Nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding is vital to the health of both mothers and baby. Doctors and midwives typically recommend that women who are expecting or nursing take a prenatal vitamin to reduce the risk of deficiencies of essential nutrients. Some women choose to take additional supplements as well. Collagen powder is gaining popularity as a prenatal supplement, and you may find yourself wondering, "is collagen safe while breastfeeding and nursing?" Read on for answers to your questions and to learn more about collagen peptides and their potential benefits.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein that your body naturally produces. Found in the bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage and skin, collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. Without it, the tissues in your body would lose their elasticity and become weak. Collagen production slows naturally with age, and smoking, excessive alcohol use, lack of physical activity, and ultraviolet energy from the sun can also lead to drops in collagen levels.
What Are Collagen Supplements?
Collagen supplements are products taken by mouth to increase the body's supply of collagen. These products may be manufactured from animal sources or fish and come in a variety of forms. Collagen powders are especially popular because studies show they are easier for the body to break down and utilize.
Are Collagen Supplements Safe?
Scientists have studied the effects of taking up to 10 grams of collagen per day for five months. No significant side effects were reported when this dosage was used for this period of time. As a result, experts tend to classify collagen as generally safe for most people.
Can You Take Collagen While Pregnant?
Research has not revealed any potential risks associated with taking collagen while pregnant.
Can You Take Collagen While Breastfeeding?
At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that taking collagen while nursing is harmful to women or their babies, but it is always smart to check with a doctor to see if a supplement like collagen would be a good fit.
What type of collagen to take should also be given high importance. Supplement-quality varies from brand to brand and you should always choose brands that have clinical-studies on their ingredients. Body Kitchen is a great example of this, they use refined hydrolyzed collagen powder with a high di-peptide concentration – making Youthful Beauty Advanced one of the best collagen powders available today.
Potential Collagen Benefits for a Healthy Pregnancy Diet
Research into collagen benefits is ongoing. Although there is not enough evidence to prove that collagen is beneficial for treating any medical condition, results of early studies suggest that it might have the following benefits for pregnant women:
- Improvements in skin elasticity. By strengthening the structural protein network that supports tissue, collagen may make it easier for the skin to stretch throughout the three trimesters of pregnancy. This may help to lower the likelihood of stretch marks forming. In addition, collagen could potentially help the skin return to normal following delivery. Some women who use the supplements report having little or no loose skin within a few months of the births of their children.
- Support for digestive health. Amino acids found in collagen may help shield the stomach lining from irritation and support healing when irritation occurs. This may benefit women who develop acid reflux due to pressure placed on the stomach by their growing babies.
- Strengthening of the ligaments and joints. Collagen is a vital building block of the cartilage that pads your joints and the ligaments that connect your muscles to your bones. As your baby grows, your ligaments must stretch to accommodate your bump. Collagen could help to keep the ligaments strong to minimize discomfort associated with stretching. By possibly strengthening the joints, collagen may help the hips, knees, ankles, and feet better support the increased weight of a developing baby. After your little one arrives, keeping your joints strong can make it easier to carry your child as well as heavy equipment like strollers, car seats, and playpens.
- A more attractive complexion. Many women experience facial skincare woes during pregnancy. Acne breakouts may occur due to hormonal changes, and hyperpigmentation known as melasma or the mask of pregnancy may develop due to increases in the pigment melanin present in the skin tissue. Because collagen is beneficial for the skin, pregnant women may use it to promote a more radiant, attractive complexion.
- Thicker, stronger hair. During pregnancy, many women notice that their hair becomes thicker. This is because the body does not shed hair as quickly. Following delivery, hair loss may begin as the body rids itself of the extra hair strands. Collagen is required for healthy hair growth, so taking a supplement could help to support regrowth following postpartum hair loss.
Consulting Your Medical Professional
Although taking collagen while breastfeeding or pregnant is not known to pose health risks for you and your baby, you should ask your medical consultant before taking any new supplements during pregnancy or while you're nursing. Your doctor can answer the question "Can I take collagen while breastfeeding or pregnant?" using insight from your personal medical history. During your doctor consultation, your medical provider may discuss other elements of pregnancy nutrition that you can combine with a collagen powder supplement to promote a healthy pregnancy.