​​Can you eat McDonald’s soft serve when pregnant?

In this article we are going to answer can you eat Mcdonald’s soft serve when pregnant, what is McDonald’s, is Mcdonald’s soft serve healthy to eat when pregnant and how can I eat ice cream safely when pregnant.

​​Can you eat McDonald’s soft serve when pregnant?

No, soft-serve ice cream can be contaminated with food poisoning bacteria, especially listeria. McDonald’s ice cream is made with pasteurized milk but the key to being safe is that it has been hygienically stored. 

In several studies, they have found that if soft serve machines are not routinely clean, ice cream can have listeria. 

What is McDonald’s?

Mcdonald’s is a fast-food multinational American corporation. It started back in 1940 in San Bernardino California. They started as a hamburger stand and then turned the company into a franchise. The headquarters of McDonald’s is in Chicago.

Mcdonald’s is known as the world’s largest chain restaurant by revenue and sales. It is known for its hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and french fries. They also sell breakfast items, soft drinks, milkshakes, wraps, and desserts. 

Consumer tastes have changed with time and they are more aware of health problems from fast food. Since then, Mcdonald’s has added to their menu vegetarian options,  salads, fish, smoothies, and fruit. 

They remove the high-fructose syrup from hamburger buns and artificial preservatives from Chicken McNuggets replacing chicken skin, safflower oil, and citric acid with pea starch, rice starch, and powdered lemon juice.

They also have different menus depending on the country they are in to fulfill customers’ needs.  For example, in Germany they sell beer and in Greece, the signature hamburger, Big Mac, is changed by adding tzatziki sauce and packed in pita bread. 

Is Mcdonald’s soft serve healthy to eat when pregnant?

No, it is not healthy. You can have a treat once in a while but soft-serve usually is high in fat, high in sugar, and high in caloric content food. Apart from the risk of food poisoning, if you overeat soft-serve it can lead to weight gain. 

If you are completely sure that the soft serve machine has been cleaned properly and you are going to eat, eat it just once in a while. One cone has 200 calories, 5 grams of fat, 23 grams of sugar, and 80 mg of sodium.

The recommendation for pregnant women is not to eat more than 30 grams of sugar per day. One cone gives you 23 grams. Moderation is the key to eating soft serve if you can be 100% sure that it has been cleaned properly. 

In general, when pregnant you should follow a healthy diet. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. A few nutrients need special attention during pregnancy, like folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, and omega 3 fatty acids. 

  • Ideally, 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables every day
  • Increase your intake of whole grains and cereal foods. Choose high fiber options
  • Milk, hard cheese, and yogurt are great options because they are high calcium foods.
  • Choose low-fat options and good fats: fats from vegetable sources like almonds, olive oil, and avocado. 
  • Choose lean proteins and choose low mercury fish options. 
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Always stay active
  • Stay away as possible from high-calorie, high-sugar, and high-fat food. 

What is the risk of eating Mcdonald’s soft serve when pregnant?

Although nowadays it’s very difficult to catch an infection, soft serve is a risk of food poisoning. The three main diseases you can contract if you eat soft serve are toxoplasmosis, salmonella, and listeriosis. 

Listeria monocytogenes are the main bacteria that can be found in soft serve. It causes listeriosis. If you let the bacteria go too far, it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and other health problems. 

According to the American Pregnancy Association, approximately 2,5000 people will get infected with listeria every year.

It means that it’s very rare to get infected but pregnant women are in a more delicate condition and need to be a little more careful because it could lead to fatal health conditions. 

Toxoplasma Gondii is the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. For a normal, healthy person, it usually doesn’t cause any symptoms but for pregnant women, it’s too risky, it can cause serious health problems.  One important thing to add is that once you contract toxoplasmosis you can’t contract it again. 

Salmonella is a bacteria that can be very dangerous in pregnant women. It also causes digestive symptoms like the other pathogens listed above. One important thing about salmonella is that it can cause bacteremia, a condition where there is bacteria in the blood and can be fatal to pregnant women. 

So why are pregnant women more likely to get infected? Because their immune system is compromised and does not work as well as for a healthy person. Also, remember that while the baby is not fully developed, the baby it’s at risk too. 

Symptoms include

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills and fevers
  • Muscle pain
  • In pregnant women, it may cause flu-like symptoms with fever and chills 

How can I eat ice cream safely when pregnant?

The safest way to eat ice cream is to go to the supermarket and buy it. All store ice cream has been pasteurized. Even if soft-serve has been made with pasteurized ingredients, you can skip the risk of food poisoning because of the soft-serve machine. Here are some brands that are safe to eat when pregnant:

  • Ben and Jerry’s
  • Blue Bell
  • Haagen Dazs

If you prefer healthy ice cream with fewer calories and less sugar, follow this link

Other FAQs about Ice Cream that you may be interested in.

Why does ice cream upset my stomach but not milk?

Can you eat a McFlurry when pregnant?

Can you eat ice cream from the ice cream van when pregnant?


This article answered can you eat Mcdonald’s soft serve when pregnant, what is McDonald’s, is Mcdonald’s soft serve healthy to eat when pregnant and how can I eat ice cream safely when pregnant.