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Is Collagen Beneficial During Pregnancy?

By: Melissa Mitri, MS, RD

 

What is Collagen?

Collagen is all the rage these days, and for good reason. But, what exactly is it? And if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, should you be taking it? Is it safe?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and supports your health in many ways. It comprises about ⅓ of your total body protein.

This important protein is a major component of connective tissues that make up tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles. Collagen is often referred to as the “glue that holds it all together,” as it helps strengthen your skin, supports elasticity, and can protect your organs.

Your body produces collagen naturally, but the amount produced begins to slow down in your early twenties. Additionally, there may be other times when your body simply can’t produce enough to replenish what is being lost or used up.

One prime example of this is during the pregnancy and postpartum periods. During these times, it can be more challenging to meet your protein needs, and therefore your collagen needs, and protein is required for many functions throughout pregnancy.

But, even before you get pregnant collagen can help prepare your body for pregnancy when you’re in the planning stages.

During these special times, it is especially important to assure you are meeting your nutrient needs and maintaining optimal health, both for you and baby. Collagen is a unique protein that provides multiple benefits and can help fill gaps in your protein intake.

Types of Collagen

Collagen is derived mainly from the connective tissues, such as in chicken and pork, as well as eggs. There are at least 28 different types of collagen, all of which have slightly different purposes in the body.

However, there are 4 primary types that are most commonly found in foods and supplements. These types are:

Type I – This is the most common type of collagen found in your body and in supplements. It accounts for approximately 90% of your body’s collagen and is made up of densely packed fibers.

It’s role is to provide structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth.

Type II – This collagen type is made up of more loosely packed fibers and is found in elastic cartilage. It is involved in cushioning your joints.

Both during and after pregnancy, joint stiffness and muscle pain are common issues. If this is better managed, it can result in a smoother pregnancy.

Type III – This type supports the structure of our organs, muscles, and articles. It is the second most abundant type of collagen in our body. It works closely with Type 1 collagen to support our skin elasticity and structure.

Type IV – This type of collagen is found in the membranes and layers of our skin. Research shows it may play a role in wound healing and embryogenesis, which is the development of an embryo.

Both before and during pregnancy, collagen can play a vital role in meeting your protein requirements. Preparing the body in the early stages of pregnancy as well as before pregnancy will optimize outcomes.

First, let’s talk specifics about why this is so important.

Protein During Pregnancy

Research shows eating a nutritious diet before, during, and after pregnancy improves the health of offspring for years to come. A 2016 review showed women who consumed a more nutritious diet that included adequate protein had more positive pregnancy outcomes.

Protein intake is of particular importance during pregnancy. Research shows that protein needs are increased during pregnancy, so the amount you may normally consume may not be enough.

However, many women struggle to get enough protein from food during pregnancy. This may be due to common pregnancy side effects such as:

  • Morning sickness
  • Aversions to certain foods or smells
  • Lack of appetite
  • Cravings for lower protein, carb-heavy foods
  • Acid reflux

Common food aversions experienced by many women include ones to high protein foods such as meat or poultry. This can make it difficult to eat these foods regularly.

Additionally, cooking these foods can often trigger nausea and aversions. If this is happening, supplementing with a collagen supplement to help meet your protein needs can help.

With collagen being the most abundant type of protein in our body, it’s clear that it is needed for optimal health and provides benefits during pregnancy.

Here are several reasons why it’s critical to get enough protein during pregnancy:

  • Ensures proper growth of baby’s brain and body tissues
  • Enables breast and uterine tissue growth
  • Increases blood supply, so more blood is provided to baby
  • Provides stable energy and satiety for mom, which can reduce cravings and the likelihood of overeating
  • Helps maintain muscle mass for mom, which can improve physical strength during pregnancy and labor

How Much Protein Do You Need During Pregnancy?

Newer research shows women need more protein during pregnancy than previously thought.

On average, protein intake during pregnancy should be between 70-100 grams per day, or 1.2-1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. This is more than 50% higher than your normal intake when you are not pregnant.

For reference, 4 ounces of meat contains about 29 grams of protein. You will get more “bang for your buck” by consuming animal protein such as meat, chicken, fish, or eggs versus plant protein. This is because animal foods typically contain more protein per ounce of food.

