Is Chinese Food Safe During Your Pregnancy?

Chinese Food During Pregnancy

Are you pregnant and craving Chinese food? You are not alone because many pregnant women do. Even so, you have probably heard that it is not safe to eat during pregnancy because it may be dangerous for you and/or your unborn baby.

After all the warnings, you may wonder…Are there are any safe options? What is it about Chinese food that is considered unhealthy for pregnant women?

I have good news for you! I am going to explore which Chinese foods are healthy to eat during your pregnancy, including some that may be especially healthy for you and your baby!

1. Potential Problems With Chinese Food While Pregnancy

​Many of the fast food Chinese restaurants add high levels of MSG to their foods. It is because of this additive that most pregnant women have been warned during their pregnancy not to consume Chinese food. So, what’s wrong with MSG?

The sodium in MSG is your biggest concern when you are pregnant. High levels of sodium can cause problems for anyone, especially you and your unborn baby. According to most experts, some of the effects of high sodium levels in the body are high blood pressure, swelling, and dehydration.

2. For more information about MSG and sodium

3. What The Experts Say

​Many experts are of the opinion that the presence of MSG is a big problem with Chinese food. Some experts disagree. The FDA recognizes MSG as “safe for consumption,” even though some people have reported having adverse reactions to it. Some of the reported reactions are headaches, nausea, chest pain, and more.

It is especially important to discuss MSG with your “expert” (healthcare provider). This will enable you to make the best decision about your diet during pregnancy.

One thing experts do agree on is that pregnant women should consume healthy and fresh ingredients, with just a few modifications.

In this video, a doctor of Obstetrics and Gynecology discusses some of the basics of diet and nutrition during pregnancy.

4. Making the Right Choice for You

​Many women who did not have problems with MSG before pregnancy choose to continue eating foods with MSG food during their pregnancy. However, if you have had adverse reactions to MSG in the past, it is probably best to avoid foods that are likely to contain MSG. This includes certain Chinese foods, canned foods, processed meats, etc.

It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about the foods that are best for you. The two of you can decide on the diet that’s right for you during pregnancy.

5. Pregnancy-friendly Chinese foods

​If Chinese food is bad for pregnant women, what exactly do Chinese women eat while they’re pregnant?

I am sure they eat much of the same foods they ate before pregnancy. They also probably take advantage of some of the pregnancy-friendly foods that can be found on traditional Chinese menus, including ginger, brown rice, and bean sprouts, to name a few.

Chinese Food While Pregnant
  • Choose only fresh meats and vegetables, which are often rich in vitamins and minerals for a healthy pregnancy.
  • You should also choose foods seasoned with fresh herbs instead of sauces. Sauces often contain significant amounts of sodium.
  • If you have decided to avoid MSG altogether, many Chinese restaurants will leave the MSG out of your foods, if you ask them.
  • One of the best ways to ensure that you are only eating fresh meats and vegetables is to make your favorite Chinese foods at home.
  • For ideas and recipes that include fresh meats and vegetables, check out “Easy Recipes: Family Favorites from Dim Sum to Kung Pao” by Bee Yinn Low.

6. The good news!

​While there may be some questions about the safety of certain Chinese foods, there are many that you can enjoy—including some that are especially beneficial to you and your unborn baby. With the approval of your healthcare provider, you can enjoy most Chinese foods during your pregnancy!

Let us know in the comments if you have any favorite Chinese recipes or questions about Chinese foods during pregnancy.