Eating Corn in Pregnancy: Health Benefits, Risks & Tips

Eating Corn During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

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

Ensuring a well-balanced diet during pregnancy is crucial for the well-being of both the mother and the developing baby. However, cravings often emerge, leading expectant mothers to ponder the safety of indulging in specific treats, such as corn kernels. Addressing this concern is vital for promoting a healthy pregnancy. In this article, we will explore the safety aspects of consuming corn during pregnancy, considering nutritional benefits and potential risks. Understanding these factors empowers pregnant women to make informed choices, striking a balance between satisfying cravings and prioritizing the nutritional needs essential for a thriving pregnancy. Let’s read all about sweet corn during pregnancy

Is It Safe to Consume Corn During Pregnancy?

Consuming corn during pregnancy is generally considered safe when incorporated into a balanced diet. Corn offers essential nutrients, including folate, fiber, and vitamins, contributing to maternal and fetal health. However, it’s crucial to ensure proper food safety measures. Opt for fresh, well-cooked corn, avoiding raw or undercooked varieties. Additionally, moderation is key, as excessive consumption may lead to an imbalance in nutrient intake. Consultation with a healthcare provider is advisable to address individual dietary needs and potential allergies. In short, corn is good for pregnancy. Overall, enjoying corn as part of a diverse and nutritious diet can be a safe and satisfying choice during pregnancy.

A Little More About Corn

Corn, also called maize, is a popular cereal, which is rich in minerals and vitamins. Not only is corn nutritious but it is also very delicious. Many pregnant women find the juicy, and crunchy taste of sweet corn appealing.

Corn Soup

Nutritional Value of Corn

Following is the nutritional value of corn per 100 grams.

Nutrients Quantity
Calories 86 kcal
Protein 3.27 g
Carbohydrates 18.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Sugars 6.26 g
Fat 1.35 g
Thiamine (B1) 0.155 mg
Niacin (B3) 1.77 mg
Pyridoxine (B6) 0.093 mg
Folate (B9) 42 µg
Vitamin C 6.8 mg
Vitamin E 0.07 mg
Vitamin K 0.3 µg
Magnesium 37 mg
Phosphorus 89
Potassium 270 mg
Zinc 0.46 mg
Iron 0.52 mg
Calcium 2 mg
Sodium 15 mg

Health Benefits of Eating Corn During Pregnancy

Some of the nutritional benefits of eating corn during pregnancy are:

1. Gives Relief From Constipation

Corn is an excellent source of dietary fibre and helps to alleviate digestive issues like constipation.

2. Lessens the Risk of Neonatal Defects

Corn contains folic acid, which reduces the risk of abnormalities in the unborn baby like Spina Bifida.

3. Increases Memory Power

Eating corn during pregnancy may help you buy grocery items without a shopping list! It also promotes the brain development of the foetus.

4. Keeps the Baby’s Eyes Healthy

Corn is full of antioxidants like lutein which play a role in improving the eyesight of your unborn baby.

Grilled Corn

5. Prevents Cancer

Experts believe that the antioxidants present in corn can prevent the occurrence of some types of cancer including breast cancer.

6. Lowers the Risk of Tumours

Corn consists of phenolic compounds like ferulic acid which lower the risk of tumours.

7. Boosts Immunity

Corn is rich in vitamin A; therefore it keeps your skin healthy, improves your immunity, and promotes memory power during pregnancy.

8. Increases Good Cholesterol

Intake of corn husk oil during pregnancy may promote the reduction of plasma LDL and increase the presence of good cholesterol in the body.

9. Supports Heart Health

Corn’s fiber content aids in managing cholesterol levels, contributing to heart health during pregnancy. It helps regulate blood pressure and reduces the risk of cardiovascular issues.

10. Enhances Energy Levels

The carbohydrates in corn provide a steady release of energy, combating pregnancy fatigue. This sustained energy can be particularly beneficial for expectant mothers experiencing increased demands on their bodies.

Are There Any Risks of Having Corn When You’re Pregnant?

No doubt, corn has many health benefits for pregnant women. But you should take care not to go overboard while consuming corn. Corn consists of fatty acids, which put pregnant women at the risk of heart ailments. Some pregnant women may suffer from indigestion on eating corn.

Corn Products That Are Safe and Unsafe in Pregnancy

During pregnancy, it’s essential to be mindful of the corn products you consume to ensure both the mother’s and baby’s well-being. While some corn-based products offer nutritional benefits, others may pose risks. Here’s a guide to help you make informed choices:

1. Corn Products You Can Eat

  • Fresh Corn: Whole, fresh corn is a nutritious option, providing essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Cornmeal: When properly cooked, cornmeal can be a versatile and safe addition to your diet.
  • Popcorn: Air-popped popcorn, without excessive additives, can be a healthy and satisfying snack.
  • Corn Tortillas: Made from corn masa, these are generally safe and can be part of a balanced diet.
  • Corn on the Cob: Properly cooked and enjoyed in moderation, corn on the cob is a wholesome choice.

2. Corn Products You Have to Avoid

  • Highly Processed Corn Snacks: Avoid heavily processed corn snacks with added sugars, salt, or artificial ingredients.
  • Genetically Modified (GMO) Corn: If possible, choose non-GMO corn products to minimize potential health risks.
  • Excessive Corn Syrup: Products with high-fructose corn syrup should be limited, as excess sugar intake can have adverse effects.
  • Uncooked Cornstarch: Raw cornstarch may pose a risk of bacterial contamination; ensure it is properly cooked if used in recipes.
  • Prepackaged Corn Salads: Be cautious with prepackaged salads as they may harbor harmful bacteria; opt for freshly prepared salads instead.

