Cravings are an inevitable part of the journey of motherhood. There can be many foods that you can crave, such as sweets, meat, and the like. These can sometimes be beneficial because you get more nutrients for your tummy and for your baby, although too many of them can sometimes lead to unexpected obesity or health problems.
While cravings are unstoppable, the problem lies when you want to eat your favorite food, such as ice cream. You wonder if it’s safe for your pregnancy. In this article, we will find out whether ice cream is safe to eat while pregnant or not, as well as limitations and precautions.
Is It Safe & Effects
Ice cream is quite safe for pregnancy, in a general sense. This is because they are mostly only made with basic ingredients, such as sugar, milk (or cream), eggs, and the like. As long as they were processed in a clean way (such as pasteurizing), they can be safe for pregnant women in general.
Moreover, ice cream is safe for pregnancy, as long as you aren’t eating any toppings or flavors that might compromise your health. You may want to talk to your physician about which ingredients to avoid during pregnancy in order for you to grab a cone (or cup) of ice cream that’s safe for you to eat.
There are also some side effects of ice cream consumption when you’re pregnant:
1. Getting a fever or colds more often. If you feel that you are more sensitive to cold weather or cold things during your pregnancy, you might want to limit your intake of ice cream, since it is, after all, something cold.
2. Blood sugar level increases. Since it is high in calories and is a sweet food, it should be taken in moderation, especially if you have a history of high blood sugar levels leading to possible diabetes.
3. Risk of infections. You may get certain bacterial infections if you eat ice cream that’s not from a reputable source. This is because some manufacturers don’t pasteurize their eggs and milk, which may not be that good for pregnant women. To avoid this, always make sure the ice cream you eat is pasteurized to get rid of bacteria.
Why Craving Ice During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is where you start to crave many things, but sweets are one of the – ice cream included. The tendency of a pregnant woman’s body to crave sweets is mostly due to lack of calcium, which is needed by your baby’s development in their bones and skeletal system. Therefore, that’s probably to blame in your ice cream cravings.
Calcium is an important nutrient that your body needs during pregnancy because of the following:
1. Good for your bones. It is common knowledge that calcium can help strengthen your bones, which can be important since you are carrying a baby bump for 9 months or so. Back pains can be alleviated with the right amount of calcium.
2. It can help supplement your lack of calcium. The suggested amount of calcium a day is from 1,000 to 1,300 mg a day for pregnant women. Calcium can sometimes be used by your baby so you do need to supplement your daily diet with some.
3. It keeps your blood moving smoothly. Calcium can also help your blood pressure to be normalized – just don’t take too much ice cream to avoid blood sugar levels rising!
Related post: Is it Safe to Use Vicks products when Pregnant?
4. It can also help your muscles. Pregnancy is a time when you need to be strong in your muscles to carry your baby, and calcium can also help with that.
5. Calcium can help strengthen your nerves and brain. This may be good for both you and your baby’s development.
6. Important in breastfeeding. After pregnancy, you can also eat ice cream to supplement your lack of calcium. Also, it could help in your future milk supply.
7. Reduces the risk of preeclampsia. Many pregnant women are at risk for this and calcium from ice cream could potentially help them out.
8. Less likelihood of hypertension. Calcium can help to manage your blood pressure, as we said above, which can lessen hypertension.
9. More nutrients for your baby’s bones. Essentially, you are giving your baby calcium for their development, especially for their bones.
10. It maintains a normal heart rhythm. It not only keeps your baby’s heart beating just right, but it also keeps your own beating normally.
Note: Kidney stones could also potentially form if you take too much calcium from food (and from supplements) so it’s best to keep it up to 2,500 or 3,000 mg a day.
Related post: The Best Time To Take Prenatal Vitamin
Ice Cream Precautions
Here are some safety precautions regarding eating ice cream during pregnancy:
Can I Eat Vanilla Ice Cream During Pregnancy?
Vanilla ice cream is okay, but you should take it moderately since it has 47% fat content and 42% carbohydrates, which may put your weight to a higher scale. If you prefer to watch your weight, you can have a lighter serving or a sugar-free version of vanilla ice cream (or at least less sweet).
Can We Eat Chocolate Ice Cream During Pregnancy?
Yes, but it should be on very moderate or fewer amounts. Chocolate can sometimes have caffeine so it’s best to talk to your physician about it. Caffeine (the stuff from coffee) is not good for pregnant women but chocolate only has very little amounts of it, so it is generally safe.
Like with vanilla ice cream, eating chocolate ice cream should be done in moderation to avoid the rise of blood sugar levels and weight.
Ice Creams to Avoid
Here are the types of ice creams that you should not take during pregnancy:
1. Homemade ice cream. Because they use raw eggs, they are not pasteurized and can leave you open for infections and the like. Consider branded ice cream instead, especially ones that come from a reputable company so that you can make sure that the ingredients are pasteurized. Alternatively, if you really want to make homemade ice cream, make sure it doesn’t contain eggs to avoid infection risks.
2. Soft serve ice cream. They can also be a risk of infections due to not being pasteurized or cleaned well with their ingredients. Although they tend to be cheaper, they may not be that ideal for pregnant women due to health concerns. If you do grab a soft-serve ice cream, make sure they are from malls or reputable stores and not from outside kiosks or carts.
Related post: Cough Drops: Are They Safe To Take During Pregnancy?
3. Fried ice cream. Although they are “fried”, many experts recommend that they aren’t good for pregnant women due to not being pasteurized enough as compared to regular ice cream bought from groceries and reputable brands.
4. Ice cream with bits of caffeine. Coffee ice cream and chocolates that have amounts of caffeine could be dangerous to pregnant women. It is important to know which flavors are okay for your pregnancy. Caffeine can be bad because it can cause birth defects to your baby and may also have negative effects on your body and brain (since pregnant women are more sensitive than they are when they’re not pregnant).
Which Ice Cream is Safe To Eat During Pregnancy?
Here are some of your best options for ice cream to eat while you are pregnant:
1. Non-fat ice cream. Because of the problem of obesity and weight management during pregnancy, it can be tempting to eat ice cream in succession due to the cravings. However, you can lessen it by going for ice cream with a non-fat formula. In this way, you can manage your weight more properly for a healthier pregnancy journey.
2. Frozen yogurt (non-fat). Frozen yogurt is okay as long as it is non-fat in content. When you take frozen yogurt, you should consult your physician to ask if it’s okay for pregnant women, as some could still be a little risk for bacterial infection. Consider yogurt from reputable brands and consume yogurt immediately.
3. Well-known brands. Needless to say, reputable companies are important to consider when choosing pregnant-safe food, such as ice cream. They are making food with the highest standards and they always pasteurize their dairy products (milk and cream) as well as their eggs (if the ice cream has it). Some of these well-known manufacturers also make non-fat and pregnant-safe ice cream.
4. Recommended by your physician. When you are really not sure, you can just ask your OB-GYNE to help you out. They can recommend certain ice cream brands that you can eat (in moderation) just to satisfy your cravings. They will usually point you out to dairy products that don’t contain raw eggs and are non-fat so that you can manage your weight properly.
To wrap it up, eating ice cream during pregnancy can be safe. However, it should be taken into consideration that the flavors should be pregnant-safe and low in fats. You can also ask other pregnant women you know on which ice cream flavors or brands they eat so that you can have peace of mind that it won’t affect your developing baby.