Can Pregnant Women Eat Seaweed?
Pregnancy has many ups and downs, especially when it comes to diet. Many delicious meals you’d enjoy before are now off-limits and vice-versa. But is seaweed one of them? Can pregnant women eat seaweed? This is the exact question we will cover in this comprehensive article.
In what follows, we’ll first get into what the seaweed is and then explore some of the top best health benefits of eating seaweed while pregnant. Having acquainted more with this superfood, we then come to considerations and check if it’s safe for pregnant women to eat seaweed and how they should consume it to get the most out of it.
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What is Seaweed, and what are different Types of it?
Seaweed is a healthy and low-calorie food source that, although originally more frequent in Japanese and Asian cuisine, has recently become popular around the globe.
Its nutritional value and health benefits with a plethora of minerals, antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E, and B12 have made seaweed to be categorized as a superfood. As its name suggests, seaweeds, also known as algae, are aquatic plants from marine life and oceans. [1: masterclass]
In general categorization, seaweed can be classified into three types: Brown seaweed, which grows in cold waters attached to the rocky seabed and objects, Red Seaweeds with more than 6,000 species, which also grow in cold waters but more on seashores; and Green Seaweeds, which are found in marine ecosystems and aquatic environments. Each one of these types has many varieties and different recopies. [2: msc.org]
|Vitamin A||35.0 IU|
|Vitamin C||0.3 mg|
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Can You Eat Seaweed While Pregnant?
The short answer to the controversial question of can pregnant women eat seaweed is: Yes! But not all types. Seaweed is a superfood and very tempting regarding its nutrients and other health benefits, so it is a great source for catering to your fetal and maternal growth and development. However, there are some significant considerations about the amount and type of seaweed you select to consume, which we’ll discuss it below. [3: momjunction]
The key takeaway here is this: you can eat seaweed during pregnancy, but you should be aware of some limitations and crucial health risks that before consuming it. Not to mention your unique bodily conditions and possible defects and strengths that need to be checked with your healthcare provider.
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Health Benefits of Seaweed for Pregnant Women
When we speak of superfoods, it usually means a food packed with high nutritional value; seaweed is no exception. Particularly when we’re considering pregnancy, these nutrients are, in fact, essential for fetal development and maternal health.
So, is seaweed good for pregnancy?
High vitamin C containment, easily absorbable iron, an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids (for brain development), folate, choline, calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin K make seaweed an incredible option for the healthy development of both the baby and the mother.
One other key health benefit of seaweed in pregnancy is its fiber which reduces constipation and improves digestive function, which both are common during any pregnancy. [4: SFGATE]
Here are some other major benefits of seaweed for pregnant women:
- Rich antioxidants make seaweed a natural protection against a wide range of future fetal health risks, including arthritis, celiac disease, obesity, asthma, anxiety, and depression.
- Based on some studies, it can reduce the risk of breast cancer and provide a good foundation for the healthy and normal development of sexual organs.
- Eating seaweed in pregnancy can provide fetal and maternal iodine needs, preventing iodine deficiency.
Can you eat seaweed salad while pregnant?
Eating seaweed salad while pregnant is considered safe, but it should be taken in moderation. This salad is usually made with wakame, kelp, hijiki, ogonori, or red dulse seaweed. Since seaweed salad is usually made with brown seaweed, it should be consumed moderately. Why?
Brown seaweed contains a high amount of iodine. Pregnant women should be aware of their iodine intake as high amounts of it can risk the thyroid gland function and lead to poor fetal thyroid function.
Seaweed salad is a rich source of fatty acids, protein, and vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. This salad is a great source of B12 and protein for pregnant women who follow a plant-based diet. However, it is high in sodium. So, if you follow a low-sodium diet, you should limit consuming seaweed salad.
Hipregnancy recommends you consult your doctor to ensure how much seaweed salad you can eat while pregnant. But generally, eating seaweed salad once a week is considered safe for pregnant women.
Seaweed Dishes and their pregnancy safety
Dried seaweed while pregnant
Dried seaweed is a healthy snack for pregnant women if taken in moderation. It is delicious and nutritious but contains iodine and sodium. Having too much dried seaweed during pregnancy can increase the chance of preeclampsia and lead to poor thyroid function.
Roasted seaweed while pregnant
Roasted seaweed is another name for nori sheets or seaweed snacks. A powder form of roasted seaweed can be used as a condiment for flavoring Japanese dishes like yakisoba or okonomiyaki.
According to studies, eating roasted seaweed is safe during pregnancy, but if you have to watch your salt intake, you should limit your intake.
Seaweed snacks during pregnancy
Seaweed snacks are safe for pregnant women, but those who follow a low-sodium diet should limit their intake due to the high sodium content of seaweed snacks. Packaged seaweed snacks are usually nori, kombu, or dulse, but if you aren’t sure about their type, limit your snacking to once a week.
Important Health Risks and Considerations Before Eating Seaweed When Pregnant
Unsurprisingly, that every food, especially those packed with a high concentration of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, has some crucial health risks and considerations if not consumed properly and proportionally. These considerations become more salient during pregnancy and healthy fetal development.
1- Beware of Iodin Intake
The most salient health risk is associated with iodine in seaweed. All types of seaweed, especially brown seaweed, contain high amounts of iodine.
Seaweed may provide an excellent source of iodine during pregnancy, but consuming high amounts of it can be a health risk for the functioning of the thyroid gland. Consuming excess amounts of iodine during pregnancy can cause serious issues and a high risk of ill-born babies. [5: foodstandards.gov.au]
2- Choose Low Sodium Options
Another significant risk factor related to seaweed consumption during pregnancy is its high sodium levels in recipes and ready-made snacks and packages. Make sure to use fresh seaweed or reduced-sodium dried seaweed, and check for any labels for the sodium level before purchasing a package.
3- Consult Your Health Provider
As mentioned earlier, you should always consult your doctor about any changes in your diet, especially when it includes a superfood like seaweed. Your doctor knows what is best for your body, and only they can approve the perfect amount and type of seaweed based on your bodily conditions (maybe you are using a supplement for iodine that you should be aware of).
How Much Seaweed Is Safe for Pregnant Women?
Moderate consumption of seaweed is of high importance in pregnant women. According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, iodine intake during pregnancy shouldn’t be more than 220 micrograms per day.
A proportionate meal or a ready-made seaweed snack contains between 16 and 2984 micrograms of iodine. You should limit your seaweed consumption to one serving per week to be safe.
Caring for diet is an essential part of pregnancy. The important thing is to keep a balanced and well-nutrient diet that supports healthy fetal and maternal development. Seaweed is one of the excellent choices for providing essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. But can pregnant women eat seaweed? Or is seaweed good for pregnancy?
As discussed in this article, pregnant women can consume seaweed for its health benefits. However, there are some health risks associated with it that should be taken into consideration. In a nutshell, being aware of the iodine and sodium intake and limiting seaweed to one meal per week ensures that eating seaweed for pregnant women is both safe and healthy.
If there are any unanswered questions or missed points about seaweed and pregnancy, share them with us via comment.
The Hipregnancy team is always here to help you!
1. Can I eat seaweed while pregnant?
You can consume seaweed while pregnant, but should be aware of iodin intake and opt for low-sodium options.
2. Is it okay to eat green seaweed while pregnant?
Green seaweed, including Ulva, Sea grapes, and green caviar, is a pregnancy-safe option and offers several health benefits if taken in moderation.