Of the questions we get asked, the most popular ones are about specific items that can be or should not be eaten during pregnancy. Today the popular question is ‘Can Pregnant women eat mushrooms?’ Many of us love our mushrooms and the thought of not having them for 9 months is a sad one (ahh, the things that we do for our children, even before they come out and say ‘hi!’. Well, you will be glad to know that this is one of those questions that falls in the ‘yes and no’ category. Let us explain.
Mushrooms and Pregnancy
So, can you eat mushrooms while pregnant? When determining the safety of eating mushrooms while pregnant the simple answer is ‘yes, you can eat them’, but it is more complicated than that. Exactly HOW are you eating them? Do you like them raw or cooked? What types of mushrooms are we talking about? Let’s start with a list of mushrooms that are definitely fine and follow with a list of ‘non-recommended types’.
List of mushrooms safe to eat during pregnancy
This is by no means an extensive list (but we will get into more about later). That said, some mushrooms are reliably good and safe for you to eat during pregnancy. Those mushrooms are as follows:
Shiitake (aka Lentinula edodes)
Porcini mushrooms (aka Boletus edulis)
Common White button mushrooms
Maitake (aka Hen-of-the-wood or Grifola Frondosa)
True morel mushrooms (aka Morchella)
Enoki (aka Enokitake)
King Oysters/ Eringi (aka Pleurotus eryngii)
Chestnut mushrooms (aka Agaricus bisporus)
All frozen commercial mushrooms
Mushrooms that are not recommended
Some varieties are edible but widely regarded as inadvisable to consume when you are pregnant. Some examples of such mushrooms are as follows:
Giant puffball mushrooms
Scarlet elf cups
Canned mushrooms (for the potential risk of botulism)
So, what about the mushrooms not listed here?
Generally the rule is going to be that if you were eating them before with no ill effects then they are going to be okay to consume when are pregnant. That said, if you aren’t sure, then definitely ask your physician. Mushrooms come in such a wide variety with a number of different flavors (and some with deadly ‘twins’ if we are talking about wild mushrooms that you are gathering!). It’s always best to be careful. Still, there are some safety precautions that you can follow to help minimize risks (but still ask your doctor if you aren’t sure, please!).
Safety precautions to take when ingesting mushrooms
It is good to have rules and with a life developing inside you then it is extra-important to be careful. Some rules that can following when eating mushrooms are as follows:
Medical mushrooms – Generally these are going to be fine and there are many who use specific mushrooms for birthing health. We won’t say don’t take them because a lot of natural medicine is quite simply ‘very effective’. We DO recommend monitoring by your physician for a space, however, just to be careful about it.
The ‘pinch test’ – If you’ve eaten before but not when pregnant and it’s a wild mushroom, try a pinch of it first and give it a little time to see how your body reacts. All it costs is time.
” Choose mushrooms that aren’t damaged, bruised up, or otherwise…”
Clean and cooked – Choose mushrooms that aren’t damaged, bruised up, or otherwise…well, marred. Also, no raw mushrooms! Be sure that they are well-cooked!
Avoid wild – Unless you’ve been picking them on your own for a very long time, we would recommend avoiding wild mushrooms for the duration of your pregnancy.
No ‘first timer’ eating– If you have never eaten mushrooms at all before, pregnancy is not a good time. Odds are that you will be fine but some people do have mushroom allergies and pregnancy is NOT the time to find that out.
Beneficial effects of mushrooms
Remembered when we touched on ‘medicinal mushrooms’? Well, even ‘non-medicinal’ mushrooms can have a number of desirable nutritional effects that you can take advantage of by adding them to your diet into your diet during ‘pregnancy time’. Here are the most common of them:
Antioxidants – These can boost your immune system and fight those nasty free radicals!
Iron – Mushrooms provide an extremely efficient way of getting your iron. Almost 90% of their iron content is quickly absorbed into your body.
Protein – Mushrooms provide a great source of protein, which is necessary for baby during fetal development. Protein also has the added bonus of giving you that ‘full feeling’ for longer than other types of foods and that can be a huge bonus when you are eating based on cravings (that can be difficult to satisfy, as you know!).
Fiber -Mushrooms are a solid source of fiber and can keep you regular while your body is ‘rebelling’ during your pregnancy.
Vitamin B – Good for baby’s nerve development, eyesight, muscles, bones, and more! Mushrooms have you covered here as well!
Vitamin D -Good for calcium absorption and avoiding fatigue for women who are not getting enough vitamin D, this is our last entry but certainly not the least.
The final word
So, can you eat mushrooms when you are pregnant? Yes you can and you SHOULD. The nutrition value that they provide is excellent and frankly, they come in a flavor range that you wouldn’t believe (no two varieties are exactly alike!). Just be sure that you stick to our list if you aren’t sure about which to eat, keep to the ‘recommended rules’, and, as always, ask your physician if you are not sure. As long as you stick to this then you should be in excellent shape to enjoy the many benefits that mushrooms can provide to you and your developing little one!