Can I Take Supplements While Pregnant/Nursing?

Can I Take Supplements While Pregnant/Nursing?

One of the questions I am asked most is, “Can I use protein powder while I am pregnant or nursing?” 

One thing to remember is that unless your child has a specific allergy there is no need to go on a special diet while breastfeeding your baby. Instead, focus on making healthy choices to help fuel your milk production! 

According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists you should aim for 450-500 extra calories per day when breastfeeding. 

In my experience, I found that when I was exclusively breastfeeding I needed to keep that number at the high end of 500 extra calories, and as I started adding solids at six months I only needed to stay in the lower range of 400-450 extra calories. 

As I gradually weaned my kids, when I was only nursing them before nap and bedtime, I also gradually weaned the number of extra calories I was taking in.

I generally aim to get .9-1g of protein per lb of body weight. I typically aim for 140g of protein per day which is roughly 25% of my total calories. 

Sometimes as a new, sleep exhausted mom it can be difficult to get enough protein in. I know there were so many days where my babies wouldn’t let me put them down and cooking in the kitchen seemed near impossible. This is where a protein powder can be helpful. 

Protein powder is not required at any time in a woman’s life, including during pregnancy. Protein powder can sometimes simply be an easier way to get your protein requirements in. I view protein powder the same way I view chicken breast, lean red meat, ground turkey, egg whites, etc… just another protein source.

Try to get a variety of protein sources in your diet! On days where your grams of protein may be lacking, blending up a quick protein shake might feel easier for you than grilling a chicken breast. Make sure to read the ingredient list of your protein powder, and I generally look for protein powders that have minimal ingredients, and are lower in sugar. 

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I asked my doctor about using protein powder and he said that one serving per day was OK with him as long as it was not my only source of protein for the day. If you have additional questions, make sure to ask your doctor, midwife, or work with a local registered dietician. 

There is very little research on artificial sweeteners on pregnant or
breastfeeding moms. The FDA has deemed seven artificial sweeteners as safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women in the US:

-Saccharin (Sweet and Low)
-Aspartame (Nutrasweet and Equal)
-Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K)
-Sucralose (Splenda)
-Neotame (Newtame)
-Steviol glycosides (stevia)
-Luo Han Guo fruit extracts

Personally, during pregnancy or not, I usually opt to stay on the cautious side with artificial sweeteners and limit my usage. 

Moderation in all things. <3 

Here are a couple bonus tips to keep in mind while nursing to help with your milk supply while trying to safely shed you baby weight.

Natalie Nursing Tips:
1) Stay Extra Hydrated

Make sure to drink enough water, especially if you are exercising. My general rule of thumb is to take your current body weight, divide it in half, and that is the minimum number of ounces of water to drink each day. So, if you weigh 180lbs then you will want to aim for a minimum of 90oz of water (just over a half gallon). 

Another good test is the urine test. If your urine is dark yellow you should be drinking more water, if your urine is light yellow or clear than you are drinking enough. In my experience, proper hydration is crucial for milk production! 

When I was nursing my son I was also training for a marathon (this was seven years ago!). The days I had really long runs and didn’t hydrate well enough I almost always had let-down issues. I found that staying extra hydrated helped immensely. 

It’s a great idea to drink a glass of water every time you nurse your baby.

2) Carbs are Your Friend!

I know how frustrating it can feel when you have extra weight to lose. With both my pregnancies I gained 65-70lbs and it took me a really long time to lose the weight. Be kind to yourself during this phase, the way you speak to yourself matters. 

I know a lot of people will try to cut their carbs to help with weight loss. I am not a fan of low-carb diets. I don't think it is sustainable or maintainable long-term solution (for anyone, not just breastfeeding moms) and it also may hurt your milk supply. 

Personally, I found that if I dropped my carbohydrates below 125g per day I had a major issue with my supply. Generally I aim for 225-300g of carbohydrates each day while I am nursing (towards the higher end on the days I work out and towards the lower end on rest days). 

Look for whole grains such as: brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, quinoa, etc for your carbohydrate sources. If you have any additional questions, reaching out to a local registered dietitian is a great idea and something I strongly recommend!

Your Friend,

PS: My pregnancy trainer launches in TWO days!! It is over 400 pages full of evidence-based research, real life stories, and practical and REAL advice for pregnant and new mamas. I am so excited to release it! 

To join my pregnancy trainer wait list, click HERE (those on the waitlist get special early bird don't want to miss them!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>