Mums-to-be need a surge of additional nutrients and kilojoules to stay healthy and support a growing baby.
A serve of two eggs provides 31-42% of the boost in kilojoules required during pregnancy and roughly 28% of what’s needed while breastfeeding.
While there’s a need for a moderate amount of extra energy, it’s essential for pregnant women to have a nutrient-rich diet that includes a variety of foods across the core food groups. Eggs are here to help and they’re not just nutritious, they taste good too!
Eggs and mums-to-be
Importantly, eggs are packed full of useful vitamins and minerals, providing many of the additional nutritional needs of pregnant women. This includes:
- Choline: Eggs are one of only a few food sources of choline. They provide more choline per kilojoule than most other foods. Choline is required for the normal development of brain tissue in infants and plays an important role in maternal nerve and brain functioning. Eggs are therefore highly recommended for pregnant women.
- Folate: Folate, or vitamin B9, is needed for the growth of new cells and genes, which is extremely important during the early stages of pregnancy. In pregnant women, folate requirements increase from 400 mcg to 600 mcg each day. Eggs are a good source of folate and can be helpful in reaching these additional requirements, providing the same amount as a glass of orange juice. However, folate supplements are often recommended and it’s important to speak with your doctor.
- Vitamin D: This is important for bone health and plays a role in the development of the immune system. Eggs are one of the few foods sources of vitamin D, which makes them a good option for pregnant women needing to increase intake.
- Iodine: Iodine is essential for the development of the brain and nervous system. It’s also required for normal thyroid function. Eggs are one of the few natural sources of iodine.
- Protein: Extra protein is needed during pregnancy to support growth of new cells in the mother and baby, especially in the second and third trimester. Eggs provide useful amounts of high-quality protein, which help support this growth. A serve of two eggs provides nearly 100 per cent of the additional protein requirements for pregnancy.
- Omega 3: Omega 3 is required for visual and brain function. Eggs provide an alternative source of Omega 3 outside of seafood and fish options.
While eggs are a great option during pregnancy, it’s important to follow food safety recommendations. Raw and undercooked eggs (including from homemade mayonnaise and aioli) should not be eaten while pregnant, due to the risk of illnesses such as listeria. As always, any concerns are best discussed with your doctor.
Extra nutrients required during pregnancy and the amount provided by one serve of eggs is shown in the following table:
|Nutrient||Additional requirements during pregnancy||
% additional RDI provided by one serve of eggs*
*one serve of eggs equals two large eggs