Being pregnant can be an extraordinary time in your life. For most, pregnancy creates a lot of changes in the body, mind, spirit, and pretty much every aspect of life in general. All these changes are a part of the amazing process of pregnancy. Another change most pregnant women will encounter is in their diet. With pregnancy comes all types of food cravings and aversions, and what feels like a ton of “food rules”.
There are some nutrition guidelines that pregnant women should consider following. Additionally, a balanced diet is essential in keeping the growing baby safe and healthy.
One food that is often debated with regards to pregnancy is peanut butter. Eating peanuts was once believed to cause a peanut butter allergy in babies. So, it is easy to see why mothers might be concerned about consuming peanut butter while pregnant. This myth has since been disproved. Yet, we still see some confusion on whether eating peanuts is safe during pregnancy or not.
So, for all those conflicted moms, we are dedicating a blog on whether pregnant women can safely consume peanut butter during pregnancy as well as the possible benefits of eating peanuts/peanut butter for pregnant moms and their growing babies.
Is It Safe To Eat Peanut Butter During Pregnancy?
The answer is yes! Current evidence does not support decreasing or eliminating peanuts from your diet during pregnancy. You can eat peanut butter during any stage of pregnancy. But, there are some things to keep in mind when consuming peanut butter. Make sure to avoid peanut butter if you’re even slightly allergic. Allergic reactions, no matter how small, can put stress on your baby.
Also, be sure to stop eating peanut butter if you begin having any side effects at all. Like issues with digestion or an upset stomach. And lastly, be sure to pick a peanut butter that doesn’t have added sugar or vegetable oils like soybean oil, salt is okay. Organic peanut butter is ideal and can be a delicious and healthy snack during pregnancy. But most varieties of peanut butter can fit in a prenatal diet!
5 Benefits Of Eating Peanut Butter During Pregnancy
Helps Manage Gestational Diabetes
A common condition of pregnancy is gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is when a woman experiences chronic high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. According to the CDC, this happens in 2-10% of pregnancies. To prevent and/or manage GD, it is essential to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Peanut butter, peanuts, and tree nuts are loaded with healthy fats and protein.
Nuts and seeds in general are a great addition to your snack rotation. Peanut butter can make your snacks more filling and is a sweet snack that can help expecting mothers resist other, more sugary, snacks that might contribute to high blood sugar. A spoon full of peanut butter with an apple and cheese is a great snack option for gestational diabetes.
Excellent Source of Healthy Fats
Peanuts/peanut butter is an excellent source of healthy, monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are essential for the healthy growth and development of the baby, especially when it comes to the baby’s brain. These healthy fats also contribute to placenta growth, help prevent preterm labor, lower bad cholesterol, and promote a healthy birth weight.
Good Source of Folate
Meeting your folate goals is vital during pregnancy to support the overall growth and development of the baby and reduce the risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, and brain and spinal defects. Folate is an essential building block of new cells and thus directly contributes to the growth of your baby, especially during the first trimester when the spinal cord is forming. Adding a spoonful of peanut butter to your snack is a great way to increase the amount of folate you are taking in on a daily basis.
Boosts Energy Levels
Peanut butter is great for boosting those energy levels during pregnancy. As most pregnant women and mothers already know, pregnancy can be super tiring on the mind and body. With all those hormones, a growing, and changing body, and maybe even some morning sickness, your body needs all the healthy calories and protein it can get to keep it moving.
Not only is peanut butter packed with protein and healthy fats, but it also has essential vitamins and minerals like niacin (B3), vitamin E, and magnesium that can help keep you full, and contribute to your nutrient goals. It’s also packed with fiber to help your body digest food more slowly and release energy at a more stable rate throughout the day.
May Reduce Constipation
Another common symptom you might experience during pregnancy is that dreaded constipation. Making sure that you’re eating a fiber-rich diet can help reduce or prevent stomach discomfort and constipation during pregnancy. Peanut butter is a great source of fiber as it contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber absorbs water to help form healthy bowel movements, lowers cholesterol, aids in weight-gain control, and reduces the risk of diabetes. And insoluble fiber makes the passage of stool easier, reduces hemorrhoids, and helps to regulate your bowel movements. Including peanuts in your trail mix or peanut butter with your apple from the get-go may help to prevent constipation!
Will You Eat Peanut Butter While Pregnant?
When it comes to eating peanut butter while pregnant, remember it’s always best to go with one that doesn’t have added sugar or vegetable oils. The label should say peanuts and salt. While peanut butter is totally safe to eat while pregnant, just keep in mind that you should avoid consuming it if you are allergic to peanuts at all or experience any side effects after consumption. If you’re worried about eating peanut butter while pregnant, it’s always a good idea to speak to your professional healthcare provider.
Every pregnancy is different. But your doctor will be able to work with you to decide if eating peanut butter is right for you! For more information on prenatal nutrition and meal plans for pregnant women, join The Prenatal Nutrition Library. And don’t forget to download The Prenatal Nutrition Library app, too; you can search any topic instead of googling it and ask questions to a pregnancy registered dietitian!