Can I Drink Ensure While Pregnant?

Young pregnant woman with glass of milk in the room.

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  • Drinking Ensure during pregnancy will help to provide complete nutrition for your body and maintain your baby’s growth. 
  • To avoid an empty stomach, Ensure can be used in the management of morning sickness.
  • Drinking Ensure can help reduce nausea experienced by pregnant women. 
  • Ensure should be used in conjunction with a balanced diet. 

It’s no secret that pregnant women have increased nutritional needs, but most women find nutrition during pregnancy challenging. You will need approximately an additional 330 calories each day during your pregnancy. It can be confusing how to get enough calories through proper nutrition to maintain a healthy pregnancy.

Many pregnant women find eating difficult due to multiple complications of pregnancy. Morning sickness makes it near impossible to want to eat anything, let alone keep it down. How are you to meet your nutritional needs to maintain a healthy pregnancy when eating food is a challenge? Drinking Ensure at specific times throughout the day may help to ease some common symptoms of morning sickness.

With protein shakes, women who drink Ensure during pregnancy can get a much-needed nutritional boost. Specially formulated with vitamins and essential minerals, Ensure shakes help meet optimal nutrition recommendations during your pregnancy and promote your baby’s healthy development. 

While Ensure can promote health, you’ll want to make sure you understand the ingredients and the quantities that are right for you. Too much of some nutrients can have negative side effects. There’s a lot of variety of Ensure products and some drinks even contain caffeine! Consult with your doctor to determine which Ensure product is right for you and your developing baby. 

What Is Ensure?

First introduced to the market in 1973, Ensure produces nutritional drinks that provide complete and balanced nutrition. Ensure’s parent company, Abbott Nutrition, has over 100 years of trusted, science-based nutrition. Among doctors who recommend liquid nutritional products, Ensure is the #1 choice. 

Ensure drinks come in multiple options. Choosing which one is right for you means assessing your nutritional goals and knowing more about the products.

Ensure has two basic categories for drinks.

  • Complete, balanced nutrition products provide well-proportioned macronutrients and essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Targeted nutrition products specifically provide more significant quantities of protein and lower amounts of sugar.

​​Ensure drinks are formulated for optimal nutrition and contain concentrated protein, vitamins, and minerals. If you are sensitive to gluten, you will be pleased to learn that all Ensure drinks are gluten-free.

Drinks come in two options – prepared drink beverages or nutritional powders. The ready-to-drink shakes are convenient and don’t require refrigeration. Nutritional powders can be made into drinks as you need them. 

Ready to drink Ensure products come in both dairy and dairy-free options. Some dairy milk products are suitable for those who are lactose intolerant, so be sure to read the labels carefully.

What Are the Nutritional Guidelines for Pregnancy?

Growing a baby during pregnancy increases the nutritional recommendations for your body. You will need to increase your calories by approximately 300kcal/day throughout your pregnancy. 

Starting a quality prenatal vitamin prior to pregnancy is widely recommended. However, a prenatal vitamin should not replace balanced nutrition. Discuss with your health care provider which prenatal vitamin is best for you.

Pregnant women need more protein during your pregnancy. The recommended daily intake of protein for pregnant women is 60grams/day as compared to 46grams/day for non-pregnant women. 

Pregnant women need to consume more of certain vitamins and minerals during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists  (ACOG) identifies the following as key vitamins and minerals and quantities needed during pregnancy:

  • Calcium (1,300 milligrams for ages 14 to 18; 1,000 milligrams for ages 19 to 50)
  • Iron (27 milligrams)
  • Iodine (220 micrograms)
  • Choline (450 milligrams)
  • Vitamin A (750 micrograms for ages 14 to 18; 770 micrograms for ages 19 to 50)
  • Vitamin C (80 milligrams for ages 14 to 18; 85 milligrams for ages 19 to 50)
  • Vitamin D (600 international units)
  • Vitamin B6 (1.9 milligrams)
  • Vitamin B12 (2.6 micrograms)
  • Folic acid (600 micrograms)

During a healthy pregnancy, you should expect to gain weight. The amount of weight recommended during pregnancy depends on your body mass index (BMI). The added weight is attributed to the growing baby, placenta, amniotic fluid, and changes in your body.

Gestational weight gain recommendations

Pre-pregnancy BMITotal weight gain at term
Underweight (<18.5 kg/m2)12.5-18 kg28-40 lbs.
Normal weight (18.5-24.9 kg/m2)11.5-16 kg25-35 lbs.
Overweight(25.0-29.9 kg/m2)7-11.5 kg15-25 lbs.
Obesity(≥ 30.0 kg/m2)5-9 kg11-20 lbs.

Data from Institute of Medicine. Weight gain during pregnancy: reexamining the guidelines. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine; 2009.

