Eating Bread during Pregnancy: Health Benefits & Side Effects

Eating Bread During Pregnancy – Benefits and Side Effects

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

The food we eat in our daily lives has undergone a substantial change. With most families having working parents and the ever-increasing pace of life, preparing a proper meal is not always possible. Bread-based items, right from sandwiches to pizzas and bunch of other food items have found their way into our daily lives. But it is necessary to understand if pregnant women can have white bread during pregnancy.

Is It Healthy to Eat Bread in Pregnancy?

The general white bread that is available in the markets is made using common all-purpose flour (maida). This usually contains high proportions of gluten. Having this bread on a constant basis during pregnancy can aggravate constipation, which is already a problem for pregnant women. All the gluten ends up settling in the stomach, leading to a feeling of fullness and bulginess in the stomach, which can restrict the proper absorption of nutrients.

On the other hand, brown bread is prepared from flour, based on wheat. This is much better than white bread because it contains a ton of proteins and vitamins that are not present in the white bread. These are essential in providing the strength and energy that a mother needs during pregnancy.

What Nutrients Does Bread Contain?

Bread usually contain multiple ingredients, out of which there are a few primary ones.

1. Wheat Germ

The bread that is made from whole wheat contain substantial about of wheat germ. These are elements that have quite a lot of nutritional constituents in them, including Vitamin E, omega-3 acids, folate, and many others. These have a direct impact on the health of the heart.

2. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates form a primary part of the bread. This vital nutrient is extremely important since it is quite a powerhouse of energy to be drawn from for pregnant women. The carbohydrates in bread also have a substantially lower glycemic index. It is a healthy option due to lowered risks of diabetes.

3. Protein

Wheat gluten is the major protein present in wheat bread. This gluten is a core provider of proteins, which are necessary for carrying out the healthy and continued development of the baby in the pregnant mother’s foetus.

4. Fibre

Surprisingly, bread is known to be a good food item that contains gracious amounts of dietary fibres, including bran. These not only impact the heart and keep it healthy but also bring about a reduction in the lipoprotein cholesterol, which helps attain a healthy state for the mother as well as the child.

Sliced wheat bread

Benefits of Eating Bread During Pregnancy

The various nutritional constituents of the bread help provide a ton of benefits for the budding mother, some of which are:

1. Prevention of Gallstones

Bread is an easy-to-obtain food item that contains good amounts of fibre. Consuming such items that have whole wheat, which also include cereals, work on improving the digestive system and prevent the formation of gallstones.

2. Reduction in Risk of Asthma

If a mother has breathing issues or is at a higher chance of getting them, having whole wheat bread as a part of the diet can help in cutting down the chances of any discomfort in respiration and signs of getting asthma as well.

3. Metabolism Maintenance

Along with other nutrients, bread that is made from whole wheat contains a rich quantity of vitamin B, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin. All of these elements belonging to the B-complex vitamin group play a key role in streamlining the body processes and regulating your metabolic activities.

4. Good Source of Vitamin C

Bread generally has a great calcium content, but it also contains Vitamin C in good quantities, too. These help in strengthening the immune system and reducing the chances of deficiencies. However, not all types of bread contain Vitamin C. If vitamins or ascorbic acid powder is mixed in bread, then you may get Vitamin C.

Woman buttering toast

5. Provides Enough Calcium

Calcium is a core element necessary for a pregnant woman and the development of the baby. Whole wheat bread contains a great amount of calcium, which is beneficial for pregnant women.

6. Regulation of Sugar

Gestational diabetes is a standard cause of worry for many pregnant women. The high proportion of fibre present in bread made from whole wheat plays a key role in regulating the levels of blood sugar and keeping any sudden increases in check. You can eat whole grain bread during pregnancy.

7. Controlling Blood Pressure

Anxiety and stress during pregnancy can lead to an increase in blood pressure through the body, which is not good for both the mother as well as the baby. Cholesterol and triglycerides, two major culprits for this, are kept in check by consumption of whole wheat bread. But before buying any bread, you must check that it is devoid of salt. As salt content in bread can increase your blood pressure.

8. Reduction in Cholesterol

The dietary fibre present in bread made from whole grains is essential for keeping the heart healthy, as it takes care of the cholesterol levels in the blood, keeping them in the safe range.

9. Stimulates Digestion

The fibres in food items play a key role in providing the roughage content necessary for a digestive system to function well. The fibres in the bread act strongly in streamlining bowel movements and reduce the occurrences of constipation and diarrhoea.

Side Effects of Having Bread While Pregnant

Although bread has a lot of nutritive value, which provides multiple benefits, there are a few side effects one might experience in eating bread during pregnancy.

  • The presence of amylopectin A in the bread made from wheat is known to boost the sugar levels present in the blood.
  • The presence of gluten in bread can be a matter of concern for certain women, since their bodies are unable to process and digest a protein as complex as it. Women with celiac disease (gluten intolerance) should avoid eating bread.

If bread forms an essential part of your daily diet, it is best to reduce it to a normal level and replace it with alternatives. Opting for brown bread during pregnancy instead of white bread is making a healthier choice that can benefit your body in the long run, as well as keep your dietary schedule convenient, too.

Also Read: Eating Cheese during Pregnancy

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