Pizza during pregnancy: Ways to eat it and recipes to try

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Is pizza safe during pregnancy? This question may be running through your mind if you are pregnant and are contemplating eating one. Pizza is a delicious dish that many prefer due to its appealing texture and taste. However, eating it regularly during pregnancy may not be a good idea.

Pizza, made with refined flour, raw meat, and an overdose of cheese, may not be a healthy option as it can cause stomach infections. However, consuming small amounts of homemade pizza made of whole grains and vegetables may not be as harmful.

In This Article

Is It Safe To Eat Pizza During Pregnancy?

It depends on the kind of pizza you want to have and how often you wish to have it. If a pizza is made with uncooked or contaminated ingredients or prepared in an unclean environment, you should avoid adding it to your diet. Also, a pizza has a lot of calories, and overindulgence can lead to excess weight gain and affect fetal health.

On the other hand, if you eat fresh pizza made from a hygienic kitchen once in a while, it will not affect your maternal health.

What Are The Better Ways To Eat Pizza During Pregnancy?

Pizza topped with vegetables will provide essential nutrients.

Image: IStock

Eating a fresh and properly cooked pizza can offer you nutritional benefits during gestation.

  1. Top it with vegetables: When you are pregnant, you might become fussy about how you want the vegetables cooked. If you don’t feel like eating boiled or stir-fried veggies, use them as toppings on a cheesy pizza. This will give you the pleasure of eating a pizza while also pumping your body with the necessary nutrients from the vegetables.
  1. Whole wheat pizza base: Instead of a base made of white flour, choose a thin-crust pizza base made of whole wheat. The whole wheat crust has fewer calories but high fiber.
  1. Hard cheese toppings: You may choose hard cheese or soft processed cheese such as cheddar, cottage cheese, or mozzarella, as these are good sources of calcium and protein (1).

Your mom or aunt might stop you from eating pizza during pregnancy. That’s because the usual pizzas available in the restaurants could be harmful owing to the quality of cheese used. Continue reading to know more about it.

protip_icon Quick tip
You may consider baking pizza at home to ensure that the sauce and veggies you are consuming are fresh and safe.

What To Avoid In A Pizza During Pregnancy?

Avoid pizzas made with soft cheese, as they could carry bacteria.

Image: Shutterstock

Here is what you should avoid on a pizza to stay safe at this time (2) (3).

  1. Soft cheese: Avoid pizzas made with soft cheeses such as Brie, queso fresco, camembert, and feta. These could carry bacteria named listeria that could cause the listeriosis infection. Pregnant women may be at risk of this infection that results in vomiting, fever, weakness, stiff neck, and confusion.
  1. Raw meat or seafood: Rare, raw, and uncooked poultry and beef have a high contamination risk of toxoplasmosis, salmonella, and coliform bacteria. Therefore, avoid them as toppings on your pizza.
  1. Smoked and refrigerated seafood: If these are shelf-safe or canned, then they can be eaten. Otherwise, smoked and refrigerated seafood categorized as nova style, kippered, jerky, or lox could have listeria growing on them. Try to avoid pizzas with these as the toppings.
  1. Deli meat: Also known as cold cuts, these could also be listeria-contaminated. They could cause complications in pregnancy and affect fetal development. So a ham or salami or pepperoni pizza is something you should say no to when pregnant.
  1. Raw shellfish: Try not to have pizzas made with clams, mussels, oysters, or any other shellfish when you are pregnant. You could be infected, and could have pregnancy complications.
  1. Spreads made with raw eggs: Usually, homemade pizzas have freshly-made spreads on them. If these spreads are made with raw eggs, they could be exposed to salmonella. So, a pizza with ingredients containing raw eggs should be avoided when you are pregnant.

So, are there any specific precautions to take while having a pizza? We tell you in the next section.

Things To Remember When Having A Pizza During Pregnancy

Keep a note of the following aspects when you are eating pizza when pregnant.

