Can You Safely Take Pre-Workout When Pregnant? (Explained!)

We all need that extra energy boost to get through that gym session, sometimes. It's even more necessary when you're pregnant and sharing that energy with another person!

While the American Pregnancy Association recommends avoiding caffeine as much as possible, it’s always best to talk to your doctor about this. [1]

After all, the ingredient list of each pre-workout varies wildly. Imagine if you could take a pre-workout during your entire pregnancy, but instead, you were dragging yourself through each gym session!

Can you take pre-workout when pregnant? The short answer is that you can, if your supplements don’t contain ingredients deemed harmful to your baby. The Mayo Clinic strongly recommends against taking any kind of supplements. [2]

After all, dietary supplements like pre-workout supplements are not reviewed by the FDA for safety and effectiveness.

However, that’s not to say that all pre-workout supplements are unhealthy for pregnant women. Aside from talking to your doctor about it, we recommend steering clear of high quantities of caffeine or stimulants.

Many pregnant women opt for a non-stimulant pre-workout that includes many workout-maximizing ingredients without the caffeine.

Related Article - Stimulant Vs Non-Stimulant Pre-Workout

Can You Safely Take Pre-Workout When Pregnant? (Explained!)

Things To Look For In Pre-Workouts When Pregnant

1. Ingredients To Avoid

The main ingredient a pregnant woman should avoid in a pre-workout supplement is caffeine, which we’ll get into in a moment.

However, there are many other ingredients you should watch out for, as well.

Vinpocetine

Make sure you aren’t taking any dietary supplement that includes vinpocetine, which the FDA has stated can harm fetal development and generally put the baby’s health at risk. [3]

This man-made chemical is designed to boost brain performance and is found in certain pre-workout supplements.

St. John’s Wart

St. John's Wort is a natural flowering shrub native to Europe and is used by many to boost mood or therapeutically used to treat depression for many women.

While many studies suggest it’s safe to use while pregnant, there are plenty of studies that state otherwise. While it’s not all that common in pre-workout formulas, it’s best to keep an eye out and avoid it.

Yohimbe

Yohimbe is an Evergreen native to central and western Africa and is used in many pre-workout supplements to increase athletic performance.

While more research needs to be done, the NIH does warn women to stay away from it during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

It has been associated with heart attacks, seizures, anxiety, stomach problems, and other adverse reactions.

pre-workout while pregnant

Beta-Alanine

Beta-Alanine is found in a large amount of pre-workout supplements, and studies have consistently found it to be unsafe for pregnant and nursing mothers.

BCAAs

While Optimum Nutrition’s Amino Energy and AllMax Nutrition A Cuts have often been touted as a safe supplement for most women during pregnancy, many studies suggest branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) could be harmful. [4]

BCAAs are incredibly effective at reducing muscle soreness and muscle recovery, so it makes sense why they’re in so many pre-workout products. This is yet another ingredient to hold off using until after pregnancy and breastfeeding.

When it comes to artificial sweeteners, aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin have all been deemed safe by the FDA and NIH.

Learn More - Pre-Workout Vs BCAAs

2. Caffeine Content

Caffeine is a significant part of our life for most of us. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have found that moderate caffeine consumption of less than 200 mg a day is safe during pregnancy. This equals to around 2 cups of coffee (no, not 2 enormous cups!).

So, how much caffeine is in your average pre-workout?

Most pre-workout supplements contain around 150 to 250 mg per scoop or serving. However, some, like the Mr. Hyde Nitro X by Pro Supps, contain a whopping 375 mg of caffeine per serving!

This means that you could be consuming almost twice your caffeine limit with just a single scoop of pre-workout.

3. Clear Warning Labels

Of course, it's always important to read the labels of any you're interested in taking. With most reputable brands and products, you can find the label online, so you don't have to waste any money purchasing it only to find out you can't use the pre-workout during pregnancy.

pregnant women friends who workout

Are There Safe Prenatal Pre-Workout Supplements?

