Eating Pasta During Pregnancy - Is It Safe? (2023)

In this Article

  • Can You Eat Pasta When Pregnant?
  • Which Type of Pasta Is Considered Good?
  • Are There Any Health Benefits of Having Pasta for Pregnant Women?
  • Risks of Eating Pasta While Pregnant
  • How to Handle Pasta Cravings While Pregnant
  • Healthy Pasta Recipes for Pregnant Women

Pasta is one of the most popular Italian dishes. A plate of pasta either in white sauce or red sauce is a hot favourite among people all over the world. But is it safe to eat pasta during pregnancy? Find out.

Can You Eat Pasta When Pregnant?

When made using the right ingredients, pasta can be rich in vitamin A, vitamin B, fibre-rich complex carbohydrates, and folic acid. However, it is important to remember that pasta also contains lectins and phytates, which cause a nutritional deficiency of zinc and magnesium in the baby. Moreover, most pasta dishes are usually made of refined flour which is not considered to be very healthy. Pasta made with whole-grain wheat can be eaten during pregnancy, but only in moderation.

Which Type of Pasta Is Considered Good?

Pasta is tasty, cheap, and easy to cook. However, it is not considered to be very nutritious. Does this mean we should stop eating pasta? No. Today, there are a ton of healthier alternatives available that can up the nutritional value of this dish. A few of them are listed below.

1. Whole Wheat Pasta

Whole wheat pasta is a healthy alternative to the pasta made from refined flour as it containsa lot of fibre and protein. This reduces the risk of obesity, heart disease, type II diabetes, and a few types of cancer. However, people who are sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease should still avoid it.

2. Quinoa Pasta

Quinoa pasta is made from flour that is produced by grinding quinoa seeds. Quinoa pasta is protein-rich, contains a good amount of iron and magnesium, and is gluten-free, which makes it the best and healthiest among all types of pasta. It is also said to reduce blood sugar, insulin, and triglyceride levels.

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3. Spelt Pasta

Spelt is a grain that is closely related to (but is not) wheat. Spelt pasta is high in fibre and rich in protein. It contains a moderate amount of gluten. Therefore, people with gluten sensitivity should avoid it. However, people with mild gluten intolerance can eat it.

4. Brown Rice Pasta

Brown rice pasta is ideal for people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). It is gluten-free and free of FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) – i.e molecules that cannot be absorbed by people suffering from IBS.

Eating Pasta During Pregnancy - Is It Safe? (1)

Are There Any Health Benefits of Having Pasta for Pregnant Women?

Pasta is filling and nutritious if made the right way and with the right contents. Listed below are 8 benefits of the much-loved dish.

1. Rich in Fibre

Multigrain pasta made with a whole lot of vegetables and leafy greens like spinach and kale can be a good source of fibre and minerals.

2. Free of Gluten

If you have been advised to go gluten-free, you can eat brown rice pasta and quinoa pasta. As discussed above, these kinds of pasta are gluten-free and thus safe for people with IBS or other gastro problems.

3. Keeps Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar in Check

Whole wheat pasta, quinoa pasta, and sprouted-grain pasta are said to keep blood sugar levels and blood pressure levels in check. Quinoa pasta, in particular, reduces the chances of obesity, thus cutting down the risk of heart disease and gestational diabetes in pregnant women.

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4. Rich in Folic Acid and Iron

Whole wheat pasta is rich in folic acid and iron, which are some of the most essential nutrients for the baby’s overall development in the mother’s womb.

5. Improves Bowel Movement

Pasta made from whole wheat grain flour and quinoa flour contain ample fibre. Adding green leafy vegetables to the dish aids in improved bowel movements, thereby preventing common pregnancy problems like constipation and haemorrhoids.

6. Increases Energy Level

The carbohydrate content in pasta helps elevate the energy levels in pregnant women and keeps them active.

7. Prevents Infections

The vitamin A content in pasta prevents several types of infections during pregnancy.

Eating Pasta During Pregnancy - Is It Safe? (2)

Risks of Eating Pasta While Pregnant

Here are some risks attached to eating pasta during pregnancy.

1. Contains Phytates and Lectins

Pasta contains phytates and lectins. Phytates block the body from absorbing magnesium and zinc, two of the much-needed nutrients required during pregnancy. Lectins encourage the passage of toxins from unhealthy food into the blood.

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2. Presence of Gluten

Gluten is present in most types of pasta. Therefore, people who are gluten sensitive or suffer from IBS or Celiac disease should avoid eating pasta. Eating too much gluten can also cause problems in women who only show signs of allergies as it can aggravate the symptoms and cause problems.

3. Weight Gain

Gaining too much weight during pregnancycould lead tocomplications during labour. Therefore, pregnant women should refrain from eating foods that can cause weight gain, one of which is pasta.

