Which noodles are safe during pregnancy?

Embracing pregnancy often comes with the assumption that indulging in food is a welcomed privilege. There’s this notion of “eating for two,” as if it’s a carte blanche to consume without restraint. However, the reality is more nuanced. While it’s true that pregnant women require additional nourishment, the notion of “eating for two” is a bit misleading. During the second trimester, an extra 350 Kcal per day suffices, while in the third trimester, this bumps up to 450 extra Kcal daily. It’s not just about quantity; quality matters too. Not all foods are beneficial for the growing baby. Unfortunately, many delicious everyday options can pose risks to fetal health and should be avoided. The list of forbidden foods extends beyond the obvious culprits like alcohol and caffeine. Surprisingly, even seemingly harmless staples like noodles, particularly instant noodles, warrant caution during pregnancy. But why are noodles problematic during this crucial time? Exploring the reasons behind this restriction sheds light on healthier alternatives that pregnant women can savor without worry.

Which noodles are safe during pregnancy?
Which noodles are safe during pregnancy?

Types of Noodles

Noodles come in a plethora of varieties, with instant noodles standing out as one of the most popular choices. Alongside instant noodles, other common types include ramen, soba, mung bean, rice stick, Hakka, and egg noodles.

Instant noodles are particularly renowned for their convenience. Packaged with a flavorful seasoning mix, they offer a quick and easy meal solution. However, while the noodles themselves may seem harmless, it’s the ingredients in the seasoning packet that warrant scrutiny, especially during pregnancy.

Are Instant Noodles Safe During Pregnancy?

The question of whether instant noodles are a safe choice during pregnancy often arises. On the surface, they appear appealing with their quick preparation, rich flavors, and convenience. However, indulging in instant noodles during pregnancy isn’t recommended.

Primarily, instant noodles lack significant nutritional value, merely providing a temporary sensation of fullness. Additionally, they are typically bland and may not contribute positively to a balanced diet. Moreover, the presence of MSG (monosodium glutamate) in instant noodles raises concerns, as excessive consumption could potentially harm the developing baby. Therefore, it’s advisable to steer clear of noodles, especially instant ones, during pregnancy.

H2: Nutritional Profile of Instant Noodles

Craving instant noodles during pregnancy? But read below the nutrient contents of the same.

Nutrients  Amount
Calories 385 kcal
Carbohydrate 55.7 g
Total fat 14.5 g
Saturated fat 6.5 g
Protein 7.9 g
Fibre 2 g
Sodium 986 mg
Thiamine 986 mg
Niacin 4.6 mg
Riboflavin 0.4 mg

Ingredients in Noodles That Can Be Harmful During Pregnancy

Certain ingredients commonly found in instant noodles can potentially jeopardize the health of your developing baby. It’s crucial to steer clear of these components in your diet during pregnancy. Here’s a breakdown:

Maida (Refined Flour)

Maida, or refined flour, undergoes a process that strips it of essential nutrients, rendering it nutritionally void. Furthermore, its low fiber content makes it difficult to digest and can contribute to constipation, a common issue during pregnancy.


Instant noodles often contain high levels of salt, which can be detrimental if consumed frequently during pregnancy. Excessive sodium intake may increase the risk of hypertension in the long term, posing health risks for both the mother and the baby.


Artificial colorings and flavor enhancers are frequently used in instant noodles to extend their shelf life. However, these additives may interfere with the baby’s growth and development, making it imperative to avoid them during pregnancy.

MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)

MSG, a flavor enhancer commonly found in savory snacks and instant noodles, can significantly enhance taste. While pregnant women can tolerate small amounts of MSG, excessive consumption may pose risks to the unborn child. Therefore, it’s advisable to avoid noodles and other MSG-containing foods during pregnancy.

Trans Fats

Processed foods, including instant noodles, often contain high levels of trans fats, which can elevate cholesterol levels. During pregnancy, excessive consumption of trans fats should be avoided to minimize potential health complications. Opting for whole, nutritious foods is advisable to support the well-being of both the mother and the baby.

What is TBHQ? What is Its Role in Instant Noodles?

Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) is a chemical preservative commonly used in instant noodles, among other food products such as snack crackers and frozen foods. Derived from petroleum, TBHQ finds its way into various consumer goods including paints, cosmetics, and even pesticides. Despite its widespread use, TBHQ poses potential health risks, particularly concerning for children in the long term.

Side Effects of TBHQ

Consuming foods containing TBHQ in significant quantities during pregnancy can lead to adverse effects such as nausea, delirium, breathlessness, and tinnitus. Although the body eliminates TBHQ relatively quickly, regular consumption of instant noodles can result in its accumulation in the body over time. Furthermore, TBHQ has been associated with metabolic syndrome, contributing to issues like hypertension, obesity, and elevated cholesterol levels. Heart problems and diabetes are also potential risks associated with TBHQ consumption.

How to Make Noodles Healthier?

While the occasional indulgence in instant noodles may be permissible during pregnancy, it’s essential to make conscious efforts to enhance their nutritional value. Incorporating ample amounts of boiled vegetables into your noodle dish can significantly improve its health profile. Additionally, if adding extra salt, ensure it’s only a fraction of the amount recommended on the packet.

Healthy Substitutes for Noodles During Pregnancy

Opting for healthier snack alternatives can satisfy cravings while providing essential nutrients. Consider alternatives like oatmeal, sprouts bhel, smoothies, or vegetable-packed sandwiches. Sweet potato chips can also serve as a satisfying and nutritious snack option.

What Do Nutritionists Have to Say?

Nutritionists and healthcare professionals advise against making noodles a staple in the pregnancy diet due to their lack of nutritional benefits. However, occasional indulgence is acceptable, provided it’s supplemented with a balanced intake of nutrient-rich foods.

Things to Remember

While processed foods, including instant noodles, should be limited during pregnancy, occasional consumption is acceptable. Prioritize incorporating vegetables to enhance nutritional value when indulging in such foods. Remember, maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for both maternal and fetal well-being during pregnancy. Avoiding unhealthy cravings and opting for nutritious alternatives will contribute to a happier and healthier pregnancy journey, safeguarding against potential complications in the long run.


Can I eat noodles while pregnant?

While occasional consumption of noodles during pregnancy is generally considered safe, it’s essential to be mindful of the type and ingredients. Instant noodles, in particular, should be consumed sparingly due to their high sodium and preservative content. Opting for healthier alternatives such as whole grain or vegetable-based noodles is recommended to support maternal and fetal health.

What kind of pasta is good for pregnancy?

Whole grain pasta, enriched with essential nutrients like fiber, iron, and B vitamins, is an excellent choice for pregnant women. These nutrients are vital for maternal health and fetal development. Additionally, pasta made from legumes like lentils or chickpeas provides protein and additional fiber, contributing to a well-rounded pregnancy diet.

Can I eat shrimp noodles while pregnant?

Consuming shrimp noodles during pregnancy is generally safe if the shrimp is cooked thoroughly and sourced from reputable suppliers to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses. However, pregnant women should be cautious about the sodium and preservative content in instant shrimp noodles. It’s advisable to opt for homemade or restaurant-prepared shrimp dishes to ensure food safety and nutritional quality.

Can I eat kimchi while pregnant?

Kimchi, a traditional Korean fermented vegetable dish, can be consumed in moderation during pregnancy. However, pregnant women should exercise caution due to its high salt content, which may contribute to fluid retention and elevated blood pressure. Additionally, some individuals may experience digestive discomfort or heartburn from consuming spicy foods like kimchi. It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before including kimchi in your pregnancy diet.



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