For many women, food aversions and cravings are one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. And for most of us, leafy green vegetables make the list of aversions as opposed to cravings.
While not wanting to eat our greens during pregnancy is common, it can also mean that we’re missing out on some key nutrients that could keep our bodies, and the bodies of our growing babies, healthy. So how does a pregnant woman make sure she’s getting enough essential nutrients from greens when she can hardly stand to choke them down?
Well, greens powders might be one option. The safety and efficacy of greens during pregnancy have been brought up more and more over the last few years as the supplement market has become inundated with various greens powders and multivitamin options to choose from.
The FHM team decided to dig into the topic of greens powders during pregnancy by first interviewing MDs and RDs for their professional opinions and then by listing the best greens for pregnancy, according to our research, so that you can explore which option might be best aligned for you during your pregnancy.
Are Greens Powders Safe During Pregnancy?
This is perhaps the most frequently asked question in relation to greens for pregnant women; are they safe?
According to Adil Maqbool, MD, “the safety of consuming greens powders during pregnancy can vary depending on the ingredients and their quality, so it's always best to consult with your obstetrician or a qualified healthcare professional before taking any supplement during pregnancy.”
Dr. Sony Sherpa, a holistic physician from Nature's Rise, explains that “Green powders are gaining popularity as more people look for alternative health solutions. They can be beneficial in enhancing nutrition and boosting energy, but there is a lack of research related to their safety during pregnancy.
Dr. Sherpa cautions pregnant women from starting a greens powder regime before first checking the ingredients label carefully and consulting with their doctor.
“Pregnant women should always consult with a doctor first before introducing green powders into their diet, especially if they contain plant compounds like caffeine, ephedra alkaloids, and ginseng. These active components have not been studied enough to conclude whether they might have a negative effect on fetal development. However, some studies found that these compounds could potentially harm the unborn baby if taken in large quantities or by mothers who are at high risk for pregnancy complications, such as preterm labor and preeclampsia. It’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid consuming green powders until you gain approval from your healthcare provider.”
While many greens powders certainly contain ingredients that are packed with benefits, it’s important to choose a greens powder carefully.
Unfortunately, greens powders, and all other supplements here in the US for that matter, aren’t regulated by the FDA. The problem that this causes is that supplement manufacturers can hide ingredients and make claims that may not be true or valid. This is dangerous in general, but even more worrisome for pregnancy this is a time when you need to be extra cautious with the foods and supplements you consume.
There are a few key indicators to be on the lookout for when selecting a greens supplement during pregnancy. Let’s take a look at those next.
What Should Pregnant Women Look For in a Greens Powder?
When it comes to any supplements during pregnancy, the name of the game is quality. “If you're pregnant and considering taking a greens powder, it's essential to look for a high-quality product that is specifically formulated for pregnant women. You should also check the ingredients list to make sure it doesn't contain any ingredients that are not recommended for pregnant women. Also, check for any certifications like non-GMO, organic, gluten-free, and so on,” says Dr. Maqbool.
Check for Third-Party Testing
One of the biggest indicators of quality is third-party testing. We highly recommend seeking a greens powder that has been third-party tested to ensure accuracy. With a third-party tested supplement, you can rest assured that the ingredients and the dosing that’s displayed on the product label are, in fact, what’s inside the package. Without this extra certification, there’s a chance you’re consuming a product that doesn’t match its ingredients label.
Dr. Daniel Atkinson, GP Clinical Lead at Treated, shared the following recommendations for nutrients that pregnant women should be seeking during pregnancy, whether from whole foods, greens, or vitamin supplements:
“There are a lot of vitamins and minerals that you should try to take more of when you’re pregnant, so look for supplements that contain:
- Folate, or folic acid. It helps with the development of your child’s nervous system, and can help prevent defects like spina bifida;
- Choline also supports the development of the nervous system and brain, as well as keeping cell membranes healthy as the fetus develops;
- Vitamin B12 is another nutrient that lowers the chance of your baby developing any defects with their nervous system;
- Iodine helps with the production of thyroid hormones in you and your baby, helping with the development of their brain. However, too much iodine can cause adverse neurodevelopmental effects, as well;
- Iron is important as pregnancy puts you at increased risk of anemia, where your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen around your body. This can increase the risk of premature birth, or cause your baby’s birth weight to be low;
- Vitamin C will help your baby absorb iron from your diet;
- Vitamin D helps to regulate the level of calcium in the body, supporting the development of healthy bones and teeth. Many greens powders contain ingredients that are rich in these nutrients, so knowing what to look for is a great place to start when selecting greens for pregnancy."
What Should Pregnant Women Avoid in Greens Powders?
Pregnant women seeking a safe and effective greens powder to take during pregnancy should avoid the following ingredients (unless otherwise recommended by their OBGYN):
- Artificial ingredients
- Added sugars
What Are the Benefits of Taking a Greens Powder Supplement During Pregnancy?
