The 10 Best Pregnancy-Safe Protein Powders of 2021, According to a Dietitian

Fuel your body and baby with these protein picks.

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Protein needs increase during pregnancy, not only to help your growing baby but also to help your body grow to support your baby. The American Pregnancy Association recommends pregnant women consume 75-100 grams of protein per day.

It’s important that the majority of your daily protein comes from food sources during pregnancy, like fish, chicken, beef, and eggs to name a few. These foods provide more than protein, they also provide essential vitamins and minerals that are needed in higher amounts during pregnancy,” says Ryann Kipping, MPH, RDN, Founder of The Prenatal Nutrition Library.

But, it can be hard to meet protein requirements through food alone, especially with the food aversions that present during pregnancy. That’s where protein powders come in. Protein powders provide protein in—you guessed it—a powder form that can be easily blended into smoothies, shaken with water or milk, mixed into yogurt, or baked into desserts.

Keep in mind, says Kipping, “Since protein powders are considered a dietary supplement, there is limited oversight by the FDA which is the first consideration. Picking a protein powder that has undergone third-party testing should be a priority. Other ingredients to avoid include added sugar, artificial sweeteners, soy protein isolate, herbs, and a ton of preservatives/additives.”

Here are the best pregnancy-safe protein powders.

Our Top Picks
You won’t find caffeine, gluten, soy, preservatives, artificial sweeteners or flavors in Baby Booster.
Designed to not only provide 15 grams of whey protein per serving, but it also has the essential nutrients.
A great plant-based option, especially for vegan moms who may have difficulty meeting protein needs during pregnancy.
Ritual Essential Protein is third-party tested, Informed Sport Certified, vegan, and free of gluten, dairy, and soy.
Naked Whey isn’t designed for pregnancy per se, but one serving has 25 grams of protein, a third of the recommended amount.
Includes a “Lactation Blend” of milk thistle, red raspberry leaf, brewer’s yeast, fenugreek, and fennel seeds to support nursing.
One scoop has 19 grams of plant-based protein derived from pea, sacha inchi, flax, and chia, plus all nine essential amino acids.
The body makes less collagen as you age, so consuming it in protein powder or supplement form may help increase collagen stores.
Best for Gestational Diabetes:
NAKED nutrition Naked Casein at Amazon
Protein powders with stevia and monk fruit are considered safe and don’t impact blood sugar levels.
Add one to breakfast to boost protein, have as a snack, or enjoy as a post-dinner dessert.

Best Overall: Baby Booster Prenatal Vitamin Supplement

Pros
  • No artificial sweeteners

  • Includes vitamin B6, vitamin D, folate, DHA, and calcium

  • Soy- and gluten-free

Cons
  • Some may not like the stevia aftertaste

  • Not lactose- or dairy-free

Baby Booster protein powder was designed specifically for pregnant mamas by an OB/GYN. In addition to providing 20 grams of whey-based protein powder, it has vitamin B6, vitamin D, folate, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and calcium, all crucial nutrients for mom and baby. Vitamin B6 has been shown to help with nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. 

One serving of Baby Booster protein powder boasts 430 milligrams (mg) of plant-based DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid that supports a baby's growing brain but comes without a fishy taste. With delicious flavors like Tahitian Vanilla and Kona Mocha, Baby Booster is sweetened with stevia and has four grams of naturally occurring sugar. You won’t find caffeine, gluten, soy, preservatives, artificial sweeteners or flavors in Baby Booster. Mix with your favorite milk or blend into a smoothie.

Servings per container: 15 | Type of protein: Whey | Grams of sugar per serving: 4 | Grams of protein per serving: 20

Best Budget: Mommi Prenatal Protein Shake

Pros
  • Includes vitamin B6 to help with nausea

  • Non-GMO

  • Gluten-free

Cons
  • Strong smell and taste may be off putting

  • Not lactose- or dairy-free

Mommi’s vanilla protein powder will help you meet your protein needs without breaking the bank. At $1.98 per ounce, it’s one of the most affordable, pregnancy-safe protein powders available. Formulated by an OB/GYN, Mommi protein powder is designed to not only provide 15 grams of whey protein per serving, but also has the essential nutrients you would find in a prenatal vitamin. Don’t stop taking your prenatal vitamins just yet though. Always consult with your doctor before starting or stopping any vitamins and supplements during pregnancy.

Mommi has vitamin B6 for nausea and 100 percent of the recommended daily value for folate and vitamin D3. The non-GMO and gluten-free powder only has three grams of sugar and is sweetened with stevia, which some people like and some people don’t. Mix Mommi with milk or water or add to your homemade protein bars.

