6 Smoothie Recipes to Enjoy When Pregnant

mom and daughter making smoothie

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When you're pregnant, you might have a hard time eating a balanced and nutritious meal due to morning sickness, nausea, and stomach upset. The thought of any kind of aromatic food can make it nearly impossible to have an appetite. As your pregnancy progresses, you may experience heartburn and a feeling of fullness making it difficult to eat.

However, good nutrition is critical when you are not only supporting your own needs but also the needs of your growing baby. Sometimes, the only thing you might crave is something cold and easy to get down, like a delicious smoothie packed with healthy fruits, vegetables, and protein. Smoothies are a great option when you're trying to prioritize getting all the nutrients your body requires.

Why Choose Smoothies When You're Pregnant?

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, people who are pregnant need a balanced eating plan that includes grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein foods, and dairy (or dairy alternatives such as soymilk). A smoothie can be a quick and simple way to take in some of the important nutrients found in these food groups. There are several reasons those who are pregnant might want to give smoothies a try.

Smoothies Are Easy to Digest

When it’s hard to get a meal down due to morning sickness, heartburn, or digestion issues, a smoothie is a good alternative. You can sip it with a straw and drink it slowly. Cold foods are generally easier to tolerate when you’re feeling nauseous since they do not typically have strong odors like warm foods do.

Lindsay Taylor, MA, CNE, and author of "The Food Doula Cookbook," is a pre and postnatal nutrition expert who understands the struggle with food during the first trimester. "I know how it feels to feel like you’re not eating anything nutritious in trimester one. If you only feel like carbs right now because they're easiest to digest, you’re not alone!" she says.

Taylor has created smoothies that are easy to drink and packed with real-food components as an alternative to merely nibbling on simple carbohydrates. Best of all, smoothies provide lots of good nutrition and beneficial ingredients. According to Yaffi Lova, RDN, of the Toddler Test Kitchen, “The fiber [smoothies] provide is great for supporting healthy bowel patterns.”

Smoothies Are Nutritious

Pregnancy smoothies are a fast and easy alternative to get vegetables, fruit, and even certain kinds of protein into your diet when you might be skipping these in your meals. Lvova often reminds her pregnant clients that getting all their nutrients is important. "If you don't have enough nutrition in a day, your body will sacrifice its own stores to ensure baby's nutrition," she explains.

Smoothies also allow you to incorporate specific ingredients that help alleviate certain ails of pregnancy. “Good pregnancy smoothies are helpful in all stages of pregnancy when experiencing nausea, heartburn, constipation, leg cramps, fatigue, and other symptoms,” says nutritionist Aundrea Leven at Family First Wellness.

Smoothies are an especially convenient option when you are feeling nauseous and unable to sit at the table to eat a proper (and often aromatic) meal with everyone else. You can enjoy your highly portable and mostly odorless smoothie on the couch, outside, or even on the go.

Smoothies Satiate

Smoothies, loaded with satisfying ingredients, can be an essential part of a small meal or snack. “When you're looking for a quick and healthy option, consider drinking half of your delicious smoothie with a piece of fruit or nuts, then save the other half for later,” says Leven. You can also pair smoothies with an apple and sun butter, hard-boiled egg, or oat bran and fruit to make it an even more substantial meal.

When you’re hungry but finding it hard to eat at all, sipping a smoothie can tame the hunger. The kind of smoothie that packs fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients will hydrate and help you feel full. Ingredients like fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber, which helps you feel fuller for longer. Using yogurt as a base can provide additional protein while adding grains will create a heartier smoothie.

Smoothies Provide Variety

You can different fruits and ingredients in a smoothie for a variety of drinks that will taste as sweet or tangy as you like. Use what’s fresh and in season at the market, or pick the favorites you know you can stomach. Follow some well-thought-out recipes for pregnancy but try putting in more or less of an ingredient to adjust the taste or consistency. "Each person is different, and so is each pregnancy—experiment to see what works for you," says Lvova.

Different kinds of frozen fruit, whether you freeze them yourself or buy them in the frozen food section of the grocery store, are a great choice to add to smoothies. Drop frozen berries, bananas, peaches, and more in the blender and you'll get an ice-cold smoothie right away without having to chill it first.

For those with an aversion to vegetables, blending them into a smoothie is a clever way to get your greens without tasting them. Use only the leafy parts of kale, Swiss chard, or collard greens. Although the stems contain plenty of fiber and minerals, they can often taste bitter.

Soothing Mango Green Smoothie

Taylor developed this sweet mango-based smoothie with anti-nausea aids to not only please the palate but also pack in some morning sickness relief.

