Is It Safe to Consume Butter during Pregnancy?

Eating Butter During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

Butter, the delicious fat many of can’t do without has to be controlled or totally stopped from one’s diet for health reasons most of the times. Consumption of butter in pregnancy too could raise eyebrows and concerns about the expectant mother’s health. All of us know that a balanced diet is necessary during pregnancy, but understanding if butter fits into that equation is just as important. In this article, we will talk about most things you need to know about consuming butter during pregnancy. Let’s begin with the most obvious question – can pregnant women eat butter?

Can Pregnant Women Eat Butter?

Yes, pregnant women can totally enjoy eating butter, but like with other foods, butter too should be consumed in moderation during pregnancy. However, if a pregnant woman has a history of lactose intolerance or has developed allergies to dairy products, she should avoid eating butter during pregnancy.

As with other foods, butter also has some health benefits for pregnant women when it is included in pregnancy diet in controlled portions along with other healthy foods.

Nutritional Value of Butter

Butter is primarily composed of fat, water, and trace amounts of protein and carbohydrates. The exact nutritional value can vary slightly based on factors such as the type of butter (salted, unsalted, grass-fed, etc.) and its production methods. Here’s a general overview of the nutritional composition of unsalted butter per 1 tablespoon (about 14 grams):

  • Calories: Approximately 100 kcal
  • Fat: Around 11 grams
  • Saturated Fat: About 7 grams
  • Cholesterol: About 30 milligrams
  • Vitamin A: 400 IU

Benefits of Consuming Butter During Pregnancy

A pregnant mother can benefit from eating butter during pregnancy if she resorts to eating butter regularly in the right amount. These benefits range from physiological to even keeping her mood in a good state.

1. Helps Regulate Cholesterol Levels in the Body

A substantial presence of medium and short-chain fatty acids has been observed in the constitution of butter. These fatty acids are not only healthy for the body but also act in controlling the levels of cholesterol in pregnant women. But it should be consumed in moderation. Women with LDL or high cholesterol levels should not consume more than 1 teaspoon of butter during pregnancy.

2. Lowers the Impact of Hormonal Issues

Hormones during pregnancy and their effects on your body may not always be welcome. The hormone levels can be controlled by the consumption of butter. However, since hormones are directly linked with the well-being of the growing baby, getting a dietician’s opinion is highly recommended. But do know that a balanced diet will help in hormonal balance. Simply, adding butter to the diet won’t.

3. Provides Energy

A lot of energy is expended by the body during pregnancy, causing you to feel constantly tired and overwhelmed. As butter is high in calories, adding it in your diet can provide an energy boost required during pregnancy, but do not add more than a teaspoon of butter in your daily diet!

4. May Help With Skin Problem

The pregnancy glow can quickly go away when the body is overworked and tired. Butter can counter these effects of hormones and internal bodily changes by providing antioxidants that replenish the cells and bring back freshness to your skin.

Woman butters toast

5. Help in the Development of the Child’s Brain

Pregnant women are highly recommended to maintain a good intake of Vitamin E during pregnancy. This is primarily to help support the brain development of the foetus, which keeps progressing rapidly. Butter is rich in vitamin E and can be a supplementary source for the same. Homemade butter also contains good fatty acids which can aid in better brain growth. So, you know what you should eat while pregnant!

6. Supports Nutrient Absorption

Butter contains fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E, which are essential for various bodily functions, including bone health, immune function, and vision. Consuming butter alongside foods rich in these vitamins can aid in their absorption, ensuring proper nutrient uptake during pregnancy.

Now, before you head to the refrigerator to grab a cube of butter, you must also have knowledge about the harmful effects it could have on you and your baby. Below, we have provided a brief of some health concerns butter could raise.

