Can You Eat Popcorn When Pregnant?

  • Author: Sue Dorrens
  • Published: September 13, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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The baby will soon be here and you know what that means– crazy cravings during crazy times. Your latest one? You really want popcorn, but is it safe to indulge? Can I eat popcorn while pregnant?

Eating popcorn during pregnancy is generally considered safe. Popped corn is a whole grain and provides essential nutrients like fiber and magnesium. It’s also low in calories and fat, provided that you don’t add toppings. However, be sure to use a clean popping method and safe cooking oil when preparing it.

That’s the good news. There’s more to the story, though; here’s where things get a little tricky. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about popcorn– when popcorn is bad for your pregnancy and some tips on how to enjoy your popcorn in a healthy way.

Can You Eat Microwave Popcorn When Pregnant?

Popcorn is one of the few snacks that is whole grain. This means it has essential nutrients like fiber, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and a bit of protein. Eating popcorn while pregnant is a tasty, nutritional snack; however, it depends significantly on how you make it.

With that said, Microwave popcorn is NOT healthy as it can contain harmful chemicals like perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Always read the label and specifically look out for hidden additives, food colorings and preservatives that should be avoided when pregnant.

Microwave popcorn often comes with a host of added flavorings and oils that make It taste good but may not be the best choice for you when pregnant.

Butter, in particular, can increase your risk of complications like gestational diabetes. Excess salt, on the other hand, can cause high blood pressure. If you want a healthier way to eat popcorn, try air-popping your popcorn at home using a gas cooker or stove. You can then add a bit of olive oil and sea salt to taste.

Some toppings are healthy – parmesan cheese is a good source of calcium. A small amount of powdered sugar can add plenty of flavor with minimal calories.

Other safe toppings include light sea salt, vanilla, olive oil, dried herbs, honey, and crushed almonds. Just be sure to use these toppings sparingly.

Can You Eat Movie Theater Popcorn While Pregnant?

Movie theater popcorn is safe for consumption in moderation when you’re pregnant as it is popped in a machine without harmful chemicals. The problem with this popcorn is that it’s usually loaded with butter, salt, and other unhealthiness!

Enjoying the occasional movie theatre popcorn and sharing a bucket is the perfect compromise.
“Mindless eating” is so easily done when you are pregnant, especially with a moreish snack like popcorn. Try portioning it out into a separate container so you can focus on the movie without constantly having to check how much you are eating.

If volume is more of a priority, choose air-popped popcorn without salt and butter; this way, you can avoid all the unhealthy toppings.

Is Popcorn Good for Pregnancy Nausea?

Some women find that eating popcorn helps to relieve pregnancy nausea as the act of chewing can help to release endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. Some women also find the intoxicating smell of popcorn helps ease morning sickness.

Popcorn is a whole grain and contains essential nutrients like fiber and magnesium. These nutrients can help to ease pregnancy nausea. Perhaps try eating a small bag of popcorn the next time you’re feeling nauseous and see whether it works?

What are the Benefits of Eating Popcorn During Pregnancy?

pregnant women eating popcorn

Homemade, air-popped popcorn comes with lots of nutritional value and is super-healthy for your body. Some of its benefits include:

  • Fiber: Popcorn is a whole grain and provides expectant mothers with essential fiber. Fiber helps to regulate digestion and can also help to prevent constipation, a common issue during pregnancy. It’s also good for the heart.
  • Popcorn provides a small amount of protein, which is essential for the growth and development of the baby.
  • Magnesium: This mineral is important for the development of the baby’s bones and teeth. It also helps to relax muscles and can help alleviate pregnancy-related aches and pains.
  • Selenium: Selenium is a trace mineral important for the thyroid gland’s function. It also has antioxidant properties and can help to protect cells from damage.
  • Popcorn is rich in roughage. Roughage helps to add bulk to the stools, making them softer and easier to pass. Constipation is a common issue during pregnancy; keeping your fiber intake is vital.
  • Eating popcorn can help to satisfy cravings for unhealthy snacks like chips or cookies. It is a much healthier option and can help prevent excessive weight gain.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Eating Popcorn During Pregnancy?

While popcorn is generally safe to eat during pregnancy, there are a few potential risks to be aware of:

  • Pesticides: Some popcorn may be contaminated with harmful pesticides. Choose organic popcorn to avoid this risk.
  • Microwave popcorn may contain harmful chemicals like perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This chemical has been linked to animal fertility problems, so it’s best to avoid microwave popcorn during pregnancy.
  • Molds: Some types of mold can produce toxins that can harm both you and your baby. These toxins can cause congenital disabilities, miscarriage, or stillbirth. Therefore, it is crucial only to purchase fresh popcorn with no signs of mold.
  • Containing 78% carbohydrates, excessive intake of popcorn may cause gestational diabetes. While popcorn is a healthy snack option during pregnancy, it is important to eat it in moderation.
  • Unpopped kernels or “old maids” can pose a choking hazard. They can also break your teeth, so be sure to remove them before eating.

How Can You Make Your Popcorn Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?

  • Only choose organic popcorn to avoid pesticide contamination.
  • Check for signs of mold before eating, and only eat fresh popcorn.
  • Remove all unpopped kernels, or “old maids,” to avoid choking.
  • Avoid adding too much salt, sugar, or butter to your popcorn.
  • Avoid microwavable popcorn and instead, opt for stovetop popped or air-popped popcorn.
  • Limit your consumption of popcorn to one or two servings per week.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line? You can enjoy popcorn while pregnant, but be sure to take some safety precautions to avoid any potential problems. And, as always, listen to your body – if something doesn’t feel right, don’t eat it. So, go ahead and enjoy a few handfuls of this delicious snack!

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