Can You Eat Popcorn While Pregnant?

Pregnancy is a time when you should be enjoying delicious and wholesome foods that are ideally nutrient-dense. After all, nutrition is part of the foundation of good health (via the World Health Organization). Of course, that doesn't mean you have to eat only fruits and veggies. A balanced eating plan is one that includes all food groups and tastes good. Eating should be enjoyable and satiating. Furthermore, carbohydrates provide the necessary energy that your cells need to keep your body going. Complex carbs such as whole grains, beans, and vegetables give you vitamins, fiber, and minerals (via Medline Plus).


There are some foods you should avoid while pregnant. However, no food should be off-limits during pregnancy as long as it's safe to eat. It helps to choose a food plan wisely (via Mayo Clinic). So while you can certainly enjoy potato chips here and there, you may also want to look for snacks that have a better nutritional makeup for regular snacking.

For example, popcorn is a good snack during pregnancy as long as you're careful about what kind you eat.

Snacking on popcorn might help with morning sickness

One of the biggest advantages of popcorn is that it's a whole grain. Whole grains help ward off long-term diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure (via WebMD). The tasty treat also contains fiber, which can help with pregnancy constipation. A three-ounce serving contains an impressive 15 grams of fiber (via Healthline).


It also has polyphenols, an antioxidant that protects our cells against damage from free radicals and improves blood circulation. Polyphenols are even thought to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer. That means that even if you eat popcorn every day, it's not necessarily bad for you.

Popcorn is a low glycemic index food that will give you a burst of energy, according to WebMD. It also helps stabilize your blood sugar, which is necessary always but especially during pregnancy when your rapidly changing hormones are causing nausea as well as cravings.

In early pregnancy, popcorn can be a lifesaver when you can't hold much food down. It's plain enough to not upset an already upset stomach yet also has nutritional value. A sprinkle of salt on it can be soothing during morning sickness and help keep electrolytes up, too (via Pregnancy Food Checker).


Avoid bagged microwavable popcorn while pregnant

One of the easiest ways to make popcorn, especially when you've had a long day and your feet are aching, is to grab a bag and toss it in the microwave. Then you can enjoy a bag of steaming flavored popcorn in a couple of minutes. Yet that comes with certain risks during pregnancy.


The bags that microwave popcorn come in are lined with "next-generation" long-chain perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). Though they are an improvement from the original, now-banned PFCs that are thought to cause cancer, it's still better to avoid them (via Pregnancy Food Checker).

Keep in mind, not all popcorn is the same. While the snack itself in its natural state is filled with nutritious ingredients, what you put on it can make it unhealthy. Microwave popcorn is often basked in the chemical Diacetyl, which is intended to create a buttery flavor. However, the CDC noted that the chemical can negatively affect lungs.

The best popcorn is the kind that you make at home. Using an air popper to make your own popcorn also allows you to control what goes on it.