Eating Potato during Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

Potatoes kept on a wooden table

Any food that you consume during pregnancy, not only affects your health but also that of your baby. Potato is a rich source of dietary fibre, vitamins and other essential nutrients for a pregnant woman. It is advisable for you to have it in moderation to avoid any potential ill-effects of over-consumption.

Benefits of Eating Potato in Pregnancy

Potato is filled with nutrients that your body requires during pregnancy; hence if you are craving potatoes during pregnancy, you are free to have some. Although, it’s best to consult your doctor or nutritionist before consuming it. Here are some of its benefits:

1. Reduces Acidity

Potatoes are highly beneficial for those having digestive or acidity issues. A serving of mashed potato can help reduce gastric acidity.

2. Combats Cholesterol

The soluble fibre and vitamin C contained in potatoes help in fighting cholesterol.

3. High in Dietary Fibre

Dietary fibre is apt for pregnant women as it helps in relieving potential constipation.

4. Rich in Vitamins B and C

Vitamins contained in potatoes assists in healing wounds and boosts immunity. It helps in absorption of iron from other foods.

5. Good Source of Folate

Folic acid is significant in the development of the fetal brain and nervous system. Having folate-rich food in your early stages of pregnancy reduces your chances of having a miscarriage.

6. Contain Flavonoids

The flavonoids present in potatoes help to control the blood pressure levels.

7. Helps Fetal Development

Potatoes have high amounts of iron, calcium and potassium, which are essential for the proper growth and development of the fetus.

8. Treats Puffy Eyes

Potatoes can help treat the undereye bags, which are common during pregnancy. Placing a grated raw potato on your eyes for 10 to 15 minutes gives a cooling effect and relieves the swelling.

9. Reduces Cardiovascular Disease

The skin of potato contains high amounts of potassium, which is known to reduce heart strokes and hypertension.

Harmful Effects of Consuming Potatoes while Pregnant

During pregnancy, you need to take care about eating habits and ensure that you consume only healthy food and in limits. Although potato is rich in nutrients, it also poses some risks to your health as listed below:

  • Potatoes with green spots indicate the presence of toxic compounds like glycoalkaloids, alpha-solanine and alpha-chaconine, which cause gastrointestinal issues like diarrhoea and vomiting.
  • Consuming excess potatoes can trigger gestational and type 2 diabetes in some.
  • Eating green potatoes can lead to birth defects like spina bifida and anencephaly.
  • Consuming rotten potato may cause food poisoning in expectant mothers.
  • Babies of mothers who had a rich diet of potato and other tuberous vegetables hold higher chances of getting type 1 diabetes in future.
  • Overweight women consuming excess potatoes during pregnancy are more prone to become obese.

Cooking Methods you should Avoid

Eating potato chips during pregnancy is not recommendable, as it is fried and unhealthy for you. It may trigger gestational diabetes or make you overweight and obese. Hence during pregnancy, you should avoid these cooking methods:

  • Deep fried french fries
  • Baked potato with cheese
  • Fried potato chips

Can Pregnant Women Consume Green Sprouted Potatoes?

Green Potatoes are a result of the chlorophyll, which gets generated if the potato remains popped out above the ground and gets exposed to sunlight. The phenomenon also produces a glycol-alkaloid toxin called solanine, in such exposed potato. Solanine is deadly as it causes hemolysis, benumbs nervous central and stimulates the gastric mucosa leading to death. Hence, green sprouted potatoes need to be strictly avoided by pregnant women.

Does Frequent Potato Consumption Raise the Risk of Gestational Diabetes?

Potatoes have large amounts of starch, which get rapidly absorbed by the body. This can affect the glucose metabolism, thus increasing the risk of developing Diabetes. Hence, it is likely that excess consumption of potatoes can lead to a risk of gestational diabetes.

How to Choose the Right Potatoes?

One needs to be careful when buying potatoes. There are certain things to consider when choosing your potatoes, to avoid its ill-effects. The potatoes that you pick should be:

  • Firm and well-shaped
  • Blemish free
  • Having no sprouts
  • Having no cuts
  • Free from black or green spots
  • Thoroughly washed before cooking

Healthy Ways to Include Potatoes in your Diet

Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes are beneficial for pregnant women when taken in judicious amounts and cooked in a proper way. Some of the healthy options to cook potato are:

  • Baked potato (without cheese)
  • Cooked in combination with other vegetables or meat
  • Soup
  • Stew
  • Mashed potato with vegetables and spices
  • Steamed potato

Potato Based Recipes You Can Try

From the above-listed ideas, below are some of the recipes that you can try with potatoes:

1. Potato and Onion Soup

Here’s a healthy appetizer to feed your pregnancy hunger pangs.

Ingredients:

  • Finely diced potatoes – 1 cup
  • Dried mixed herbs – ½ cup
  • Thinly sliced onions – ¼ cup
  • Butter – 1 Tsp
  • Salt and ground pepper (to taste)
  • Grated carrot (to garnish)

Method:

  • Put onions and butter in a pressure cooker and saute them on a medium flame for a minute
  • Add potatoes and saute for 2 minutes
  • Pour one and a half cups of water, mix well and pressure cook up to 3 whistles
  • Once the mixture cools off, blend it into a smooth puree
  • Transfer them to a pan and add dried herbs, pepper, salt and half cup water
  • Stir and cook on a medium flame.
  • Garnish with carrot and your soup is ready to be served.

2. Potato Salad

This easy and delicious recipe is quick to make and will be enjoyed by one and all in a family.

Ingredients:

  • Cooked and diced potatoes – 8 medium sized
  • Apple cider vinegar – 2 tbsp
  • Sugar – 2 tbsp
  • Mayonnaise – 1 ½ cup
  • Salt – 1 Tsp
  • Yellow mustard – 1 tbsp
  • Pepper – ½ tsp
  • Garlic powder – 1 Tsp
  • Blended onion – 1 cup
  • 2 celery ribs sliced
  • Paprika – little
  • Boiled eggs – 5

Method:

  • Peel and boil the potatoes in salt water
  • Once done, cool it, dice and put in a large bowl
  • Mix vinegar, sugar, mayonnaise, salt, mustard, pepper and garlic powder in another bowl
  • Add this mixture to the potatoes
  • Add onions and celery to this combined mixture
  • Slice the eggs and add to it
  • Top the mixture with paprika and serve.

Potatoes are a bundle of healthy nutrients for a pregnant woman and should not be excluded from the pregnancy diet. It is healthy for the overall growth and development of the foetus and hence, should be consumed in moderation and in the appropriate form. However, you should avoid fried potatoes and avoid overeating, as it can lead to problems like obesity, gestational diabetes and other pregnancy complications associated with it.