You can meet your increased protein needs from a combination of nutritious food and supplements.

Benefits of Collagen During Pregnancy

As part of your total protein intake, getting in a daily dose of collagen can help you meet your elevated needs. It is also a simple way to get in more protein when you’re short on time and lack the energy to cook.

A 2020 review found that collagen may help support healthy pregnancy outcomes. In this review, women who had abnormal levels of collagen during pregnancy had a higher risk for complications.

Here are some other benefits to taking collagen during pregnancy:

●     Improved skin elasticity and tone.

Collagen has been shown to enhance skin elasticity, which may reduce stretch marks during pregnancy.

●     Supports healthy hair and nails.

Collagen contains an amino acid (protein building block) called proline. Proline is a component of keratin, which is needed for hair and nail growth.

A 2017 study showed that taking at least 2.5 grams of a collagen peptide supplement daily helped strengthen brittle nails and improved nail growth.

Additionally, keeping your hair thick and strong during pregnancy by taking collagen may help reduce postpartum hair loss.

●     Helps maintain healthy protein levels.

In a 2016 clinical study that utilized Protiva collagen supplements found that close to 100% of pregnant women had lower than normal blood protein levels.

Consuming collagen before, during, and after pregnancy supports better energy levels and helps you to meet any gaps in protein intake. In this clinical study, both Protiva Pregnancy and Protiva Nourish Breastfeeding were studied and found to improve protein levels.

●     Supports elasticity in joints and ligaments.

Collagen is involved in improving joint elasticity. During pregnancy, joint stiffness and pain is more common, especially in the third trimester.

In a 2013 study, those who were taking collagen peptide supplements, such as those found in our Protiva supplement saw an improvement in joint pain.

●     Prepares the body for delivery.

Taking collagen may do this by supporting and strengthening our tissues in our    pelvic floor, abdominal muscles, and uterus. This can help assure a smoother delivery.

Collagen in Your Diet

There are a few foods that either contain collagen, or contain certain nutrients that may boost collagen production:

1.    Bone Broth

Made of mainly bones and connective tissue, homemade bone broth contains collagen in varying amounts. Making the broth yourself with bones from a reputable butcher will help assure its quality.

2.    Chicken

Chicken is a rich source of collagen as it contains ample amounts of connective tissue. Many collagen peptide supplements are derived from chicken because of this.

3.    Fish

Fish contain ligaments that are made of collagen. While fish is a good collagen source, we don’t tend to consume the parts of the fish that are highest in collagen, such as the head, scales, or eyeballs.

4.    Egg Whites

Eggs don’t contain connective tissue, but they do contain large amounts of the amino acid proline. Since proline is necessary for collagen production, eating egg whites may indirectly boost your collagen levels.

If you’re a meat eater, you are likely getting some collagen in your diet. However, in food form it is difficult to know how much you’re getting.

If you want to assure you’re getting an adequate amount to provide health benefits, taking a daily supplement can provide peace of mind.

Collagen in Supplements

It is not always possible to get enough collagen in your diet, especially during pregnancy. The good news is that collagen is available in supplement form, which provides an easy route to get in your daily dose.

The best collagen supplements are those in hydrolyzed collagen peptide form. Hydrolyzed collagen is simply collagen that has been broken down into easily digestible parts called peptides. This helps improve the absorption of the collagen you are taking, so that you’re making the most of it.

Our hydrolyzed collagen peptides are easy to digest and of high quality. Our collagen supplements also contain Vitamin C and other nutrients, which further increases collagen absorption in your body and enhances its benefits.

What’s best of all is that Protiva supplements are specifically designed to support you during pregnancy.

Collagen supplements typically contain between 2.5-15 grams of collagen peptides per serving, as 15 grams is the maximum amount we can absorb at one time.

Our Protiva collagen peptides are unique in that they contain 15 grams of high quality collagen per serving, in order to get the maximum amount of protein to meet your protein needs.

A 2019 research review showed that taking 2.5-15 grams per day of hydrolyzed collagen may be safe and effective.

Is Collagen Safe During Pregnancy?

