Evidence Based

Can You Drink Ensure During Pregnancy? Is That Safe?

Susan Adeosun, Dr.

Published at 01:35

Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

Medical reviewer

Ensure can be a part of a pregnant woman’s diet. Photo: Makistock/shutterstock

As a pregnant woman, your health is of the utmost importance. Whatever foods and drinks you eat and activities you perform have a strong link to the healthiness of your baby. But pregnancy does not grant you the all-knowing wisdom of the right things to do and eat, especially when you start feeling hunger pangs in early pregnancy.

While you are in front of your refrigerator, you may now wonder if some of the things there are good for you. For instance, in this blog, we’re going to answer the big question: is Ensure for pregnancy a healthy choice?

We’ll keep it simple, explore the ingredients and potential risks, and ultimately help you decide what’s best for you and your little one. So, if you’ve ever wondered about the nutritional value of Ensure for you and your baby, stick around.

Should You Drink Ensure While Pregnant?

  • Ensure can be taken during pregnancy as a nutritional supplement to support maternal health and fetal development.
  • It provides essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, protein, and calories, which can be beneficial for pregnant women who struggle to meet their nutritional needs through food alone.
  • Ensure should not replace a healthy, balanced diet during pregnancy but can be used as a convenient option to supplement nutrition, especially in cases of nausea, vomiting, or difficulty eating.
  • It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating Ensure into your pregnancy diet to ensure it’s appropriate for your individual needs.

What Is Ensure?

Ensure®[1] is a popular brand of nutritional supplements. They typically come in the form of shakes or drinks and are designed to provide essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for people who may have difficulty meeting their nutritional needs through food alone.

Ensure is most often used by people recovering from illness or surgery or who have difficulty eating a balanced diet. During pregnancy, it is commonly used as a nutritional supplement to support the health and well-being of both the mother and the developing baby.

Is Ensure Safe to Drink During Pregnancy?

Is Ensure Safe to Drink During Pregnancy?
Is Ensure Safe to Drink During Pregnancy? Photo: Prostock-studio/shutterstock

Pregnancy is a time when a woman’s nutritional needs increase significantly to support the growth and development of the fetus. However, some women may struggle to consume enough nutrients through their diet alone due to factors such as morning sickness, food aversions, or dietary restrictions.

In such cases, they might recommend Ensure as a convenient and accessible way to ensure they are getting essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients like folic acid, iron, calcium, and protein. All of these nutrients are crucial for fetal development and maternal health. Folic acid, for example, is vital for preventing neural tube defects in the baby[2], while iron helps prevent anemia in the mother[3].

Additionally, Ensure can be particularly beneficial for pregnant women who experience appetite changes or difficulty eating balanced meals due to nausea or other pregnancy-related symptoms. The brand claims that its easy-to-digest formula and variety of flavors can make it more palatable for those experiencing food aversions or digestive discomfort.

However, pregnant women should consult with their healthcare provider before incorporating Ensure or any other nutritional supplement into their diet to ensure it aligns with their specific nutritional needs and health status during pregnancy. Every pregnancy is unique, and individual nutritional requirements can vary based on factors such as overall health, dietary restrictions, and specific medical conditions.

Beneficial Use of Ensure During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, it’s essential for expecting mothers to maintain adequate nutrition to support both their own health and the healthy development of the fetus. So, if you have decided to add Ensure to your dietary supplement regimen[4], then you should know of the benefits the shake offers. 

Here are some potential benefits of Ensure during pregnancy:

Nutrient Supplementation

The dietary needs of pregnant women shift significantly right from the onset. To account for the growing fetus, they are advised to increase their calorie intake[5] by approximately 340 kcal per day[6] during the second trimester and 450 calories the third trimester.These additional calories must come from well-balanced meals rich in vitamins and minerals.

Weight gain is also a natural aspect of pregnancy, varying based on your pre-pregnancy BMI. This weight gain accounts for the growth of the baby[7], placenta, amniotic fluid, breasts, and the physical changes your body undergoes to accommodate pregnancy. 

Ensure provides a range of vitamins, minerals, protein, and calories, which can help pregnant women get essential nutrients. According to the guidelines, specific quantities of essential vitamins and minerals are crucial during pregnancy. 

They include calcium, iron, iodine, choline, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folic acid, each serving a vital role in supporting maternal and fetal health. Ensure that all of these supplements are in the needed quantity. 

The nutritional data for Ensure[8] is as follows;

  • Calories: 220
  • Total Fat: 6 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 1 gram
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 grams
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 3 grams
  • Cholesterol: <5 milligrams
  • Sodium: 210 milligrams
  • Total Carbohydrate: 33 grams
  • Dietary Fiber: 1 gram
  • Protein: 9 grams

Weight Management

Some pregnant women may struggle with weight gain during pregnancy, either due to nausea and vomiting or other factors. Calorie needs increase gradually as the pregnancy progresses, with the most significant increase typically occurring in the third trimester. 

Most pregnant women require around 1800 calories in their first trimester, about 2140 calories in their second trimester, and approximately 2250 or slightly more[9] in the third trimester. Despite this relatively modest increase in calorie requirements, some women may find it challenging to consume enough calories to meet their needs.

In such cases, Ensure can serve as a valuable option to help ensure complete and balanced nutrition. It provides a convenient source of essential nutrients, including protein, vitamins, minerals, and calories, 

Additionally, Ensure can be particularly beneficial for women who are struggling to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy. It offers a controlled and easily digestible form of nutrition that can support weight management efforts while ensuring adequate nutrient intake for both the mother and the developing baby.

However, it is important to emphasize that while Ensure can be a helpful tool for managing weight and meeting nutritional needs during pregnancy, it should not replace a balanced diet composed of whole foods. 