Harmful Effects of Having Butter When Pregnant

Consumption of butter in limited quantities is fine, but if it is consumed in excess, it can have ill-effects. As fat is one of the primary constituents of butter, one should be careful about including it in their pregnancy diet. If a pregnant woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, or if she has a history of heart-related problems, eating butter can further aggravate the condition. Obese and overweight women are at a higher risk of gaining even more weight due to overconsumption of butter, which could also lead to health and pregnancy complications. Obese and overweight pregnant women should consume butter as per the guidelines by a qualified dietician.

Since the health of the pregnant woman and her baby becomes the first priority, one must consult their gynaecologist/nutritionist for any change in the diet, especially if there has been a history of health conditions. But, you may want to know a little more about eating butter before you consult your doctor to confirm the same. Below, we have provided answers to some common questions about eating butter during pregnancy.

Is Salted Butter Safe for Pregnant Women?

Any kind of butter is safe for a woman who is pregnant, as long as the consumption is in a safe and moderate quantity. Therefore, salted butter can be consumed.

Can You Eat Unsalted Butter When Pregnant?

As a thumb-rule, unsalted butter is a better option than salted butter, especially during pregnancy. The tastes are more or less the same, and they provide the exact same flavour to the dishes you add them to. Also, you will be consuming less salt if you opt for unsalted butter. However, this isn’t a reason for frequent consumption of unsalted butter than required.

Heart-shaped butter

How Much Butter Is Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?

The addition of butter for pregnancy to specific food items helps elevate their texture and gives them a flavour that is quite enticing. Butter helps in absorbing the important elements, so it can be used in minimal amounts. Having said that, it is best not to include butter as a regular food item in the pregnancy diet plan. Opting for about a teaspoon of butter occasionally won’t be harmful, though.

What Precautions Need to Be Taken While Consuming Butter During Pregnancy?

Consumption of butter occasionally does no harm, but there are a few precautions that need to go along with it. These are necessary to keep you and your baby safe and healthy.

  • Include a controlled portion of butter, which ideally should be recommended by a qualified dietician or nutritionist.
  • Have a balanced diet – a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and healthy grains is important during pregnancy. And if you love eating butter, you can, just make sure that you consume it in moderation.
  • Avoid unsalted butter if it begins to give a foul smell or has an odour that is off-putting.

Are There Healthy Alternatives to Butter for Pregnant Women?

While you may love the taste of butter, there are a bunch of alternatives to butter for pregnant women, which are healthy as well as tasty.

  • Use herbs and broths to season vegetables instead of butter.
  • Use olive oil with vegetables or pair them with yoghurt.
  • Eat muffins or bread with applesauce instead of butter.


1. Can eating butter during pregnancy increase cholesterol levels?

Butter contains saturated fats, which can potentially raise cholesterol levels if consumed excessively. Pregnant individuals should monitor their overall fat intake, including butter, to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

2. Are there any benefits to consuming butter during pregnancy?

Butter is a source of fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, which is crucial for fetal development. It also provides essential fatty acids necessary for the growth and development of the baby.

3. Should I opt for specific types of butter during pregnancy, such as grass-fed or organic?

While all types of butter can be consumed during pregnancy, opting for grass-fed or organic butter may provide additional nutrients and fewer chemical residues. However, the key is moderation regardless of the type of butter chosen.

This was all about butter and pregnancy. Eating butter during the first trimester of pregnancy can help provide the important elements that the foetus requires to grow speedily. The consumption of butter during pregnancy first, second and third trimester can then be controlled effectively and made an occasional delight in the later stages, to maintain a healthy body at all times.


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2. Pimpin. L, Wu. J, Haskelberg. H, Gobbo. L, et. al.; Is Butter Back? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Butter Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Total Mortality (Plos One); National Library of Medicine;; June 2016

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4. FAQs: Nutrition During Pregnancy; The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists;

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Also Read:

Eating Ghee while Pregnant
Eating Wheatgrass when Pregnant
Consuming Peanut Butter in Pregnancy
Is It Safe to eat Cheese during Pregnancy

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