Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse when it comes to growing a healthy baby. Here’s why!
Eggs are one of very few foods that contain choline, an important nutrient for building a healthy brain and preventing neural tube defects. Choline is also involved in methylation which can mediate gene expression and impact your baby’s development- in a good way! It would be difficult to obtain enough choline from your diet without regularly enjoying eggs (unless you frequently eat animal liver). If you’re not able to eat eggs due to an allergy or dietary restriction, a choline supplement would likely be necessary so you’re not missing out on this important nutrient. Many prenatal vitamins do not contain choline because of its large molecular size, so check to see if yours does!
Eggs contain many other micronutrients as well, including vitamins A and D, folate and other B-vitamins, antioxidants like vitamin E, and minerals such as iodine and selenium. All of these micronutrients have countless benefits for your baby. Iodine, in particular, is a common nutrient deficiency during pregnancy and not naturally present in very many foods. Most of these nutrients are found in the yolk of the egg so you’ll want to consume the whole egg (not just the whites) to get all of these benefits!
Adequate protein intake during pregnancy provides the necessary materials to support new tissue growth, enhance immune function and build a healthy baby. Protein also helps to stabilize your blood sugar, and this can be especially important during pregnancy. You may also find that adding protein to your diet can help with nausea and food cravings. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and contain many of the essential amino acids needed to support a healthy pregnancy.
In addition to protein, eggs are a great source of fat (but only if you eat the yolk!). Fat gets a bad reputation, but it’s an important macronutrient to consume during pregnancy (with the exception of trans fats and processed omega-6 fats). Eating fat from real food aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients, like choline and vitamins A and D. Eggs are also one of the few non-seafood sources of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid which is super important for your baby’s brain development.
What about cholesterol?
Eggs contain dietary cholesterol. What you may not know about cholesterol is it’s an important building block for a healthy brain- so it can be a good thing! Based on recent research, it seems that dietary cholesterol is not as harmful as we once thought and may not significantly change blood cholesterol levels. The benefits of eating eggs during pregnancy greatly outweigh any risk from the dietary cholesterol, and this should not deter you from regularly consuming eggs throughout your pregnancy.
If you’re concerned about food safety, you can reduce the risk of foodborne illness by fully cooking your eggs, like scrambled eggs or hard-boiled eggs.