Yes, there are safe prenatal pre-workout supplements out there for mothers and babies. However, don’t just research stimulant-free pre-workouts and call it a day. Remember, there are other ingredients to watch out for, as well.

The Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Energy + Focus pre-workout supplement is low stimulant with just 85 mg of naturally occurring caffeine. They also mix things in like natural berry extracts to offer more energy sources aside from caffeine.

‘Merica Labz Stars ‘N Pipes pre-workout supplement contains less than 10 ingredients, and all of them are safe to use for pregnant women.

However, their label does advise a consult first with your physician, and we recommend doing the same just to be on the safe side.

If they give you the green light, you’ll love how this drink tastes, along with the added muscle endurance it provides. Did we mention it’s zero calories?

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Pre-Workout Alternatives For Pregnant Women

There are plenty of other supplements or whole food options that can boost energy levels and get you prepped to focus on exercise.

Green Tea

Green tea is a great option if you want to ramp up energy levels, so long as you don't exceed caffeine limits. It contains about 25 mg of caffeine per cup, approximately a quarter of what coffee has.

Green tea can even help reduce inflammation, thanks to its polyphenol content (goodbye, swollen joints).

Coffee

Coffee is delicious, satisfying, and won't interfere with a healthy pregnancy as long as you don't consume over 200 mg of caffeine a day. It helps reduce fatigue, increase energy levels, and can make a long day feel a lot shorter.

Related Article - Pre-Workout Vs Coffee: What's The Difference?

Spirulina

Spirulina is a form of blue-green algae that's not only safe for pregnancy, but it's also suggested to be beneficial! Packed with all kinds of antioxidants and B vitamins, it's a great way to improve overall health and nutrition while reducing inflammation.

Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are solid alternatives to using a pre-workout supplement. Blending these whole foods provides a healthy source of energy and boosts nutrition while helping with muscle recovery.

healthy green juices

Training During Pregnancy (Considerations & Benefits)

Plenty of women are looking to maintain their physical fitness throughout their pregnancy, and that’s possible. However, there are some considerations to take.

Rather than starting a new type of activity, such as powerlifting, continue with what you already know. Swimming and walking are the exceptions; they're great forms of exercise to add to your routine.

Weight lifting can keep blood moving throughout the body while keeping muscle tone and strength. This can make the pregnancy move more smoothly, lower the risk of gestational diabetes, and even reduce back pain.

In addition, make sure you are eating a healthy diet with plenty of protein to support your growing baby.


Pre-Workout Questions For Pregnant Women

Why is it important to check with your doctor first before taking a pre-workout when pregnant?

Nutrition is a very personal matter, as all of our bodies vary. Your doctor knows your health profile well and can make recommendations based on this. Not only that, but they may be aware of unsafe ingredients that aren’t as commonly spoken about.

Can you take a pre-workout while trying to conceive?

For men, it’s probably not a good idea as it can potentially affect male fertility (depending on the supplement). For women, it’s smart to ask your doctor, as well.

What should I do if I’ve been taking pre-workout and didn’t know I was pregnant?

This is one of the most common questions regarding supplement use. Stop taking the supplement as soon as you find out, and consult your doctor. They can advise you where to go from there.

Can I drink C4 while pregnant?

No, we don’t recommend brands like C4 during pregnancy. There are just too many chemicals and caffeine to safely consume C4 while pregnant.


Conclusion

If you want to take pre-workout supplements during pregnancy, you absolutely can. You just need to take one of the safe supplements, and of course, ask your doctor beforehand.

This ensures the safety of you and your baby while making sure you’re getting the nutrients you need and leaving out what you don’t. There are plenty of “natural” ways to increase energy before the gym, so make sure to explore all your options.

References:

1. https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/caffeine-intake-during-pregnancy/

2. https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/should-women-take-supplements-while-pregnant

3. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/statement-warning-women-childbearing-age-about-possible-safety-risks-dietary-supplements-containing

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7178017/

Last Updated on August 18, 2022