These are the best pre-made protein shakes for pregnancy, plus important nutrition tips for first-time moms.
If you’re a pregnant, first time mom, you’ll likely have lots of questions about your nutritional needs.
And, we’re here to help!
As you’re probably aware, babies rely on their mother’s diet to receive the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.
If you don’t consume the right vitamins, and minerals, or get enough protein, you and your baby can experience negative side effects.
Following a healthy, balanced diet is usually all you need. But, some women may require a little extra help.
Fortunately, there are plenty of easy-to-use and ready-to-drink nutritional products that are safe for pregnant women.
And one of the best options is protein shakes!
A well-formulated protein shake can help women maintain a healthy pregnancy diet and even alleviate some pregnancy symptoms.
Below, you’ll find a list of the best pre-made protein shakes for pregnancy, plus other helpful food sources, drinks, and information on pregnancy nutrition.
The Basics of Pregnancy Nutrition
Before we list the best protein shakes for pregnancy, let’s talk about pregnancy nutrition!
As mentioned above, establishing a healthy diet during pregnancy is important for both the mother and baby. And doing so will make the pregnancy journey so much easier.
But, many women aren’t sure what to eat and drink. So, here are some tips and facts to help you create an ideal pregnancy diet.
The Ideal Pregnancy Diet
Pregnant women should focus on eating whole foods, whole grains, lean proteins, leafy greens, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats. And they should limit sugary, processed, and fried foods.
NOTE: It is not safe to follow the keto diet while pregnant.
Pregnant women with a “normal” body weight should consume about 1800 calories per day in the first trimester, 2200 calories in the second trimester, and 2400 calories in the third trimester.
In addition to healthy, foods, pregnant women should also focus on drinking plenty of water. Water helps form the amniotic fluid around the fetus. And it also helps circulate nutrients throughout the body.
During pregnancy, you should drink 8-12 cups of water per day.
You’ll also need 70 to 100 grams of protein daily.
But, this may vary depending on the number of babies you’re carrying or other special circumstances. Protein requirements also increase from the first trimester to the third trimester.
As a general rule, for the first trimester, you can convert your weight to kilograms, then multiply that number by 1.2. And this will be about the amount of protein you need.
And for the third trimester, multiply your weight by 1.52.
However, you should always consult with your OBGYN or midwife to make sure you’re getting enough protein at each point in your pregnancy journey.
Protein is responsible for building, supporting, and maintaining cells and organs in your and your baby’s growing bodies.
So, if you’re protein-deficient, your doctor may proscribe a protein supplement or changes to your diet.
Filling the Gaps
All women should take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid during their childbearing years. And this is true even when you’re not pregnant.
But, you can also help fill in nutritional gaps with:
- Probiotic supplements
- Dietary supplements (like whole food vitamins)
- Hydration multipliers
Just be sure to clear any supplements with your doctor first!
Another great option for pregnant women is protein shakes!
A good protein shake is a great way to add extra nutrients to your diet. And many pre-made shakes include important vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and even probiotics.
RELATED: Try these Pregnancy Workout Ideas When You Need a Quick Burn
Protein Shakes 101
The Different Types of Protein
When choosing the right protein shake or powder, it’s important to consider the protein source. There are two main types of protein with several derivatives.
- Animal protein (e.g. whey protein, egg protein, casein protein)
- Plant-based protein (e.g. pea protein, hemp protein, brown rice protein)
Animal protein is the most bioavailable. And this means the body can absorb it the best and with the most effects.
On the other hand, plant protein isn’t always a complete source of protein, and it’s less bioavailable.
However, there are still good vegan options for those following a plant-based diet.
The Benefits of Protein Shakes During Pregnancy
Protein shakes have several benefits besides providing essential nutrients.
They can also:
- Ease early pregnancy symptoms like nausea, fatigue, and morning sickness.
- Act as a meal replacement (from time to time) for pregnant women experiencing extreme nausea or food aversions.
