Pizza is a ‘go-to’ food for many of us, regardless of the occasion. It’s little surprise that people often wonder whether pregnant women can eat pizza because the baby’s health depends on the nutrition that the mother receives.
Is eating pizza during pregnancy good or bad?
“There’s no one answer to that question, “ says Dr. Anita Sabherwal Anand, Consultant Obstetrician-Gynecologist at Sitaram Bhartia Hospital in South Delhi.
“If you don’t have much of an appetite in the early months of pregnancy, pizza could be one of your options.”
“Then again, we wouldn’t want you to go overboard and eat pizza every day.”
“If you are overweight, you need to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy – which means limiting junk food like pizza, burgers and maggi.”
“The same holds true for mothers with gestational diabetes. You will need to discuss your diet plan and inform your diabetes educators of your plans to eat pizza so that they can help you alter your insulin doses.”
So can pregnant women eat pizza?
“Ideally it should not be consumed. “
The main reason pizza in pregnancy is not encouraged is because of the high number of ‘wasteful’ calories it contains.
The thickness of the crust, whether it’s made with maida/ refined flour or whole wheat, the quantity of cheese it contains and oil that goes into the baking process all add up.
“If you eat pizza in one meal, make sure that your next meal is low in calorie and contains fruits and vegetables, so that there is a balance in your diet.”
“Often women question whether it’s the cheese that should be avoided or whether any particular cheese should be used – but that should not be the only concern.”
Can pregnant women eat mozzarella?
You can eat mozzarella during pregnancy but keep in mind that all cheeses are high in calories.
“If you’re eating it on pizza, make sure that it is cooked well.”
As with most other foods during pregnancy, you should ensure they are hot and freshly cooked before consumption.
Tips to keep in mind for consuming pizza during pregnancy
Choose Homemade Pizza
It’s better to eat something that is made at home rather than ordered from outside because you know exactly which ingredients are used and in what quantity.
“You could order from a reputed restaurant as long as they follow strict standards of hygiene.”
Opt for a Whole Wheat Base
Whole wheat flour is made from whole grains that contain the skin and husk of wheat. This makes it healthier than maida as it contains fibre and vitamins, which are absent in refined flour.
Discuss your diet plan with your maternity team
Your dietician can guide you about the recommended calorie intake based on your pre-pregnancy weight and BMI. If you’re planning to ‘cheat’ and indulge in a long-standing craving, be sure to let your dietician know. Mothers with gestational diabetes should especially inform their diabetes educators so they can help you figure out how to curtail spikes in your blood sugar.
Take your pick of toppings
There are no restrictions regarding which toppings are appropriate. “Go by your palate. But just remember that whatever you choose, whether it is chicken, paneer or vegetables, each should be thoroughly washed, cleaned and cooked. “
If you or a loved one still have doubts about whether pregnant women can eat pizza, ask your dietician or gynecologist as they will be able to guide you best!
This article has been written with Dr. Anita Sabherwal Anand, Consultant, Obstetrician-Gynecologist at Sitaram Bhartia Hospital in South Delhi.
MBBS, Lady Hardinge Medical College, University of Delhi (1992); MD (Obstetrics & Gynaecology), Lady Hardinge Medical College, University of Delhi (1997); DNB Secondary (Obstetrics & Gynaecology), National Board of Medical Education, New Delhi (1999)
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