A very common question asked by pregnant and breastfeeding mothers is whether it is safe to take collagen while pregnant and breastfeeding. Before we get into that perhaps we should first have a look at what collagen supplements are and why you would want to take them and then we can look at the safety aspect for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is the protein in our bodies that is found in our muscles, skin, blood vessels, tendons, bones and digestive system. It replaces dead skin cells and gives our skin elasticity and strength. It is what holds all our joints and tendons together.
As we grow older our body produces less collagen, which is why we need to start taking better care of our skin as we get older. This reduction of collagen is responsible for the degeneration of your skin (ie wrinkles and sagging skin) as you get older, as well as joint and pains due to decreased or weaker cartilage.
The Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements While Pregnant and Breastfeeding
There are loads of collagen supplement benefits for everyone, but when you are pregnant and breastfeeding you could find these benefits essential to your health and well being.
When you are pregnant your tummy and many other parts of your body are going to be getting larger and your skin is going to stretch. There are plenty of tips and tricks that you can research to prevent and to remove stretch marks but most of these involve putting something onto your skin.
Taking collagen supplements will help your skin to retain its elasticity, to help it to repair skin and also to help new skin cells to form.
This means that taking collagen supplements is one of the best ways to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy and also to help your body and skin to recover postpartum.
Keeps Hair, Skin and Nails Healthy
While you are pregnant you may have a nice healthy glow about your skin, plus your hair and nails may grow like crazy while you are pregnant. Let’s fast forward to just after your baby is born… your hair may fall out in chunks and your skin may become dry and discolored from pregnancy (the mask of pregnancy) and your nails may become brittle and break.
It is so common for the health of your hair, skin and nails to do a nosedive after you have given birth to your baby.Pregnancy takes its toll on your body and it takes a while for you to recover in many aspects.
Taking collagen supplements will provide your body with the essential protein it needs and will make a massive impact on the health of your hair, skin and nails.
Collagen Strengthens Your Joints
As all women that have found out, pregnancy brings many aches and pains. One of these is that your body produces relaxin which helps your joints to relax to help you with giving birth. The result of this is that your joints are weaker and more prone to injury. It also means that you will have various aches and pains that just get worse as the weight of your baby increases.
Taking collagen supplements will strengthen your joints, helping to alleviate aches and pains, while also protecting your joints against injury.
Collagen Repairs Bone
As already mentioned, pregnancy takes its toll on a woman’s body and it is essential to keep your strength. Collagen not only helps to build new bone, it also helps to strengthen and repair those bones under pressure.
Collagen Boosts Energy and Metabolism
It is very common for women to have very low levels of energy while pregnant and while breastfeeding. This is very understandable since your body is first making a baby and then making all the nutrition that baby needs to grow strong and healthy. This will takes its toll on your body and your strength.
It is however essential to try and increase your energy levels since you will need the energy for labor and birth, and after your baby is born you will need to look after your baby, as well as produce breast milk and feed your baby.
Collagen will help your body to repair itself, to keep your metabolism going and to boost your energy levels.
Collagen Improves Digestion
Collagen heals your gut and digestive lining which prevents a leaky gut. It also improves hydrochloric acid production in your stomach which helps to digest foods. Collagen also helps to draw water into the intestinal gut which helps to move the food along.
Collagen Helps To Detox
When you are pregnant this puts a lot of strain on your liver. Glycine in collagen helps your liver to break down and digest toxic substances. This means that collagen will help your liver to cope when pregnant.
Is It Safe To Take Collagen While Pregnant And Breastfeeding?
So those are all the reasons you should be taking collagen supplements while you are pregnant and breastfeeding, but is it safe to take?
Remember that everything that you consume while pregnant gets taken in by your baby too. If you are lactating everything you eat and drink will pass into your breast milk for your baby to consume.
The most important thing to remember is that you always need to check any supplement with your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, including collagen supplements. All supplements and medications come with warnings and instructions on them, so if you want to know if you can take certain collagen supplements while breastfeeding or pregnant just check it too. If you cannot take something while pregnant or breastfeeding it should state that in the pamphlet and on the packaging too.
Collagen supplements side effects can include high calcium levels and hypersensitivity reactions. It is important to note that some collagen supplements are sourced from marine life, so if you have a shellfish allergy you need to be careful not to use marine collagen supplements.
Collagen supplements can come in the form of hydrolyzed collagen (tablets or powder), collagen tablets or collagen powder. It has to be noted that some collagen supplements leave a bad taste in your mouth and have an unpleasant smell, both of which might be not so great for you to handle if you are pregnant and have morning sickness.
Drinking fruit juice along with collagen supplements can help to hide the taste, just be warned that certain acidic fruit juices (such as tomato juice, grape juice, apple juice and orange juice) can weaken the strength of the collagen supplement so try to avoid those fruit juices.
Other than those things to check and look out for you should be fine to take collagen supplements while pregnant and breastfeeding. Ask your doctor about Collagen Complete which should be a great option if you are breastfeeding or pregnant.
Did you take collagen supplements while pregnant or breastfeeding? Let us know in the comments.
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Also published on Medium.