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How Can I Eat Eggs When Pregnant?

Eggs In Pregnancy

Given their nutritional characteristics, Eggs represent a complete food that must not be given up at all, not even during the 9-month wait. But let’s see how it is advisable to eat eggs when pregnant.

Pregnancy: Eggs, Yes Or No?

Eggs are foods rich in:

  1. proteins;
  2. unsaturated fatty acids;
  3. vitamins;
  4. mineral salts.

By dividing the egg into its components, it is easy to highlight that the albumen consists of about 88% water and 11% protein, is cholesterol-free but with only a few traces of fat, and does not contain iron or vitamins; the yolk, on the other hand, has 53.5% water, 16% protein, 29% fat and cholesterol, as well as iron, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin A. For mothers who are not overweight, it is possible to eat a whole egg during pregnancy. On the contrary, it is possible to eat only the egg white, to benefit from the critical protein component, above all, by reducing calories.

Raw Eggs In Pregnancy: The Risks

During pregnancy, it is advisable to maintain a balanced, balanced, and above all, varied diet. However, it is equally important, in everyday life, as in waiting, to be careful of foods that could be contaminated; it is being understood that altered foods rarely have organoleptic characteristics that deviate from normality (color, texture, taste, or smell). These are whole foods to avoid during pregnancy :

  1. raw or undercooked eggs;
  2. raw milk and derivatives, including the powder formulation;
  3. undercooked meat and derivatives;
  4. fruits and vegetables that are contaminated during production, harvesting, or preparation. 

Eating raw eggs while pregnant carries risks due to the transmission of bacteria, which cause infections such as salmonellosis. Salmonella is the most commonly isolated bacterial agent in foodborne infections and is responsible for 50% of gastrointestinal infections. The most common reservoirs are animals and their derivatives, such as meat, eggs, and milk, consumed without prior pasteurization and contaminated water.

The infection is transmitted via the fecal-oral route by ingesting food or drink or by handling objects or small animals with Salmonella. The symptoms of salmonellosis are prevalent, namely fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain; in children, the elderly, or in general in the immunocompromised, there could be a worsening up to forms of meningitis and bacterial bone infections, but these are serious and very rare cases.

Hard-Boiled Eggs During Pregnancy: Can They Be Eaten?

Eggs in pregnancy have several cooking possibilities:

  1. Soft-boiled eggs are not recommended during pregnancy as there is a risk that the yolk, remaining liquid, will not be cooked thoroughly.
  2. Hard-boiled eggs during pregnancy, although they require more digestion time, remain very safe because, during cooking, they are subjected to greater exposure to high temperatures, which sanitize them from the presence of bacteria and pathogens that do not survive gradually elevated temperatures. This is why hard-boiled eggs can be eaten on condition that both the yolk and the white are solid and never liquid; in fact, the consistency indicates whether or not it has been cooked. Hard-boiled eggs must be cooked whole with their shells in cold water; the reason is simple: the thermal passage from cold to hot water avoids breaking the shell and deformation of the egg with consequent release of the albumen. The cooking time (it is possible in a standard cooking pan) must be at most 10 minutes because otherwise, the yolk tends to become darker until it takes on dark green tones. The reason why is that the temperature is brought to a boil and maintained for no more than 8-10 minutes maximum.
  3. Avoid fried eggs during pregnancy, like all fried foods, which are harmful to the development of the fetus. Also, the oil weighs down the eggs and makes them difficult to digest.

2 to 4 eggs a week are sufficient to maintain the right balance.

Pasteurized Eggs During Pregnancy

The pasteurization process eliminates the bacterial load usually present in fresh food by raising and subsequently lowering the temperature without altering the organoleptic characteristics; the eggs can be pasteurized whole or individually by dividing the albumen from the yolk. If, for example, the woman wishes to prepare a dessert, she can pasteurize the eggs by adding sugar and water and bring the dough to a temperature of 121°C; this temperature can eliminate Salmonella and make the consumption of the final product safer. 

Of course, expired (or rotten ) eggs should never be used or eaten, not even for a few days from the date indicated on the package. Otherwise, the symptoms of food poisoning could become evident: nausea, vomiting, runny diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. The symptoms vary according to the extent and quantity of the contamination. It is, therefore, always better to buy industrial eggs precisely because they are more likely to be pasteurized rather than excessively fresh ones.


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