Beautiful asian pregnant mother.

Is Ensure Safe to Drink During Pregnancy?

Ensure is considered a food and is safe to consume during pregnancy. These healthy drink options will provide you with high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals to help meet the nutritional demands of your pregnancy. Although Ensure is safe to drink during pregnancy, you should consult with your health care provider to determine which drink and the quantity that is right for you. 

Ensure should be used in conjunction with a balanced diet and should not replace meals.

What Are the Benefits of Drinking Ensure?

Drinking nutritional beverages during your pregnancy can be a part of a healthy diet. Ensure drinks provide between 8grams – 30 grams of protein and up to 27 vitamins and minerals. Each serving of Ensure nutritional beverages contains between 150 – 350 calories. The extra boost of protein will help satisfy hunger, and the added calories will assist with the recommended weight gain. 

Ensure can be used by pregnant women who experience morning sickness to alleviate symptoms. The ACOG recommends having something to eat before getting out of bed and avoiding an empty stomach to manage morning sickness. Ensure’s prepared shakes are a convenient option available to you at any point throughout the day. 

Additionally, studies show that protein reduces nausea during pregnancy. 

As the baby grows larger during pregnancy, your stomach will be compressed. This decrease in space can make you feel uncomfortable after eating and result in nutritional gaps. Some women find it more comfortable to eat small meals or sip on Ensure to maintain optimal nutrition.  

Things to Remember Before Drinking Ensure While Pregnant

Although Ensure has many benefits for pregnancy, you’ll want to know a few things before you drink it. 

Some coffee-flavored Ensure drinks contain caffeine. ACOG recommends moderate caffeine consumption of less than 200 milligrams per day. If you are drinking other beverages containing caffeine, make sure to note how much caffeine you are consuming each day.

Most Ensure drinks contain dairy milk. If you are allergic to dairy or vegan, make sure you drink an option made with plant-based protein. 

Drinking Ensure should complement a regular diet during pregnancy and assist with the increased nutritional demands of pregnancy. If you cannot eat due to morning sickness, Ensure provides an excellent option for dietary needs. 

Ensure should not be used in place of regular meals and is not intended to help pregnant women lose weight during pregnancy. 

There are a lot of vitamins and minerals in Ensure. Sometimes too much of one thing can have harmful side effects. Excessive vitamin A intake has been linked to congenital anomalies. You will want to seek professional medical advice before drinking Ensure regularly to determine how much is safe for you.

Recommended Ensure Products During Pregnancy

Ensure has a wide array of options to choose from that are safe to consume during pregnancy. Knowing your goals for drinking Ensure will help you assess which product is right for you. Are you looking for a balanced blend with all of the nutrients? If so, then look at the complete, balanced nutrition options. Are you looking for more protein but do not want all of the carbohydrates from sugars? If so, then the targeted nutrition options may be suitable for you.

Complete, Balanced Nutrition ProductProteinSugarCalories
Ensure Original9 grams15 grams220
Ensure Plus16 grams20 grams350
Ensure Complete30 grams15 grams350
Ensure Original Powder9 grams13 grams250
Targeted Nutrition ProductProteinSugarCalories
Ensure Max Protein30 grams1 gram150
Ensure High Protein16 grams4 grams160
Ensure Plant-Based Protein20 grams7 grams180
Beautiful pregnant woman drinking milk.

FAQs About Drinking Ensure While Pregnant

How many Ensures can I drink a day while pregnant?

Each woman has different needs. Pregnant women should always consult with their health care provider to determine what quantity of Ensure is safe for them.

Does Ensure contain dairy?

Yes, most Ensure products do contain dairy. However, many products are considered suitable for lactose intolerance. 

Does Ensure have artificial sweeteners?

Most Ensure products utilize a blend of sugar and the artificial sweetener sucralose. The Ensure Plus Nutrition Shake is the only beverage without sucralose. 

Can Ensure help you lose weight postpartum?

Ensure is a food that supplements your diet and is not intended as a product for weight loss. 

Can I drink Ensure and skip meals?

Some pregnant women may be resistant to gain weight. Ensure is meant to be used along with a balanced diet. If you can eat food, you should not skip meals. 

Can I drink Ensure while lactating?

Ensure uses food-grade products and is safe during lactation. Lactating women continue to have increased nutritional needs after pregnancy. While breastfeeding, mothers should consume an additional 330 to 440 kilocalories (kcal) per day.  

How much caffeine is in my coffee compared to Ensure?

A typical 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains about 95 milligrams of caffeine. A shot of espresso contains roughly 63 milligrams of caffeine. Ensure Max Protein Milk Chocolate with Caffeine contains 100 milligrams of caffeine. 

Remember that it’s recommended you keep your caffeine intake below 200 milligrams per day, so be aware of how these different drinks can add up.

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