  1. If you are making pizza at home, see that your kitchen and dishes are cleaned and the ingredients are properly washed. Also, wash your hands before the preparation.
  1. Ensure that the cheese is made from pasteurized milk only. If you are having a pizza from a restaurant, you can ask them about the kind of cheese they used.
  1. Eat pizza when it is hot and not cold. If it gets cold, reheat it before consuming. This way, the bacteria are killed and the pizza becomes safe for consumption.
  1. Try not to have pizza that is sold on streets, as it could have been made in unhygienic conditions. You can order it from a well-known restaurant, where fresh ingredients are used.
  1. See that the pizza is properly cooked, and it has no uncooked or raw meat and seafood.

For optimal nutrition during pregnancy, eat pizza that is prepared at home. Next, we share some pizza recipes that you can try as part of a healthy eating plan during your pregnancy.

Healthy Pizza Recipes

1. Olive and basil pizza

Olive and basil pizza, safe pizza during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:
  • 1 thin-crust pizza base
  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped broccoli
  • ½ cup diced bell peppers (green)
  • ¼ cup sliced black olives
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • 8oz tomato sauce
How to:
  1. Preheat your oven to a temperature 400° F.
  1. Take the pizza crust, and spread the tomato sauce over it.
  1. Add shredded cheese all over the base.
  1. Top it with all the diced and topped vegetables.
  1. Cook it in the oven for 12-15 minutes, and your healthy vegetarian pizza is ready.

protip_icon Quick tip
You can add finely chopped spinach to this pizza to make it irresistible and healthy at the same time.

2. Avocado beans salsa pizza

Avocado and beans pizza, safe pizza during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:
  • Pizza crust
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 sliced avocado
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 sliced bell pepper
  • ½ diced onion
  • 1 minced jalapeno pepper
  • ⅔ cup fresh corn kernels
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ lime
  • ½tsp salt
  • ½tsp cumin
  • ¼tsp black pepper
How to:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  1. Add black beans, cumin, salt, and barbecue sauce in a bowl.
  1. In another bowl, add tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, black pepper, garlic, and lime juice.
  1. Take a pizza crust, spread the mixture of beans and barbecue sauce over it.
  1. Top it with tomatoes, bell peppers, and corn.
  1. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese evenly on top and bake it for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  1. Finally, garnish with cilantro and thin slices of avocado.
  1. Your healthy and delicious pizza is ready to munch on.

3. Kale, squash, and chicken pizza

Kale and chicken pizza, safe pizza during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:
  • 1 freshly-made pizza base
  • 1 cup of squash puree
  • 1 cup chopped squash
  • Chicken breast, cooked in 2 tsp oil
  • 1 ½ cup chopped kale
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1tbsp freshly minced sage
  • 3tbsp pepitas or pumpkin seeds
  • 4oz pasteurized goat cheese
  • 1 sliced leek
  • 4tsp olive oil
  • 1tsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼tsp salt
  • ¼tsp black pepper
  • 1tsp brown sugar
How to:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  1. Mix sage, squash puree, pepper, and salt in a bowl.
  1. Heat two teaspoons of oil in a pan and saute the leeks till they turn light brown. Add balsamic vinegar and sugar, stir it well, and move it aside.
  1. Take the pizza base, spread the mixture of squash and sage.
  1. Top the pizza with chopped squash, kale, chicken, mushrooms, leeks, and cheese.
  1. Bake the pizza for about 15 minutes.
  1. Garnish it with toasted pepitas and serve hot.

4. Egg breakfast pizza

Egg breakfast pizza

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 9 eggs
  • Pizza dough
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8-9 pieces of cooked bacon
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup cooking oil
  • 1/4th cup boiled peas

How To:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and grease the baking sheet with a cooking spray.
  1. Spread the pizza dough on the sheet and pierce it all over with a fork.
  1. Bake for eight minutes and set it aside.
  1. Crack open eggs in a bowl and add salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat some oil and cook the eggs well while stirring occasionally.
  1. Cook the bacon in another skillet. Once cooked, crumble it and set aside.
  1. To the prebaked pizza base, add the scrambled eggs all over evenly, then add the peas, mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese. Lastly, sprinkle the crumbled bacon all over the top.
  1. Bake the pizza again for five to seven minutes until the cheese is melted. Serve warm.

