Sprouts During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a very important time during any woman’s life and it is very important to have a balanced and nutrient rich diet during this time. Eating right will keep you and the growing baby healthy. However, there are some foods such as little shaped vegetables which are not beneficial during pregnancy. Though these are full of vitamins and minerals, do discuss with your doctor before consuming them while you are pregnant.

Is It Safe to Eat Sprouts During Pregnancy?

We all are familiar with the fact that sprouts contain a lot of healthy nutrients. Raw sprouts are delicious to munch on, are packed with nutrients and make an excellent snack choice. However, the truth is that raw sprouts are associated with some health risks and should not be consumed during pregnancy. Eating raw sprouts during pregnancy can be more harmful than beneficial due to the presence of certain bacteria such as salmonella. These bacteria can lead to serious health risks during pregnancy and can be harmful for both the mother and the child.

Sprouts During Pregnancy

Dry seeds harbor these bacteria and these bacteria remain dormant because the seeds are usually stored in dry and places. During germination or the sprouting process, the environmental conditions become moist and warm and provide excellent growth opportunity for the bacteria. You cannot get rid of them even if you wash the seeds thoroughly.

Home grown sprouts are associated with a greater risk of bacterial presence and can lead to infection if you eat them raw or lightly cooked. During commercial production of sprouts the seeds are treated by strong disinfectants but even those can have some bacteria and should not be eaten raw during pregnancy.

The most common bacteria found in raw sprouts are e-coli and salmonella. Alfalfa sprouts have e-coli while bean, clover and radish sprouts are contaminated with salmonella. Both these bacteria can cause abdominal symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and cramps. A very small amount of salmonella can be dangerous because they grow very rapidly. From the mother, these can be transmitted to the baby and the baby can develop complications like fever, diarrhea or even meningitis after birth.


Cooking the sprouts properly can kill these bacteria and only thoroughly cooked sprouts should be eaten during pregnancy. Avoid eating sprouts during pregnancy completely if you have a weak immune system to avoid any ill effects.

Tips for Pregnant Women

If you are having an irresistible craving for sprouts or these are your favourite food, you can take the following precautions and enjoy some:

  • Always buy them fresh and keep them refrigerated.
  • Before purchasing them inspect them carefully and do not buy if they have a musty smell or do not look fresh.
  • Store them at a temperature which is below 40 ºF.
  • Always keep your refrigerator clean and make sure no rotten or mouldy food is stored in it.
  • Thoroughly rinse and clean them under running water before cooking sprouts.
  • Make sure that you cook them properly. Eating raw or undercooked sprouts during pregnancy is not advisable.
  • You can add cooked sprouts to enhance the flavour of pasta, stews, soups and stir fry.
  • You can also bake them in the oven for a crunchy and crispy texture. Put them in a baking tray and keep on turning them till they are golden brown and nicely done.

Be Cautious with These Foods

During pregnancy you have to be extremely careful about what you eat. There are some very common everyday food items which are not recommended during pregnancy. Here is a list of food items you need to be careful about:

1. Raw or Undercooked Food of Animal Origin

Raw or undercooked food

Raw animal foods like sushi, oysters, eggs, eggnog, raw meat or even raw cookie dough can be contaminated with bacteria, viruses or even parasites and it is best to avoid these things during pregnancy. To be on the safe side always check that the meat is done with the help of a thermometer and cook eggs till they solidify and are no longer runny. Though raw cookie dough and sushi are really yummy, try not to eat them while you are pregnant.

2. Drinks to Limit or Avoid

Drinks to avoid in pregnancy

  • Alcohol in any form or quantity is contraindicated during pregnancy. The growing cells and the baby need a lot of oxygen and nutrients and alcohol consumption can reduce it leading to cell damage. It has permanent effects on the intellectual abilities of the child and can arrest fetal development.
  • Unpasteurized milk, juices or drinks can contain E coli and should not be taken during pregnancy. Always read the labels and make sure that you are not drinking anything that can be harmful for your baby.
  • It is a good idea to have your tap water tested because a lot of water borne diseases can occur by drinking unsafe water.
  • Try to limit your caffeine intake as well. A lot of caffeine consumption during pregnancy can lead to miscarriages and other complications. Soft drinks, sodas, energy drinks, coffee and tea are also loaded with caffeine and their consumption should be limited too.

3. Herbal Teas and Supplements

supplements in pregnancy

Besides sprouts during pregnancy, you should also be careful with herbal teas and supplements. Herbal teas are caffeine free but that does not mean you should drink them excessively during pregnancy. There is no scientific data available regarding their safety during pregnancy and the best thing is to avoid them or have them in small quantity.

Herbal supplements should not be used during pregnancy as there is no proof of their safety for expecting mothers. If you are taking any herbal or other supplements before getting pregnant the best thing is to discuss with your doctor regarding their usage in pregnancy. Extra amounts of vitamin A can also harm the fetus and any supplement with more than 1000 iu of vitamin A should not be used during pregnancy. Herbal supplements used for weight loss or stimulation must be stopped immediately.

4. Excess Calories

Excess calories

Try not to consume more than required calories during pregnancy. Though some weight gain is expected and normal at this time, it is very easy to put on a lot more than that. Add on 350 calories to your normal daily diet during the second trimester and 450 calories in the third trimester. Be careful to eat nutrient rich foods to fulfil the needs of growing baby.

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