Is It Harmful To Eat Eggs During Pregnancy?

Eat Eggs During Pregnancy

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Eggs are a source of incredible nutrients which make them a superfood. They possess necessary nutrients in the form of fats, minerals, protein, vitamins A and D, which are all very essential for pregnant women. This article helps you know whether it is safe to eat eggs during pregnancy.

Benefits of Eating Eggs During Pregnancy:

Here are some of the health benefits of eating eggs when pregnant:

1. Rich In Proteins:

Eggs contain the right amount of proteins that are essential for the growing fetus. Every cell of the developing fetus is made up of protein. Therefore, having eggs in sufficient quantity will be helpful.

2. Brain Development:

Eggs contain Omega 3 fatty acids and choline, which are essential for brain health and overall growth. It also prevents the onset of neural tube defects in your baby.

3. Regulates Cholesterol:

If your blood cholesterol levels are normal, you can consume one or two eggs a day for balancing saturated fat levels in the body. If your cholesterol levels are too high, you should avoid taking egg yolk during pregnancy.

4. Calories:

Eggs contain about 70 calories, which help to meet some fraction of the daily requirement for pregnant women. They should ideally consume 200 to 300 calories every day for nourishing their body and baby’s as well.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Eggs?

Along with the benefits, eggs also possess certain risk factors.

Salmonella Poisoning:

During your pregnancy, you need to cook eggs properly until both the white and yolk turn solid. It, therefore, kills the bacteria and makes eggs a safe option to eat. Though salmonella poisoning is unlikely to harm your baby (1), it can be unpleasant for you as it could cause:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea and severe vomiting
  • High temperature
  • Headache

In the UK, eggs are produced under the British lion stamp which reassures that eggs are free of salmonella.

These eggs are produced under hygienic conditions and are laid from hens which are vaccinated against salmonella. These eggs are safe to eat during pregnancy. Also, a survey in 2006 stated that the eggs produced under the British lion stamp carried no salmonella.

How Many Eggs Can A Pregnant Woman Eat?

According to the Incredible Egg Organization, an egg’s yolk contains about 185 milligrams of cholesterol. An adult can consume nearly 300 milligrams. During pregnancy, eating two eggs a day may put you over the recommended amount of cholesterol, and it will not take into account any of the other cholesterol foods you have taken for the day.

Eating one to two eggs on most days in a week is not harmful. However, if you are overweight or suffering from high cholesterol, eating eggs every day may increase the risk of complications.

According to the US National Institute of Health, you should limit egg yolk consumption up to three or four a week. The best option is to have egg whites. Consult your healthcare provider about consumption of eggs in pregnancy.

How To Select And Cook Eggs?

Here is how you can cook eggs to stay away from salmonella poisoning:

  • Take a medium sized egg and boil it for about seven minutes.
  • Fry the egg slightly on both sides.
  • Poach it until the white turns opaque and yolk turns firm. It should take about five minutes.

If you prefer eating outside, be careful with some foods containing eggs. They may contain raw eggs, that may be partially cooked or not cooked, which can cause food poisoning.

Foods containing raw eggs:

  • Hollandaise and béarnaise sauces
  • Homemade mayonnaise
  • Icing
  • Ice cream
  • Mousse
  • Tiramisu
  • Salad dressings
  • Sauces

Supermarket mayonnaise is again safe to eat as it is made of pasteurized eggs.

[ Read: Is It Safe To Eat Mayonnaise When Pregnant? ]

If you are preparing anything like mayonnaise, royal icing or meringue at home, you should only use pasteurized egg products. The process of pasteurization usually kills the bacteria by heating the eggs. You can prefer to buy dried, frozen or liquid pasteurized eggs.

How To Store Eggs?

When you store eggs safely, there will be no chance for the bacteria to spread from the eggs and eggshells. Below are the tips that tell you how to store eggs in a safe manner:

  • The refrigerator is the best place to store eggs. Eggs require a temperature below 20 degrees C, and therefore, refrigeration works.
  • Do not store the eggs near other foods. The best idea is to keep them in an egg tray.
  • You should consume dishes containing eggs soon after preparation. If you are not eating then, or a part of it is left over, cool it quickly. You can refrigerate it for two days, but not more than that.
  • You can store cakes in a cool and dry place if they do not contain cream or custard additives.
  • Hard boiled eggs should not be kept in the fridge for more than three days.

[ Read: Eggnog During Pregnancy ]

Tips To Avoid Spread Of Bacteria:

Bacteria can quickly spread from eggs to other foods or things. It can be present inside the egg or on the eggshell. Below are tips to prevent the spread of bacteria:

  • Do not place eggs near other foods, even before or after you crack them.
  • Be careful not to spread the content of an egg on other food or dishes, while cracking it.
  • Rinse your hands with soap and warm water before and after handling eggs.
  • Clean the dishes and surfaces using soap and warm water after cooking eggs.
  • Do not use eggs whose shells are broken and damaged as they might contain bacteria and dirt.

What Is The Shelf Life Of Eggs?

The shelf life of eggs is 28 days, i.e., the day they are laid to the best-before date. They can be consumed even after a day or two of best-before only if they are cooked properly until the white and yolk turn solid. It will kill the salmonella bacteria.

Although there are some health risks associated with consumption of eggs while pregnant, you can consume them as long as you are following the safety precautions. If you any more details to share about eggs, feel free to write us in the comment section below.

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