Pizza with nutritious vegetables and not uncooked or deli meat can be considered safe during pregnancy. It is important to remember that you wash your hands properly before cooking or eating the pizza. Choose pizza with fresh ingredients, and avoid using soft cheese or spreads containing raw eggs as they could increase the risk of Salmonella, toxoplasmosis, etc. We have included a few healthy pizza recipes that you can refer to and satisfy your pizza cravings. You could also personalize these recipes by adding ingredients of your choice. We have included a few healthy pizza recipes that you can use in your prenatal care diet plan and satisfy your pizza cravings. You could also personalize these recipes by adding ingredients of your choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do I crave pizza while pregnant?

Pregnancy cravings are normal and common. It is not unusual for some women to crave savory, salty, and spice-filled foods such as pizza and chips when pregnant (4).

Robin Plotnik, a certified nutritionist and mother of two, experienced pizza cravings during pregnancy. She says, “One thing I’ve craved my entire pregnancy is pizza. I could have pizza every day, for every meal, and be completely satisfied ().”

2. Why does pizza give me heartburn while pregnant?

For some pregnant women, spicy and fatty foods such as pizza (with chilies and spices) could trigger heartburn or worsen symptoms of heartburn (5).

3. Are there any health benefits of eating pizza during pregnancy?

Pizza is typically not considered nutritious due to its high calorie, fat, and sodium content. However, you can make some modifications to pizza to make it a nutritious food choice during pregnancy. For instance, you may choose a pizza with a thin crust base and nutrient-rich toppings such as fresh veggies, lean meat, and low-fat cheese. Moreover, you can prepare pizza at home with the healthiest ingredients like whole grains, seeds, and low-salt seasoning.

4. Are there any cultural beliefs or myths about pizza and pregnancy that may influence a pregnant woman’s decision to eat it?

There are no specific cultural beliefs or myths about pizza consumption during pregnancy. Generally, pizza is a famous food expecting women can customize to make it healthier and consume it in moderation as a part of a well-balanced diet to stay healthy.

Did you have pizza during your pregnancy? Do share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

Key Pointers

  • Expectant mothers should avoid eating pizza made with refined flour, uncooked meat, and excessive cheese to prevent stomach infections.
  • Homemade pizza with whole grains and vegetables is safe in small amounts.
  • A nutritious pizza option is a properly cooked one with a whole wheat base, topped with vegetables, and good quality cheese.
  • To prevent infections, it’s best to avoid soft cheeses, raw meats, raw seafood, deli meats, and spreads made with raw eggs as they may contain bacteria.
  • Street-sold pizzas should be avoided as they may be prepared in unhygienic conditions.
is pizza safe during pregnancy_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team

Pregnant and craving pizza? Find out about the safety of enjoying pizza during pregnancy through this informative video!

Personal Experience: Source


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. S. Reed, K. E. Kaylegian, and R. Cooper; Creating Health and Nutrition: Selecting Cheese for Health; Penn State Extension (2018)
2. Listeria;
3. P. P. Mari; Food to Avoid during Pregnancy;
4. Pregnancy Cravings: What Do They Mean and What Should You Do?; Houston Methodist Leading Medicine
5. Heartburn; American Academy of Family Physicians.

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Moloko Mehlape
Moloko MehlapeMSc Dietetics
Moloko Mehlape is a registered dietitian in private practice with around nine years of experience in the field. Her special interest lies in nutrition education, sports nutrition, weight, and chronic disease management. She is a philanthropist passionate about making a positive impact in public health through nutrition.

Read full bio of Moloko Mehlape
Swati Patwal
Swati PatwalM.Sc. (Food & Nutrition), MBA
Swati Patwal is a clinical nutritionist, a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a toddler mom with more than a decade of experience in diverse fields of nutrition. She started her career as a CSR project coordinator for a healthy eating and active lifestyle project catering to school children.

Read full bio of Swati Patwal
Rebecca is a pregnancy writer and editor with a passion for delivering research-based and engaging content in areas of fertility, pregnancy, birth, and post-pregnancy. She did her graduation in Biotechnology and Genetics from Loyola Academy, Osmania University and obtained a certification in ‘Nutrition and Lifestyle in Pregnancy’ from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU).

Read full bio of Rebecca Malachi
Aneesha holds a Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology from USTM, Meghalaya and Master’s degree in Applied Microbiology from VIT, Vellore. With two years of experience, she has worked on different research projects in the field of Food Sciences.

Read full bio of Aneesha Amonz