Keep These Things in Mind

These points will enable you to get the most from corn during pregnancy:

  • Consume corn within a few days of buying it.
  • Refrain from removing the husk to retain the freshness of the corn.
  • Store corn in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
  • Pregnant women should eat fresh corn instead of canned or frozen corn.
  • Avoid sprinkling artificial sweeteners on the corn kernels.

Tips for Buying and Storing Corn While Pregnant

Ensuring the freshness and safety of the corn you consume during pregnancy is crucial for maintaining optimal health. Here are some tips to guide you in making informed decisions when buying and storing corn:

  • Selecting Fresh Corn: Choose corn with bright green husks, fresh silk, and plump kernels. Avoid cobs with dry or brown husks.
  • Examining the Kernels: Check for evenly spaced and well-developed kernels. Irregular spacing or missing kernels may indicate poor pollination.
  • Inspecting the Stem: The stem end should be moist, not dry. A dry stem could be a sign of an older ear of corn.
  • Avoiding Pesticide Exposure: Opt for organic or locally sourced corn to minimize exposure to pesticides and ensure a healthier option.
  • Storing in the Husk: Keep corn in its husk until ready to use. This helps retain freshness and prevents the kernels from drying out.
  • Refrigeration: If not consuming immediately, store corn in the refrigerator to maintain its quality. Use it within 1-2 days for the best flavor.
  • Freezing Corn: Consider freezing excess corn for longer storage. Blanch the ears before freezing to preserve flavor and texture.

Tips to Cook Corn the Right Way

Boiling corn is the best way to prepare it. Removing the corn’s outer husk and silk, place it in a big pan. Add water and salt and cover the pan. Fresh corn requires only 3-4 minutes to boil. Don’t overcook the corn as this will harden the kernels.

Corn Salad

Recipes

1. Corn Soup

Sweet corn for pregnant women is a good option. Nothing can beat a steaming hot corn soup on a dull day.

Ingredients:

  • Medium-sized corn cob – 1
  • Freshly ground pepper – 1/2 tsp
  • Chopped spring onions – 1 tbsp
  • Oil/butter – 1 tbsp
  • 3/4 cup of warm milk + 3/4 cup of water
  • Wheat flour – 1/2 tbsp
  • Salt – as required

Method:

  1. Boil the corn cob and scrape out the kernels.
  2. Keeping a handful of kernels aside, blend the rest to a smooth paste.
  3. Heat oil or butter in a pan.
  4. Saute the spring onions until they become translucent.
  5. Add the corn paste, water and milk to the pan.
  6. Once the soup starts boiling, add the ground pepper, salt and the remaining kernels. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the cornflour and let the soup thicken.
  8. Serve with garlic or toasted bread.

2. Corn Chaat

Make your own street food-style corn chaat at home with this recipe!

Ingredients:

  • Medium-sized corn cob – 1
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • Chopped small onion – 1
  • Chopped tomato – 1
  • Chopped green chilli – 1
  • Chopped coriander – 1 tbsp
  • Red chilli powder – as required
  • Salt – as required
  • Chaat masala powder – as required
  • Lemon juice – 1-2 tsp
  • Sev – as required

Method:

  1. Pressure cook the corn cob and scrape out the kernels.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Garnish with sev and coriander.
  4. Serve.

FAQs

1. Is It Safe to Consume Raw Corn When Pregnant?

It is not recommended to eat raw corn during pregnancy. Cooking corn thoroughly is essential to eliminate potential risks of bacterial contamination and to enhance nutrient absorption.

2. Can Corn Lead to Weight Gain in Pregnancy?

When consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet, corn is unlikely to cause excessive weight gain. It’s a good source of nutrients, including fiber, which can contribute to a healthy pregnancy.

3. Is It Safe to Eat Undercooked Corn on the Cob During Pregnancy?

Undercooked corn on the cob can pose a risk of bacterial contamination. It’s crucial to ensure that corn is properly cooked to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses, especially during pregnancy.

4. Can You Consume Corn During Pregnancy With Gestational Diabetes?

In moderation, corn can be included in the diet of someone with gestational diabetes. However, it’s important to monitor overall carbohydrate intake and consult with a healthcare provider or nutritionist to manage blood sugar levels effectively.

As a pregnant woman, you should include corn in your pregnancy diet.  So if you feel like consuming sweet corn in pregnancy first trimester or even the entire pregnancy, you can steam, boil or grill to enjoy its goodness. Next time, whenever the hunger pangs strike, corn will come to the rescue!

References/Resources:

1. Corn, raw; U.S. Department of Agriculture; https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103351/nutrients

2. Micronutrient Needs During Pregnancy and Lactation; Oregon State University; https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/life-stages/pregnancy-lactation

3. Kominiarek. M; Nutrition Recommendations in Pregnancy and Lactation (Medical Clinics of North America); National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5104202/; November 2017

4. Dietary Fiber; University Health Sciences Tang Center; https://uhs.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/dietaryfiber.pdf

5. Sommerburg. O, Keunen. J, Bird. A, Kuijk. F; Fruits and vegetables that are sources for lutein and zeaxanthin: the macular pigment in human eyes; British Journal of Ophthalmology; https://bjo.bmj.com/content/82/8/907

6. Zielińska. M, Wesołowska. A, Pawlus. B, Hamulka. J; Health Effects of Carotenoids during Pregnancy and Lactation (Nutrients); National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579631/; August 2017

7. Thiamin; National Institutes of Health; https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Thiamin-HealthProfessional/

Also Read:

Vinegar while Pregnant
Eating Radish during Pregnancy
Consuming Potato in Pregnancy
Is It Safe To Consume Maca when Pregnant?

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