Eggs in pregnancy: yes or no?

During pregnancy it is good to eat eggs, provided they are fully cooked or pasteurized: eggs contain 13 different vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fats, antioxidants and are a rich source of quality proteins, essential for the healthy development of the fetus.

Pregnancy increases a woman’s nutritional needs, especially for nutrients such as protein and omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, vitamin D, folic acid, iron and zinc .

Thanks to their nutritional profile, eggs are an excellent food choice throughout pregnancy, as long as they are eaten in moderation and in compliance with safety requirements.

Below we will see how to eat eggs when you are pregnant and what to do to avoid any food risk. In doing so we remind you that the information on this site is made for educational and informational purposes only. It is recommended to always consult your doctor when you have questions or concerns regarding your health and that of the fetus.

Pregnant women can eat eggs as long as they are fully cooked or pasteurized. Women are advised to only eat eggs if they have been thoroughly cooked to at least 71°C. In the case of hard-boiled, poached, or fried eggs, that means until the egg white has set and the yolk is curdled . That also means avoiding raw eggs in foods like aioli, homemade mayonnaise , cake batter, or mousse. Commercially purchased mayonnaise and aioli are generally safe as they are heat treated to destroy any potentially harmful bacteria. Obviously it is necessary to check the expiration dates of the products before buying and consuming.

The benefits of eating eggs when pregnant

Because they are high in quality protein and essential nutrients, eggs provide an excellent food to include in a balanced diet that contributes to a woman’s daily nutritional needs during pregnancy.

They contain high amounts of choline , a nutrient that plays an important role in the development of the brain and spinal cord of the fetus.

In addition to taking folic acid supplements, consuming choline during pregnancy may reduce the risk of neural tube defects. Unlike folic acid, choline is rarely found in pregnancy multivitamins, so it’s important to regularly consume choline-containing foods, such as eggs.

Eggs are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids known as DHA . Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA ) works closely with choline to enhance brain development and support cognitive development. Aside from raw fish and other seafood, eggs are one of the few foods that contain a significant amount of this nutrient, making them a great addition to your prenatal diet.

Egg consumption also provides pregnant women with a good source of vitamin D. Eggs may serve as a viable alternative to vitamin D for women who are lactose intolerant and cannot consume dairy products. During pregnancy, vitamin D is essential for:

  • promote fetal development.
  • maintain strong and healthy bones.
  • stimulate immune function.

Most of the vitamin D in eggs is concentrated in their yolks, making it necessary to eat the whole egg rather than just the white.

Along with vitamin D, eggs contain the other fat-soluble vitamins: A, E and K. Vitamin A is especially important for pregnant women: it supports the normal growth and development of the heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes and other organs of the fetus. Getting the right amount of vitamin A also helps a woman keep her metabolism going, which is especially crucial during pregnancy. Eggs contain excellent amounts of vitamin A and its precursors (β carotene).

Eggs are an excellent food to satisfy the significant protein requirement of pregnant women , a requirement which increases especially in the third trimester of pregnancy: eggs provide all nine essential amino acids in a highly bioavailable form.

The high amount of protein found in eggs can also help relieve common pregnancy symptoms, such as frequent cravings, low energy, and rapid weight gain. According to a recent study , pregnant women who eat eggs for breakfast eat less throughout the day and experience fewer cravings and feel fuller and more satiated throughout the day, without experiencing dips in energy.

Eggs are also rich in good cholesterol (HDL). Far from being inherently bad, cholesterol plays a vital role in helping the body build cells and promote normal neural function. About 23 percent of the cholesterol in our bodies is found in the brain, making it crucial for pregnant women to consume enough cholesterol to help their fetuses develop healthy brains.

In addition to the vitamins and nutrients mentioned above, eggs are packed with many other nutrients. In particular, eggs contain two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin , which are essential for the healthy development of eyes and vision. Both of these antioxidants accumulate in the retina of the eye. Lutein has even been detected in fetal eye tissue in utero and appears to be particularly important for the proper development of vision.

Finally, eggs also contain other important nutrients for pregnancy, such as iodine, folic acid and iron.

Benefits of eggs for the developing fetus

As we also mentioned earlier, eggs contain nutrients that help the growth and development of the fetus: they are rich in nutrients such as vitamin B12 and choline, both of which contribute to healthy brain development of the future baby; they are an excellent source of protein, another essential nutrient for the growth and development of the skin, bones and muscles of the fetus

How many eggs in pregnancy?

During pregnancy, eggs are a great way to help meet your daily nutritional needs.

Pregnant women can enjoy eggs every day as part of a healthy, balanced diet that also includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and a variety of protein-rich foods such as eggs, lean meat, chicken, fish, legumes, nuts, and seeds as well as healthy fats like avocados and olives.

However, women who have gestational diabetes or have high LDL cholesterol levels should limit their egg intake to 7 per week.

How to prepare eggs during pregnancy

To benefit from the nutrients present in eggs in complete safety it is necessary:

  • make sure all egg dishes are thoroughly cooked;
  • check the expiration dates on packaged eggs;
  • avoid eggs with broken or dirty shells;
  • store eggs in the refrigerator, inside the original carton and never store together with other foods;
  • eat hard-boiled eggs within three days of boiling;
  • eat egg dishes within 24 hours of cooking them.

Raw eggs in pregnancy: foods to avoid

We have already said above that we must avoid eating raw or undercooked eggs. Unfortunately some recipes are made with intentionally undercooked eggs. These foods should be avoided during pregnancy. For example, things to avoid include:

  • raw cake dough
  • Homemade salad dressings that contain egg
  • eggnog and other drinks enriched with eggs that are not cooked through
  • homemade mayonnaise
  • the fresh sauces based on raw eggs
  • the raw batter or cake filling
  • the foam
  • the meringue
  • homemade ice cream
  • the tiramisu
  • chicken, duck, goose or quail eggs that do not have solid yolks or whites

Most commercial dressings, mayonnaises, sauces and desserts are made with pasteurized eggs which are safe to eat.

How to properly store eggs

Storing eggs the right way is a key component to avoiding risk. Proper egg storage requires compliance with a few simple rules, including:

  • always keep the eggs in the refrigerator, the low temperature prevents bacteria from multiplying and will reduce the chances of spoilage;
  • keep eggs separate from other foods;
  • check and respect the expiry date;
  • check the eggs to locate and discard any with any broken shells.

How to handle raw eggs while cooking

To ensure you avoid risky situations it is advisable to wash your hands both before breaking the eggs and immediately after breaking them.

Regardless of whether you’re cooking, you should wash your hands thoroughly every time you touch a raw egg. Doing so minimizes your chances of getting foodborne illness.

Once you’re ready to start cooking, make sure you only use utensils that have been cleaned with hot soapy water.

When cracking the eggs you’re cooking with, be careful not to splash raw eggs on clean utensils or other foods.

After you’re done cooking, be sure to clean your utensils, countertops, and any other kitchen surfaces thoroughly with warm soapy water.

These are simple precautions, but which to some may seem excessive. However, the probabilities and risks of contracting certain diseases during pregnancy make all these precautions necessary.


For pregnant women, following a balanced diet is essential, both for her health and that of the fetus. Eggs can very well be part of an expectant mother’s daily diet and can be enjoyed boiled, fried, scrambled. The important thing is to make sure they are cooked well: this simple trick reduces the risk of contracting a foodborne illness, which is the last thing to wish for during pregnancy.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform,

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