Eating Ice Cream During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?
- Is It Safe to Eat Ice Cream During Pregnancy?
- Nutritional Value of Ice Cream
- Reasons for Craving Ice Cream During Pregnancy
- How Much Ice Cream Should Pregnant Women Eat in a Day?
- Potential Side Effects of Eating Ice Cream While Pregnant
- Difference Between Frozen Desserts and Ice Cream
- Myths Related to Eating Ice Cream During Pregnancy
- Things to Keep in Mind While Eating Ice Cream During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time when women tend to have unusual food cravings. If you are pregnant, at times, you will be tempted to eat foods that may or may not be good for your health as well as your baby’s health. Since you are pregnant, you must be eating everything nutritious there is on this planet. But there will be times when you might crave certain foods that may satiate your taste buds but may not really be nutritious! Ice cream, for instance, is one such delicious item that you might crave. But can you eat ice cream in pregnancy? Is it really safe? You’d think that, perhaps, a scoop of your favourite ice cream won’t harm your baby, but are you sure about that?
Is It Safe to Eat Ice Cream During Pregnancy?
Ice cream is a sweetened frozen dessert usually made of dairy products with fruits or flavours added to it. We all love to eat ice cream every now and then. But when a woman is pregnant and has a craving for ice cream, she might think twice before digging into the bucket full of ice cream and for a good reason. So, can pregnant women eat ice cream?
Well, a woman can eat ice cream while she is pregnant as long as she eats it in moderate amounts. Yes, you can enjoy your favourite flavour of ice cream as long as you make sure that it is made in hygienic conditions. You can safely give in to these cravings once in a while. However, if you are allergic to a certain flavour or have medical issues like diabetes, obesity or even a cold, for that matter, consult your doctor before you dig in. Better yet, avoid it if you are pregnant.
Nutritional Value of Ice Cream
Although ice cream is not super-healthy and nutritious, it can provide you with supplies of essential nutrients like calcium, vitamins, and minerals. In general, ice cream has saturated and unsaturated fats. carbohydrates and proteins. You can also buy low fat, sugar-free, and yoghurt-based ‘light ice cream’. Ice cream can also provide you with vitamins like Vitamin A and Vitamin B12 in moderate amounts. However, the presence and values of the nutrients in each ice cream differs, depending on type, flavour and manufacturer. Generally, 100 gm of ice cream contains 200kcal, 22.86 g sugar, 24.29 g carbohydrates, 114 mg calcium, 43 mg sodium, and 429 IU Vitamin A.
Reasons for Craving Ice Cream During Pregnancy
Craving some ice cream but don’t know why? Here are some why you might be craving ice cream while pregnant. Hormonal changes might generate these cravings and make you pine for ice cream so intensely that you won’t be able to rest without satisfying that craving.
How Much Ice Cream Should Pregnant Women Eat in a Day?
Ice cream is high in fats and can lower your body temperature. If you eat too much of it, it could affect your body’s metabolism and disturb the digestive system. You can enjoy it once in a while.
Nowadays, ice creams are available in flavours that no would have ever thought of perhaps a decade ago. However, some flavours like coffee and green tea have caffeine in them. Although the amount of caffeine present in them is almost negligible, you should refrain from eating too much, if you opt for one of these flavours.
Potential Side Effects of Eating Ice Cream While Pregnant
Too much of anything is bad, you know that. So the same goes for ice cream. Eating too much ice cream can lead to the following complications.
You may contract certain infections from ice cream, such as listeria, since this bacteria is viable at extremely low temperatures. You may also contract infections if the milk used to make ice cream is unpasteurised. These infections contracted during pregnancy may affect placental growth, amniotic fluid, and cause birth-time congenital infections in the baby. These may also be responsible for premature delivery, stillbirth, and miscarriage.
2. Weight Gain
As ice cream is high in calories and fats, if you eat it too much or daily, chances are it might lead to unwanted or excess weight gain, which may lead to complications in delivery.
