Drinking Buttermilk in Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

Drinking Buttermilk During Pregnancy

Medically Reviewed By
Archana Shah (Diabetologist/Nutritionist/Dietitian)
View more Diabetologist/Nutritionist/Dietitian Our Panel of Experts

Butter is the left-over product that is separated when you churn milk. Buttermilk is commercially prepared by the fermentation of milk. The fermentation is carried out by adding a probiotic bacterium called Lactobacillus acidophilus to milk, which makes the milk acidic and gives it a sour taste. Buttermilk is healthier than other soft drinks and sports drinks in the market as they are usually full of preservatives and artificial flavours. It is incredibly cooling and a great post-meal drink which aids digestion. If you love drinking buttermilk, you might wonder if it is safe to do so during pregnancy. Read the below article to find out if you can drink buttermilk during early pregnancy and afterwards, and how to ensure it is safe for your system.

Is It Safe to Consume Buttermilk During Pregnancy?

It is safe to drink buttermilk during pregnancy if it is made from pasteurised milk. However, it  is advised not to drink buttermilk at night because it can increase the risk of reflux and aspiration during your sleep and can cause pulmonary issues and chronic cough. You should ideally consume buttermilk with your breakfast or lunch as it helps improve digestion.

Note: If you are allergic to milk or lactose intolerant, stay away from buttermilk. It may cause a reaction. You can also check with your doctor before consuming buttermilk during pregnancy.

Nutritional Value of Buttermilk


Buttermilk is well-known for its soothing qualities and benefits. These days low-fat buttermilk is also readily available and can be consumed by people who are conscious about gaining weight. Listed below are the various nutrients that buttermilk has to offer.

  • Calorie and Fat Content: The calorie content of butter is generally dependent on the fat content of the milk. Dairy producers usually use low-fat (1 %) or reduced-fat (2 %) milk for the production of buttermilk. Low-fat buttermilk contains about 1 grams of fat and 62 calories per 100 ml, while reduced-fat buttermilk contains about 2 grams of fat and 140 calories per 100 ml.
  • Calcium: Buttermilk is said to be a rich source of calcium. Buttermilk made from low-fat milk contains about 116 mg of calcium while buttermilk made from reduced-fat milk contains about 275 mg of calcium.
  • Riboflavin: Buttermilk is also rich in riboflavin, a component of vitamin B, that is essential for the conversion of food into energy. Buttermilk made from low-fat milk contains about 0.4 grams of riboflavin per cup, while buttermilk made from reduced-fat milk contains about 0.5 grams of riboflavin per cup. The daily value for Riboflavin recommended by FDA is 1.7 grams.
  • Protein: Low-fat buttermilk has about 1 gram of protein per 100 ml, while reduced-fat buttermilk has 10 grams of protein per cup. The Daily Value for protein recommended by FDA is 1 gm per kg of body weight.

Benefits of Buttermilk During Pregnancy

Buttermilk is beneficial for just about everyone due to its various nutritional benefits. Here are some of the perks of drinking buttermilk while you are pregnant.

  • Buttermilk is a fermented milk product. This probiotic contains live micro-organisms and bacteria that has many health benefits. Drinking buttermilk helps in populating your intestine with health-promoting microorganisms, which improve your immune system and reduces the chances of diarrhoea. 
  • Drinking buttermilk will keep your body hydrated.
  • Buttermilk aids in reducing gastric problems that arise during pregnancy.
  • Buttermilk is rich in calcium. Calcium is essential for the bone development of the baby. It also reduces the risk of hypertension in babies.
  • Drinking buttermilk for short periods of time can reduce your blood pressure
  • Buttermilk is rich in Vitamin D, which works together with calcium for stronger bones and healthy nerve communication.
  • Depending on the type of milk used, buttermilk is also rich in protein, which will keep both mother and baby healthy.
  • Buttermilk is rich in minerals like potassium and phosphorous, which aid in proper functioning of the kidneys.

Side-Effects of Drinking Buttermilk During Pregnancy

In general, there are no side-effects to drinking buttermilk if you have taken certain precautions. If you are lactose-intolerant, buttermilk might cause you to have an allergic reaction, so it is best avoided in such a case. Additionally, do not drink buttermilk at night, as it might cause acidity or chronic cough, especially if you are drinking buttermilk in the third trimester, when these issues are most prevalent.

