Congratulations on planning for parenthood! This exciting time comes with many questions, and creatine might be one of them. Let’s explore what you need to know about creatine and pregnancy.

The Potential of Creatine

Research suggests creatine may play a role in:

  • Energy Production and Nutrition: During pregnancy, your body demands more energy – you should remember by this time that creatine plays a vital role in body energy production. Creatine’s a conditionally essential nutrient (1, 2) and, as highlighted in the previous blog post, 6 out of 10 pregnant women (57.2%) consume creatine below the recommended quantities for an adult female, which increases risk of creatine malnutrition (3). There are important changes as well in creatine metabolism along with its natural precursors in the body until late gestation (4). In addition, the creatinine clearance (the way your body losses creatine) increases by 50% during pregnancy (5, 6).

Figure 1. Serum Creatinine in Pregnancy. Taken from Wiles et al. (2018)

  • Healthy Fetal Development and Birth: Creatine is essential for a growing baby and there is an important relationship between maternal creatine status and fetal growth (7). In addition, total creatine content of the third trimester pre-eclampsia placentae is higher compared to normotensive women (8), which suggest adaptive changes to optimize energy stores.
  • Combat Birth Asphyxia: This means when a baby doesn’t get enough oxygen or blood flow during or near birth. If it’s severe or lasts a while, it can damage the brain first, then other organs like the lungs, heart, and kidneys. Pre-clinical data shows that adding creatine to a pregnant mother’s diet might help shield her baby from harm if they experience a lack of oxygen during birth (9, 10).
  • Healthy Growth: As Drs. Wallimann and Harris pointed out years ago, a lack of creatine can have significant negative consequences for human health (11). There is evidence in children aged 0–2 years showing the positive relationship between dietary creatine and head circumference – as a surrogate marker of brain size in early childhood (12). There’s potential of creatine to prevent neurodevelopment adversity (13). Research also shows that taller children and adolescents aged 2–19 years tend to have a higher daily creatine intake from their regular diet compared to shorter ones (14). It is important to note that very young children typically consume about three times more creatine in their diet compared to adults, adjusting for their smaller body size (15).

Recommendations Before and During Pregnancy

Considering the high acceptance of current recommended nutritional supplements in pregnancy, data shows that women would consider taking creatine if recommended by their health professional (16). So, if you’re planning to conceive, discuss creatine with your obstetrician or physician. They can advise you based on your specific health and any pre-existing conditions you might have.

The Safety Question

While the potential benefits sound promising, the crucial point is safety. A good idea is to take 1 gram of creatine monohydrate for every 10 kilograms of your body weight each day or a few times a week (5 g for a 50-kg woman). Vast evidence has shown this to be safe and effective in women (17-20). According to Muccini and colleagues, “there is no indication that creatine supplements produced under high-quality manufacturing standards and consumed following manufacturer’s directions pose any safety risks or cause adverse side-effects in women of reproductive age or preterm infants”.

Focus on a Healthy Pregnancy

There are many ways to support a healthy pregnancy that should companied creatine supplementation. Here are some tips:

  • Prenatal Care: Regular checkups with your physician are crucial.
  • Balanced Diet: Eat a variety of nutritious foods to ensure you and your baby get the essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Exercise: Regular physical exercise, approved by your obstetrician, can benefit both you and your baby.

The Takeaway

Adding creatine to your diet from supplementation could potentially support the increased needs of this nutrient, benefiting both you and your baby. Remember, consulting your obstetrician or physician is key throughout your pregnancy journey. They can guide you on the safest and most effective strategies for a healthy pregnancy.

Disclaimer: This blog post provides a general overview. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice.

References

1.           Post A, Tsikas D, Bakker SJL. Creatine is a Conditionally Essential Nutrient in Chronic Kidney Disease: A Hypothesis and Narrative Literature Review. Nutrients. 2019;11(5).

2.           Ostojic SM, Forbes SC. Perspective: Creatine, a Conditionally Essential Nutrient: Building the Case. Adv Nutr. 2022;13(1):34-7.

