Eating Ice Cream during Pregnancy

Pregnancy demands utmost care in one’s food and lifestyle choices. However, it is essential to provide adequate nutrition to the expecting mother along with fulfilling her cravings. Pregnant women often experience food cravings, especially for sweets, chocolates and ice-creams.

Is Ice Cream Good During Pregnancy?

Ice creams are sweetened frozen desserts usually made of dairy products with fruits or flavours added. Ice creams are a sinful delicacy loved and enjoyed by most. But a common question is can pregnant women eat ice cream? The answer is YES. A pregnant woman can consume ice creams, with basic care and attention to factors of hygiene, history of allergy, and medical issues related to cold, diabetes and obesity.

As long as you keep these precautions in mind and do not deprive yourself of the essential nutrients, you can safely give in to these cravings once in a while.

Nutritional Benefits of Ice Cream

Although ice creams are less of a nutritional foodstuff and more of an indulgent product, yet there are subtle supplies of essential nutrients like calcium, vitamins and minerals that can be obtained from ice creams.

A 100 gm serving of vanilla ice cream has 47% fat, of which 70% is saturated or undesirable fat, almost 42% carbohydrates and about 6-7% proteins as its major constituents. Calorie-wise, a typical 100 g scoop delivers 207 calories. Lately, ice creams have healthier versions, with low fat, sugar-free and yogurt-based ‘light ice creams’ made available. Besides, ice creams also provide vitamins like Vitamin A and Vitamin B12 in moderate amounts. The body gets about 20% RDA of phosphorus and 17% of essential calcium from a 100 g scoop, both of which are important for healthy bones, joints, other musculoskeletal tissues and the proper functioning of the heart.

How Much Ice Cream Should a Pregnant Women Eat in a Day?

“Too much of anything is too bad.”

Ice creams are high in fats and bring down body temperature. Consuming too much ice cream could hamper your body’s metabolism and disturb the digestive system.

Flavoured ice creams are popular these days; however, some flavours like coffee and green tea have caffeine. The levels of caffeine are almost negligible, but you should refrain from consuming too much.

Keeping in mind all these points, it’s best to limit oneself to one ice cream a day.

Potential Risks of Eating Ice Cream when Pregnant

1. Infections

You may contract certain infections from ice cream, such as listeria, since this bacteria is viable at extremely low temperatures. Machine-related and milk-related infections might also pose a risk. These infections contracted during pregnancy may affect the placental growth, amniotic fluid, and cause birth-time congenital infections in the baby. These may also be responsible for premature deliveries, stillbirths and miscarriages.

2. Weight Gain

High calorie content may cause excess weight gain, which in turn causes complications in delivery.

3. Risk of Gestational Diabetes

Ice creams contain high amounts of sugars, which may predispose you to chances of having impaired glucose tolerance.

4. Sinusitis and Respiratory Infections in the Mother

During pregnancy, the immune system of the mother is suppressed. Consuming too much ice-cream can up the risk of sinus-related and respiratory problems

Tips for Pregnant Women

Ice creams made from pasteurised milk are absolutely safe and can be enjoyed without any worries. Buy ice creams sold by well-known brands and from reputed shops that ensure hygiene and keep up with expiry dates. Avoid eating ice cream from stalls and fairs as the hygiene and sanitation at such places may be questionable. Remember that bacteria can grow even in ice cream kept in the freezer. Health-conscious women may opt for ‘low fat’ or ‘light’ ice cream products available nowadays, for example, frozen yogurt.

Myths Regarding Eating Ice Cream

Besides the benefits and risks of ice cream in pregnancy, there are certain misconceptions related to it as well, for example, cold ice cream can affect the baby’s brain. No scientific data or studies are available to establish this fact. Cold cannot affect the foetus unless your diet and lifestyle are dominated by detrimental cold weather and foods.

For a pregnant woman, a healthy diet that comprises nutritious foods does definitely permit the occasional consumption of ice creams. It is important to adhere to precautions such as hygiene, quantity consumed, and early recognition of any problems with timely medical consultation. Eating ice cream can take you away from the stress of pregnancy. Enjoy it, but just keep an eye on the amount you are having.