Is Eating Cornstarch While Pregnant Safe? Here’s What You Need to Know!

Written by Daisy
Last updated:
Reviewed by Margaret

First-time mothers often ask, “Is eating cornstarch while pregnant safe?” I mean, that’s one of the things they ask for. 

No, it’s not safe. Eating cornstarch raw puts your health at risk, as a pregnant woman. But if cooked, then, yes, eating cornstarch while pregnant has no known negative effects, if done in moderation. Excessive consumption of cornstarch (or any starch product, in this matter) may result in indigestion and other gastrointestinal problems, which can be bad for pregnancy.

Well, in this guide, we will end all the hearsay about it and discuss nothing but the truth behind it! Other than unraveling the truth behind the connection between pregnancy and cornstarch, we’ll also discuss its side effects, an eating disorder, and how you can care for yourself and the baby!

The website’s general material is given for informative purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. This article has been reviewed by the necessary medical and healthcare professionals we work with. For emergencies, contact your local physician or certified healthcare provider RIGHT AWAY!

Before diving down deep into that topic, let us first clarify some things about cornstarch, shall we?

Diving Deep Into Cornstarch 

Cornstarch is like the smooth operator of the culinary world. It’s a white powder that comes from the maize kernel and gives your cuisine more thickening power.

It springs into action when the heat is turned on, absorbing moisture and changing it into a smooth, velvety texture that will wow your taste buds! So, how is it connected with pregnancy?

Cornstarch shouldn’t be consumed in its raw state. It’s a staple ingredient for a wide library of dishes from all around the world. However, some pregnant women crave it!

Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD, says that some expectant mothers would really develop a craving – some of which would be for non-food items.

Some pregnant women crave chocolate, spicy foods, fruits, and comfort foods, such as mashed potatoes, cereals, and toasted white bread. Other women crave non-food items, such as clay and cornstarch. The craving and eating of non-food items is known as PICA.”

What is PICA? Don’t worry, if this is your first time hearing this – it is mine, too! Considering the fact that I already have 2 children. Kidding aside, let’s go ahead and discuss PICA and cravings.

Cravings and PICA During Pregnancy

As I mentioned above, there are instances where the pregnancy will steer you in the wrong direction – and it starts when you crave non-food items. Pregnancy cravings can progress to the disorder known as PICA, which involves desiring and ingesting non-food substances.

Among these are substances like ice, mud, clay, and even cornstarch – extreme cases involve extremely weird things like nails, grass, toys, etc.

As much as we want an explanation of why this happens, the cause of his ailment is still unknown. But, research indicates that it may be due to a deficiency in specific minerals, such as iron or zinc, or to psychological issues like stress and worry, as well as mental health conditions, too.

Crave all you want – so long as it’s edible! Although I know the feeling of not being able to control cravings that easily, but, try to think about your overall health and your baby.

Is Eating Cornstarch Safe During Pregnancy? The Truth!

So, you’re dragged deep into the discussion of whether cornstarch is safe for pregnant women or not – but, what’s the truth behind it?

In a general sense, cornstarch, when mixed with food, is actually safe. However, it may put your health at risk if you consume it directly and raw. Besides the fact that it is known to be indigestible, it can cause a barrage of problems like choking, sneezing, coughing, and even serious gastro issues, which can put your and your baby’s health at risk.

Some women are even allergic to cornstarch, imposing even a bigger and more lethal risk, so, it’ll be best not to go with it.

Although there are no known records or damages connected to the consumption of raw cornstarch during pregnancy, would you take that risk?

How Much Cornstarch Can I Eat?

Generally speaking, eating or consuming cornstarch in its raw state is considered unsafe, especially for pregnant women. It can trigger allergic reactions, it can cause indigestion, and it can even be the culprit why you’ll have gastro issues and problems.

When it comes to eating cornstarch and adding it to food, though, one to two tablespoons would usually be enough. Going over five tablespoons runs the risk of several side effects, including a spike in blood sugar levels, compromise in blood sugar, and even high blood pressure.