4. Presence of Iron

Iron intake prevents anaemia, but on the flip side, too much iron can cause constipation which can cause haemorrhoids.

5. Increase in Blood Sugar

Pasta made from refined wheat flour can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels if one suffers from diabetes. Therefore, eating pasta made from whole wheat grain flour or quinoa flour is advisable.

How to Handle Pasta Cravings While Pregnant

Cravings are a part and parcel of pregnancy. However, pasta is a dish that has high carbohydrate and (often) gluten content and should be avoided in most situations. If you absolutely cannot control your cravings, here are a few ways to handle them:

  • Try putting more veggies and less pasta while cooking. This way, you will be able to satiate your cravings and also eat healthily.
  • Take small helpings. Do not eat a lot in one go.
  • Instead of going for the white sauce pasta, go for a healthier red sauce pasta or a simple olive oil pasta.
  • Use whole-wheat pasta or quinoa pasta in your dish instead of refined white flour pasta.

Healthy Pasta Recipes for Pregnant Women

Here are two pasta recipes to help you eat healthily and manage your cravings.

1. Spicy Shrimp Tomato Pasta

This is a simple and tasty pasta recipe for non-vegetarian food lovers. It is easy to cook and the ingredients are easily available.

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What You Will Need

  • Whole-wheat/quinoa/brown rice pasta – 200 g
  • Olive oil – 2 tbsp
  • Garlic – 4-5 cloves
  • Shrimp/prawns (deveined and cleaned) – 100 g
  • Fresh tomatoes (diced) – 3-4
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Cracked pepper
  • Fresh coriander leaves (chopped roughly)
  • Butter – 2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste

Eating Pasta During Pregnancy - Is It Safe? (3)

Instructions to Follow

  • Cook the pasta in a large bowl of boiling water according to the package instructions.
  • Drain the pasta in a colander and set aside.
  • Heat a pan and add in the olive oil and butter. Crush the garlic and fry it in the pan. Once the garlic is fried, add in the shrimp.
  • Sauté the shrimp for a few minutes and take them out of the pan. Keep aside.
  • Pour in the diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and add in the cracked pepper.
  • When the tomatoes get cooked and form a sauce-like consistency, add in the cooked pasta and fried shrimp.
  • Cook the pasta in the sauce well and add in salt. Stir well.
  • Turn off the heat and add coriander leaves. Serve hot.

2. Veggie Pasta

This simple and light pasta dish is exactly what you need during your pregnancy.

What Will You Need

  • Quinoa pasta/whole-wheat pasta/brown rice pasta – 4 cups
  • Broccoli florets – 4-5
  • Carrots (diced) – 1/4 cup
  • Red bell pepper (thinly sliced) – 1/4 cup
  • Onion (thinly sliced) – 1/4 cup
  • Garlic (finely diced) – 3-4 cloves
  • Zucchini (thinly sliced) – 1/4 cup
  • Cherry tomatoes – ½ cup
  • Green peas – ½ cup
  • Parmesan cheese (grated) – ½ cup
  • Olive oil – 4 -5 tbsp
  • Salt to taste

Eating Pasta During Pregnancy - Is It Safe? (4)

Instructions to Follow

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  • In a large vessel, bring the water to boil and cook the pasta. After the pasta turns tender, put it in cold water.
  • Then, in a large pan, put the oil. Once the oil is heated, put the crushed garlic. Fry it till the raw smell goes away.
  • Add the onions and fry till they turn brown. Then add the broccoli (semi-cooked), carrot, red bell peppers, peas, and zucchini. Sauté for a few minutes till the veggies turn soft. Add in the cherry tomatoes.
  • Add the pasta and salt.
  • Mix all the ingredients together. Add the grated cheese in the end, and serve hot.

Just like other food, pasta should be consumed with caution during pregnancy. Too much of it could result in obesity, high blood pressure, or rise in blood sugar levels which may further cause problems during labour or pose a risk on the baby in your womb. Remember that taking care of your eating habits during pregnancy goes a long way in giving birth to a healthy baby.

Resources and References: The Bump

Also Read:Eating Pizza during Pregnancy


What kind of pasta is good for pregnancy? ›

Whole wheat pasta, quinoa pasta, spelt pasta, semolina pasta and even red bean pasta are now available online and at most health stores. These alternatives are high in fibre, protein and prevent obesity during pregnancy trimesters. Eating simple flour pastas raises blood sugar levels and increases weight gain.

How often can you eat pasta when pregnant? ›

A balanced diet during pregnancy will include an increase in some vitamins, nutrients and minerals. As a guide, try for the following each day: 4 to 6 serves of breads/cereals, rice, noodles, pasta (one serve equals two slices of bread, one cup of cooked rice/pasta/noodles, half a cup of muesli)

Can a pregnant woman eat spaghetti? ›

Starchy foods should make up roughly one-third of a woman's diet during pregnancy. Starchy foods – such as bread, sweet or regular potatoes, pasta, rice, cereals, noodles, oats and legumes like lentils or beans – help to fill a person up without containing too many calories.