Servings per container: 15 | Type of protein: Whey | Grams of sugar per serving: 3 | Grams of protein per serving: 15

Best Plant-Based: Orgain Grass Fed Clean Protein Shake

Orgain grass fed
Pros
  • Free of gluten, dairy, and soy

  • Organic, Vegan, Non-GMO

  • Sugar-free

Cons
  • Not specifically designed for pregnancy

  • Artificial aftertaste from erythritol and stevia

While Orgain’s Creamy Chocolate Fudge protein powder is not designed specifically for pregnancy, it’s a great plant-based option, especially for vegan moms who may have difficulty meeting protein needs during pregnancy. Orgain’s protein powder has 21 grams of protein sourced from pea, brown rice, and chia. Two scoops also delivers two grams of fiber, which can help keep things moving along since constipation is common in pregnancy.

Orgain’s plant-based protein powder has no added sugar but does contain stevia, as well as five grams of erythritol, a type of sugar alcohol. While sugar alcohols are considered safe during pregnancy, they can cause stomach distress for some people so keep that in mind. Orgain sells single-serve packs, which are a great way to try the protein powder before investing in an entire tub. Along with being vegan, Orgain’s plant-based protein powder is free of lactose, soy, gluten, dairy, GMOs, carrageenan, and preservatives. It’s also budget-friendly.

Servings per container: 20 | Type of protein: Pea, Brown Rice, Chia | Grams of sugar per serving: 0 | Grams of protein per serving: 21

Best Flavor: Ritual Essential Protein

Ritual Essential Protein
Pros
  • Includes 250 mg choline

  • Free of gluten, dairy, and soy 

  • Vegan

Cons
  • More expensive than other brands

  • Only available on Ritual’s website

Ritual’s Essential Protein Pregnancy & Postpartum protein powder is Made Traceable™, which means Ritual is transparent about where the ingredients come from and sources the best of the best for pregnant mamas. Not only that, it tastes amazing. Ritual sweetens this protein powder with natural vanilla bean extract from Madagascar, monk fruit, and fermented sugarcane (Reb-M). There are zero grams of sugar.

Ritual Essential Protein has 20 grams of organic pea protein from organic, non-GMO peas grown in the United States. The other added ingredients include 250 mg of choline and L-Methionine. L-Methionine provides a complete amino acid profile, and choline supports fetal development. Ritual Essential Protein is third-party tested, Informed-Sport Certified, vegan, and free of gluten, dairy, and soy. For best results, shake or blend instead of stirring.

Servings per container: 15 | Type of protein: Pea | Grams of sugar per serving: 0 | Grams of protein per serving: 20

Best Whey-Based: Naked Whey Vanilla Protein Powder

Pros
  • Only three ingredients

  • No artificial sweeteners

  • Gluten-free

Cons
  • Contains 5 grams added sugar

  • Not lactose-free or dairy-free

Whey protein is derived from strained milk and contains all nine essential amino acids. Naked Whey keeps things simple—as you could guess from their name—with just three ingredients: whey, organic coconut sugar, and natural flavors. While it does have five grams of sugar per two scoops, it doesn't come with any artificial or calorie-free sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit that can leave a funky aftertaste.

Naked Whey isn’t designed for pregnancy per se, but one serving has a whopping 25 grams of protein, one-third of the recommended amount during pregnancy. Naked’s whey protein is derived from grass-fed cows from small dairy farms in California. It's free of gluten and soy, as well as growth hormones like rBGH and rBST. If you’re looking for high protein, few ingredients, and nothing artificial, Naked Whey is one of the best options. Blend into a smoothie or make some protein pancakes.

Servings per container: 12 | Type of protein: Whey | Grams of sugar per serving: 5 | Grams of protein per serving: 25

Best for Lactation: Milk Dust Lactation Protein Powder

Pros
  • No dairy, gluten, or soy

  • Non-GMO

  • Vegan

Cons
  • More expensive

  • Has 4 grams added sugar

Spending nine months growing a baby is just the beginning, especially if you plan to breastfeed. It’s currently recommended that breastfeeding moms get a minimum of 1.05 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. However, recent studies suggest that the number should be closer to 1.7-1.9 g/kg/day. That’s 135-150 grams of protein per day for a mom who weighs 175 pounds.

Look no further than Milk Dust Lactation Protein Powder, which can help you meet those high protein needs. While it may look lower in protein than other brands at first glance, the serving size is one scoop so if you have two scoops, which is the serving size in most other protein powders, you’ll hit 32 grams of protein. 

