Is It Safe To Drink Soy Milk During Pregnancy?

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The consumption of soy milk in the gestation period can provide you with several essential nutrients. It is rich in folic acid and protein, besides other nutrients, which help in the physical development of the fetus.

This nutrient-rich natural and vegan milk substitute is made with soaked soybeans and can boost your energy and enhance immunity during pregnancy. However, excess consumption may have adverse effects on you and your baby.

Despite its benefits, the consumption of soy milk during pregnancy should be in moderation. It will let you reap the benefits while mitigating any potential risks for your baby. If you had never consumed soy milk before or consumed it occasionally, you may consult your doctor first.

This post will tell you about soy milk, including its benefits, side effects, and recommended daily intake for pregnant women.

In This Article

Health Benefits Of Soy Milk During Pregnancy

Though there may be some discrepancies about consumption of soy milk in pregnancy, here are some benefits that cannot be actually ignored:

  • Soy milk is rich in folic acid that offers necessary nutrients in pregnancy. Regular intake of folic acid improves growth of nerve cells and optimizes development of your fetus.
  • Vitamin B1, A and E are some of the vitamins that you need the most at this stage. Vitamin E offers you adequate energy that helps you stay healthy. Consuming fortified soy milk, which is abundant in vitamins, may assist in fulfilling your necessary vitamin intake.
  • It is known to be rich in protein that ensures good health of different organs in your body. Protein ensures organs of your unborn child to develop well. Some of the proteins that you can find in soy milk are threonine, arginine, isoleucine, glycine and lysin.
  • It is rich in vegetable fats that are good for maternal health and the unborn child in pregnancy.
Rich in vegetable fats, soymilk is good for fetus

Image: Shutterstock

  • Soy milk contains carbohydrate that boosts up your energy levels in pregnancy. It contains high levels of calcium and protein. Calcium helps strengthen bones and teeth, while protein helps build muscles. Both of these elements are beneficial for pregnant women.
  • Soy milk is rich in iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. Iron is needed for healthy blood formation and red blood cells. Zinc is necessary for proper immune system function, and vitamin B12 is essential for nerve function.
  • Low in saturated fats and cholesterol, soy milk helps reduce your risk of heart disease. Cholesterol is present in animal products–meat and dairy.
  • Soy milk is a good source of fiber that is known to help lower cholesterol and prevent constipation.
  • Soy milk is lactose-free and dairy-free and can serve as a substitute for milk, catering to individuals with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies, as well as vegans who adhere to a diet free of animal products.

protip_icon Quick fact
Soy milk does not contain lactose and may be consumed by pregnant women who are lactose intolerant (They cannot consume milk or dairy products) (1).

Side Effects Of Soy Milk For Pregnant Women

Despite the high nutritional content, probable side effects of soymilk cannot be ignored completely. Here is a closer look at some of them:

  • Soy milk contains isoflavonesiXA type of polyphenols contained in legumes that prompt healthy cells and increase antioxidants. that mimics estrogeniXThe hormone that helps in the development of the female reproductive system and secondary sex characteristics. .
  • Experiments conducted on animals taking high doses of soy milk found development of tumors or other physical deformities in the unborn child.
  • Some pregnant mothers are known to develop allergic symptoms like rashes, swelling, breathing troubles, vomiting and nausea due to regular consumption of soy milk.
Some pregnant mothers may develop allergic reaction due to soymilk

Image: Shutterstock

  • Soy milk consumption in rare cases also resulted in anaphylaxisiXAn extreme reaction to an allergen causing breathing difficulties and loss of consciousness. .
  • There has been no conclusive report so far that completely disapproves intake of soy milk in pregnancy. However, it is better to avoid consumption of soy milk in excess to avoid birth defects in babies.
  • Isoflavones contained in soybeans are also said to trigger migraine headaches.
  • Soy milk contains high levels of sodium, which may lead to increased blood pressure.
  • Pregnant women who consume large amounts of soy milk may increase their risk of having babies with birth defects. This is due to the phytoestrogens contained in soy milk. These compounds are estrogen-like and can interfere with hormone production.

protip_icon Health fact
Pregnant women with hypothyroidism and taking levothyroxineiXA synthetic replacement of thyroxine used for the treatment of hypothyroidism in case of deficiency of the hormone. replacements should consult their doctor before consuming soy milk regularly. It may interfere with thyroid hormone absorption (2) (3).