3. Risk of Gestational Diabetes
Ice cream is high in sugar, which may increase your chances of having impaired glucose tolerance. So it not a great option for those who have a had a history of PCOS, Pre Diabetes or a family history of Diabetes.
4. Sinusitis and Respiratory Infections
During pregnancy, the immune system of the pregnant woman is suppressed. Consuming too much ice cream can up the risk of sinus-related allergic and respiratory problems.
Difference Between Frozen Desserts and Ice Cream
The first question you should ask yourself before buying ice cream is ‘is it really ice cream?’ Ice creams are mainly made from dairy and milk, which is actually good for you in limited quantities. However, many products that are branded as ‘ice creams’ are actually frozen desserts, as they use vegetable oils or hydrogenated fats, which should be avoided in our diet, as they raise cholesterol levels. Companies selling frozen desserts are required to label the same on their packaging, so the next time you pick up an ice-cream, look for a label that says ‘frozen dessert.’
Myths Related to Eating Ice Cream During Pregnancy
Besides the benefits and risks of eating ice cream in pregnancy, there are certain misconceptions related to it as well. Let’s read about them:
1. Eating Ice Cream Can Affect the Baby’s Brain
It is believed that eating ice cream, which is cold or chilled, can affect the baby’s brain. No scientific data or studies are available to establish this myth. Cold cannot affect the foetus unless your diet and lifestyle are dominated by detrimental cold weather and foods.
2. Ice Cream Is Unhealthy
Ice Cream offers various nutritional values that people are unaware of. According to people, eating ice cream is quite unhealthy. But ice cream is actually a great source of calcium and vitamin A.
3. Ice Cream Affects Fetus Development
It is believed that ice cream brings down your body’s temperature and affects the baby’s growth. But there is no specific scientific evidence to support this statement.
4. Craving for Ice Cream Indicates You Are Having a Girl
This is not true. Craving for ice cream only speaks of what your body needs and not the gender of the unborn baby.
Things to Keep in Mind While Eating Ice Cream During Pregnancy
By now you absolutely know that ice cream is not a safe choice during pregnancy as it can lead to potential risks, however, you can still eat it once in a while as long as you make sure it is made following the standard hygiene practices. Tick these points while choosing an ice cream, and enjoy!
- Check if the ice cream you want to eat is made from pasteurised milk. If yes, then enjoy without worrying.
- Buy ice cream of a well-known brand and from a reputed shop that follows standard hygiene practices.
- Avoid eating ice cream sold by street vendors and in 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.
- If you want to make healthier choices, we suggest that you go to eat ‘low-fat’ or ‘light’ ice cream which is available in abundance nowadays. You can buy frozen yoghurt ice cream, for example.
- Go for homemade ice cream.
- Do check the list of ingredients and see if it contains any allergic items.
- Do not overeat, as over-consumption of ice cream can lead to a cold and cough.
- If you experience any discomfort after eating ice cream, consult your doctor.
1. Can Eating Ice Cream Cause High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy?
Yes, when over-consumed, ice cream can cause high blood pressure, as it contains sodium, which increases blood pressure.
2. Does Eating Too Much Ice Cream Lead to Preterm Labor?
No, it’s just a myth. Eating ice cream does not lead to preterm labour but should be consumed in doctor-recommended amounts.
3. Is It Safe to Eat Ice Cream As Last Night Snack While Pregnant?
Yes, it is perfectly safe to eat ice cream as a light snack at night, when pregnant. But make sure it’s made using pasteurised milk.
4. Does Ice Cream Help With Heartburn in Pregnancy?
Eating ice cream during heartburn cools down the digestive system and helps with the discomfort caused by it, making it a very safe option to use when pregnant.
While pregnant, try and eat as much healthy as you can. However, a healthy diet that comprises of nutritious foods does not mean you can’t give in to your cravings and enjoy a scoop of ice cream once in a while. 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.
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