Pregnant women should aim to consume a variety of nutrient-rich foods whenever possible and use supplements like Ensure as a complement to their dietary intake rather than as a sole source of nutrition. Consulting with a healthcare provider is essential to ensure that the use of Ensure is appropriate and safe for individual needs during pregnancy.


The convenience factor of Ensure cannot be overstated, especially for pregnant women who may have busy schedules or find themselves on the go frequently. Ensure’s small size allows them to carry it with them wherever they go, ensuring they have access to essential nutrients whenever they need them, whether it’s during work, travel, or other activities.

Another great factor is that, with Ensure, there’s no need for meal preparation or cooking, making it a hassle-free option for busy expectant mothers. It can be taken quickly and conveniently, providing a nutrient-rich boost even during hectic days.

Combat Morning Sickness

Combating morning sickness is a common concern for many pregnant women, especially during the first trimester. It has often led women to try various concoctions to prevent it, including Elderberry syrup. You might ask, is Elderberry Syrup safe during pregnancy? Research does not fully show its effect on pregnant women.

However, the producers of Ensure also assure pregnant women that their formula helps to combat morning sickness. While Ensure may not directly alleviate morning sickness, it can still play a supportive role in managing nutritional intake during this challenging time. 

Ensure is formulated to be easy to digest, which can be particularly helpful for pregnant women experiencing nausea and vomiting. Also, Morning sickness can sometimes lead to decreased appetite and food aversions, making it challenging to consume a balanced diet. 

Ensure provides a convenient way to obtain essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and protein, even when traditional meals are unappealing. It also helps the mother stay hydrated with the fluid content and contributes to overall hydration levels, which can help alleviate some symptoms of nausea.

Additional Protein

Protein is crucial for the development of the baby and the mother’s health during pregnancy. Ensure provides a source of high-quality protein, which can be beneficial for women who struggle to consume enough protein through their regular diet.

One bottle of Ensure contains 9 grams of protein. During pregnancy, a woman’s protein needs increase to support the growth of the placenta and fetus, as well as changes in her own body. Ensure contains a substantial amount of protein, making it easier for pregnant women to meet their increased protein requirements, especially if they struggle to consume enough protein through their regular diet.


In simple terms, there is no downside to drinking Ensure while pregnant. It can offer several benefits, including convenient nutrition supplementation, support for weight management, and additional protein intake. While Ensure can provide essential nutritional support during pregnancy, it’s important to note that over-reliance on this shake can compromise total fiber intake due to its low fiber content.

Ensure can help pregnant women meet their increased nutritional needs, especially in cases where they may struggle to consume enough nutrients through food alone. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider before adding Ensure or any other nutritional supplement to your diet during pregnancy. This is to ensure it aligns with your specific nutritional needs and health status.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Ensure suitable for everyone?

Ensure is generally safe for most people, but it’s best to consult a healthcare provider, especially if you have specific health conditions or allergies or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Can Ensure be used as a meal replacement?

Ensure is intended as a supplement, not a meal replacement. It’s designed to provide additional nutrients and should be consumed as a balanced diet.

Are there any side effects of Ensure?

Side effects are rare but can include gastrointestinal discomfort or allergic reactions. If you experience any adverse effects, discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.

How should Ensure be stored?

Ensure that it is stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Once opened, refrigerate any unused portion and consume within a specified timeframe as indicated on the packaging. Check the expiration date.

Dr Susan Adeosun (MPH, MD) is a Medical Doctor and Public Health enthusiast. She has over five years’ worth of experience in public health and preventive medicine and is a firm believer in the famous phrase by Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus, “prevention is better than cure.” Her journey through public health, combined with her love for writing, has resulted in the publication of several health articles on various blogs, websites, and peer review journals.


MANA adheres to strict sourcing guidelines, avoids most tertiary sources, and uses only professional resources updated to contain accurate and current information. We majorly rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research from reputable medical associations. For more information regarding our editorial process, please refer to the provided resources.

  1. Ensure.com. (2024). Ensure® Products | Meal Replacement Shakes & Nutrition Drinks. [online] Available at: https://ensure.com/nutrition-products [Accessed 14 May 2024].
  2. CDC (2022). Folic Acid: The Best Tool to Prevent Neural Tube Defects. [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/features/folic-acid-helps-prevent-some-birth-defects.html [Accessed 14 May 2024].
  3. Benson, C.S., Shah, A., Frise, M.C. and Frise, C.J. (2020). Iron deficiency anaemia in pregnancy: A contemporary review. Obstetric medicine, [online] 14(2), pp.67–76. doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/1753495×20932426.
  4. Tsui, B., Dennehy, C.E. and Tsourounis, C. (2001). A survey of dietary supplement use during pregnancy at an academic medical center. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, [online] 185(2), pp.433–437. doi:https://doi.org/10.1067/mob.2001.116688.
  5. Kominiarek, M.A. and Rajan, P. (2016). Nutrition Recommendations in Pregnancy and Lactation. Medical clinics of North America/˜The œMedical clinics of North America, [online] 100(6), pp.1199–1215. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mcna.2016.06.004.
  6. United States Department of Agriculture (2020). Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 -2025 . [online] USDA. Available at: https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf.
  7. Acog.org. (2023). Weight Gain During Pregnancy. [online] Available at: https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2013/01/weight-gain-during-pregnancy [Accessed 14 May 2024].
  8. Ensure® Original (2024). Ensure® Original | Complete Nutrition Shakes | Milk Chocolate. [online] Ensure.com. Available at: https://ensure.com/nutrition-products/ensure-original [Accessed 14 May 2024].
  9. Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020). Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 and Online Materials | Dietary Guidelines for Americans. [online] www.dietaryguidelines.gov. Available at: https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/resources/2020-2025-dietary-guidelines-online-materials.

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