Adding Collagen Peptides in Pregnancy Shakes
Written by: Jamie Johnson, RDN, LDN
You may or may not have already hopped on the collagen craze, probably for its touted cosmetic benefits, but did you know it might have some benefits for pregnancy, too? So what is collagen anyway? Collagen is a type of protein responsible for making connective tissue strong and resilient. It’s the most abundant protein in the body and is found in connective tissue, skin, tendons, bones and cartilage. Unfortunately, as we age, collagen production declines, becomes fragmented, and the structural integrity declines (i.e. why we get wrinkles).
In regards to pregnancy, collagen is rich in amino acids, including glycine, which is needed for a growing uterus and fetal development, and proline, which is the most abundant amino acid found in breast milk.
Benefits of including collagen peptides in a smoothie for pregnancy
Including collagen peptides in a smoothie for pregnancy may have multiple benefits.
- May Support Skin Health: As a baby grows, so does mama’s belly and breasts, which can lead to unwanted stretch marks. A recent study suggests oral collagen and vitamin supplementation can increase skin elasticity, which could help prevent stretch marks and may improve skin regeneration. The same study showed a protective effect on joints and reduced joint pain, a common problem in pregnancy when joints are getting used to carrying the weight of a growing human.
- May Support Gut and Joint Health: Collagen may positively support the gut lining, as well as support your joints! Collagen is found in connective tissue – and provides a boost that may support your overall joint comfort.
- Source of Protein: Many people experience food aversions to high protein sources like meat and fish while pregnant, so adding collagen peptides to a smoothie can be a great way to have your protein and drink it, too.
Collagen recommendations during pregnancy
While there are no official collagen specific recommendations in pregnancy, protein needs during pregnancy do increase in each trimester. Here are a few findings:
- The current recommendations are:
- 8 grams of protein per kilogram of pre-pregnancy bodyweight during the 1st trimester (to determine your weight in kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2)
- 1 gram of protein per kilogram of pre-pregnancy bodyweight after the 1st trimester
- However, a 2016 study has suggested that a protein intake of:
- 2 grams per kilogram in early gestation (~16 weeks) and 1.52 grams per kilogram in late gestation (~36 weeks) is more beneficial to the mother and baby.
Based on a study to determine how much collagen peptides can be incorporated into the diet, the takeaway from the researchers was that up to 36% of total daily protein can be supplemented with collagen peptides in the general population. It is important to note that this study was not done on pregnant participants; however there is no evidence to support this amount would be harmful. Still, always check with your healthcare provider before starting any supplement.
Adding collagen peptides to a smoothie can be a great way to help meet protein needs, however, collagen is considered an incomplete protein (meaning it does not contain all of the essential amino acids you need to get from food), so just make sure it’s not your only source of protein.
Takeaways from the nutrition experts at Lēto Foods, a frozen smoothie delivery company
Not only can collagen peptides be beneficial during pregnancy, but those benefits likely carry over to the breastfeeding phase as well. Breastfeeding is a time when many hormone changes take place, which can lead to hair loss, more stretch marks, and a temporary loss of bone mass, all of which collagen may help to improve.
When buying collagen supplements, opt for hydrolyzed collagen, which will be better absorbed. Ideally, if it’s a bovine collagen source, it should be pasture raised and grass fed, and if it’s a marine collagen source, it should be wild caught for the highest quality. Look for those that are 3rd party tested, to ensure they contain what they actually claim on the package.
One brand we like that checks all these boxes? needed Collagen Protein – a brand committed to producing a clean hydrolyzed collagen protein. They engaged in thorough 3rd party testing for quality and looked to source/manufacture responsibly. Plus, its collagen is sourced for the hides of grass-fed, pasture-raised, hormone-free bovines from farms committed to ethical practices.
As with most supplements for pregnant people, research is limited on collagen peptides; however, there are no known adverse side effects to taking it, and it may help to improve some common pregnancy problems. Though there is little known risk to taking it, it’s still always recommended to consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is for educational purposes only, and does not substitute for medical advice. Always consult a medical professional or healthcare provider related to medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.
About the Author
This article was written by Jamie Johnson. Jamie is a registered dietitian nutritionist, freelance health writer, recipe developer and mom with a passion for prenatal and pediatric nutrition. You can learn more about Jamie at www.ingrainingnutrition.com or follow her on Instagram at @ingrainingnutrition.