Are Marmite and Vegemite Safe During Pregnancy?

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Written by Gina Wagg BA, Dip.

Published on

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Whether you’re craving Marmite or Vegemite or not, let’s take a look at why it can be beneficial to consume during pregnancy – and you probably want to know if it’s safe, too.

Both Marmite and Vegemite are safe for pregnancy, and may contain beneficial nutrients for pregnant women, including a number of B vitamins. The one downside though is that they are high in sodium, so it’s still best to eat Marmite in moderation during pregnancy.  

So, what makes Marmite and Vegemite both good and bad? Should you incorporate them into your diet during pregnancy?

Is Marmite Safe to Eat During Pregnancy? 

Marmite is famous for being a “love or hate” product. But if you happen to read this article, you’re probably one of those who either love it or would want to consider trying it while pregnant. 

According to Unilever, Marmite is not only safe to consume by pregnant women, but it is also rich in folic acid which we know is crucial to consume during pregnancy (source: Marmite).  

marmite in a jar with a bread in the background

Marmite is considered a synbiotic. A synbiotic is a fermented food that has both probiotics and prebiotics.

Marmite helps stimulate the umami part of the tongue. It is gaining recognition now in the field of microbiota science as a part of a healthy immune system to help address cancer (source: UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology). 

Marmite isn’t “just” a yeast extract, though. Unilever’s Marmite, the original recipe, also contains salt, carrot and onion extracts, and spice extracts. It is also enriched with niacin (vitamin B3), thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), and cyanocobalamin (B12).

As you’ve noticed, salt is second on the ingredient list. This means that Marmite contains high amounts of sodium/salt. 

A high salt diet (HSD) increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. A study also shows that consuming a HSD during pregnancy can affect the baby’s renal functions and proper excretion (source: NIH). 

On the other hand, marmite also contains B vitamins, namely B3, B1, B2, and B12. Vitamin B3 or niacin supports healthy digestion and could help offset nausea during pregnancy. Vitamin B1 or thiamine helps develop your baby’s brain.

Vitamin B2 or riboflavin aids in promoting good eye health for you and your baby. It is also one of the key nutrients responsible for giving you that pregnancy glow! 

Vitamin B12 or cobalamin has quite a few roles during pregnancy. It helps develop your baby’s neural tube, brain, and spine. Along with folic acid, vitamin B12 works together in the synthesis of DNA, red blood cells, and nerves.

Relating to this, folic acid or vitamin B9 is one of the most vital nutrients a pregnant mother should be taking. This is because it plays a myriad of roles during pregnancy.

Folic acid helps prevent birth defects such as neural tube defects, anencephaly, spina bifida, cleft palate, and even some heart defects. Moreover, it also helps minimize the risk of preeclampsia, anemia, and assists in DNA and red blood cell synthesis (source: APA). 

With these said, it is best to take it in moderation and to not exceed the serving size indicated. 

Also, remember that it is a byproduct of beer which means it can contain wheat or barley that some pregnant women may be allergic to.

Even though Marmite is made from the yeast byproduct of brewing beer, it is not considered alcoholic, and is still safe for pregnancy.

spreading the iconic Australian spread vegemite on to a slice of fresh bread

Is Vegemite Safe to Eat When Pregnant?

Vegemite is another type of yeast extract spread, but sold in Australia. The only difference is color, consistency, and flavorings which could lead to minor and probably negligible differences in flavor.

Just like Marmite, Vegemite is safe to consume when pregnant, but still is high in salt. Vegemite has the same nutrients as Marmite. Also like Marmite, moderation is key! Remember to not exceed the recommended serving size, and to watch your sodium intake.

Check the label for possible allergens like wheat or barley since vegemite is a byproduct of beer-making. 

You can also ask your doctor about how much or little you should consume if you have any underlying health conditions. 

What Does it Mean if I’m Craving Marmite or Vegemite when Pregnant?

A pregnant woman may be craving Marmite because of the high salt content. You will find the reasons why in this article on craving salt when pregnant.

Marmite and Vegemite are beneficial for pregnant women, in moderation. We hope we helped answer your queries about them, and to indulge your Marmite cravings safely.