From ice cream to cheese to milk, cravings for dairy products are often in no short supply during pregnancy, but can be downright frustrating when dairy disagrees with your stomach. Lactaid pills are a simple and effective solution, but many women wonder whether they are safe to take while pregnant.
Despite being sold as a dietary supplement, Lactaid pills are a safe way to minimize your discomfort with dairy while pregnant. Similar to other supplements, make sure you purchase from a trustworthy brand and follow package instructions to ensure safety.
Lactaid milk is also safe and offers the same nutrition as traditional dairy, just without the lactose.
For expecting mothers with lactose intolerance (whether pre-existing or a new effect of pregnancy), it can be tempting to load up on Lactaid to avoid any chance of feeling ill after enjoying dairy foods. But, how much is too much of a good thing? I’ll not only break down how Lactaid works, but what the upper limit is (if any), and the difference between Lactaid products.
Can Pregnant Women Take Lactaid Pills? Is it Safe?
Lactaid is a brand that offers a variety of lactose-friendly foods and supplements geared toward folks who are lactose intolerant. ‘Lactaid pills’ actually refer to their brand name product. Their popular Lactaid pills are a tablet that contains the enzyme lactase.
Lactase is naturally produced by the body to break down lactose during digestion, however, folks who are lactose intolerant have trouble digesting lactose because they don’t produce enough of this enzyme (source: Stat Pearls).
Note: Many store brands offer similar, generic lactase enzyme pills, but for the purpose of this article, I will refer to both the generics as well as the brand name as ‘Lactaid pills.’
Contrary to popular belief, Lactaid pills are sold as a dietary supplement (not a medication) and therefore are not regulated by the FDA. Just because Lactaid pills are a dietary supplement doesn’t make them unsafe during pregnancy. Lactaid is a well-known and trusted brand, which is important when buying any nutritional supplements.
While lactase enzymes have not been given an official pregnancy-safety rating by the FDA, Lactaid brand itself reports that their pills are safe to use daily, including while pregnant (sources: Drugs, Lactaid). Lactaid recommends taking at least one pill each time you consume dairy also confirming that it is safe to take more doses, as needed.
Lactaid pills come in a variety of strengths, including ‘Fast Act’ and ‘Original.’ The difference between the two products is the amount of lactase enzyme the pills contain. According to the manufacturer, ‘Fast Act’ pills or tablets contain 9000 units of lactase enzyme, whereas ‘Original’ strength contains only 3000 units per pill.
If you find yourself more lactose sensitive, opting for the ‘Fast Act’ can cut down the number of pills you need to feel relief.
Because Lactaid pills are simply a man-made version of an enzyme your body naturally makes, and as there is no established ‘upper limit,’ taking extra-strength Lactaid is likely just as safe as the original version.
If you feel that you are needing to take large amounts of Lactaid pills regularly, it is worth mentioning this to your healthcare provider, as they may wish to look into other reasons for your discomfort with dairy.
Finding yourself suddenly lactose intolerant during pregnancy can be quite the shock, but Lactaid pills can help you to continue to comfortably enjoy dairy.
If you’re feeling as though you might have developed lactose intolerance during pregnancy, head over to our article ‘Can Pregnancy Cause of Reverse Lactose Intolerance’ where I’ve debunked myths about this unforeseen change.
Is Lactaid Milk Safe for Pregnant Women?
During pregnancy, you’re likely already taking at least one pill or supplement a day for your prenatal vitamin, and that’s not counting any other medications you may need. To cut down on the number of daily pills and medications, many women swap out their regular milk for Lactaid milk.
Unlike other milk alternatives, Lactaid milk is still dairy milk- but without the lactose. The only extra ingredient? Lactase enzyme. By adding the enzyme directly to the milk, the lactase gets to work straight away breaking down lactose in the carton.
The milk you sip on will have little to no lactose remaining, meaning easier digestion without needing to pop a Lactaid pill.
Lactaid offers all of the typical versions of milk sans lactose, from skim to whole, with calcium and vitamin D fortified options, and even chocolate-flavored.
While Lactaid pills are sold as a dietary supplement, Lactaid milks are considered to be a food and/or beverage and therefore they are monitored closely by the FDA.
Can I Drink Lactaid’s Eggnog During Pregnancy?
Fancy yourself some holiday cheer but dreading the gas and discomfort? Lactaid also carries Eggnog! Unfortunately, this product is only available seasonally, but I have found it easy to access within many local stores during the holiday season.
Traditional eggnog is both unpasteurized and alcoholic, two things to avoid while pregnant. Luckily, Lactaid’s eggnog is both virgin (non-alcoholic) and ultra-pasteurized for safety. The remainder of its ingredients are fairly standard, making this treat safe during pregnancy!
Check out our Eggnog article for more tips on finding pregnancy-safe eggnog.
With the help of Lactaid pills and drinks, you can safely stop feeling left out (or uncomfortable) from delicious dairy treats and favorites- even during pregnancy!