Collagen supplements have been found to be generally safe and easy to take, both for the general population and during pregnancy.

A 2016 study specifically on Protiva collagen demonstrated that a daily dose of collagen is safe during pregnancy and postpartum. Both Protiva Pregnancy and Protiva Nourish supplements were well tolerated throughout pregnancy.

In this particular study, participants were taking these collagen supplements twice daily for a total of 30 grams. This is actually a higher dose than the daily serving size of 15 grams for most collagen supplements. Therefore, it can provide peace of mind regarding its safety profile.

In addition, there were no serious adverse effects reported in any of the study participants who were taking collagen.

Not only were Protiva collagen supplements deemed safe, but they were also effective. Those taking the collagen experienced significantly increased blood protein levels up to 72% higher than those who were not taking it.

Maintaining healthy protein levels during pregnancy helps support maternal health, which in turn supports baby’s health. Improved quality of life and enhanced wound healing was also seen.

Another 2014 study also showed that higher levels of collagen in the body may be associated with maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

When and How to Take Collagen Supplements

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, that would be the ideal time to start thinking about taking a collagen supplement. Since collagen supplements can help prepare your body for pregnancy, being proactive before getting pregnant will set you up for the most success.

The sooner you can start taking collagen, the sooner you will build up your levels in your system to support a healthy pregnancy. Our Thrive supplements are designed to be safely taken throughout the duration of your pregnancy and beyond.

The recommended daily dose of our Protiva Unflavored Collagen Peptides is 15 grams of hydrolyzed collagen mixed with your favorite beverage. You can mix it with 8 ounces of water, coffee, a smoothie or protein shake.

Bottom Line

If you want to optimize your nutrition before, during, and after pregnancy, taking a daily collagen peptide supplement like Protiva can support you and your baby’s health.

Always consult with your medical provider prior to starting a new supplement to determine what’s best for you.

Social Media Posts

 

What is collagen

Post 1: Collagen is all the rage these days, but what is it exactly?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, it makes up about ⅓ of your total body protein. It is a major component of connective tissues that make up tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles.

Collagen is often referred to as the “glue that holds it all together,” as it helps strengthen your skin, supports elasticity, and can protect your organs.

Post 2: Your body produces collagen naturally, but the amount produced begins to slow down in your early twenties. This is why in your 30s and beyond, wrinkles begin to appear. This is due to collagen loss.

Taking a collagen supplement can help slow down this process.

Post 3: While protein is essential all the time, there may be times in your life when you need more protein, because your needs are extremely high. Your body simply can’t produce enough to replenish what is being lost or used up.

One prime example of this is during the pregnancy and postpartum periods. During these times, it can be more challenging to meet your protein needs. A collagen supplement can help.

Post 4: While there are 28 different types of collagen found in the body, the vast majority of the collagen is types 1 through 4.

Types 1 and 3 provide structure to skin, tendons, and ligaments. Together they make up over 90% of the collagen protein in your body.

Type 2 cushions the joints and type 4 is found in the skin.

All of these types of collagen play an important role in maintaining flexibility and strength. Collagen is the “glue” that holds the body together.

 

Protein during pregnancy

Post 1: Protein intake is of particular importance during pregnancy because protein needs are increased. The amount you may normally consume may not be enough.

Getting enough protein during pregnancy:

  • Ensures proper growth of the baby and necessary tissues
  • Increases blood supply, which carries essential nutrients
  • Provides stable energy and satiety for mom
  • Helps maintain muscle mass for mom

Research shows eating a nutritious diet before, during, and after pregnancy improves the health of offspring for years to come. Women who eat a more nutritious diet with adequate protein had more positive pregnancy outcomes.

Post 2: Many women struggle to get enough protein from food during pregnancy.

Common food aversions experienced by many women include ones to high protein foods such as meat or poultry. This can make it difficult to eat these foods regularly and meet your protein needs.

If this is happening, supplementing with a collagen supplement can help.

Post 3: The recommended amount of protein during pregnancy is between 70-100 grams per day, or 1.2-1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. This is more than 50% higher than your normal intake when you are not pregnant.