Assuming that you do your research and find a greens powder supplement that is safe for pregnancy, there are some potential benefits to adding it to your daily prenatal routine.
For many women, “adding greens powder supplement to an expectant mother's daily routine is a great way to get many of the essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that might not be accessible from other sources. Not only does this aid in fetal development, but consuming green supplements can also help boost your energy levels during and after pregnancy. While vitamins can naturally be obtained through a healthy diet and lifestyle, greens powder supplements are often more convenient and nutrient-dense, overall making them a great source of nutrition for pregnant women,” says Dr. Sherpa.
Dr. Maqbool echoes Dr. Sherpa’s sentiment by adding that “Taking a high-quality greens powder during pregnancy may provide you with a variety of essential vitamins and minerals that may be hard to get from food alone, like folic acid, iron, and other nutrients that are important for the health of both mother and baby. But again, please consult with a qualified healthcare professional before adding any supplement to your diet while you're pregnant.”
Furthermore, there are certain pregnant populations who may be more susceptible to nutrient deficiencies based on their dietary habits and lifestyle. For example, pregnant vegetarians might struggle with meeting their daily iron requirements, which are increased during pregnancy.
”Iron is one key nutrient that may become deficient during pregnancy,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at BalanceOne Supplements.” While iron is found in a variety of plant-based foods, it is not as easily absorbed by the body as the iron found in meat. Green powders can help pregnant women supplement their diet with iron.” In general, most women can benefit from adding more iron to their diets, and a premium-quality greens supplement might help them to accomplish this.
A List of the Best Greens For Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Moms
Below is our list of the best greens for pregnancy and breastfeeding moms. Please note that you are responsible for first clearing your choice by your doctor, however, we put in the work to discover the best greens options for pregnant women based on the information provided to us by the medical experts and our research and careful inspection of key ingredients inside each greens powder.
Opti-Greens 50 by 1st Phorm is a greens superfood powder that contains phytonutrients, digestive enzymes, and probiotics to bring you a powerful hit of health in one easy daily dose. For pregnant women, the low-temperature processed, organic grasses that are non-GMO, non-synthetic, and 100% natural will give them peace of mind that they’re consuming the highest quality greens and nutrients.
Opti-Greens 50 is more than just a greens powder, it’s a probiotic and digestive enzyme blend, too. This combination helps you to break down the food that you eat, which may result in a reduction of bloating, gas, and discomfort, all of which are common during pregnancy. The goal of Opti-Greens 50 is to help you feel your best, which is something that everyone, but especially those who are expecting, can appreciate. When paired with a healthy diet and exercise program, Opti-Greens 50 can help you make sure you’re getting the nutrition you need during this critical stage of your life.
More on Opti-Greens 50:
- Contains a blend of greens, phytonutrients, digestive enzymes, and probiotics for well-rounded support
- 100% organic greens
- Free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives
- Low-temperature processed to ensure the integrity of the ingredients
- Gentle on your digestive system
- Helps to relieve bloating and gas
- Natural Berry flavor
- Great company to purchase supplements from
- The cost is higher than some alternatives
- The taste isn’t my favorite, but it can be mixed with other liquids, supplements, or smoothies to mask it
Primal Greens are a fantastic greens powder that might be a good fit for women who are expecting. With over 50 superfoods and probiotics, this blend can help to fill any nutritional gaos you might be experiencing during pregnancy.
Primal Harvest includes an impressive blend of superfoods, antioxidants, adaptogenic mushrooms, and 3.5b CFUs of probiotics + digestive enzymes. The combination of these ingredients can help to support energy levels, digestion, and immunity, all critical during pregnancy.
More on Primal Harvest Greens:
- Unique blend of over 50 superfoods, antioxidants, mushrooms, probiotics, and digestive enzymes
- Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free
- Made in the US
- Supports a strong immune system
- Helps to improve digestion
- Encourages natural energy
- Affordable monthly price
- 90-day money-back guarantee
- This blend contains mushrooms, be sure to check with your doctor to ensure safety during pregnancy
- This tastes like iced tea, which may or may not be appealing during your pregnancy
AG1 by Athletic Greens is one of the most comprehensive greens powders out there. Boasting that they are “so much more than greens,” AG1 includes vitamins and minerals, pre and probiotics, phytonutrients, digestive support, immunity support, and metabolism, energy, and stress support. In total, there are 75 ingredients that come together to improve and optimize your whole body's health.
AG1 is very popular among celebrities, top health experts, and performers, and there are many testimonials from women who have used AG1 throughout their pregnancies and noticed many positive effects. With just one scoop in a glass of water per day, you can fuel your body with some exceptionally high-quality ingredients that might help optimize your health while you’re with child and beyond.