Milk Dust Lactation Protein Powder is derived from plant-based proteins including pea protein, brown rice protein, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds. In addition, it includes a “Lactation Blend” of milk thistle, red raspberry leaf, brewer’s yeast, fenugreek, and fennel seeds to support breastfeeding. Milk Dust is sweetened with four grams of natural sugar, stevia, and monk fruit and comes in a delicious vanilla flavor perfect for blending into smoothies.

Servings per container: 22 | Type of protein: Pea, Brown Rice, Pumpkin, Chia, Flax | Grams of sugar per serving: 4 | Grams of protein per serving: 16

Best with Probiotic: Boobie Bar Organic Superfood

Pros
  • No gluten, dairy, or soy

  • Vegan and kosher

  • No sugar

Cons
  • May be too sweet for some

  • More expensive

Boobie Body Organic Superfood Protein powder can be used during pregnancy or postpartum to not only boost protein intake but to also get a healthy dose of probiotics. One scoop has 19 grams of plant-based protein derived from pea, sacha inchi, flax, and chia, plus all nine essential amino acids. Along with being high in protein, Boobie Body has a custom 11-strain probiotic blend to support gut health and six grams of fiber.

Choose from Chocolate Bliss, Vanilla Cookie, Vanilla Chai, or Coffee Caramel, which are sweetened with stevia and monk fruit and have no sugar. Boobie Body also delivers 1,000 IU of vitamin D and 40 percent of the recommended daily value for iron. Iron needs nearly double in pregnancy so the added iron is very beneficial. Shake, bake, or blend this protein powder into your favorite foods and beverages.

Servings per container: 20 | Type of protein: Pea | Grams of sugar per serving: 0 | Grams of protein per serving: 19

Best Sugar-Free: Needed Collagen Protein Powder

Pros
  • No sugar or artificial sweeteners

  • Non-GMO

  • Gluten-free

Cons
  • More expensive

Needed Collagen Protein powder was designed for use before, during, and after pregnancy. Not only is it free of sugar and artificial sweeteners, it only has one ingredient: collagen. Collagen is the main structural protein found in connective tissues like ligaments and your skin, and it helps tissues withstand stretching, something that happens a lot during pregnancy. The body makes less collagen as you age, so consuming it in protein powder or supplement form may help increase collagen stores. 

Needed Collagen Protein powder has 15 grams of hydrolyzed collagen sourced from grass-fed, hormone-free bovines from New Zealand. Add to your favorite smoothie or bake into a sweet treat. Needed Collagen can help improve skin elasticity and joint health during and after pregnancy. It’s non-GMO and gluten-free.

Servings per container: 30 | Type of protein: Collagen | Grams of sugar per serving: 0 | Grams of protein per serving: 15

Best for Gestational Diabetes: NAKED nutrition Naked Casein Unflavored 100% Micellar Casein Protein

NAKED nutrition Naked Casein Unflavored 100% Micellar Case
Pros
  • Only 2 grams of sugar

  • No artificial sweeteners

  • Free of gluten and soy

Cons
  • Not lactose-free or dairy-free

  • Only available in 5 pound tub

Gestational diabetes occurs in 10 percent of American pregnancies when blood sugar levels become too high during pregnancy. If you’ve been told you have gestational diabetes, keeping sugar intake low is important. Protein powders with stevia and monk fruit are considered safe and don’t impact blood sugar levels. However, if you want to be super safe, opt for Naked Whey Unflavored Protein powder, which has one ingredient: whey protein concentrate. 

Two scoops of Naked Whey has three total grams of carbohydrates, two grams of sugar, and 25 grams of protein. Naked sources its whey from pasture-fed cows from small dairy farms in California. You won’t find hormones, artificial sweeteners, gluten, soy, or GMOs in Naked Whey. The only downside is that the unflavored Naked Whey only comes in a 5-pound tub. However, you can get a protein powder sampler pack on the Naked website so you can try it before making an investment.

Servings per container: 76 | Type of protein: Whey | Grams of sugar per serving: 2 | Grams of protein per serving: 25

Best Premixed: OWYN Vegan Protein Shake

OWYN
Pros
  • Easy to take on the go

  • No gluten, dairy, or soy

  • Vegan

Cons
  • Not technically a protein powder

  • Contains 4 grams of added sugar

Pregnancy is exhausting so no judgment if you can’t even muster the energy to blend a protein powder into a smoothie. That’s where premixed protein shakes like Owyn come in. Owyn Vegan Plant-Based Protein Shake makes meeting protein needs simple. All you have to do is unscrew the top and drink up. One 12-ounce bottle has 20 grams of protein, five grams of fiber, four grams of sugar, 535 mg of plant-based omega-3s, and 180 calories. That’s a lot of nutrients in one small drink.