3.           Ostojic SM, Forbes SC, Candow DG. Do Pregnant Women Consume Enough Creatine? Evidence from NHANES 2011-2018. Ann Nutr Metab. 2022;78(2):114-6.

4.           de Guingand DL, Palmer KR, Callahan DL, Snow RJ, Davies-Tuck ML, Ellery SJ. Creatine and pregnancy outcomes: a prospective cohort study of creatine metabolism in low-risk pregnant females. Am J Clin Nutr. 2024;119(3):838-49.

5.           Wiles K, Bramham K, Seed PT, Nelson-Piercy C, Lightstone L, Chappell LC. Serum Creatinine in Pregnancy: A Systematic Review. Kidney Int Rep. 2019;4(3):408-19.

6.           Manaj A, Rrugia A, Manoku N. The impact of preeclampsia in pregnancy. J Prenat Med. 2011;5(1):19-22.

7.           Muccini AM, Tran NT, de Guingand DL, Philip M, Della Gatta PA, Galinsky R, et al. Creatine Metabolism in Female Reproduction, Pregnancy and Newborn Health. Nutrients. 2021;13(2).

8.           Ellery SJ, Murthi P, Gatta PAD, May AK, Davies-Tuck ML, Kowalski GM, et al. The Effects of Early-Onset Pre-Eclampsia on Placental Creatine Metabolism in the Third Trimester. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(3).

9.           Tran NT, Muccini AM, Hale N, Tolcos M, Snow RJ, Walker DW, et al. Creatine in the fetal brain: A regional investigation of acute global hypoxia and creatine supplementation in a translational fetal sheep model. Front Cell Neurosci. 2023;17:1154772.

10.        Tran NT, Kowalski GM, Muccini AM, Nitsos I, Hale N, Snow RJ, et al. Creatine supplementation reduces the cerebral oxidative and metabolic stress responses to acute in utero hypoxia in the late-gestation fetal sheep. J Physiol. 2022;600(13):3193-210.

11.        Wallimann T, Harris R. Creatine: a miserable life without it. Amino Acids. 2016;48(8):1739-50.

12.        Ostojic S, Korovljev D, Stajer V, Todorovic N. Food Creatine and Head Circumference Among Children Aged 0–2 Years. Current Developments in Nutrition. 2022;6.

13.        Heland S, Fields N, Ellery SJ, Fahey M, Palmer KR. The role of nutrients in human neurodevelopment and their potential to prevent neurodevelopmental adversity. Front Nutr. 2022;9:992120.

14.        Korovljev D, Stajer V, Ostojic SM. Relationship between Dietary Creatine and Growth Indicators in Children and Adolescents Aged 2-19 Years: A Cross-Sectional Study. Nutrients. 2021;13(3).

15.        Korovljev D, Todorovic N, Stajer V, Ostojic SM. Dietary Intake of Creatine in Children Aged 0-24 Months. Ann Nutr Metab. 2021;77(3):185-8.

16.        de Guingand DL, Palmer KR, Bilardi JE, Ellery SJ. Acceptability of dietary or nutritional supplementation in pregnancy (ADONS) – Exploring the consumer’s perspective on introducing creatine monohydrate as a pregnancy supplement. Midwifery. 2020;82:102599.

17.        Kreider RB, Jager R, Purpura M. Bioavailability, Efficacy, Safety, and Regulatory Status of Creatine and Related Compounds: A Critical Review. Nutrients. 2022;14(5).

18.        Kreider RB, Kalman DS, Antonio J, Ziegenfuss TN, Wildman R, Collins R, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017;14:18.

19.        Sims ST, Kerksick CM, Smith-Ryan AE, Janse de Jonge XAK, Hirsch KR, Arent SM, et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: nutritional concerns of the female athlete. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2023;20(1):2204066.

20.        de Guingand DL, Palmer KR, Snow RJ, Davies-Tuck ML, Ellery SJ. Risk of Adverse Outcomes in Females Taking Oral Creatine Monohydrate: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2020;12(6).

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!