Our body is made up of proteins that can be found in every area of the body, from the lining of the cells to the blood to the muscle tissue. Of course, protein is a necessary part of a healthy pregnancy. But is protein powder safe during pregnancy?
The idea of supplementation during pregnancy is nothing new. In fact, many women begin to take prenatal vitamins before birth as they assume that the increasing demand for a fetus on the body is increasing. Therefore, in addition to adding protein-rich foods to their diet, many women see supplementation in pregnancy as another way to improve their diet by ensuring they are getting enough nutrients necessary for proper fetal growth.
Although few studies If you are concerned with this topic, we will discuss what you need to know about protein requirements during pregnancy and the safety of protein powder. In this way, you can make informed nutritional choices for you and your baby.
Nutritional needs during pregnancy
During pregnancy, the nutritional requirements of mother and baby increase along with the maternal body mass. In particular, protein demand is increasing to keep pace with the hard work and metabolic needs of the body as new tissues are created.
Nutritional needs vary from individual to individual. Typically, they are calculated by body mass, which changes rapidly during pregnancy. The currently recommended daily dose for pregnant mothers is 0.88-1
The protein requirement at various stages of pregnancy is scarce. However, a study in The Journal of Nutrition suggests that the daily protein requirement for pregnant women increases to 1.22 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for early pregnancy and 1.52 grams in the third trimester.  Another study suggests that the last trimester should contain at least 30 additional grams of protein per day. 
It is important to note that this protein increase is accompanied by total calorisation to meet the growing demands of the fetus.  The best way for a pregnant woman to increase her protein intake is through protein-rich whole foods like eggs, chickens, fish, and beans. In addition to protein, these sources of protein from whole foods include other nutrients that are important during pregnancy, including iron and vitamin B12.
However, the consumption of additional protein may be difficult, especially in the first and second trimester when the appetite is muted. Even in those first months, the thought of meat can make you feel unwell. In that case, finding high-quality protein powder can be a great way to gain the extra calories and nutrients you need in your diet to boost your baby's profits!
Are protein powders safe?
Protein powders are considered safe for pregnant and non-pregnant women. However, it is always a good idea to first take the idea of taking protein powder with your midwife or other healthcare provider.
Read the list of ingredients carefully when choosing a protein powder. Choose a protein supplement made from minimal ingredients, all checked by a third party. The first ingredient of a protein powder should always be the source (eg, whey isolate, egg, or vegetable blend), followed by a natural sweetener (eg, cane sugar, stevia, etc.) and / or flavors such as vanilla, cocoa, or chocolate.
Additional ingredients such as lecithin or xantham gum used for texturing are generally safe. Make sure that the list of additives does not contain saccharin that has not been approved for pregnancy because it can overcome the placental barrier. Stimulants such as caffeine; artificial sweeteners; or additional chemicals or fillers.
If you are unfamiliar with a particular ingredient on the label, choose a different brand or at least bring the label to your doctor. Decide together if it is a good choice for you.
If you want to add protein to your diet but do not like smooth smoothies, try some protein powder recipes to satisfy your taste buds and give you a healthy, protein-rich option for craving for pregnancy. Adding fruits or oatmeal to your shake or smoothie bowl can make a big difference in taste and texture!
Which protein powders are best for pregnancy?
The most popular sources of protein powder are safe pregnancy while eating. These include whey protein, soy protein, casein protein, other animal proteins, egg protein and plant proteins.
Protein powders are a supplement. They should not replace all the foods that make up a healthy diet. Even meal replacement shakes should not substitute for whole-food during pregnancy, even though they contain the recommended macronutrients, essential fatty acids, and other vitamins and minerals needed during pregnancy.
Using the shakes instead as an extra meal or as a snack will help you with the extra nutrient and calorie needs of a growing baby! Essential amino acids (EAA) and branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), the components of the protein, are found in both your powder and food in your normal diet. These components cross the placental barrier and are important regulators of growth and development. 
Although high-quality, additive-free and chemical-free protein powders are safe, research on BCAA and EAA supplementation during pregnancy is unclear. In the absence of good nutritionally supporting data, it is probably better to follow the general recommendations and obtain these ingredients for a comparable amino acid profile from food and / or whey protein.
How can protein promote pregnancy and lactation?
Surprising that adequate protein intake is crucial for both the pregnant mother and the baby at all stages of pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. [3,5]
Protein helps build a strong placenta and other extra-embryo membranes and tissues for the fetus. It also helps with changes in the heart, blood, breast tissue and uterus in the mother.  Low protein intake during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight and heart problems later in life. 
This increased need for nutrients from high-quality food sources continues after childbirth and breastfeeding. A lactating woman may need 30 percent more calories to keep up with milk production. This increased calorie requirement involves an increased need for protein.
Some research suggests that a higher protein diet not only increases milk lactation but also protein content.  So, if you increase the amount of high-quality protein you consume from good sources, you can increase the quality of the breast milk protein you produce!
Protein supplementation is equally safe for pregnant and nursing mothers. After typing whole foods for most of your protein, you should strategically use powders to increase your intake for the day and avoid some of the common eating disorders that often accompany the early stages of pregnancy. Find a quality protein with minimal ingredients and avoid any additives that could be harmful to you and your baby.
- Duggleby, S.L. & Jackson, A.A. (2002). Protein, amino acid and nitrogen metabolism during pregnancy: How can the mother meet the needs of her fetus? Recent Statement in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, 5 (5), 503-509.
- Stephens, L.D., McNaughton, S.A., Crawford, D., & amp; Ball, K. (2015). Dietary support approaches favored by Australian adolescents attending schools in deprived neighborhoods: a qualitative study. BMC Pediatrics, 15 (1), 61.
- Elango, R. & Ball, R.O. (2016). Protein and amino acid requirements during pregnancy. Advances in Nutrition, 7 (4), 839S-844 S.
- P. D. Manta-Vogli, K. Schulpis, Y. Dotsikas and Y. Loukas (2018). The Important Role of Amino Acids During Pregnancy: Nutritional Support. Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine (19459013), (just accepted), 1-181.
- Stephens, TV, Payne, M., Ball, RO, Pencharz, PB, & Elango, R (2014). The protein requirement of healthy pregnant women during early and late pregnancy is higher than current recommendations. The Journal of Nutrition, 145 (1), 73-78,
- Blumfield, M.L. & Collins, C.E. (2014). High-protein diet during pregnancy: healthy or harmful to offspring?
- Forsum, E. & Lönnerdal, B. (1980). Influence of protein intake on the protein and nitrogen composition of breast milk. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 33 (8), 1809-1813.