Eating Soya Beans during Pregnancy: Health Benefits & Risks

Soya Bean in Pregnancy – Benefits and Risks

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

Are you excited and happy to welcome your little bundle of joy? Plenty of changes are taking place, aren’t they? Let’s talk about your diet! If you have been negligent about your nutrition of late, then this is the perfect time to get it back on track.

Now, while some foods are considered good for your unborn baby, others should not be on your pregnancy diet. On what list should soya bean be? If that is tickling your brain, read through this post, which talks about various factors concerning soya bean in your pregnancy diet, and more.

What is Soya Bean?

Soya bean belongs to the legume family, and it is one of the best sources of protein. Native to the eastern part of Asia, these legumes are now also grown in many other parts of the world. Originally, these legumes are yellow, but there are green, brown, and black varieties available too.

Nutritional Content of Soya Bean

Soya bean is highly nutritious, and it is power-packed with iron, magnesium, fibre, omega- 3 fatty acids, vitamin K, manganese, phosphorus, and copper. Along with these, soya bean is also a good source of flavonoids and isoflavonoids, phytoalexins, phytosterols, phenolic acids, proteins, saponins, and peptides.

Benefits of Eating Soya Bean During Pregnancy

This superfood comes with bountiful nutrients, as mentioned above. Some of the benefits of consuming this wonder food are:

1. Loaded with Protein

Protein is essential for a pregnant woman, and if you are a vegetarian, then getting your daily dosage of protein can be a bit challenging. Soya bean is a great option for fulfilling your protein requirements during pregnancy.

2. Great Source of Omega-3 Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for the development of the growing foetus. Fish is a great source of omega-3 acids. If you do not like or eat fish, then including soya bean into your diet may be helpful.

3. Good for People with Lactose Intolerance

If you are lactose intolerant, then including soy milk into your diet may prove to be an ideal substitute for dairy milk.

4. Helpful in Reducing Cholesterol Levels

You can include a good amount of legumes such as soya bean into your diet to bring down your cholesterol levels.

5. Helpful in Fighting Obesity

Obesity can give rise to other medical ailments, and it can be particularly troublesome during pregnancy. By including soya bean in your diet, you can control your hunger pangs, and thus keep a tab on your weight gain.

6. Provides Nutrition to the Foetus

Being loaded with so many nutrients, soya bean provides as a good dosage of nutrition to your unborn child.

7. Helps in Preventing Birth Defects

Soya bean is a good source of folate and zinc. Both these minerals are beneficial in keeping birth defects at bay.

How Much Soya Bean Can You Eat While Pregnant?

You can safely consume a daily quantity of half a cup of soya chunks or one cup of soybean milk in pregnancy. It is safe to consume soya bean daily during pregnancy, as long as it is in the recommended dosage and has been cooked properly. Too much soya might cause side-effects.

Is it Safe to Consume Soya Bean Oil When Pregnant?

Soya bean is rich in phytic acid. This acid helps in blocking the uptake of heavy metals in the body, such as uranium, lead, mercury, etc., which are bad for our health. However, it may cause hindrance in the absorption of essential minerals, too, like iron, magnesium, zinc, and calcium, which are important for foetal development. Also, while soya bean lowers cholesterol levels, a certain amount of cholesterol is required during pregnancy to produce pregnancy hormones like progesterone, estrogen and also vitamin D.

These reasons may cause you to wonder, is soy bean for pregnant ladies safe? The answer is yes, it is good, but you must consume it in moderation to avoid any ill-effects. You may safely consume one or two servings of soya bean in a day.

Is Edamame Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?

Yes, you can consume edamame or any soy products during pregnancy if you are not allergic to them. Make sure you wash edamame thoroughly before consuming, to reduce the risk of getting exposed to toxoplasma (dangerous bacteria) which can harm you.

Is Edamame Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?

Risk of Consuming Soya Bean When Pregnant

Whether it is soya chunks during pregnancy, or soya sauce, you should be aware of any risks before you make changes in your pregnancy diet plan. Here are some of the risks involved:

1. Elevated Risks of Breast Cancer

Consuming a high amount of soy products during pregnancy may increase the level of estrogen in the body. Increased amounts of estrogen are associated with increased chances of breast cancer.

2. Increased Amounts of Pesticide Residue

It has been found that there are substantial amounts of pesticide residue on soya bean. This residue has been associated with many health problems, such as reproductive issues and hormonal imbalance.

3. Hindrance in Mineral Absorption

Being a good source of phytic acid, consumption of soya bean products may hamper the absorption of essential minerals by the body. Some of these minerals like zinc, iron, and calcium are mandatory for optimum foetal development.

4. Impaired Protein Digestion

Trypsin is a component found in raw soya bean, and it hinders protein digestion in the body. Another component, lectins, react with the intestinal lining, and hamper the absorption of other nutrients.

5. Presence of Phytoestrogens

The presence of phytoestrogens in soya bean affects the levels of estrogen in the mother’s body, and the growing foetus is very sensitive to changing estrogen levels.

6. Some Interference With Foetal Development

Soya contains phytic acid which increases the level of estrogen in the body. As the foetus is sensitive to certain hormones during pregnancy, excessive soybean in pregnancy may cause certain side-effects.

Things to Consider While Having Soya Bean in Pregnancy

Here are some things that you should consider before including soya in your pregnancy list of foods:

  • Include soya bean in moderation.
  • Check with your doctor about what should be the ideal dosage of soya bean in your diet.
  • Studies have indicated that babies are sensitive to higher levels of estrogen in the body, which may be caused by eating soya bean.


1. Does the Consumption of Soya Bean Have a Positive Impact on Fertility?

Yes, some studies have shown that consuming soya bean can positively impact fertility for women who are trying to get pregnant naturally or through fertility treatments. However, it is also important to consume soya in moderation.

Soya bean is rich in various nutrients, and is a healthy addition to any diet. However, getting professional advice from a doctor or nutritionist before adding this food to your pregnancy diet is recommended.


1. Soybeans, mature seeds, raw; U.S. Department of Agriculture;

2. Miyake. Y, Tanaka.K, Okubo. H; Maternal consumption of soy and isoflavones during pregnancy and risk of childhood behavioural problems: the Kyushu Okinawa Maternal and Child Health Study; PubMed;; December 2021

3. What to eat before, during and after pregnancy; UNICEF;

4. Have a healthy diet in pregnancy; NHS;; April 2023

5. Pregnancy diet: Focus on these essential nutrients; Mayo Clinic;; February 2022

Also Read: 

Can a Pregnant Woman Eat Bread?
Eating Capsicum while Pregnant
Rajma (Kidney Beans) in Pregnancy

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