lecithin is different from the actual soybean.
Soy lecithin is used only for texture purposes and is different from soy protein. Lecithin will not cause any negative effects unless you are extremely allergic to soy.
As far as flavor is concerned, this powder comes only in an unflavored form. Therefore, we recommend you to use it in meal recipes or smoothies.
Best Vegan Protein Powder For Pregnancy
30g ~ 1oz ~ 1/4 cup
Truvani offers one of the best vegan protein powders for pregnancy, thanks to its minimal ingredients, complete profile of amino acids, high quality protein sources, and taste. This powder has protein coming from three different sources: pea, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
You can get this vegan protein supplement in four flavors: banana cinnamon, chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, and vanilla. Depending on your choice of flavor, you will get a protein powder that has anywhere from five to seven ingredients - out of which three ingredients are the actual protein source. If that is not minimal ingredients, we don't know what is.
Every single ingredient is natural and also organic. For instance, the chocolate peanut butter flavor, which is our favorite, gets its taste from organic alkalized cocoa, organic peanut flour, organic vanilla powder, and sweetened with just the right amount of organic monk fruit.
Whether you want to add it to a smoothie or drink it on its own, you can't go wrong with Truvani.
Runner-up Vegan Pick
30g ~ 1oz ~ 1/4 cup
Another great vegan protein supplement for pregnancy is the Vega Protein & Greens. As opposed to the Truvani, which has three sources of protein, this powder gets its protein from four different sources: pea, brown rice, hemp seed, and sacha inchi.
Besides, it also packs a superfood oomph coming from powdered greens like: alfalfa powder, spinach powder, broccoli powder, and organic kale powder.
So what about the taste? The Vega Protein & Green protein powder comes in multiple flavors, is sweetened with stevia leaf extract, and has a touch of xanthan gum for a creamy and smooth texture. Whether you blend this or use a shaker to mix it, you are sure to get a delicious shake which will help you meet your protein requirements.
Best Tasting Protein Powder For Pregnancy
30g ~ 1oz ~ 1/4 cup
Some people only care about getting their protein intake for the day, while others also care about their taste buds. If you are in the latter category, then the grass fed whey protein from Levels may be the right choice for you. Coming in eight different flavors, each more delicious than the other, this powder will help you make a delectable and smooth protein-rich shake.
The ingredients list is minimal and each ingredient is easier to read than the previous one - this is always a good sign. To give you an idea, let's take a at the ingredients of the chocolate mocha flavor: grass fed whey protein concentrate, decaffeinated coffee powder, cacao powder, non-GMO sunflower lecithin (this is an emulsifier), monk fruit extract, stevia leaf extract.
And this is but one of the eight flavors available. As you can see, the flavoring and the sweetening agent are both natural and there are no artificial additives or preservatives in this product.
As far as mixability goes, with a brisk shake we were able to fully dissolve the powder in an old shaker bottle. Therefore, it is safe to assume that it mixes pretty well. No blender is necessary but, as always, it is recommended, especially if you want to add some other ingredients and make a delicious smoothie.
Best Egg Protein Powder For Pregnancy
30g ~ 1oz ~ 1/4 cup
In recent years, people began to take notice of protein powder derived from eggs. It is very close to whey protein in terms of efficiency but it lacks the lactose, to which a lot of people are intolerant.
However, Designer Protein's Totally Egg is a bit different from all the major egg protein powders. While most brands only use the egg white, totally egg, as the name suggests, uses both the egg white and the yolk. This makes it a great choice as a protein powder for pregnant women because the egg yolk is rich in choline, a nutrient that most women are deficient in during pregnancy.
As far as flavor is concerned, you can get Totally Egg in two flavors: French vanilla and chocolate. They both mix well with cold and hot liquids alike, or you can use the powder for baking. Whichever your choice, you can't go wrong with Totally Egg.
With all that being said, you should be aware that Totally Egg is manufactured in a facility that produces dairy, soy, wheat, and tree nuts. If you are severely allergic to any of these products, we recommend you to choose another option on this list, or check our article on the best egg white protein powder for other protein powders derived from eggs.
Cleanest Vegan Protein Powder For Pregnancy
30g ~ 1oz ~ 1/4 cup
Ora is our pick for the cleanest protein powder for pregnancy. Every single food ingredient in this supplement is organic and non-GMO, from its protein sources to its flavoring and sweeteners.
Not only is it organic and non-GMO but Ora also offers a complete source of protein with all the essential amino acids, thanks to its six sources of protein: pea, rice, cranberry, sacha inchi, hemp, sprouted quinoa.
This protein supplement is available in three different flavors to which stevia leaf extract and monk fruit were added for a bit of that natural sweetness. If you want an organic, healthy protein drink to get you through your pregnancy, then Ora may be the right choice for you.
Why should you consume protein powder during pregnancy?
The truth is that you don't have to consume protein powder during pregnancy or otherwise. In an ideal setting, you would be able to meet your protein requirements through a balanced diet.
According to a 2016 scientific paper, the protein intake recommendation during pregnancy is 60-70g per day. However, this number can be different for you depending on your height, weight, and other factors. We recommend you to check with your doctor for your optimal protein intake.
Anyway, meeting your protein requirements through dieting is not always easy.
And this is where protein powders come into play. Below I will list some situations where drinking a protein shake would be a good idea.
You may notice that the benefit can be summed up in one word: convenience.
Here are some of the situations where supplementing with protein can help you:
What are the risks of consuming protein powders during pregnancy?
Protein powders are generally safe for pregnancy. However, there are two risks associated with drinking protein shakes during pregnancy:
Consuming too much protein overall
The first issue is that, between protein shakes and regular meals, pregnant women could be consuming too much protein. As mentioned above, the average amount of protein you should be consuming during pregnancy is 60-70g per day.