- Improve protein deficiencies for vegans.
And below are the top 15 protein shakes for pregnancy to help you get started.
The Best Protein Shakes for Pregnancy
When you’re pregnant, sometimes the last thing you want to do is fix a meal or mix up a complicated shake.
So here are some pre-mixed options to enjoy!
Top 15 Ready-to-Drink Protein Shakes for Pregnancy
1. Premier Protein
This is one of the most affordable brands, and there are a wide variety of flavors including chocolate peanut butter, caramel, bananas and cream, and more. These shakes have 20-30 grams of protein and 24 vitamins and minerals.
2. Carnation Breakfast Essentials Nutritional drink
Carnation breakfast essentials include 13 grams of protein and 21 vitamins and minerals. And they’re Kosher and gluten-free. They’re also a great product for immune support.
3. Orgain Organic Nutritional Protein Shakes
These nutritional shakes include 16 grams of protein and 20 different vitamins and minerals. You can choose from regular and vegan options.
4. Fairlife Flavored High Protein Milkshakes
Fairlife shakes include as much as 46 grams of protein. And you can enjoy delicious flavors like caramel, cookies and cream, and chocolate.
5. Ensure High Protein Shakes
Ensure shakes have 30 grams of protein and 25 essential vitamins. Just steer clear of their caffeinated flavors like café mocha and milk chocolate with caffeine.
6. Glucerna Protein Smart Shakes
These shakes have slow-release carbohydrates to help regulate blood sugar and include 30 grams of protein. You can enjoy vanilla or chocolate flavors.
7. Boost High Protein Nutritional Drinks
Boost protein shakes boast 20 grams of protein and 27 vitamins and minerals. And they have several flavors including cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
8. Naked Juice Protein Shakes
Naked smoothies have no added sugar and 30 grams of protein. And if you don’t like flavors like chocolate or vanilla, they offer tropical and fruity drink options, too.
9. Ripple Vegan Protein Shakes
These shakes are plant-based and made from pea protein. They include 20 grams of protein and they’re lactose-free, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, and GMO-free.
10. Atkins Protein-Rich Shakes
Atkins shakes are low-sugar and low-carb. And they have a decent amount of protein at 15 grams. They’re also very affordable.
11. Quest Nutrition Protein Shakes
These are another great low-sugar and low-carb option. Quest nutrition shakes include 30 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbs, and 1 gram of sugar. And you can enjoy flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and salted caramel.
12. Iconic Protein Drink
Iconic protein drinks have 0 grams of sugar and 20 grams of protein. Just watch out for flavors with caffeine!
13. Aloha Organic Plant-based Protein Shakes
Aloha is vegan, non-GMO, and organic, and their products include 20 grams of protein. However, they’re a little more on the expensive side.
14. Pure Protein Complete Protein Shake
These shakes include 30-35 grams of protein and 24 vitamins and minerals with less than 1 gram of sugar. They have several flavors like strawberry, caramel, banana cream, cookies and cream, and more.
15. Optimum Nutrition Protein Shakes
Optimum Nutrition protein shakes are low fat with no added sugars. And they include 25 grams of protein. They have 4 different flavors: strawberry, chocolate, white chocolate, and vanilla.
Top Protein Powders for Pregnant Women (to Make your Own Shakes)
And, if you prefer to make your own protein shakes, here are some of the top protein powders and protein brands for pregnant women:
- Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Unflavored Powder
- Anthony’s Premium Pea Protein
- Ora So Lean & So Clean
- KOS Dairy Free Protein Powder
- Ritual Essential Protein
- Raw Organic Whey Undenatured 100% Grass Fed
- Tera’s Whey Goat Whey Protein
- Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder
- PlantFusion Complete Protein
- Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Organic Max Protein Powder
- Designs for Health PurePaleo Collagen Protein Powder
- Equip Foods Prime Protein
- Needed Prenatal Collagen
- Koia Protein
- Iron Vegan
Other Helpful Pregnancy Drinks
Pregnant women may also benefit from the following drinks and beverages:
- Watered-down or “half-strength” Sprite
- Ginger ale
- Coconut water
- Herbal teas
- Isopure protein drinks
- Iso100 clear protein drinks
Protein Shakes to Avoid During Pregnancy
It’s important to remember that not all protein shakes are ideal for pregnancy. Pregnant women should avoid protein shakes with:
- Excessive vitamin A
- Added sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
- Artificial proteins
- Artificial flavors
- Ingredients you’re allergic to
And make sure your protein shakes are free of heavy metals, especially in plant-based products. Any food item that grows in the ground has the potential for heavy metal contamination.
