Taking Olive Oil During Pregnancy: How It Benefits Your Baby

Extra virgin olive oil during pregnancy is a beneficial product, both for the mother and the fetus. Learn more in the following article.
Taking Olive Oil During Pregnancy: How It Benefits Your Baby
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 08 December, 2022

Olive oil is one of the best foods to consume during pregnancy. It contains a large amount of essential unsaturated fatty acids that improve both the health of the mother and the development of the fetus.

However, it’s essential that this product is eaten raw, otherwise, the spatial arrangement of the molecules that make it up could be altered and its properties changed. When trans fatty acids originate, it’s considered a poor-quality food with an inflammatory character.

Know the benefits of olive oil during pregnancy

Let’s start by commenting on the main benefits of including olive oil in the diet of pregnant women. It should be emphasized that it should be introduced in the context of a varied and balanced diet.

Olive oil during pregnancy reduces bad cholesterol

One of the properties of olive oil has to do with an effect on the lipid profile. The fatty acids it contains are capable of limiting the oxidation of LDL lipoproteins, which reduces their presence in the blood. This significantly lowers cardiovascular risk, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

A pregnant woman adding olive oil to her salad.
Olive oil should be introduced in the context of a varied and balanced diet to take advantage of all its benefits, both for the mother and the baby.

Olive oil improves circulation

Moreover, regular intake of extra virgin olive oil could be beneficial in reducing blood pressure and thus improves circulation. This product generates an anti-inflammatory effect that prevents the formation of clots. In addition, the vitamin E it contains is also an antioxidant compound, which reduces the risk of atherosclerosis.

The benefits of olive oil for babies

The consumption of extra virgin olive oil isn’t only beneficial for the mother, but also has positive effects on the child. These are the following:

Olive oil stimulates the baby’s growth

The inclusion of quality oil in the diet favors the optimal growth of the baby from an adequate intake of calories. It must be taken into account that during pregnancy and in the first stages of life, it’s optimal to guarantee a hypercaloric diet to satisfy the energy demands derived from the construction of new tissues.

It favors a good development

It has been demonstrated that the continued contribution of omega-3 during pregnancy is key to reducing the risk of neurological diseases in the baby. This is according to research published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. Thanks to these lipids, autism and attention deficit are reduced.

Prevents childhood cholesterol

Alterations in the lipid profile aren’t a problem exclusive to adults, but can also occur in children. To avoid this situation, it’s essential to ensure a continuous supply of omega-3 fatty acids and to prioritize the presence of fresh foods in the diet. In this way, the oxidation of lipoproteins and their degeneration is reduced.

A pregnant woman preparing a salad with olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil provides essential vitamins for the baby’s development while improving digestive functions.

Olive oil during pregnancy provides vitamins

Extra virgin olive oil not only contains fats but also important micronutrients, as is the case of vitamin E. This element is related to a better state of health through the neutralization of free radicals and their accumulation in the tissues.

Improves digestive functions

Thanks to the anti-inflammatory character of olive oil, digestion becomes easier. It can even be useful to reduce constipation and ensure proper lubrication in the fecal bolus and an optimal descent through the tube. However, it shouldn’t be consumed in excessive amounts, as it’s a very energetic food.

Olive oil: A beneficial product during pregnancy

As you’ve seen, the inclusion of olive oil in the diet during pregnancy is beneficial for both the mother and the baby. It’s a very high-quality product, as long as the extra virgin variety is chosen. This is the one obtained from the first pressing of the olive.

However, remember that this food should be consumed raw, as much as possible. It’s essential to avoid frying, as this process causes it to lose much of its quality and becomes an inflammatory element. The fatty acids it contains are altered when subjected to very high heat.

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  • Estruch, R., Ros, E., Salas-Salvadó, J., Covas, M. I., Corella, D., Arós, F., Gómez-Gracia, E., Ruiz-Gutiérrez, V., Fiol, M., Lapetra, J., Lamuela-Raventos, R. M., Serra-Majem, L., Pintó, X., Basora, J., Muñoz, M. A., Sorlí, J. V., Martínez, J. A., Fitó, M., Gea, A., Hernán, M. A., … PREDIMED Study Investigators (2018). Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet Supplemented with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or Nuts. The New England journal of medicine378(25), e34. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1800389
  • Martins, B. P., Bandarra, N. M., & Figueiredo-Braga, M. (2020). The role of marine omega-3 in human neurodevelopment, including Autism Spectrum Disorders and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder – a review. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition60(9), 1431–1446. https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2019.1573800

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