Can you eat Italian pasta when pregnant? ›

While fresh pasta is made with egg, when you eat it it's been cooked through, so it's on the safe list. You can eat fresh egg pasta when pregnant.

Can I eat Chinese food while pregnant? ›

The bottom line. During pregnancy, eating right-sized portions of foods with MSG isn't likely to land you with a slew of unpleasant symptoms — and it won't harm your growing baby, either. You can feel free to enjoy umami-flavored veggies, nuts, broths (and, yes, even the occasional Chinese takeout) without concern.

Why am I craving pasta while pregnant? ›

Bagels and Pasta

This is because your brain might be needing glucose, which eating carbs will give you. Consuming pasta, toast, crackers, or bagels could help you to satisfy this craving and ease some of that nausea and fatigue.

What not to eat during pregnancy? ›

Foods to avoid when pregnant
  • Some types of cheese. Don't eat mould-ripened soft cheese, such as brie, camembert and chevre (a type of goat's cheese) and others with a similar rind. ...
  • Pâté ...
  • Raw or partially cooked eggs. ...
  • Raw or undercooked meat. ...
  • Liver products. ...
  • Supplements containing vitamin A. ...
  • Some types of fish. ...
  • Raw shellfish.

When should you not eat pasta? ›

One of the most telling signs of expired pasta is that it has become slimy or gooey, which usually occurs right before visible mold begins to grow. You may also notice that it has a dullness or discoloration, such as a grayish or whitish hue.

Can I eat pizza while pregnant? ›

Pizzas are safe to eat in pregnancy, as long they are cooked thoroughly and are piping hot. Mozzarella is perfectly safe but be cautious about pizzas topped with soft, mould-ripened cheeses such as brie and camembert, and soft blue-veined cheeses, such as Danish blue.

Can I eat macaroni and cheese while pregnant? ›

Both homemade and restaurant macaroni and cheese are safe to enjoy while pregnant. Even mac 'n' cheese dishes made with soft cheese, such as brie, can be safe.

Can I eat alfredo while pregnant? ›

Alfredo sauce is safe to consume during pregnancy because it is cream-based and not raw egg-based. While it sometimes contains egg yolks, the sauce is cooked on medium heat. To make it safer, you can use pasteurized eggs. The rest of the ingredients are generally safe.

What is the best lunch when pregnant? ›

Tips for healthy lunches for pregnancy

Think a small smoothie for calcium, a salad for fiber and vitamins, and a sandwich on whole grain bread for protein and carbs. Throw in some good fat from olive oil, nuts or avocado and you've got yourself a perfect meal.

Can I eat Pizza Hut pasta while pregnant? ›

Pizza hut has many pasta options and they offer half-size portions in many locations. Ordering a half-size portion of pasta with veggies and a side-tossed salad is another excellent option if you are pregnant. It is healthier and more filling than a slice of pizza alone.

Can I eat shrimp while pregnant? ›

Yes, shrimp is safe to eat during pregnancy. But don't overdo it. Stick to two to three servings of seafood (including options like shrimp) a week and avoid eating it raw. Follow these recommendations and you'll satisfy your taste buds — and cravings — without getting yourself or your baby ill.

Can I eat fried food while pregnant? ›

Fried foods, fatty meats, and certain cheeses should also be avoided if possible. Instead, opt for healthy choices to ensure you and baby are getting all of the nutrients you both need.

Can eat fried rice while pregnant? ›

It is not harmful. But it is advisable to avoid, to prevent infections. As fried rice can transmit infections like Bacillus cereus.

Can you have Alfredo pasta when pregnant? ›

Alfredo sauce is safe to consume during pregnancy because it is cream-based and not raw egg-based. While it sometimes contains egg yolks, the sauce is cooked on medium heat. To make it safer, you can use pasteurized eggs.

Is brown rice pasta good for pregnancy? ›

Brown rice is a rich source of magnesium and neurotransmitter nutrients. Hence, eating brown rice during pregnancy aids in the brain development and future cognitive functions of the baby. Its rich vitamin B content also accelerates metabolism in the brain. Too much weight gain is not desirable in pregnant women.

Is whole grain pasta good during pregnancy? ›

Whole grains are an important source of iron, folic acid and fiber. Aim for 6 to 8 ounces of whole grains per day. Some choices include whole grain bread, whole grain cereal, brown rice and whole grain pasta.

Can you eat pasta and cheese when pregnant? ›

Both homemade and restaurant macaroni and cheese are safe to enjoy while pregnant. Even mac 'n' cheese dishes made with soft cheese, such as brie, can be safe.


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