Is Corn Good During Pregnancy? Sweetcorn, Canned, and More

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Corn is a delicious and versatile starchy vegetable that comes in many different variations. However, are all types of corn safe during pregnancy?

Corn is safe and healthy to consume during pregnancy when taking precautions for food safety. Corn is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, soluble fiber, and more. 

From sweetcorn to fresh corn and corn flour to corn soup, let’s discuss the benefits and safety of corn during your pregnancy. 

Is Sweetcorn Good For Pregnant Women? The Benefits

Sweetcorn is a variation of corn that can be white, yellow, or multi-colored and has over twice the sugar and sweetness of regular corn (source: Colorado State University). It is rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, soluble fiber, and antioxidants. 

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, primarily functions in the body to support a strong and healthy immune system. It also plays a crucial role in bone health, blood vessel formation, and wound healing (source: Mayo Clinic). Vitamin C also helps your body absorb and utilize iron from the diet.

Additionally, vitamin A, found in corn as beta-carotene, promotes healthy vision and eye health. Since beta-carotene is from plant sources, it cannot build up to toxic levels in the body (source: University of Rochester Medical Center). It promotes a healthy reproductive system and supports immune health.

boiled sweetcorns on a plate

Both vitamin A and vitamin C are antioxidants that help protect cells in the body again harmful molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are naturally produced in the body when it breaks down food, gets exposed to solar radiation, etc. Antioxidant consumption can help reduce inflammation in the body, leading to chronic health conditions.

Sweetcorn, amongst all types of corn, is rich in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is a version of dietary fiber that can be dissolved in water (and other fluids in the body). It helps support a healthy gut microbiome, the community of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract (source: Cleveland Clinic).

A healthy gut microbiome can protect against obesity, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions.

Overall, soluble fiber can lower cholesterol levels by lowering the amount of fat the body can absorb (source: Cleveland Clinic). This cholesterol decrease can reduce the risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

Kettle corn is a popular treat made from the popped kernels of whole corn. Check out this article on eating popcorn, including kettle corn, when pregnant. 

Is Corn Always Safe During Pregnancy?

Whether fresh, frozen, or canned, corn is a safe addition to your healthy diet during pregnancy, as long as you take a few simple precautions.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends thoroughly cooking frozen foods (including frozen vegetables) according to the instructions on the packaging, whether for microwave or conventional oven. By cooking frozen corn thoroughly, you will ensure all bacteria will be killed.

When consuming fresh corn or baby corn, it is essential to thoroughly wash the corn under running water and even scrub with a vegetable brush if possible (source: FDA).

Additionally, you can prevent cross-contamination by ensuring your knives, utensils, and cutting boards used for corn preparation are kept separate from those used for raw meat, poultry, fish, or eggs

When consuming canned corn, it is essential to clean the lid of the can before you open it to prevent bacteria from the outside surface from contaminating the food. It is also crucial to ensure that the can is free of dents, cracks, or lids that appear bulging (source: FDA).

raw corn in a vegetable salad

Can Pregnant Women Eat Raw Corn? Is It Safe?

Whether undercooked on accident or raw on a salad, consuming raw corn during pregnancy is safe. However, follow the food safety guidelines mentioned above, including washing raw corn under running water and scrubbing with a vegetable brush (if on the cob).

If you are consuming raw corn from a can, ensure the can has no dents, cracks, or bulges. 

Finally, since the corn is not being cooked, it is increasingly important to prevent cross-contamination from surfaces and utensils that have had contact with undercooked or raw meat, poultry, fish, or eggs

Can I Have Cornstarch (Corn Flour) During Pregnancy? 

Cornstarch, or corn flour, is a food item pregnant women commonly crave. Cornstarch is high in calories and low in nutrition; therefore, consuming large amounts should be avoided. If you have cravings for cornstarch during pregnancy, consult your physician to check for a nutrient deficiency.

However, cornstarch is safe to consume during pregnancy in cooking and food amounts. In addition, in small quantities, corn starch or corn flour is beneficial as a thickener to sauces in cooking.

creamy sweetcorn soup in a bowl

Is Sweetcorn Soup or Corn Chowder OK During Pregnancy?

Many pregnant women wonder if the well-liked Chinese soup, chicken, and sweetcorn soup are safe to consume during pregnancy. Overall, chicken and sweetcorn soup is safe as long as the soup is adequately heated and the chicken is thoroughly cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Check out this article about Chinese food during pregnancy. 

Corn chowder is a popular corn soup dish often made with a milk and cream base. Corn chowder is safe to consume during pregnancy if the cream and milk used in the soup are pasteurized. Additionally, especially if the soup is canned, ensure the soup is adequately heated according to the packaging instructions to kill any potential bacteria. 

What Does it Mean if I’m Craving Corn When Pregnant?

Corn is a common craving during pregnancy and is nothing to panic about. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), corn is rich in vitamin A, iron, etc. Therefore, a corn craving may indicate a deficiency in a nutrient or simply may result from hormonal imbalances.

As long as you follow the safety guidelines in this article, there is no reason to avoid corn during your pregnancy.

High fructose corn syrup is a corn-based sweetener with many health risks, including obesity. Check out this article for more information on high fructose corn syrup during pregnancy. 

I hope you found this article helpful in breaking down the different variations of corn and how to safely and healthfully incorporate them into your pregnancy.