Pizza is a popular snack relished by people of almost all ages, but, is it safe to eat pizza during pregnancy? Due to the cravings that pregnant women experience during this crucial time, this question seems pertinent. The sight of a delicious, piping hot pizza may always make your mouth water, but it is important to understand its impact on your health as it not only matters to you but also to your baby’s health!
can pregnant women eat pizza
One question that can really bother a woman who loves pizza is – “Is pizza safe during pregnancy?” So, know that pizza comes under the category of junk food and is not included in the recommended diet option for pregnant women considering the harmful effects of calories and maida on the body of a pregnant woman and the fetus growing in her womb. However, if the pizza is made at home, or is of a good brand with good standards of ingredients and service, it is sometimes safe to eat.
If you are having pizza during pregnancy, try to strike the right balance between vegetables and cheese so that you do not eat too much of one and less of the other. This will not only help you satisfy your cravings but will also ensure that you get all the essential nutrients. Also, it is best to have pizza during the first trimester of pregnancy as only then would you need a nutrient-dense meal.
are there any benefits of eating pizza during pregnancy
We have listed a few things you need to consider regarding the benefits of eating pizza during pregnancy:
- Pizza is classified as a comfort food, which can directly or indirectly make you happy.
- Pizza can provide some essential nutrients and vitamins when you make it with fresh ingredients.
- It can help satiate your cravings and can’t even harm you if the pizza is freshly made.
- Topping pizza with high-quality sauces, which contain vitamins A and C, can benefit you during pregnancy. The tomatoes present in the sauce contain the antioxidant lycopene, which helps reduce the chances of developing cancer.
- Thin crust pizza base, which is high in fiber, can prove beneficial.
- Eating part-skim mozzarella cheese on top of pizza can provide you with bone-strengthening calcium and protein.
What are the harmful effects of eating pizza when pregnant
Compared to the benefits of pizza, its harmful effects are more. Here are some of the harmful effects of eating pizza:
- Some types of cheese, such as Danish blue, Camembert and Brie, contain mold-free bacteria that contain listeria. These bacteria can cause a rare illness with flu-like symptoms.
- Topping your pizza with too much cheese can lead to high calorie intake, which can lead to weight gain.
- Eating pizza can also cause heartburn or digestive system problems.
- Topping pepperoni on pizza can be harmful as it contains saturated fat. This type of fat is not good for heart health, and when consumed in excess, can even lead to gestational diabetes.
- If your pizza is raw, not properly cooked or reheated, which is usually the case with raw meat toppings such as salami, chorizo or pepperoni, you may be exposed to an infectious disease called toxoplasmosis.
In a 2017 study on rats, scientists found that female rats that consumed junk food during pregnancy gave birth to rats that were heavier and craved fat after weaning. A well-balanced diet developed soon after helped them overcome fatty food cravings, but the brain activity of mice remained alert to fatty food cravings well into adulthood. What you eat affects your baby, so it’s wise to eat as healthy a diet as you can.
How to eat pizza safely during pregnancy
Eating pizza safely during pregnancy is important for your and your baby’s health.
- Only eat well-cooked and hot pizzas as the heat helps kill some of the bacteria that may be on any of the toppings.
- Try to eat pizza from reputed brands only as they provide good quality food.
- Eat pizza only fresh as keeping it uneaten for a long time can lead to bacteria growth.
- If you like to top your pizza with meat or shellfish toppings, make sure it’s well-cooked.
- Prefer eating vegetable toppings over pizza as they contain nutrients that are essential for a pregnant woman.
- It is suggested to have only one or two slices of pizza as it is a balanced option as compared to a whole pizza.
- Avoid eating pizza with cold preserved meat toppings.
- Avoid eating pizza topped with cheeses such as Brie, Camembert or Danish Blue because they can contain listeria bacteria.
- It’s best to top your pizza with parmesan or cheddar cheese. These are alternatives to hard cheeses that contain less water, thus are less likely to form microbes.
We understand that pizza is a delicious food item, but its consumption should be largely avoided during pregnancy. However, if you are a pizza lover and cannot control your cravings, then there is not much harm in having a hot pizza once in a while. Consider eating your pizza slices with the above tips in mind and enjoy!