Can I Eat Thai Food While Pregnant? Check Your Cravings

Thai cuisines bursting in a spectrum of flavors have one distinct personality in them – they are mostly spicy! So when your pregnancy craving brings your attention to a hot Thai soup, there is no need to fret. It is perfectly okay to eat spicy foods while pregnant. The level of spiciness in food will not harm your developing baby. The problem is in your body’s reaction to it. Spicy food may cause gastrointestinal distress, heartburn, or indigestion in pregnant mothers. If that is the case, then you should avoid or limit your intake of spicy foods regardless if it is Thai cuisine or not.

What is in Thai Foods?

The spiciness is not the only thing that defines Thai cuisine. It is also healthy, fresh, and balanced. Fresh herbs, vegetables, and spices are even beneficial for providing pregnant moms with important nutrients.

Thai cuisine may also include some seafood or poultry in their dishes. Thus, it compensates for the protein that you need for your developing baby.

Rice is also a staple food in Thailand, as in most Asian countries. One of its famous cuisines is the Pad Thai, which is basically a rice noodle with fresh veggies and garnishes.

If you are looking for scrumptious food to satisfy your pregnancy cravings, Thai food is the perfect comfort food. Aside from variations in the menu, its healthy balance will give you and your baby the best benefit while satisfying your cravings.

Best Thai foods to eat while pregnant

Some moms are scared of indulging in extra spicy foods fearing it can cause miscarriage. But studies do not show any harmful effects of hot spices in babies.

There is a wide range of tasty options in Thai cuisine, and all of them are crave-worthy. You might want to choose a heap load of vegetables and soups like the famous Tom Yum. A serving of protein like chicken or tofu is also an excellent option. You may also have a serving of green curry or some spring rolls on the side.

The best thing about Thai food is that it is easy to whip up in minutes. So, you can prepare it even while at home. The secret is in using fresh ingredients, if possible, instead of the dried ones.

What to avoid eating when pregnant

A young pregnant woman is having a snack in the kitchen.

Whatever cuisines you have in mind, remember to limit or completely avoid foods that can harm your baby. For example, pad Thai is good, but you should leave off the bean sprouts if you can. If not cooked properly, it can harbor listeria that may cause miscarriage, pre-term labor, or stillbirth.

Listeria is also present in processed foods, soft cheeses, unpasteurized milk, or undercooked seafood.

Here are some foods that you should avoid while pregnant according to Mayo Clinic:

  • Fish with high levels of mercury (shark, marlin, some tuna, king mackerel, etc.)
  • Raw, rare, or contaminated seafood
  • Undercooked meat and poultry
  • Unpasteurized food
  • Herbal teas
  • Excess caffeine
  • Alcohol

The semi-ripe or unripe papaya that some Thai food contains is also unsafe in pregnancy. This is because it has a high concentration of latex that can cause uterine contractions and miscarriage. Thus, if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, it is best to avoid raw papaya for a while.

Effect of spicy foods on pregnancy

The hot spices that Thai food contains probably lead to your hesitation for these cuisines. But if your body can digest it all without giving you acid reflux or heartburn, there is no problem with it. The problem is in the heartburn and acid reflux flare-up itself.

If you are experiencing morning sickness, any amount of spicy food may also aggravate it. So, it is still your body that will decide whether it can take Thai foods or not.

For your morning sickness, saltine crackers and bland foods are the best. After this stage, you may now load your body with all the essential nutrients you can find in healthy foods.

FAQs

Do pregnant Thai women have a special diet?

People in Thailand often provide foods that maintain warmth during pregnancy. The diet includes, but is not limited to, salty foods, fish, tamarind, warm liquids, coconut milk, young coconut meat, and ginger tea.

Is curry safe during pregnancy?

Spices and hot dishes cannot harm your baby. However, pregnant women are prone to indigestion and heartburn. Eating hot dishes like curry may exacerbate the symptoms of indigestion and heartburn.

Can I eat mayonnaise while I am pregnant?

Mayonnaise is okay to consume during pregnancy. However, you may need to check if the label indicates that its egg products are pasteurized. You may ditch homemade mayo for a while and choose safer options, like Hellman’s mayonnaise, for example.

Juice is good for hydration, so is it okay if I juice or squeeze my own drink?

If you trust the source of the fruit or product, fresh fruit juice is beneficial for your growing baby. However, if you are uncertain, you should avoid fresh fruit juice for a while. They are a haven of bacteria that can cause food poisoning and listeriosis.

Can I eat chips like Cheetos when pregnant?

Cheetos is categorized as junk food, and we all know that junk foods are unhealthy snacks. Junk foods do contain harmful ingredients that may be unsafe to your unborn child as well. But if you are craving some Cheetos, you may still eat it in limited amounts. Make sure to limit your intake and focus more on having healthy eating habits.

What other food is safe to consume during pregnancy?

Almost all foods are safe to eat during pregnancy as long as you do not have food allergies and sensitivities. Just avoid raw fish and those that contain high mercury. Unpasteurized dairy and poultry products are also not advisable. You may also want to raincheck on processed meat and deli meats such as pastrami for a while until after your pregnancy.

Eating foods with MSG is also safe as long as you eat them in the right portions. So that equates to saying that you can enjoy occasional Chinese food take-outs as well. But just like everything else, eat in moderation because too much of something may harm you and your baby.

Takeaway

Thai food is safe for pregnant women – with a few exceptions like bean sprouts and raw papaya. When it comes to spiciness, moms need not worry about it. Spicy foods cannot cause miscarriage or any developmental problem to the baby.

What you should watch out for is the effect it may have on your body, like heartburn. Otherwise, you are free to enjoy the goodness of food that your pregnancy taste buds desire.

Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She experienced handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also trained in labor rooms and pediatric wards while in nursing school - helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.

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