Any expecting mother would reasonably ask the question about the safety of eating seaweed during her pregnancy. So, is it safe? Typically yes, but that depends on the species of seaweed and what the analysis of the seaweed indicates that it contains.
Some can be much higher in minerals and other contents than you should have as a part of your diet while pregnant. While others are much lower, and safer. We’ll take a closer look in this article at what can be a confusing topic. Understandably so.
There appear to be some concerns around seaweed and pregnancy. In this article, I wanted to cover a couple of the questions that have come up, including: ‘Can I eat Seaweed when Pregnant?’ and ‘Is It Safe to Eat Seaweed While Pregnant?’
Fun Fact: Did you know that seaweed improves female fertility?
There are a number of health benefits to eating seaweed. However, when pregnant there are often all these restrictions that are put in place to keep the mother and baby safe, and healthy. I believe that every mother to be wants to make sure that she and her baby are healthy during the gestation period.
At the top of the list of Foods to Avoid are raw, uncooked and processed meats and seafood, especially shellfish, soft cheeses, raw or soft eggs, and unwashed vegetables. There have been concerns around eating fish with a high content of mercury, but you would need to eat quite a lot of it for it to affect you.
Can I Eat Seaweed While Pregnant?
If you’re anything like me, one of the first questions you’ll be asking is: ‘Can I eat seaweed while pregnant?’ According to our research, it seems that this has been a concern for many women. The good news is that seaweed has many health benefits for both the mother and her unborn baby.
General Practitioners will prescribe Folic Acid before, during and after pregnancy to help with the baby’s development. If you eat seaweed, you don’t need to take supplements as well. Actually, if you are eating seaweed, I would strongly suggest speaking with your Lifestyle Medicine Physician (IBLM) before taking additional Folic Acid supplements. Too much of anything isn’t good for you.
Now, just to be clear, there are some restrictions on the type of seaweed you can eat, and the amount. If you’re unsure, speak with your nutritionist or dietitian.
Is It Safe to Eat Seaweed While Pregnant?
Seaweed is considered a Superfood because it has an abundant variety of health benefits. If you’re wondering how you could add more seaweed to your diet, I’m here to help you. People from Asia have been eating seaweed as part of a healthy diet for centuries. They have many recipes which call for cooked, dried, or fresh seaweed.
Each species of seaweed are used in different dishes. For example, you may be familiar with sushi, which is made from a dark green seaweed called Nori. Miso Soup is made from the brown seaweed called Wakame.
As a side note; for those times when you have a craving for something chocolatey and sweet, there’s an amazing Vegan Chocolate Mousse which I make with seaweed (Irish Sea Moss) gel in it.
Many of our readers have reached out to us wanting to know, ‘Is It Safe to Eat Seaweed While Pregnant?’ Seaweed contains a rich variety of minerals and vitamins. Almost all species of seaweed are safe to eat while pregnant.
Avoid seaweeds which are high in mercury, as this will affect the baby’s nervous system and brain development. The quantity of seaweed that you eat is also very important. The main thing is that you listen to your body. Everything in moderation as they say.
If you are craving seaweed chips, then eat seaweed chips. They are much healthier than deep fried potato chips, and many other preservative loaded snacks you could find yourself eating.
A Great Source of Iodine
One of the best-kept secrets about the health benefits that come from eating seaweed while pregnant is that it is a great source of Iodine. Iodine is essential for the development of the baby, and is recommended that you get around 220 mcg a day during pregnancy, and around 270 mcg a day during breastfeeding. A pregnant woman needs to consume more Iodine to prevent retardation of her unborn child.
The average adult needs approximately 150 mcg per day of Iodine to stay healthy.
Brown seaweeds have been found to contain more Iodine than other seaweed varieties. Choosing a seaweed high in Iodine will be hugely beneficial for the healthy brain development of your unborn child. The top 5 most popular species of seaweed containing Iodines are:
- Kombu kelp
- Irish Sea Moss
Some of the other minerals and nutrients that are consumed when eating seaweed while pregnant are:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Vitamin C
- Folic Acid
- Fiber, and
Health Benefits of Eating Seaweed While Pregnant
- Helps with the baby’s brain development
- Good gut health
- Fiber reduces the risk of constipation
- Prevents digestion problems during pregnancy
- Improves thyroid function and production of hormones
- Development of sexual organs
- Good for mental health e.g. anxiety, and depression
- Reduces joint and muscle pain
- Helps when lactating by increasing the milk supply
It is recommended that you talk to a nutritionist about eating seaweed during pregnancy. It is even more important for women that have pre-existing thyroid conditions.
Seaweed has a lot of healthy nutrients in it which would be beneficial during pregnancy. However, you need to be careful not to overdo it. For example, too much Iodine may cause hypothyroidism in babies. Not enough Iodine may retard the child’s development, and stunt their growth.
Everybody is different and you may need more, or less, Iodine or Folic Acid than somebody else. Seek advice from your nutritionist. They will be able to give you the best recommendations for what to eat during pregnancy.
So, is it safe to eat seaweed while pregnant? The answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’ Why would you take chemically developed supplements when you can eat one of the most nutritious vegetables on the planet for a fraction of the cost. I vote for seaweed every week. May you have a happy and healthy pregnancy.