Owyn’s protein blend sources include pea, organic pumpkin seed, and organic flax oil. Choose from creamy, delicious flavors like Dark Chocolate, Cookies & Creamless, or Smooth Vanilla, which are sweetened with monk fruit and organic cane sugar. Owyn is certified vegan and gluten-free, as well as allergy-friendly so it can easily fit into a variety of diets. You won’t find dairy, soy, peanut, tree nuts, or wheat in their shakes either. Add one to breakfast to boost protein, have it as a snack, or enjoy it as a post-dinner dessert.

Servings per container: 1 | Type of protein: Pea, Pumpkin Seed, Flax | Grams of sugar per serving: 4 | Grams of protein per serving: 20

Final Verdict

Baby Booster (view at Amazon) protein powder is the number one pick for having 20 grams of protein, being backed by an OB, incorporating important prenatal nutrients, and being free of gluten, soy, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners.

What to Look for in Pregnancy-Safe Protein Powders

Type of Protein

Pregnancy protein powders are made with a variety of different types of protein including whey, collagen, pea, brown rice, hemp, chia, and flax. Most are soy-free. Keep in mind that whey and collagen are derived from animal products and are not vegan, whereas plant-based proteins are vegan-friendly.

“The type of protein powder that is best is going to largely depend on the individual. Collagen, whey, pea, and hemp are all safe options to consider. Collagen peptides are a source of the conditionally essential amino acid glycine which is often under-consumed during pregnancy due to aversions to meat, but you can also get it from food sources like bone broth,” says Ryann Kipping, MPH, RDN, Founder of The Prenatal Nutrition Library.

Amount of Protein

“Since protein needs are individualized, there is not a recommended amount of protein to look for in a protein powder, but most have 10 - 20 grams per scoop,” says Kipping. Be sure to check the serving size on the nutrition label. Some of the protein powders listed have a serving size of one scoop, whereas others have a serving size of two scoops. The varying serving sizes can make it seem as if one protein powder has less protein than another but it really is about how much you're supposed to use each time.

Added Ingredients

Many pregnancy-safe protein powders have added ingredients including vitamins and minerals, sugar, natural sweeteners, herbs, probiotics, or omega-3s. “Avoid protein powders that include a whole host of herbal components because many of these we don't have the data on to prove they are safe during pregnancy. Additionally, avoid ones that also function as a multivitamin, unfortunately, you can get too much of a good thing. If you are taking a prenatal vitamin, you don't also need a protein powder that includes vitamins and minerals,” says Kipping. Check with your doctor to be sure.

Watch out for sugar and artificial sweeteners too. “Ideally, the protein powder would have little to no added sugar and be free of artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame. While we certainly don't need to eliminate sugar entirely from our diet, a diet high in added sugar can lead to excessive weight gain during pregnancy and potentially blood sugar imbalances,” says Kipping. Most of the powders in this roundup are lightly sweetened by stevia or monk fruit.

In addition, avoid protein powders with caffeine, such as those that are marketed to boost energy or improve workouts. Check the ingredients list to be certain of everything in the product.

Flavor

It’s personal preference whether you want your protein powder to be flavored. Unflavored protein powders don’t taste as good, but if you are blending them with fruits and vegetables, for example, it might not matter to you. If you are simply mixing a protein powder with milk or water, you may want one that has more flavor.

Chocolate and vanilla are common flavors for pregnancy-safe protein powders, but check out each brand for their specific flavors. Check the label for the source of the flavor to avoid unnecessary artificial additives. Is it natural flavoring, added sugar, an artificial sweetener, or a natural sweetener? Cane sugar and coconut sugar contribute calories, but stevia and monk fruit do not.

FAQs

What kind of protein powder should I avoid during pregnancy?

“Avoid protein powders that include a whole host of herbal components because many of these we don't have the data on to prove they are safe during pregnancy. Additionally, avoid ones that also function as a multivitamin, unfortunately, you can get too much of a good thing. If you are taking a prenatal vitamin, you don't also need a protein powder that includes vitamins and minerals,” says Kipping.

Can I continue using protein powder while I am breastfeeding?

Yes, the same precautions to consider in using protein powder in pregnancy apply when breastfeeding,” says Kipping.

Why Trust Verywell Family?

As a registered dietitian and mom, Lainey Younkin does thorough research before recommending any supplements or protein powders. She has a food first approach but believe these protein powders can help increase intake during pregnancy when protein needs are higher. She's tried many of the protein powders in this roundup mixed into smoothies.

She recommends always checking with your doctor before taking a supplement or trying these protein powders, since many of them have added vitamins and minerals, and you are probably already taking a prenatal vitamin.

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8 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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