How to Choose the Best Protein Shakes
The easiest way to find healthy protein shakes and other food items during pregnancy is to pay attention to the ingredient list.
High-quality brands will highlight their natural ingredients and list certifications such as non-GMO and organic.
It’s also very important to watch the sugar content of your foods. Elevated blood sugar levels can lead to a condition called gestational diabetes.
This can lead to other pregnancy complications like:
- An overly large baby
- High blood pressure
- Birth defects
Gestational diabetes also increases the chances of developing type II diabetes later on.
Around 24 weeks, you’ll receive a pregnancy glucose test to make sure your levels are normal.
You should also make sure the protein products you choose don’t include too much protein for your overall diet. Excessive protein intake can tax your kidneys and cause heart problems.
Additional Healthy Protein Sources for Pregnancy
Now that we’ve covered the best protein shakes for pregnancy, here are some other high-protein foods to help you meet your protein needs:
Other protein-rich foods for pregnancy:
- Egg whites
- Peanut butter
- Cottage cheese
- Lean meats
- Pasteurized milk
- Cheese (avoid mold-ripened and soft cheeses)
Soy products like tofu are also a great source of protein for vegans.
RELATED: 22 Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy
You should avoid any protein shakes that include added sugars, artificial sweeteners (and other artificial ingredients), fillers, excessive vitamin A, and caffeine.
You should also avoid products that may contain heavy metals and any items with ingredients that you’re allergic to.
The Bottom Line
Here’s the bottom line on the best protein shakes for pregnancy:
- Pregnant women should strive for a healthy balanced diet filled with whole foods, whole grains, lean meats, healthy fats, leafy greens, vegetables, and fruit.
- They should also consume 1800-2400 calories per day, 8-12 glasses of water, and 70-100 grams of protein.
- Pregnant women can fill nutrition gaps using vitamins, supplements, and hydration multipliers. And some of the best nutrition products for pregnant women are protein shakes.
- The top 15 pre-made protein shakes for pregnancy are:
- Premier Protein
- Carnation Breakfast Essentials Nutritional drink
- Orgain Organic Nutritional Protein Shakes
- Fairlife Flavored High Protein Milkshakes
- Ensure High Protein Shakes
- Glucerna Protein Smart Shakes
- Boost High Protein Nutritional Drinks
- Naked Juice Protein Shakes
- Ripple Vegan Protein Shakes
- Atkins Protein-Rich Shakes
- Quest Nutrition Protein Shakes
- Iconic Protein Drink
- Aloha Organic Plant-based Protein Shakes
- Pure Protein Complete Protein Shake
- Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey
- You should avoid pregnancy shakes that have added sugars, artificial ingredients and sweeteners, fillers, caffeine, and excessive vitamin A. You should also avoid any products with ingredients you’re allergic to.
- Sugary protein shakes can lead to gestational diabetes and other pregnancy complications.
- And too much protein can lead to kidney and heart issues.
- Always consult with your doctor before starting any new medications or supplements when pregnant.
If this post was helpful, be sure to check out:
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- 12 Fun baby gender predictions
- 3 first time mom books
- What to expect during labor for first time moms
- The ultimate first time mom baby registry checklist
- The best printable hospital bag checklist
Did we answer all your questions about protein shakes and pregnancy? Let us know if we missed anything in the comments!