Soothing Mango Green Smoothie Recipe
Amount Ingredient Notes
1 ½ cups Water 
1 cup Spinach Lightly packed
1 tablespoon Hemp hearts
1 Apple Cored and roughly chopped
1 small piece Fresh ginger Peeled and sliced, approximately 1 teaspoon
½ teaspoon Fresh lemon juice
8 Raw cashews
1 cup Frozen mango

How to Prepare

  1. Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender, and blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  2. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed, adding water to thin, ice to cool, more cashews to thicken, or more mango to sweeten. 

Nutrition Benefits

If you are struggling with an upset stomach, nausea, or digestive issues, this smoothie is a good one to try. "The lemon and ginger are helpful to ward off any nausea, and the cashews and hemp hearts pack in the protein which is an essential component of blood sugar control, a major player in the nausea game," says Taylor.

Morning sickness can be caused not only by hormone changes, but also by low blood sugar during pregnancy. To help regulate your blood sugar and stave off nausea, try to eat a balanced diet that includes foods high in protein and complex carbohydrates.

Labor Prep Smoothie

The Labor Prep Smoothie is perfect for the end of pregnancy. Taylor developed it to be packed with the three most important components of a labor snack—carbohydrates, protein, and fiber.

Labor Prep Smoothie Recipe
 Amount Ingredient Notes
2 cups Iced raspberry leaf tea See below for recipe
1 cup Frozen raspberries
¼ cup Rolled oats  
¼ cup Frozen avocado chunks
3 Medjool dates  
2 tablespoons Collagen powder Optional
1 tablespoon Ground flaxseed or hemp hearts  
1 tablespoon Lemon juice  

Recipe for Iced Raspberry Leaf Tea

  1. Steep 4 raspberry leaf tea bags in 4 cups (1 liter) of water for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Stir in 1 tablespoon of honey and the juice of 1 lemon.
  3. Let cool in the fridge until ready to use.

How to Prepare

  1. Add all ingredients to your high-powered blender.
  2. Blend at high speed for a minute, or until smooth.

Nutrition Benefits

This pregnancy smoothie includes two of the most popular end-of-pregnancy foods—raspberry leaf tea and dates—which are said to encourage shorter labor. A study from 1998 shows that women who drink raspberry leaf tea spend less time in labor. According to a 2011 study, women who eat dates have a shorter first stage of labor and a higher chance of having spontaneous labor.

"This [smothie is] a popular choice not only for the big day but the weeks leading up to delivery," says Taylor. "I love this as an early labor snack because even a few sips here and there—and let’s face it, that might be all you’ll be able to eat—will support your body with an energy boost as it works hard to bring you closer to meeting your baby."

Banana Berry Pregnancy Smoothie

Lvova came up with her pregnancy smoothies with nutrients in mind, choosing each ingredient for its ability to provide nutrition to the person whose body is working hard to nurture the life inside them.

Banana Berry Pregnancy Smoothie Recipe
Amount Ingredient Notes
1 Banana Frozen in chunks
1 ¾ cups Berries Fresh or frozen
1 cup Fresh spinach  
1 cup Milk Whole cow's milk or fortified vegan alternative
1 teaspoon Bee pollen  
1 teaspoon Hemp hearts  
¼ block Soft tofu

How to Prepare

  1. Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender.
  2. Blend at high speed for a minute, or until smooth.

Nutrition Benefits

This smoothie is particularly useful during the first trimester thanks to bananas, which can be soothing for the stomach. The addition of berries not only gives the smoothie a sweet and tangy taste, but they're good for you too. Berries help bolster the immune system and support cardiovascular health, healthy estrogen metabolism, and more.

Protein comes in both plant and animal forms in this smoothie recipe. "Hemp hearts are a nice source of plant protein. The fat contained in hemp hearts can help support cardiovascular health," says Lvova. Cow's milk provides choline, which is an important nutrient during pregnancy. "Choline helps to regulate mood and muscles while also supporting the growth of cell membranes."

Bee pollen might not be a household pantry item, but if you can source it locally at a farmer's market or health food store, it can help prevent seasonal allergies. "By introducing local flora to the body's system in slow doses, [then] when those plants bloom, they are less likely to trigger a seasonal allergic reaction," Lvova says.

Maple Peach Smoothie

Lvova used yogurt and milk as the base for this pregnancy smoothie to ensure that both mom and baby get the calcium they need.

