5 Nutritional Benefits Of Corn During Pregnancy

corn during pregnancy

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Maize, also known as corn, is one of the most extensively consumed cereal grains in the world. Packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals, crunchy corn is worth craving for during pregnancy. But is it safe to eat corn during pregnancy?

This MomJunction post answers the question, and discusses the value corn adds to your diet, risks if any, storage tips and recipes.

Can You Eat Corn During Pregnancy?

Yes, you can. Corn contains folic acid, fiber, vitamins B1, B5, and C, improves digestion, strengthens circulation and also aids lactation.

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Nutritional Value Of Corn

The nutrition present in 100 grams of raw corn is as follows (1):

Folic acid (vitamin B9)46mcg
Niacin (vitamin B3)1.7mg
Riboflavin (vitamin B2)0.06mg
Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)0.055mg
Thiamin (vitamin B1)0.2mg
Vitamin A1IU
Vitamin C6.8mg
Vitamin E0.07mg
Vitamin K0.3mcg
Fatty acids

g=grams; mg=milligrams; mcg=micrograms; IU=international unit

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[ Read: High Fiber Foods For Pregnancy ]

What Are The Health Benefits Of Corn During Pregnancy?

1. Fiber treats constipation:

The fiber content in corn can address digestive problems such as constipation that you may experience during early pregnancy (2).

2. Prevents macular degeneration:

Corn contains a carotenoid substance called zeaxanthin that has oxidative properties and prevents macular degeneration of the eye (3). It, therefore, helps your baby fight macular degeneration in the later stages.

3. Folate lowers birth defects:

Corn has folic acid that reduces the risk of spina bifida and other neutral malformations (4).

4. Boosts memory of the unborn child:

Thiamine in corn aids in the development of memory in both the mother and the baby (5).

5. Improves immune system:

The beta-carotene in corn provides vitamin A that is required for immune system functioning, and for healthy growth and development of the baby (6).

From fresh raw corn to cooked and baked and popped, corn is available in a variety of edible forms. But can you eat all of them?

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Corn Products To Eat And Avoid

Fresh corn from the cob (gluten-free)Microwavable popcorn (contain toxic chemicals, diacetyl, and perfluorooctanoic acid)
Labeled GMO-free cornCorn syrup (contains high-fructose sugars)
Organic corn (rich in nutrients)Cornstarch (non-food substance)
Plain popcorn (butter, salt, and caramel-free)Corn oil (full of fat and calories)
Frozen corn (contains fewer calories and less sodium)Canned corn (goes through a lot of processing)

So, how can you enjoy the allowed forms of corn in pregnancy?

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[ Read: Constipation During Pregnancy ]

Ways Of Consuming Corn During Pregnancy

Corn is one of the best foods you may generally snack on when you are hungry.

  • Sweet corn is a delicious addition to salads, soups, toast, and sandwiches.
  • Add to pizzas, pasta, and other dishes to enhance their taste.
  • Grill or barbecue the cob and eat corn directly from it.
  • Boil sweet corn and add seasoning of your preference.

Choose the right variety of corn to enjoy the taste of these dishes.

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Tips For Buying and Storing Corn

Follow the below tips while buying corn (7):

  • Look for husks that are green in color.
  • Choose only fresh corn. You can check the freshness by pulling off the husk and piercing the kernel with a fingernail.
  • If the corn kennel is firm but soft and releases a little juice on being punctured, it is fresh. On the other hand, if it is discolored or dented, it is not.
  • Corn exposed to high temperatures can lose a bit of its sweet flavor, as the sugar gets converted to starch.
  • Let the corn remain in the husk and put it in the refrigerator.
  • If you have husked the corn, put it in a plastic bag and refrigerate it.
  • If you want to eat fresh corn, eat it as soon as you bring it home.

Fresh corn has a certain appeal that might compel you to have more than what you should. And that can be a bad thing.

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Possible Side Effects Of Eating Corn When Pregnant

Potential side effects of corn may occur due to over-consumption.

  • Corn contains a high amount of fatty acids, so if you are at risk of heart problems, reduce your daily intake (8).
  • It may cause indigestion (9); therefore, it is better to have fresh corn in limited amounts.

But what if you crave corn so much and want to have it all the time? Is it normal?

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[ Read: Benefits Of Corn Flakes In Pregnancy ]

Is Craving Corn During Pregnancy Related To The Pica Syndrome?

Yes, sometimes you may crave for cornstarch during pregnancy. This might be because of a condition called the Pica Syndrome, which involves craving of non-food substances such as clay, ice, dirt and more (10). If you experience such symptoms, talk to your doctor.

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Why Is Microwave Popcorn Not Safe During Pregnancy?

Microwave popcorn is not safe for two reasons (11).

  1. They contain a chemical called diacetyl, which is used to imitate the butter flavor. The research shows that the workers at a popcorn manufacturing factory developed a lung disorder called bronchiolitis obliterans (popcorn worker’s lung) as they are prone to inhale this chemical.
  1. A toxic chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid, which is known to be found in the microwavable popcorn bags, breaks down upon heating. It is a carcinogen and likely to cause several types of cancer.

Next, we answer a few common queries about eating corn during pregnancy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is overeating popcorn harmful during pregnancy?

Too much of anything is harmful. Same is the case with popcorn as it may contain the dangerous condiments such as butter, salt or caramel. Excess of salt will lead to water retention, blood pressure fluctuations and more, and excess of sugar could result in a host of other health issues. Likewise, the excess butter will lead to fat and sodium level buildup in the body.

2. Does eating cornstarch during pregnancy cause amylophagia?

Yes. The compulsive eating of cornstarch in large quantities during pregnancy causes amylophagia, a form of pica disorder. It leads to elevated blood sugar levels, preterm labor, abnormalities in baby development and high birth weight (12).

3. Can corn cause weight gain during pregnancy?

Corn is rich in carbohydrates and nutrients and is a significant source of energy that can lead to weight gain during pregnancy.

[ Read: Benefits Of Folic Acid During Pregnancy ]

4. Is eating undercooked corn on the cob dangerous for pregnant women?

No, it is not dangerous to have undercooked corn on the cob. Just be careful not to have it in excess quantities.

In case you feel uneasy after taking corn, get in touch with your doctor. If you plan to include corn in your diet, discuss the benefits and probable risks with the doctor. As long as you use moderate amounts of corn, you can enjoy a wide range of delicacies to satiate your pregnancy cravings. Remember to be safe and buy organic and non-toxic varieties.

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Tell us about the different ways you have tried corn in your pregnancy diet. Use the comments section to share your opinion.

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