There are many reasons why it’s essential to ensure a pregnant woman and her unborn child have enough collagen and other protein sources during pregnancy.
Research shows high-quality foods are vitally important for pregnant women. The macronutrients and micronutrients in the food and supplements ingested by a pregnant woman don’t only impact her and her child but can impact more than one generation. That’s because most conditions that occur in health and disease occur during fetal life, according to scientists.
Collagen protein is one of the most important, if not the most important, macronutrients in the human body. There are various types of collagen that combine to make up 35 percent of the protein in all people. Skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments are built with Type I. Cartilage is built with Type II. Your muscles and blood vessels are built from Type III collagen. As you can see, collagen impacts every part of your body. Other benefits include easing joint pain, promoting hair growth, reducing hair loss, and enhancing sleep, for both the pregnant woman and her baby.
It’s important to remember that the protein present in a body on one day is not necessarily there the next. Sunlight, smoking, and even eating too much sugar can deplete your body of collagen. When you see dry skin and wrinkles on those who indulge in such activities, that’s a sign of depleted collagen. Aging also impacts your collagen production levels.
When you eat certain foods, they combine with amino acids and allow the body to create collagen. It’s crucial that pregnant women choose high quality protein sources, because gestation takes a physical toll on the body. Weight gain, backaches, water retention, and morning sickness are among the many body changes. Some women also see reduced skin elasticity after pregnancy, namely sagging skin and stretch marks, among other changes.
During a successful pregnancy, the endometrium (mucus membrane lining of the uterus) undergoes a series of changes. The extracellular matrix (ECM) is the support surrounding cells, which is composed of several elements including collagen, and it breaks down and reshapes. It’s a complex process that makes the difference between a successful and unsuccessful pregnancy.
When sufficient collagen is not present, scientists note “recurrent miscarriage, diabetes mellitus with pregnancy, and preeclampsia” can result. And pregnancy difficulties can result in cardiovascular and other diseases late in life.
It’s recommended that women who are pregnant have diets composed of 20-25 percent of protein (or at least 60 grams of protein). The reason for the increased protein is due to gestational changes. The physiology is complex but, basically, the fetus, placenta, and amniotic fluid comprise 40 percent of the protein gains. The remainder is used by the woman in uterine tissue, breast tissue, blood volume increases, and other parts of the body.
The need for additional protein is especially prevalent in the early stages of pregnancy, scientists note. Protein synthesis increases by 15 percent in the second trimester and 25 percent during the third trimester. Chicken, fish, beef, eggs, beans, bone broth, and dairy are among the high-protein foods that can boost collagen.
Many women may wonder how to get the health benefits of protein, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, and other minerals and nutrients when they have changes in appetite and perhaps morning sickness. The answer for some is taking collagen supplements. However, it’s important for pregnant women to first discuss any changes to their diet—including the addition of supplements—with their physicians.
It’s also important to remember that collagen is a natural protein in your body. Although collagen should be perfectly safe to take, again, pregnant women should discuss the different types of supplements they’re considering with their doctors.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate dietary supplements as they do medications. The FDA put the onus on the product manufacturers to responsibly evaluate the safety and labeling of their products. Those companies are also responsible for ensuring the supplements meet all the requirements of the FDA and the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).
Although collagen supplements are safe overall, some users do report side effects, including rashes, a feeling of heaviness in the stomach, and gastrointestinal distress. Still, women who are pregnant and take collagen supplements owe it to themselves and their babies to ensure they select the highest quality product available.
One such premium product is Brightcore’s Revive. The powder has multi collagen (Types 1, II, III, IV, and X). It’s developed from grass-fed hydrolyzed bovine, cage-free chickens, wild-caught fish and egg shell membrane.
Collagen supplements are not a replacement for food. However, they’re an important way to boost collagen and potentially experience better nutritional health for pregnant women and their fetus.
Scientists have not pinpointed a specific way or time to take a collagen supplement. That said, it’s simple to add high-quality collagen protein powder to any diet. It mixes easily into liquids and you can even mix it into vegetables, stews, and other foods. Some people even add collagen powder to batter when they bake.
Although collagen should not pose any significant health risks, it’s always wise for pregnant women to consult with their doctors about the addition and recommended dosage.
Many women continue to take collagen supplements after their child is born. Collagen benefits many parts of your body, and it also lessens the pain in joints while loosening stiff tendons and ligaments. Plus, it can keep your skin moist and build strong hair and nails. Collagen may also work to lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, though more research is needed to prove these benefits.
Again, collagen supplements aren’t intended to replace food. Instead, they bolster nutrition. And that’s arguably never more important than when a woman is pregnant. Although research continues into this subject, it’s clear collagen plays a vital role in the health of pregnant women and their babies.
Are you interested in trying a collagen supplement? Our Revive® (Multi-Collagen) is a collagen protein powder created from the finest ingredients, including grass-fed hydrolyzed bovine, cage-free chickens, wild-caught fish, and eggshell membrane infused with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C.