Whether collagen is safe during pregnancy is an important matter to consider. Supplements like collagen and vitamins are standard in pregnancy due to your body’s increased demands. Here, we discuss everything collagen, including its types, functions, and if collagen is safe during pregnancy.
Many health practitioners say collagen is safe during pregnancy. Collagen helps increase your protein intake in pregnancy and contributes to skin and joint health. While there are no collagen studies in pregnant women, its natural abundance in regular diets supports the conclusion of safety. Notwithstanding, you should always consult your doctor before starting or continuing with a supplement.
Collagen has become a popular supplement, not just in the health line but also in beauty and cosmetics. Let’s explore the benefit of this supplement during pregnancy.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is the body’s most abundant protein and a significant building block for tissues and organs. Skin, bones, cartilage, muscles, tendons, ligaments, teeth, and other connective tissues consist of collagen. Cells called fibroblasts secrete collagen in the body, and there are 28 types.
I, II, III, and IV are the most common. Type I is in all connective tissues and is the most abundant type, while type II is found in joints and cartilage. Reticular fibers in blood vessels and skin comprise type III collagen, and type IV is found in the eye lens and Kidneys.
As seen from its location, collagen maintains the structure of various tissues and organs, especially the skin, hair, and joints. You can get it from natural sources: fish, beef, eggs, dairy, animal bone broth, marrow, etc. Collagen supplements are an artificial source from animal parts and are often in powder format.
Besides the general benefits of collagen to your hair, skin, and joints, it has unique functions in pregnancy. A closer look at these functions may help reveal if collagen is safe during pregnancy.
What Does Collagen Do For Pregnant Women?
You may already know what collagen does to the body, but pregnancy is a different experience altogether. Pregnancy changes may cause a different reaction to substances you’re already used to. For example, your favorite fish sandwich might evoke horrible bouts of morning sickness.
In light of these changes, it’s vital to analyze its functions to see if collagen is safe during pregnancy. Thankfully, collagen’s essential functions don’t change during pregnancy; instead, it adds some and amplifies the general ones.
According to this review in the International Journal of Biomedical Sciences, collagen expression at the maternal-fetal interface is crucial for:
- The proliferation and invasion of the trophoblast – cells that become the embryo.
- Angiogenesis – formation of new blood vessels.
- The immune tolerance induction prevents the mother’s immune system from rejecting or attacking the fetus.
Besides these pregnancy-specific functions, collagen is believed to do for your baby what it does for you – structural support. When you take collagen supplements during pregnancy, these are some benefits that follow:
Minimizes Stretch Marks
The inevitable stretch marks in pregnancy might be purple, silver, or red, depending on your complexion. Stretch marks are tiny tears in your skin’s underlying supporting tissue, appearing around weeks 13 to 21 of pregnancy. Collagen helps keep your skin supple and soft, so using it in pregnancy can minimize stretch marks.
Reduces Joint Pain
Weight gain is a pregnancy trademark that adds pressure to your bones and other joint structures. An 11.5 to 16 kg increase in weight is no small feat, and the added stress may cause inflammation and pain. Supplementing collagen can strengthen joints (Sacroiliac) and ligaments (round ligament), thus reducing inflammation, structural damage, and pain.
Supplements Protein Intake
A pregnant woman’s recommended protein intake is between 75 to 100 grams daily. This amount is adequate to support fetal growth and development, plus uterine and breast growth. You may be unable to eat regular protein sources – meat, dairy, and nuts – due to nausea and appetite changes.
Collagen supplements can boost your protein intake, and the powdered form is easier to handle (odorless and tasteless.) You can add it to your smoothie, soup (bone broth), or tea.
Considering these benefits, one must ensure that collagen is safe during pregnancy before using it.
Is Collagen Safe During Pregnancy?
If you use supplements like collagen regularly, you may be concerned about its safety during pregnancy. Being cautious is expected since the body undergoes various changes to accommodate and care for your baby. Regular foods (swordfish) and supplements (like Vitamin A) may become harmful, especially in large doses.
Unlike these substances, collagen is safe during pregnancy, mainly bovine collagen(from cows). Your body produces it naturally and in abundance. Also, it’s already present in your diet – from capsicum to animal bone meal. Since it has such a strong presence and crucial functions in the body, it’s reasonable to conclude that collagen is safe during pregnancy.
However, you should have your doctor’s consent before starting or continuing with collagen supplements. They might suggest a different brand or advise complete avoidance if you’re allergic to any source of collagen (cows, fish, etc.)
Important Points to Remember
Collagen supplements come from animal sources, so it’s essential to know where the animals come from. Are they factory-farmed or pasture-raised? Different supplements also vary in terms of their collagen type (s). It would be best to use supplements that combine the essential collagen types.
The formula and format also matter when deciding if collagen is safe during pregnancy. Avoid products with chemical preservatives, fillers, or artificial sweeteners and colors. You can also choose between powder, capsule, gummy, or liquid formats.
Joint stability, a boost in protein intake, and stretch mark reduction are reasons for using collagen supplements during pregnancy. Although there are no pregnancy-specific studies, the consensus is that collagen is safe during pregnancy if your doctor approves.