Daily Intake of Buttermilk During Pregnancy

A pregnant woman drinking buttermilk

Consuming buttermilk in moderation is beneficial for your pregnancy. But drinking buttermilk in excess quantities can cause problems as well. Excessive consumption of buttermilk can increase the fat content in your body. According to studies, you can consume up to two glasses of buttermilk per day to meet your nutrient requirements. 

Precautions to Take While Drinking Buttermilk During Pregnancy

Although buttermilk is fairly safe to consume during pregnancy, there are certain precautions you can take to ensure both you and your baby are safe and healthy. Here are some points to keep in mind.

  • Consume buttermilk only during the day, so your body is able to digest it properly.
  • Do not drink buttermilk at night, as it can cause gastric issues or cough.
  • Drink buttermilk at a moderate temperature, especially during winters, as it can cause a sore throat when consumed chilled.
  • Avoid adding too much salt to buttermilk, as it can cause hypertension.
  • Drink buttermilk that is only made with pasteurised milk, to avoid the presence of any harmful bacteria.
  • Moderation is key, so drink only 1-2 glasses of buttermilk per day.
  • If you have lactose intolerance, it is best to avoid drinking buttermilk.

Ways to Include Buttermilk in Your Pregnancy Diet

There are various ways to incorporate buttermilk in your diet. Here are some ways to make this tasty beverage a part of your pregnancy diet.

  • Add a pinch of salt and jeera powder to buttermilk, and drink it during the day.
  • You can use buttermilk as a substitute for water in dishes like moong dal chilla or pancakes.
  • Buttermilk can be used as a substitute for milk in cakes and confectionery.

Recipes of Buttermilk

Since buttermilk has so many benefits and high nutrient value, you may want to add it to your diet, especially during pregnancy. Popularly known as ‘chaas’ or ‘lassi’ in India, buttermilk can be savoury or sweet. Here are the recipes for savoury buttermilk or ‘masala chaas’ and sweet buttermilk.

1. Masala Chaas


  • Plain yoghurt- 1 cup
  • Cold water- 2 cups
  • Salt- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Black salt- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cumin powder- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cilantro and mint to garnish


Take the yoghurt and the spices in a large bowl or container and whisk the ingredients together. Add the cold water and mix. Pour the buttermilk in a glass and garnish with mint and cilantro leaves.

2. Sweet Buttermilk


  • Plain yoghurt- 2 cups
  • Cold water- 2 cups
  • Powdered Sugar- 3 tablespoons
  • Ice cubes (optional)
  • Chopped almonds for garnishing


Add the yoghurt to a container and whisk it properly. Add the cold water and powdered sugar and mix well. Pour the sweet lassi in a glass and garnish with the chopped almonds. Additionally, you can add a few ice cubes if you like.


1. Is it Safe to Consume Cultured Buttermilk While Pregnant?

Yes, cultured buttermilk is safe to consume when pregnant, as long as the milk used has been pasteurised. Pasteurisation involves heating milk at a high temperature to kill any bacteria. Hence, it is essential that any milk or milk product consumed during pregnancy has undergone this process.

Buttermilk is a delicious drink that you can enjoy during pregnancy. Consume this drink in moderation and reap its numerous benefits. You should get in touch with your doctor if you have any concerns about adding buttermilk to your diet.


1. What to eat before, during and after pregnancy; UNICEF; https://www.unicef.org/rosa/stories/what-eat-during-and-after-pregnancy

2. Goruk. S, Lewis. E, Pouliot. Y, et al.; Feeding Buttermilk-Derived Choline Forms During Gestation and Lactation Modulates Ex Vivo T-Cell Response in Rat Dams; PubMed; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32271922/; July 2020

3. Pregnancy nutrition: Foods to avoid during pregnancy; Mayo Clinic; https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-nutrition/art-20043844; May 2023

4. Taylor. M, Galanis. E; Food safety during pregnancy; PubMed Central; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920771/; August 2010

5. The Dangers of Raw Milk: Unpasteurized Milk Can Pose a Serious Health Risk; U.S. Food and Drug Administration; https://www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/dangers-raw-milk-unpasteurized-milk-can-pose-serious-health-risk

Also Read:

Drinking Milk in Pregnancy
Yogurt while Pregnant
Peanut Butter when Pregnant

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