Can You Take Collagen While Pregnant?

Supplements are a hot topic among pregnant women. One such supplement that often comes into question is collagen.

This article will explain what collagen is, if it’s safe during pregnancy, and the benefits it might offer for mothers-to-be.

What is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is responsible for giving structure to our bones, joints, muscles, connective tissues, and skin.

Although we make collagen naturally, we also get collagen from eating high quality protein foods.

Although there isn’t a ton of research, some studies suggest that taking supplemental collagen can help reduce the signs of aging especially when it comes to the health and appearance of skin. Other touted benefits include improved gut health and joint health, both of which will be explained further in the following sections.

Why Do People Take Collagen?

People take collagen for a variety of reasons such as to support skin health, joints, and the digestive tract.

Here are ways in which collagen might be beneficial:

  • Improves skin health: Collagen can help support healthy, supple skin. Taking supplemental collagen has been shown to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and boost skin elasticity (1).
  • Supports joint health: Taking collagen may be helpful to reduce pain and inflammation in joints. However, more research is needed and the current studies have been primarily in athletes (2).
  • May soothe the digestive system: The lining of our digestive system plays an integral role in overall gut health. Since collagen is one of the main proteins found in the intestinal tract, taking collagen can help strengthen the lining of the gut (4).
  • May prevent bone loss: Collagen provides support to the structure and strength of our bones, and taking collagen may help keep our bones strong and reduce the risk of osteoporosis (5).

Clearly, collagen has many widespread impacts. However, it’s important to note that although there are likely health benefits from taking collagen, not every claim is backed by strong scientific evidence.

Is Collagen Beneficial During Pregnancy?

While collagen has a variety of benefits, the question then becomes if it’s actually beneficial to take it during pregnancy.

While there is a growing body of research on the benefits of collagen for the general population, research is lacking to support benefits during pregnancy.

However, given that collagen is involved in many body systems, it is reasonable to assume that collagen might be helpful.

Here are some of the ways that collagen might be beneficial when pregnant:

1. Increases protein status

First and foremost collagen is a protein, and taking collagen supplements can help you meet your daily protein needs.

On average, pregnant women require about 1.2 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight which is increased from 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for a non-pregnant adult.

Since protein needs are a bit higher, including a collagen supplement can help increase protein intake.

2. May improve skin health

Most of collagen’s research and attention is related to skin health, suggesting that it can reduce wrinkles, improve elasticity, and can also help encourage the production of more collagen naturally (6).

Some pregnant women are drawn to collagen supplements in the hopes that it will reduce the appearance of stretch marks on the stomach. However, this is mainly anecdotal and there is no legitimate research to back this claim.

3. May benefit joints

Especially into the third trimester, pregnant women are more likely to experience increased stress on their joints. Since collagen is one of the main proteins found in joints, it may help to reduce inflammation and pain in the joints.

While more research is needed, it’s been found that consistent supplemental collagen intake for several months led to increased joint mobility. Perhaps taking collagen throughout pregnancy may reduce stress on joints, but again, more research is needed.

Is Collagen Safe When Pregnant?

Ultimately, it’s likely safe to take collagen supplements during pregnancy. Before choosing to add a new supplement to your routine, it’s best to check with your doctor – especially if you’re pregnant.

Doctors will recommend their patients take a variety of prenatal vitamins to support a healthy fetus. However, since collagen is not necessary, many doctors are not necessarily recommending it to their patients.

If you’re someone who has been taking collagen before pregnancy, it makes sense to want to continue with your normal routine, and it’s likely safe to say that it would be totally fine to do so.

How to Increase Collagen Naturally?

Interestingly, the body naturally produces collagen. In fact, taking supplemental collagen may even help to encourage our body’s own natural production of it.

Also, consuming foods high in vitamin C can help boost collagen production. Vitamin C is a necessary precursor to make collagen, so focus on eating foods high in vitamin C such as oranges, strawberries, broccoli, and peppers.

Eating high-quality protein such as chicken, fish, eggs, or beef, can also boost collagen production.

What to Look for in a Collagen Supplement

Keep in mind that while there is likely no harm to taking collagen when pregnant, supplements in general are not regulated by the FDA, meaning it’s important to do your own research to ensure your supplement is coming from a trusted place.

Look for a high-quality supplement that is purely collagen peptides, and free of additives, flavorings, or any artificial ingredients, such as the collagen peptides powder from Naked Nutrition.

Key Takeaways

Collagen is an important protein and popular supplement that likely has several benefits.

Collagen may be beneficial for pregnant women as it can improve skin health, boost protein status, and can support joint health.

While more research is needed, it’s likely safe to take collagen when pregnant, however, it’s always best to check with your healthcare provider.