Are Fermented Foods Safe during Pregnancy?


Which Fermented Foods are NOT Safe during Pregnancy?

If you are an expectant mother, then ‘Fermented Foods’ must be a buddy-buddy term for you. Some folks say these foods are yummy and keep trying them to jazz up your mood while some folks have a big NO NO story about fermented foods.
What are fermented foods? Fermented foods are the preserved foods with strong flavours like pickles, yoghurt, Idali/Dosa/Dhokla/Medu-wada and kimchi, kefir, natto. During pregnancy, the taste buds suddenly crave strong tastes and fermented foods are the ultimate pick during this phase. Pregnancy is a very precious gift and some to-be moms stay very careful regarding their chore and diet.
The fermented foods contain probiotics that are good for a to-be mom’s immune and digestive system but the preservatives added to it and the tastemakers to make the flavour intense are considered suspicious sometimes. So, are fermented foods good or bad? Well, we will decode the science in a moment.

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Are Fermented Foods Safe during Pregnancy?

In Short: Naturally fermented foods without chemicals are healthy for Pregnant Women (With a few exceptions mentioned later in the post)
When you are pregnant, there is a long list of Dos and Don’ts to be followed; be it sleeping, exercise or diet. A pregnant woman needs lots of nutrients but a healthy and balanced diet is necessary. A to-be mom may crave a selection of flavours but everything is not good for her health. Every human being encounters good and bad bacteria every day. Good bacteria help in boosting the digestive system while the latter cause illness. Fermented foods are a rich source of good bacteria called probiotics. The bacteria are responsible for improved digestion. The fermented foods also boost the vitamin levels in the body of an expectant mom.
The lack of good bacteria basically proliferate the bad bacteria and an expectant mom remains prone to various illnesses. But, not all glitters are gold. There are different types of fermented foods available in the market but one can benefit from those fermented foods only that have live microorganisms. Pasteurization or overcooking eradicates the live microorganisms and hence nothing is left in the product except some aroma and flavours. So, the fermented foods are not dangerous for pregnant women but the choice of such foods must be wise.

Unhealthy and Risky Fermented Foods During pregnancy

Now you have got a fair idea of what are fermented foods and the risks and benefits associated with these foods, it’s time to discover the health unfriendly fermented foods for pregnant women. Here are some risky fermented foods that every expectant mother needs to avoid.

Unpasteurized Kombucha

Probiotics not just improve a to-be mom’s digestion but save her from various pregnancy complications. However, falling for some unpasteurized fermented foods like Kombucha can affect the mom and the baby.

Yogurt made from Unpasteurized/Raw Milk

Raw milk is a much-discussed food during pregnancy. Some people say that unpasteurized milk is rich in nutrients that go away when it is pasteurized. But, along with the essential nutrients, there are germs and bacteria too in raw milk that can harm the baby’s development.


Though Sauerkraut is a yummy food and it provides many essential nutrients to the baby; but at same time it contains sodium and therefore it’s better to avoid it during pregnancy.

Fermented Refined Flour

Refined flour lacks many essential nutrients and encourages bad bacteria to accumulate in the body.

International Healthy Fermented Foods

• Kefir
• Miso Glaze/ Soup
• Kombucha Tea
• Sauerkraut
• Natto
• Tempeh
• Pickles

Indian Healthy Fermented Foods

• Yoghurt
• Fermented Vegetables (but not to be stored)
• Fermented Milk
• Idali
• Dosa
• Sambhar Vada
• Appam
• Gundruk or Sinki

Benefits of Fermented Foods during Pregnancy

1) The probiotics or good bacteria enter the body of a pregnant woman through the fermented foods. These foods improve digestion and provide sufficient nourishment to the inner ecology of an expectant mom.
2) These foods save the mom and the bay from heavy metal exposure as well.
3) Probiotics also prevent the risk of eczema in the babies.
4) The expectant moms are also safe from the lethal diseases like listeria by consuming fermented foods.
5) Also, regular consumption of fermented foods eliminates the risk of obesity and hence the chances of type 2 diabetes in the babies.

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About Author


An IT professional, a mom of two, Sapana had belly-only pregnancies in her life & has lost 15Kg weight twice. Along with fitness, Sapana is an expert in Indian names & has helped scores of Indian parents to shortlist suitable baby names by virtue of her years of expertise in Sanskrit origin names & logical approach towards cultures & trends during the name research. Drop a comment to get help from her.

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