Eating Ice Cream During Pregnancy – Is it Safe?

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 for 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 for. But can you eat ice cream during 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?

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.’

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 good reasons. But here’s the good news. 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 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.

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.

1. Infections

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.

Myths Related to Eating Ice Cream During Pregnancy

Besides the benefits and risks of ice cream in pregnancy, there are certain misconceptions related to it as well, for example, 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 fact. Cold cannot affect the foetus unless your diet and lifestyle are dominated by detrimental cold weather and foods.

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!

1. Check if the ice cream you want to eat is made from pasteurised milk. If yes, then enjoy without worrying.

2. Buy ice cream of a well-known brand and from a reputed shop that follows standard hygiene practices.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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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