For reference, 4 ounces of meat contains about 29 grams of protein. You will get more “bang for your buck” by consuming animal protein such as meat, chicken, fish, or eggs versus plant protein. This is because animal foods typically contain more protein per ounce of food.

You can meet your daily protein needs with a combination of high protein foods and supplements.

 

Benefits of Collagen during pregnancy

Post 1: As part of your total protein intake during pregnancy, getting in a daily dose of collagen can help you meet your elevated needs. It is also a simple way to get in more protein when you’re short on time and lack the energy to cook.

Research has found that women with abnormal levels of collagen during pregnancy had a higher risk for complications. Collagen supplements may help support healthy pregnancy outcomes.

Post 2: Collagen has many potential benefits during pregnancy. Some of these include:

  • Improved skin elasticity and tone.
  • Supports healthy hair and nails.
  • Helps maintain healthy protein levels.
  • Supports elasticity in joints and ligaments.
  • Prepares the body for delivery.

Collagen is a great way to help support your health during pregnancy and help improve your chances of a smooth delivery.

Post 3:  In a 2016 clinical study that utilized Protiva collagen supplements found that close to 100% of pregnant women had lower than normal blood protein levels. Low blood protein can result in complications with delivery, loss of muscle mass, and lack of energy.

In this clinical study, Protiva collagen supplements were found to be a safe way to improve protein levels.

Post 4:  Collagen is involved in improving joint elasticity. During pregnancy, joint stiffness and pain is more common, especially in the third trimester.

In a 2013 study, those who were taking collagen peptide supplements, saw an improvement in joint pain. Collagen can help maintain flexibility and mobility.

 

Collagen in Your Diet

Post 1: Overall, our diets are a poor source of collagen. There are a few foods that either contain collagen, or contain certain nutrients that may boost collagen production. These are:

  • Bone Broth
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Egg whites

If you want to assure you’re getting an adequate amount to provide health benefits, taking a daily supplement can provide peace of mind.

 

Collagen in Supplements

Post 1:  It is not always possible to get enough collagen in your diet, especially during pregnancy. The good news is that collagen is available in supplement form, which provides an easy route to get in your daily dose.

Post 2: Looking for a collagen supplement?

The best collagen supplements are those in hydrolyzed collagen peptide form. Hydrolyzed collagen is simply collagen that has been broken down into easily digestible parts called peptides. This helps improve the absorption of the collagen you are taking, so that you’re making the most of it.

Post 3: Protiva supplements are high quality, easy to digest hydrolyzed collagen peptides. They also contain Vitamin C and other nutrients, which further increases collagen absorption in your body and enhances its benefits.

What’s best of all is that Protiva supplements are specifically designed to support you during pregnancy.

Post 4: How much collagen should you take?

Collagen supplements typically contain between 2.5-15 grams of collagen peptides per serving, as 15 grams is the maximum amount we can absorb at one time.

Our Protiva collagen peptides are unique in that they contain 15 grams of high quality collagen per serving, in order to get the maximum amount of protein to meet your protein needs.

 

Is Collagen Safe During Pregnancy?

Post 1: Collagen supplements have been found to be generally safe. But during pregnancy it is important to select a product that has been studied on pregnant women specifically.

A study on Protiva collagen demonstrated that a daily dose of collagen was safe during pregnancy and postpartum. Both Protiva Pregnancy and Protiva Nourish supplements were well tolerated throughout pregnancy.

Protiva is the only collagen brand that can back up their safety profile with a clinical study.

Post 2: For pregnant women, Protiva is the best choice for collagen supplements.

In our clinical study, not only were Protiva collagen supplements deemed safe, but they were also effective. Those taking the collagen experienced significantly increased blood protein levels up to 72% higher when compared to those who were not taking it.

 

When and How to Take Collagen Supplements

Post 1: If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, that would be the ideal time to start thinking about taking a collagen supplement. Since collagen supplements can help prepare your body for pregnancy, being proactive before getting pregnant will set you up for the most success.

Post 2:  How can you incorporate collagen into your routine?

The recommended daily dose of our Protiva Unflavored Collagen Peptides is 15 grams of hydrolyzed collagen mixed with your favorite beverage. You can mix it with 8 ounces of water, coffee, a smoothie or protein shake.

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