You’re lucky! That’s what we’ll be discussing next!

Side Effects Of Eating Cornstarch While Pregnant

Raw or cooked, consuming or eating excessive cornstarch can have undesirable side effects on both your health and your baby’s health, too. So, here are some of the known side effects of eating cornstarch while you are pregnant!

Digestive Issues

When ingested in excessive amounts, cornstarch can be difficult for the digestive system to process. Constipation, bloating, and digestive pain might result from it.

The Manhattan Gastroenterology says that consuming large amounts of corn can cause gastro symptoms!

             Due to its high cellulose concentration, excessive quantities might induce serious gastrointestinal issues. Cellulose cannot be broken down by the human digestive system.”

Reduced Nutrient Intake

DID YOU KNOW: More nutrient-dense foods may be replaced if cornstarch replaces them as a major component of the diet.

As a result, the fetus may not receive the required nutrients for growth and development, which may have an adverse effect on the mother’s and the child’s general health.

Weight Gain

Cornstarch is a type of carbohydrate, which means, it has excessive amounts of calories. Therefore, overeating cornstarch can lead to unhealthful weight gain during pregnancy.

The risk of problems like hypertension, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues for the baby, and birth difficulties rises with an uncontrolled diet.

Nutrient Imbalance

Lastly, nutrient imbalance. The main nutritional benefit of cornstarch is as a source of carbohydrates; it has no additional nutritional value.

An overreliance on cornstarch as a dietary source might result in an unbalanced intake of vital nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals, all of which are important for a healthy pregnancy.

Healthline says that cornstarch is a sucker for nutrients. It has carbs and calories, throwing in a little fiber and iron there, too – but, it’s not enough for the recommended nutrition for a person.

             To make sure you’re getting your nutritional needs, it’s crucial to combine cornstarch with a range of other nutrient-rich foods as part of a balanced diet.”

When to Pay Your OB-GYN a Visit

There will come a time, especially if you have diet issues when you will need to consult your OB-GYN for it. It’s a good – in fact, even the best idea to seek medical assistance if you find that your cravings are actually making it difficult for you to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.

Talk about experiencing symptoms of malnutrition and the side effects that are linked to it!

Your healthcare professional may evaluate your particular circumstances, address any worries, and offer suggestions on how to control your desires while ensuring sufficient nourishment for both you and that little munchkin inside your belly!

Risks of PICA

In the case of PICA, you really would have to let your qualified healthcare provider about it. They can assist in determining the underlying reasons for PICA and can offer the necessary treatments and therapies to help you through it.

Overall, PICA has health hazards that could be adversely impact the development of your baby even after they are born.

FAQs

I know that your mind could be clouded with mystery. So, we gathered some of the questions that are commonly asked by both men and women about this matter!

Can We Eat Corn During Pregnancy?

Yes, eating corn during pregnancy won’t do anything bad to you, just make sure that you do it in moderate amounts. Even if you’re not pregnant, too much consumption of corn can lead to stomach upset, flatulence, and unwanted bloating, says Manhattan Gastroenterology.

What Does Eating Cornstarch Do To You While Pregnant

There are no known extremely negative effects on the body if you eat cornstarch other than gastrointestinal issues, which is bad for pregnant women (when consumed raw). You can enjoy eating food with cornstarch, however, but also that should be in complete moderation.

Final Verdict

Whether you’re a new mother or if it’s your first experience craving something strange, always be sure to be on the lookout for side effects and things that could impact your pregnancy. If you feel like there’s something else you’re feeling, consult with your OB-GYN or any qualified and certified healthcare provider immediately. 

Photo of author
Daisy Martinez, a Certified Financial Planner and mother of two, blends finance expertise from Ohio State and Anderson School of Management with hands-on parenting insights. Founder of "mamallove.com" and "cashsavvytips.com", she's passionate about guiding parents in financial and parenting realms.

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