Recommended Dosage For Drinking Soy Milk During Pregnancy

Since soy milk is packed with essential nutrients that you need in pregnancy, when taken in moderate quantity it causes no harm to the baby developing inside you.

  • You can safely consume around four servings of soy milk daily.
  • If you are not allergic to soy milk, one cup of soy milk is safe for your consumption.
A cup of soymilk during pregnancy is safe

Image: Shutterstock

Soy beans, no doubt, are good for your pregnancy, provided you have it in moderation. For your safety, it is recommended to check with your doctor regarding soy milk consumption during pregnancy, as your immune system weakens during this time. Wrong consumption may develop risk of developing food borne disease for you as well as your unborn child.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to prepare soy milk at home?

To prepare soy milk at home, you will need a cup of dried soybeans and four cups of water, a fine mesh strainer, and a blender. Soak the soybeans in water for at least eight hours or overnight. Drain the soybeans and rinse them thoroughly. Put them in a blender and add four cups of water. Blend the mixture on high speed for about four minutes, or until the mixture is smooth. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer to remove any solids. The soy milk is now ready to be consumed.

2. Can pregnant women drink unpasteurized raw soy milk?

Pregnant women should refrain from consuming raw, unpasteurized soy milk since it could contain bacteria that may harm both the mother and the unborn child (4).

3. Can consuming soy milk during pregnancy increase the risk of allergies in the baby?

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, there is currently insufficient evidence to prove that avoiding certain foods during pregnancy can effectively prevent allergies in babies. Hence, you may consume soy milk moderately during pregnancy and include fresh fruits and vegetables to support a balanced diet that could help prevent allergies (5).

Consuming soy milk during pregnancy may provide folic acid, vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients. These nutrients boost your energy levels and help better develop the fetus. However, it is important to consume soy milk in moderation because excess of it may elevate the estrogen in the body, increase the risk of defects in babies, and trigger migraine headaches. Therefore, it is recommended to consult a doctor before consuming soy milk during pregnancy, especially if you have never consumed it before and want to introduce it while you are pregnant.

Infographic : Advantages Of Including Soy Milk In Pregnancy Diet

If you are lactose intolerant and wondering about healthy alternatives, do consider soy milk. Soy milk is a plant-based nutrition rich alternative for cow’s milk that can be safely consumed in moderation during pregnancy. The infographic below details the benefits of consuming soy milk during pregnancy.

health benefits of soy milk in pregnancy (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Reference : 1

Key Pointers

  • Soy milk is made from soaked soybeans and has several health benefits when consumed in moderation.
  • Soy milk is rich in folic acid, which is crucial for fetal development. It is also rich in essential vitamins, minerals (such as iron and zinc), proteins, fiber, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
  • Soy milk is found to have a low concentration of saturated fats and cholesterol, making it beneficial for heart health.
  • However, excessive consumption of soy milk can adversely affect the health of the mother and child.
  • It is recommended to speak to a doctor if a woman has never consumed soy before and wants to include it in her pregnancy diet.

Learn about the importance of soy sauce consumption during pregnancy and acquire essential knowledge of the subjects of nutrition at this important time.

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Does soya milk count as a dairy for a balanced diet?
    https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/nutrition/ask-the-expert/soya-milk
  2. Abigail Gelb Fruzza et al; (2012); Unawareness of the Effects of Soy Intake on the Management of Congenital Hypothyroidism.
    https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article-abstract/130/3/e699/30243/Unawareness-of-the-Effects-of-Soy-Intake-on-the?redirectedFrom=fulltext
  3. Thyroid Issues? What You Should Know About Foods and Supplements to Avoid.
    https://health.clevelandclinic.org/thyroid-issues-what-you-need-to-know-about-diet-and-supplements/
  4. What to eat when pregnant
    https://www.unicef.org/parenting/what-to-eat-when-pregnant
  5. Ask the Allergist: Can Diet During Pregnancy Cause Allergies in My Baby?
    https://allergyasthmanetwork.org/news/ask-allergist-diet-pregnancy-allergy/
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