Maple Peach Smoothie Recipe
 Amount Ingredient Notes
1 ½ cups Whole milk Greek yogurt Or vegan alternative
½ cup Whole milk Or vegan alternative
1 ⅓ cups Peach slices Fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons Ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon Lemon juice
2 tablespoons Maple syrup

How to Prepare

  1. Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender.
  2. Blend at high speed for a minute or two until smooth.

Nutrition Benefits

Flax seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. "[Omega-3s] are great for mood regulation and brain support. The fiber [flaxseeds] provides is also great for supporting healthy bowel patterns," says Lvova.

Calcium is also a star in the Maple Peach Smoothie, and for good reason. "Greek yogurt is higher in protein and calcium due to the straining process. When a woman doesn't have enough calcium during pregnancy, she may lose bone density," she says. In a situation where there's a shortage of calcium available, the body will begin to take the calcium from a pregnant person's bones and give it to the baby.

Shamrock Shake

Shamrock Shake Recipe
Amount Ingredient Notes
8 ounces Liquid of your choice Water, unsweetened almond, coconut, cashew milk, etc.
½ Avocado
½ cup Organic baby spinach  
1 scoop Protein shake Cold processed, grass fed whey protein, micro milled chia seed, organic stevia
3 drops Peppermint tea Consult with a healthcare provider before consuming

How to Prepare

  1. Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender.
  2. Blend at high speed until smooth.

Nutrition Benefits

Avocados contain monounsaturated fatty acids which creates a creamy and rich taste in the smoothie. They are high in fiber, B vitamins (especially folate), vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E, and vitamin C. "Avocados help with satiety, nutrient absorption, constipation, development of the fetus, and may help relieve leg cramps," says Leven.

Chia seeds can support healthy brain development in your baby if you are planning to breastfeed. "Research indicates that consuming chia oil during the last three months of pregnancy and the first three months of breastfeeding may increase the DHA content in the milk," says Leven.

Leven also loves to include nutrient-packed ingredients like spinach and yogurt in her smoothie recipes. "Grass-fed whey and organic yogurt are healthy choices because they contain calcium and protein," says Leven. The addition of spinach packs another healthful punch since it is high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium. Research has shown that these nutrients help with constipation and fetus development.

Although peppermint is known for decreasing upset stomachs, nausea, heartburn, and headaches, Leven suggests speaking to your doctor before consuming peppermint. People who are ready to wean from breastfeeding sometimes consume peppermint to help them stop lactating. "Research involving pregnant people and peppermint is limited. The general recommendation is to limit to one cup of peppermint tea per day during the second and third trimester," says Leven.

Super Smoothie

Leven wants her smoothies to be helpful not only during pregnancy but also during the postpartum period. When new parents are healing, sleep-deprived, and in need of something quick and nutrient-dense, this would be a great option. 

Super Smoothie Recipe
 Amount Ingredient Notes
4 ounces Liquid of your choice Water or unsweetened almond, coconut, cashew milk, etc.
¼ cup Organic plain Greek-style yogurt  
1 cup Spinach  
3 Organic baby carrots  
¼ cup Blueberries Fresh or frozen
½ Frozen banana  
¼ cup Other fresh/frozen fruit Strawberries, papaya, mango, pineapple, etc.
2 tablespoons Wheat germ Substitute with 1 tablespoon of chia seeds or flaxseeds for a gluten-free option
1 teaspoon Cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients to your high-powered blender.
  2. Blend at high speed until smooth.

Nutritional Benefit

It's not always easy to stay hydrated when pregnant and breastfeeding. When you're pregnant, you need more water than you did before. Your body is using it to form amniotic fluid, support higher blood volume, carry nutrients, and flush out waste. Water intake is also important during breastfeeding to support lactation.

This Super Smoothie can help increase nutrient and liquid intake with water, carbs, vitamin C, fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, plant compounds, and wheat germ. "Wheat germ is rich with folic acid, which is important before conception and during pregnancy," says Leven.

Getting enough folic acid during the first several weeks after conception is crucial because it helps decrease the risk of brain and spinal cord birth defects. Folic acid can be found naturally in some green leafy vegetables, most berries, nuts, beans, and citrus fruits. You can also find them in supplements as well as fortified cereals.

A Word from Verywell

It's not always easy to eat a nutritious meal during pregnancy when you don't feel like you can get anything down. Still, it's important to try your best to get the nutrients you need.

These pregnancy smoothie recipes are a great place to start. You can tweak them for flavor and consistency. You can also experiment with your own concoctions. Consider talking to a registered dietitian for more ideas and healthy add-ons to your smoothies.

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Article Sources
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