Can you eat ice cream while pregnant?
In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question, “Can you eat ice cream while pregnant?” with an in-depth analysis of the effects of eating ice cream during pregnancy, as well as the safety and some recommendations of eating ice cream during pregnancy.
Can you eat ice cream while pregnant?
Yes, you can eat ice cream while pregnant. However, it is best to consume commercially prepared ice cream during pregnancy, as it is prepared by following clean manufacturing practices, rather than homemade ice cream, to avoid any unsafe circumstances.
Safety of eating ice cream during pregnancy
Homemade Ice Cream
Homemade ice cream is not safe to consume during pregnancy as it can contain unpasteurized dairy products including milk, cream, and eggs. In most cases, it is the raw eggs that make it unsafe for pregnant women as they may contain Salmonella.
However, if you are preparing an eggless recipe or using pasteurized eggs and dairy then if it is stored properly, homemade ice cream may be safe for consumption.
Commercially prepared Ice Cream
The likely risk of consuming commercially prepared ice cream during pregnancy is not associated with the ingredients but with the cleanliness of the dispensing machines. If these machines are not cleaned properly, they can pose threats such as Listeria contamination.
However, if you are buying ice cream from large chain stores or cafes then you can be assured that they follow strict sanitation practices.
But if you buy from an ice cream van or street vendor, you should know that they do not follow the same strict sanitation practices.
Flavours to not consume
Ice cream flavours like strawberry, mint and chocolate chip can be enjoyed during pregnancy without any concerns.
However, you will have to avoid eating any ice creams that include caffeine, such as coffee-flavoured ice cream, if you are taking caffeine in other things as well. Green tea also comprises little caffeine, so that may be an added flavour to avoid or restrict.
It is prescribed to consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine per day in pregnant women. So the equivalent of caffeine in about 1 to 2 cups of coffee is likely safe during pregnancy, whether they consume that in the form of coffee, coffee ice cream, or tea.
However, it should be taken into consideration that coffee ice cream consists of considerably more calories and extra sugars.
Risks of eating ice cream during pregnancy
Although seldom enjoying a sugary treat while pregnant is quite healthy, consumption of an extra amount of calories can lead to unnecessary weight gain and other health problems that can adversely affect the mother’s health and the health of the infant.
Gaining excessive weight during pregnancy has been associated with a higher risk of gestational diabetes, a condition in which the body’s cells have difficulty secreting and using the insulin hormone efficiently.
This condition can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure and can also lead to preeclampsia.
Gestational diabetes can cause be harmful to the baby, such as:
- early delivery
- breathing difficulties
- low blood sugar levels immediately after birth
Additionally, babies born among mothers who have gestational diabetes tend to be bigger, which can sometimes lead to complications during childbirth.
Another risk associated with the consumption of ice cream is contamination from bacteria that might be present in the dairy product.
The most prevalent bacteria found in dairy products are Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Campylobacter. All of these bacteria present in raw eggs and dairy products are potential pathogens that pose a major threat to pregnant women.
If pregnant women consume ice cream that is not prepared by using pasteurized eggs and dairy products, there is a risk of infecting the baby.
Recommendations for eating ice cream during pregnancy
It is best for pregnant women to enjoy ice cream not as a dietary staple but as a treat. While most ice creams are rich in added sugar and calories, consuming excessive sugars and calories is not good for their health.
Though ice cream does consist of nutrients that are vital throughout pregnancy, that include calcium, it should not be considered a healthy source of these nutrients.
How to ensure safe consumption of ice cream during pregnancy?
If you do crave ice cream during pregnancy, you can have it once in a while to minimize sugar intake. Also, choose the options where the packaging label indicates “pasteurized”. This refers to a process where packaged and non-packaged dairy products are treated with heat to eliminate harmful pathogens and increase shelf life.
Other FAQs about Ice cream that you may be interested in.
In this short article, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat ice cream while pregnant?” with an in-depth analysis of the effects of eating ice cream during pregnancy, as well as the safety and some recommendations of eating ice cream during pregnancy.