However, this amount will be different for every person, because it is relative to your height and body weight. For instance, a woman who is 6' tall will need more protein than a 5'5 woman.
So what are the risks associated with consuming too much protein during pregnancy?
Drinking too many protein shakes while also eating a protein-rich diet can increase your risk of premature birth and impaired growth of the fetus.
However, you don't have to worry about worst case scenarios like these.
As long as you follow the protein intake recommendations of your doctors, and track how much you are consuming, you should not face any difficulties.
Ingestion of heavy metals
Protein powders are regarded as supplements, and the supplement industry is not regulated by the FDA. For this reason, you could end up ingesting heavy metals like lead, arsenic, cadmium or mercury by drinking protein shakes.
Thankfully, there is a non-profit organization, Clean Label Project, which has brought transparency to the consumer. This group tests different products, including protein powders, for environmental contaminants and brings the result to the public.
If you don't know what to look for, don't hesitate to shop right from the list above. Be confident that we have done the research for you and these are the best protein powders for pregnancy.
Now let's see what you should be looking for when choosing a protein powder as an expectant mother.
How to choose the best protein powder for pregnancy?
We will preface this section with our opinion on the matter: you should always, if possible, choose natural sources of protein rather than a protein supplement. If you have an aversion to food or don't have the time to cook, only then resort to protein powders.
With that out of the way, let's help you choose the ideal protein powder for pregnancy.
Most protein powders are loaded with artificial sweeteners and flavoring, additives, and chemicals. The things you should be looking for:
No heavy metals
As mentioned above, heavy metals, even though safe under normal conditions, may result in some serious outcomes. You can read more about the effects of mercury on pregnant women here.
Always make sure that your protein powders are third party tested for these substances.
A good rule of thumb would be to get protein powders that are labeled as food rather than supplements. As opposed to supplements, these are regulated by the FDA and are better suited for expectant mothers.
No artificial sweeteners and flavors
These are a rule of thumb for every protein powder, whether it is for pregnancy or simply building muscle. There are numerous studies pointing out how artificial sweeteners and artificial flavors are harming your health.
And in the context of pregnancy, you should especially AVOID saccharin (Sweet'N low or Sugar Twin) because it can cross the placenta and stay in your baby's tissue.
Other sweeteners to avoid:
Choose protein powders that have been sweetened with natural sweeteners like:
No heavy metals
Again, this is a point that applies to general health.
However, in the context of pregnancy, eating too much sugar can increase the risk of gestational diabetes (study), as well as increase the likelihood of your baby becoming overweight later in life (study).
Therefore, for general health considerations, as well as the health of your fetus, we recommend you to choose protein powders that are sweetened with any of the following: stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other sweeteners derived from natural sources.
And if taste is important to you, our recommendation is Levels Grass Fed Whey Protein which is naturally sweetened with stevia leaf extract and monk fruit extract.
Soy is a type of bean that has gotten a lot of bad attention in recent years. It contains a certain substance called isoflavone, which is a type of phytoestrogen.
Due to this substance, it is believed that consumption of too much soy can lead to hormonal problems. And in the context of pregnancy, experts warn that consuming soy in high quantities can have negative effects on your baby's development during pregnancy.
Therefore, we recommend you to avoid protein powders that contain soy.
If you are looking for a good soy-free protein powder, we have put together an article in which you can see our reviews, picks, and recommendations on the best soy-free protein powders.
Amount of protein per serving
On our list of general good practices in choosing a protein supplement, the most important one is taking into account how much protein we get per serving and for how many calories.
Choose a protein powder that is low in calories, sugars and fats but high in protein.
If you are worried that you will be consuming too much protein, you can do three quarters of a serving or half a serving.
Here are some of the most common questions regarding protein powder and pregnancy.
Is protein powder safe during pregnancy?
This is the most common question.
Yes, protein powders are safe during pregnancy. It is recommended to get your daily protein intake from regular food. However, if you have troubles meeting your protein requirements through food alone, then protein shakes are a great option.
However, be mindful of the type of powder you are getting.
Avoid protein powders that have artificial ingredients, are high in sugar, and/or are low in protein.
What are the benefits of protein powders during pregnancy?
The main benefit of protein powder during pregnancy is convenience.
Protein powders during pregnancy are very convenient. If you develop an aversion to food or feel sick in the morning, you can still get your protein through a shake.
Furthermore, if you are tired and don't feel like cooking, you can down a protein shake.
Replacing all of your meals with protein shakes is far from ideal. However, replacing a meal every once in a while will do you absolutely no harm.
How much protein does a pregnant woman need?
There is no hard rule.
According to a scientific paper in 2016, expectant mothers should be consuming 60 to 70g of protein every single day. However, the amount of protein you need is relative to your height and weight, so your necessary protein intake may be less or greater than that.
To know exactly how much protein you need, talk to your doctor. And to make sure that you don't eat more or less than that, track your daily intake using an app like MyFitnessPal.
Can I drink protein derived from milk while nursing?
Yes, you can.
However, some newborns and infants may not be able to tolerate dairy. Therefore, we recommend you to not use whey protein powder if that is the case. If the baby doesn't give signs of being dairy intolerant, then you can safely use protein powder derived from milk while nursing.
As always, the best way to go about it is to check with your doctor. Every body is different so there is no "one fits all" kind of answer.
Pregnant women need to meet their protein requirements to assure the proper development of the fetus. We recommend getting the necessary protein from actual meals but if you find it difficult, then supplementing with protein powder is a good choice.
In our opinion, Opportuniteas Grass Fed Whey Isolate is the best protein powder for pregnancy, because it has just a few high quality ingredients, is high in protein, and low in carbohydrates and fats.
But if you would like another option, all those presented above can be great choices.
Over to you.