More on AG1:
- Includes 75+ ingredients that work harmoniously to improve your health and wellbeing
- Promotes gut health
- Support immunity
- Naturally boosts energy
- Helps with recovery
- Very high-quality ingredients
- Recommended by top health and fitness experts
- The number of ingredients might be excessive as it poses an additional risk for reactions
- The monthly cost is the highest option on our list
Peachy Greens by Clean Simple Eats is one of my personal favorites as I love the taste (see my list of the best delicious tasting greens powders for more on that). When it comes to pregnancy aversions, you might find that the sweet peachy taste of these greens is much more palatable than a more traditional greens powder.
As far as ingredients go, Clean Simple Eats includes a proprietary blend of prebiotic fiber and greens, all of which are ethically and organically sourced, then cold-pressed to preserve the highest quality nutrients by the time they get to you. With just one daily scoop, you can enjoy a wide range of benefits including detoxification, immunity, digestive health, and energy metabolism, all of which could benefit the pregnant body.
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- Superior taste - tastes like a peach ring!
- Cold-pressed nutrients to lock in nutrition
- Nice nutrient profile without having too many ingredients
- Helps to improve immune system function
- Improves energy naturally
- Helps with digestion
- Great brand with awesome supplements for women
- Very affordable price point
- This blend doesn’t contain any probiotics or digestive enzymes
- There’s a proprietary blend, which is sometimes a red flag for supplements
KOS offers a flavorful and refreshing blend of greens, digestive enzymes, and other nutrients to live a healthier, more balanced life. Well known for its plant-based protein powders, KOS also offers tasty greens and other premium supplements that can help improve your health and wellness.
Show Me the Greens is a really tasty greens powder, the subtle green apple sorbet flavor helps to mask the flavor of the greens, making it really easy to consume. All KOS products are non-GMO, vegan, Organic, and made in the US, giving you peace of mind that you’re consuming a high-quality product during your pregnancy. KOS includes a unique blend of organic algae superfoods, organic alkalizing greens, organic fruits and vegetables, and organic digestive prebiotics.
More on KOS Greens:
- Includes a unique blend of organic micronutrients for well-rounded support
- Includes prebiotic fiber to help with digestion
- The green apple taste helps to make this greens powder easy to drink during pregnancy
- Non-GMO, organic, vegan, and made in the USA
- Supports digestion, detoxification, immunity, and nervous system
- Affordable monthly cost
- Some users have reported that they experience a grainy texture
- Doesn’t contain any probiotics
Skipwith Organics offers an incredible greens powder that contains an exclusive blend of more than 20 certified organic ingredients including superfoods, alkalizing greens, vegetables, enzymes, and probiotics to support your overall well-being. This boutique greens powder packs a powerful punch of premium-quality ingredients and nutrition to support women through all stages of life, including pregnancy.
Greens Ritual is focused on providing clean energy and acting as an all-in-one supplement to help you feel your best. Plus, this greens powder is super fine and very pleasant tasting, making it very easy to include in your prenatal nutrition, if cleared by your doctor.
- Very high-quality greens powder with integral ingredients
- Light, pleasant taste
- Promotes clean energy and a clear mind
- Includes 20 organic superfoods plus enzymes and probiotics for gut health
- Supports metabolism
- A super fine powder that’s easy to mix
- The monthly cost is on the higher end
- It’s often sold out because of its popularity
CIRA Nutrition offers a unique greens powder for women that includes organic greens blend, organic vegetables, and a six-strain probiotic blend. Together, this greens powder can help to improve your gut health, promote better digestion, support immunity, and give you a natural boost of energy.
Glow Better Greens are easy to add to your routine thanks to the subtly sweet appletini flavor. The ingredients are organic and the inclusion of six different probiotic strains makes this greens powder an excellent choice for those looking to improve their wellness with one simple product, which can be important during pregnancy when swallowing multiple daily capsules or products is a chore for many.
Learn all about their brand and supplements in our Cira Nutrition review.
- Great blend of greens plus probiotics
- Helps to improve digestion, immunity, and natural energy
- Nice mild flavor
- Fun, female-friendly brand
- Very affordable
- There aren’t a ton of reviews out there for this product
- Might not be the highest-quality greens option out there
Final Thoughts on The Best Greens For Pregnancy
Choosing to consume a greens powder during pregnancy might be a good fit for you if you’re struggling with consuming a nutrient-dense diet during pregnancy. As Dr. Daniel Atikinson puts it, “While they (greens) won’t replace a healthy, balanced diet, they can ensure you’re getting the right micronutrients to support you both throughout and after the pregnancy.”
We recommend conducting thorough research and running your pick by your doctor before starting a greens powder ritual during pregnancy to ensure that the product you choose aligns with your health and wellness needs. All of the options on our list have the potential to add valuable nutrition to your pregnancy, however, it’s up to you and your healthcare team to decide which greens powder is right for your pregnancy journey.