Is It Safe To Eat Sprouts During Pregnancy?

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The foods that you enjoyed pre-pregnancy may not be suitable while pregnant. For example, consuming sprouts during pregnancy may not suit you and your baby.

Sprouts, mainly alfalfa and mung bean, are commonly used raw as salads or as ingredients in different dishes such as sandwiches. They are highly nutritious and delicious at the same time. But pregnant women may be more prone to contracting a bacterial infection if sprouts are eaten raw.

The sprouts may induce food poisoning, and the bacteria can ultimately affect your baby. According to the US Federal Department Of Agriculture (FDA), if you are eating out while pregnant, request for any dish served with sprouts to be served without them.

Read on to know more about sprouts and their effects on pregnancy, including ways to have them safely.

Effects Of Eating Sprouts During Pregnancy:

There are several ill effects of having sprouts in pregnancy:

  • Alfa alfa is known to give rise to complications because of e-coli bacteria.
  • Beans, radish, clover are some examples of raw sprouts that are reported to result in salmonella caused by the bacteria contained in them.
  • It is particularly suggested that you stay away from raw sprouts in your pregnancy after the salmonella outbreak from alfalfa.
  • As salmonella can proliferate very fast, a single sprout may contain an infectious dose.
  • You are likely to get the disease by consuming the contaminated seeds.
  • Even though the seeds remain dormant in dry conditions, once they are sprouted in warm conditions the growth of bacteria gets activated.
  • Symptoms of salmonella and e-coli include nausea, cramping, fever and diarrhea.
  • The bacterium is likely to get transmitted to the new life developing inside you. It may also result in meningitis, fever and diarrhea in your growing child.
  • Risks of ailments are high even in sprouts that are grown at home. As a matter of fact, sprouts that are grown at home are riskier than the commercial variants that use disinfectants.
  • Commercial farmers use different products to sanitize the sprouts.

How To Control Cravings For Sprouts During Pregnancy?

Here is what you can do to stay safe when you crave for sprouts even though in small amounts:

  • Rinse them thoroughly to remove bacteria.
  • If you are eating sprouts in pregnancy, make sure they are well cooked.
  • You must avoid sprouts completely if your immune system is weak, as you are more likely to develop food-borne diseases during this time.

Key Tips For Buying Sprouts:

How safe are sprouts for pregnant women? To ensure the sprouts you buy are safe and fresh, there are some general purchasing, storing and eating guidelines that you must follow:

  • Buy sprouts that are fresh and kept in the refrigerator.
  • Avoid sprouts that have a musty smell or look skinny.
  • At home, keep the sprouts at a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The refrigerator must be clean.
  • Before using them, rinse and clean thoroughly.
  • Cooking sprouts reduces the chance of food-borne disease.
  • Cooked sprouts can be added to soups, fries, and stews.
  • If you are baking them in an oven, toss until they are brown and crisp.

The Final Word:

Sprouts indeed provide a lot of health benefits; however, since pregnancy is a crucial phase, you need to be cautious about consuming them. Sprouts are mostly consumed raw for their maximum benefits but eating raw sprouts may increase your risk of developing E.coli and Salmonella infections during pregnancy. These infections may lead to fever, diarrhea, and nausea. Nevertheless, if you wish to include sprouts in your diet, consume only cooked sprouts in small amounts to avoid food poisoning. If you feel uneasy after eating sprouts, consult your doctor.

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Jenny Champion

(MS, RD, CPT)
Jenny is a registered dietitian, personal trainer and mother of three who is passionate about teaching women how to stop yoyo dieting, have healthy pregnancies and get back in shape after childbirth. After suffering from eating disorders and weight problems herself, she’s helped over 1,000 women change their lives by eating more of the right foods and less of the... more

Sadiya Qamar

Sadiya is a writer and editor with a passion for writing about parenthood and children. Her focus areas are health, wellness, and beauty. For MomJunction, she writes on kids’ health and nutrition.  Sadiya believes in doing in-depth research and providing accurate information to help parents with concerns on their children’s growth and development.

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