Protein powder in pregnancy & when breastfeeding

I’ve had a couple of conversations recently with people about their protein intake and whether protein powders are safe in pregnancy or when breastfeeding.

As with most things, pregnant / breastfeeding women are never the population that these things are tested on so it’s difficult to say for sure, and there’s a real lack of independent advice out there.
What I can say is:

  • always start with your diet and try and get whatever you need more of from real food where possible. (Think lean meat like chicken or turkey, low-mercury fish, and certain grains and legumes).
  • always consult your GP or a dietician if you have specific concern or health issue.
  • view protein powder as a supplement, rather than a meal replacement.
  • if you are supplementing with a protein powder make sure it’s a quality one and really study the ingredients before you buy. They’re not all made equal and many are full of sugar and other chemicals to enhance their taste. Look for an unflavoured pure product, with minimal ingredients (ideally ones you recognise!) and check out the amount of sugar in it.
  • Many protein powders are made from whey (which is made from milk), soy and other allergens so be careful if little one (or you) have any allergies. There are other options like pea and hemp protein, but as vegetable based proteins are considered incomplete (from an amino acid / protein building block perspective), do check out if / what’s been added to it.
  • there are potential dangers from having too much protein in your diet, so make sure you do have a deficit before you start adding protein powder in.

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