Can You Eat Mayonnaise While Pregnant?

Mayonnaise is typically a hit or a miss in certain circles. You'll usually find people who either absolutely detest the popular condiment or those that simply can't get enough mayo. Those who love it will put it on sandwiches, salads, various meats, and veggie dishes.

The new types of mayo flavors on the market today are even more enticing for mayo enthusiasts. There are versions such as chimichurri, barbecue, citrus, lime, spicy, white truffle, you name it. According to the Food Network, you can easily just add some seasoning you have on hand to regular mayo to enhance its flavor. Think of balsamic vinegar, sriracha, ketchup, chipotle, paprika, or even just plain garlic powder.

Once pregnancy morning sickness is over, cravings for strong flavors often take over (via Nine Naturals). These varieties of mayo can be enticing for those who enjoy it. However, questions arise over whether consuming mayonnaise is safe during pregnancy.

What's in mayo matters

When talking about this common condiment, many people note the fat content found in mayo as the main reason why they think it's unhealthy. Mayo is usually made up of eggs, vinegar or lemon juice, oil, and mustard (via Verywell Fit). While it is true that one tablespoon of mayonnaise contains 10 grams of fat and 94 calories, it is primarily composed of unsaturated fat, a type of healthy fat. Unsaturated fats have been found to lower inflammation and cholesterol as well as support steady heart rhythms (via Harvard School of Public Health).

Of course, consuming a high amount of fat on a regular basis is never a good idea. There are versions of mayo available that contain avocado or olive oil instead of the typical soybean oil it usually contains and that improves the nutritional component a bit.

When enjoyed in moderation, you can safely consume regular mayo during pregnancy as long as you follow some simple rules.

Make sure it's store-bought and stored at safe temperatures

Since mayonnaise contains uncooked eggs, it has the potential to cause food-borne illness. For this reason, you're usually better off if you purchase store-bought mayo instead of making your own. With homemade mayo, the eggs used can be unpasteurized and may be contaminated, which can cause salmonella infection (via National Library of Medicine).

Furthermore, it's vital to keep mayo at a cool temperature, even when store-bought. Mayonnaise has the potential to grow bacteria very quickly in warm temperatures. At home, use mayo and place it back in the refrigerator. When out at special functions like picnics and barbecues, if you can't confirm how long the food has been left out, you're better off passing on it.

Since your immunity is lower while pregnant, you're more prone to food-borne illnesses, which can harm both you and your baby. Mayo left out too long, which is considered to be more than two hours, has the potential to cause food poisoning (via My Recipes). It's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food safety choices, especially during pregnancy.