You may know all the ways collagen benefits you before, during and after pregnancy, but there are a handful of little best practices that can actually make or break the experience. It may seem straightforward—collagen, meet water—but there’s more to consider, and a lot of people are overlooking seriously important steps. In the interest of ensuring that you’re really reaping the benefits, we’re highlighting three mistakes you’re (probably) making with prenatal collagen.
1. You aren’t taking it daily.
Just like your prenatal vitamin, consistency is key for collagen efficacy. Not only do you need to take it every darn day, make sure you’re getting a sufficient dose. Research (1) has shown that 2.5 to 15 grams is considered a safe daily dose. Most studies that find collagen supplementation beneficial were based on consistent daily intakes, with zero negative side effects.
During pregnancy and post-partum in particular, your needs for protein are at their highest. You and baby both benefit from collagen protein, which supports skin elasticity, grows new tissues, supports healthy immune systems and proper muscle function, and aids in the production of hormones.
A 2020 study (2) called collagen supplementation during and after pregnancy “a key beneficial support to the immense amount of changes that the body goes through during that period.” The study’s authors also outlined additional benefits for the joints, ligaments and muscles of mamas and babies alike. One caveat? Those benefits only happen when you’re taking collagen regularly!
2. You aren’t being mindful of its source.
You know that old saying, you are what you eat? A, it’s absolutely true, and B, it applies to the quality of your supplements, too. All collagen supplements that truly contain collagen come from animal sources. Since this supplement becomes the building block for your joints, skin, ligaments, and muscles (and baby’s, too!), quality clearly matters.
Bovine sources are among the most common, and incidentally, studies (3) show this type of collagen is the most effective for boosting skin health, including elasticity and moisture. However—and we really can’t emphasize this enough—not all bovine-sourced collagen is the same. Grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine collagen means the animal was not only raised humanely, it was fed a wild grass diet. That increases the nutrition of the collagen and makes it the most natural option you can get.
As you prepare for a baby, of course, opting for safe and clean supplements is even more important, so you'll also want to prioritize a collagen powder that’s made without fillers (think artificial colors, soy, sugar, or GMOs).
One more thing—in wild but absolutely true news, supplements still aren’t regulated in this country. That means companies are essentially free to make whatever claims they like, without proof. Opting for cheap, untested collagen means you’re getting no benefits and worse, might be unknowingly ingesting questionable ingredients—definitely not what you want before, during or after pregnancy.
Always, always purchase your supplements, collagen included, from a brand you trust. Prioritize companies that are transparent about their sources, manufacture their products in FDA-registered, cGMP facilities, and verify claims about ingredients and products.
3. It’s not fully hydrolyzed.
Hydrolyzed collagen simply means that the amino acids in the protein have been broken down to a size that is more quickly and easily digested. The quicker you’re able to digest it, the faster it begins working. And yes, all collagen actually is hydrolyzed (points to you if you already knew that!). But there are various tiers to the process, and the best of the best is fully hydrolyzed. It should be labeled as such, and a telltale sign is that it’s both unflavored and odorless. Plus, when it’s stirred into liquids, it’s entirely soluble. Hydrolyzed collagen is also marketed as collagen peptides or collagen hydrolysate.
A Clean Collagen Recommendation
You’re busy, we get it, so now that you know which mistakes to avoid with your collagen, we’ll make things easy. Beli’s new Prenatal Collagen Boost ticks all the boxes:
- It’s ethically derived from grass-fed, pasture-raised, hormone-free bovine sources, making for a protein that’s free of hormones, gluten, dairy, and soy (and no additives, either)
- It’s fully hydrolyzed and blends seamlessly into smoothies, soups, stews, batters, coffee and plain water
- Each scoop serving has 9 grams of collagen protein, so a scoop a day has you (and baby) covered with the essential amino acids you both need to thrive
If you’re taking prenatal collagen to support you from preconception to postpartum, you’re on the right track. But prioritizing the cleanest sources from the most reputable brands and committing to taking it every day is the best way to ensure you’re really reaping the benefits.
Paul C et al. (2019). Significant amounts of functional collagen peptides can be incorporated in the diet while maintaining indispensable amino acid balance. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31096622/
Reilly M et al. (2020). Skin collagen through the lifestages: importance for skin health and beauty. https://parjournal.net/article/view/3863
Song H et al. (2017). Effect of orally administered collagen peptides from bovine bone on skin aging in chronically aged mice. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/9/11/1209