I have been getting a TON of questions about drinking Shakeology while pregnant and since I’ve done a great deal of research on the matter myself, I decided to write a post about it! I want to preface this by saying that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, of course, but after my research I decided to continue drinking the shakes throughout my pregnancy. I also plan to drink them while I nurse. If you want to know why, keep reading!
First of all, I personally believe that pregnancy and nursing and two of the most important times in a woman’s life for her to have optimum nutrition. That’s a huge part of why I wanted to continue drinking these nutrient-dense superfood shakes full of healthy ingredients! So many women spend their pregnancies eating donuts, sweets, and junk from drive thrus, yet are wary of a superfood shake. It doesn’t really make any sense to me. However, I am well aware that most doctors caution pregnant moms against pretty much everything while pregnant, including exercise (which baffles me). For example, at the beginning of my first pregnancy when I was answering questions about my health and such, I was told I could no longer teach (let alone practice) hot yoga. My husband practically forbid it after he heard the doctor talk about how it would raise my internal body temperature to a level that could harm the baby. I was devastated, as it was a huge part of my life at the time. I agreed to stop practicing temporarily while I did some research. Sure enough, I discovered lots of studies addressing that concern with tests and stats showing that the internal body temperature does not raise more than a degree or two, unlike what most people think. You sweat a lot in hot yoga, which is how your body cools itself and regulates its own temperature. Once I explained it, my practicing was no longer a problem. My doctor didn’t know that. Since she wasn’t educated on the matter, so I don’t think she should’ve been advising me on it. Women see doctors as trusted professionals, but they are educated on many things you might think they are. So here’s my point: Although I strongly encourage everyone to ask for their doctor’s professional opinion just as I asked my midwife about Shakeology this time around, I do not think it should ever be the end all, be all. It’s always important to ask lots of questions, find out the reasons for any medical advice you receive, and then do your research. Please remember that doctors do not always agree on what’s best, and that they are simply advisors and not the ultimate decision maker. You are the only one in charge of your body, your baby, and the decisions you make concerning your health!
Only 6% of all physicians in the United States receive formal nutrition training (statistic quoted from the film “Food Matters”), which is important to note. Why would you ever leave a decision concerning your nutrition while pregnant in the hands of someone uneducated on the matter? So let’s start with some Shakeology education concerning pregnancy!
One of the common concerns and reasons doctors tell people Shakeology is not safe during pregnancy is due to the amount of vitamin A in it. This is a result of a doctor who is only partially educated on the matter. Although it is true that high amounts of vitamin A in the form of retinol (from animal sources) have been correlated to birth defects, the vitamin A in Shakeology is in the form of plant-based beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body. No studies have ever suggested that beta carotene is correlated with birth defects.
Shakeology is made from all natural ingredients, none of which are contraindicated for pregnancy or breastfeeding. When my midwife (who has had extensive training in nutrition) looked over the nutrition label on the back of the bag, she was very pleased with the ingredients. The only issue she had was with Ashwagandha, citing that it could possibly cause preterm contractions and labor. I had never heard of that so again, I decided to stop drinking it until I had the time to research the matter further. Once I got the chance, I learned that Ashwagandha is considered a womb cleanser and toner. It eliminates the impurities that stand in the way of conception and strengthens the uterine muscle, among countless other health benefits such as boosting energy (who doesn’t need that while pregnant?!), relieving stress, promoting restful sleep and boosting mood. I did read, however, that it can cause powerful uterine contractions that may result in miscarriage. The moment I read that I was disappointed and knew I would need to stop drinking it. That was a chance I couldn’t take, which I think any mom would agree with. But being the little researcher that I am, I decided to dig a bit deeper. Yet again, I’m so glad I did! I discovered that in the West, Ashwagandha is actually quite popular during pregnancy, which didn’t make much sense to me. I learned that the issue comes down to doseage. Ashwagandha is considered safe with no known toxicity within normal dosage amounts, like the amount found in Shakeology. Animal studies have shown abortifacient properties only when taken in extremely large dosages, which is why many sources will recommend not using Ashwagandha during pregnancy. Ayurveda, however, regularly uses Ashwagandha during pregnancy and even uses it to prevent miscarriage. So it all comes down to doseage, and the dosage in Shakeology is no where near a dangerous level.
If you’d like some more information about this topic straight from the creators of Shakeology, check out this video:
So now that the reasons NOT to drink Shakeology while pregnant are out of the way, why should you drink Shakeology while pregnant? For me, there are so many reasons. As I already stated, I believe that pregnancy is the most important time to have optimum nutrition, but as most pregnant mommas know, it’s also the hardest! Between nausea, vomiting, aversions, cravings and fatigue, pregnancy does not make it easy to eat well! That’s why I’m so grateful for this shake. When a pregnant momma can’t get anything remotely healthy down, the shake will go down. It tastes like a milkshake, but acts like a salad. It is so much better than grabbing a regular milkshake from a drive thru, but it goes down just as easy. And speaking of milkshakes, most pregnant women know that cravings are a huge part of pregnancy. That said, I don’t think they should be used as an excuse to eat terribly. Shakeology curbs cravings for junk and sweets, making it easier for me to stay on track with my nutrition. Also, it gives me energy that comes from all the healthy foods in it and us pregnant mommas need our energy in the worst way, especially in subsequent pregnancies with other kids to take care of!
Although some shakes are high in sugar and full of things that aren’t good for you such as artificial flavors, sweeteners, and soy-based proteins, Shakeology is not. In fact, my midwife was surprised to see that after testing my blood sugar within an hour of ingesting 3 healthy meals, mine was the lowest within an hour of drinking Shakeology!
Shakeology actually replaces a prenatal vitamin, so I didn’t take a prenatal on the days I drank my shake (which was nearly every day). However, my midwife did suggest that I supplement it with a couple things. We added Folate (not folic acid, as this synthetic form is now linked to adverse birth effects), K-2 and D-3. I later added Horse Chesnut to help with hemorrhoids and magnesium to help alleviate leg cramps. A pregnant momma’s nutritional needs will always be unique to her during pregnancy, so please seek professional counsel you can trust in regards to prenatals and supplements.
In closing, I hope this has helped calm any fears, educated you, and helped you come to a better decision about drinking Shakeology while pregnant! Remember, the decision is yours alone. I hope you make the best one for you and your baby! I’m confident I have! Xo.
For general information on Shakeology, click here! To enter my giveaway for a FREE BAG OF SHAKEOLOGY, click on the image below and check out the top pinned post!