Is It Safe to Eat Mayonnaise During Pregnancy?

It's best to avoid eating homemade mayonnaise during pregnancy as it's one of the foods with the highest microbiological risk. Learn more.
Is It Safe to Eat Mayonnaise During Pregnancy?
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 27 November, 2022

Mayonnaise is one of the most widely consumed sauces worldwide. It’s made with egg as the main ingredient, so in some contexts, its intake may entail a microbiological risk. Therefore, we’re going to tell you whether it’s really possible to eat mayonnaise during pregnancy or whether it’s a food that should be restricted.

It’s important to take into account that during pregnancy, the presence of certain products in the diet should be limited. Food poisoning could cause serious health problems for the baby and even increase the risk of miscarriage.

The microbiological risk of mayonnaise

Many foods of animal origin, when consumed raw, have bacteria inside that could cause food poisoning. For this reason, dairy products are always subjected to a pasteurization process. In the case of eggs, most of the pathogens are concentrated in the shell, but contamination could occur inside the foodstuff.

In addition, poor product preservation practices can increase the risks. For example, not placing the sauce in the refrigerator and leaving it at room temperature creates an optimal breeding ground for bacterial growth. Even more so in hot weather.

A hotdog with ketchup and mayonnaise.
Mayonnaise shouldn’t be eaten during pregnancy because it’s a preparation capable of causing food poisoning. Only industrial mayonnaise that has been pasteurized should be consumed, although it’s not a food of good nutritional quality.

The main bacteria present in mayonnaise

The bacteria most frequently present in mayonnaise are those of the Salmonella genus. Their ingestion may cause diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, and fever. Although their consumption negatively affects the mother’s health, it also endangers the life of the fetus developing inside her. This is evidenced by a study published in Case Reports in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Furthermore, when the symptoms are severe, the risk of suffering an episode of dehydration increases, which also has an alarming effect on the baby. In these cases, there’s a reduction in blood flow, which negatively affects the oxygen supply to the fetal tissues.

For this reason, it’s essential to avoid the consumption of mayonnaise during pregnancy, especially homemade mayonnaise. However, there’s a version of this sauce that can be consumed during pregnancy without risk.

The mayonnaise that can be consumed during pregnancy

The food industry offers mayonnaise that has undergone a prior pasteurization process. Specifically, it’s made from eggs that have undergone this heat treatment, which eliminates the microbiological risk. The heat reduces bacterial populations, which makes the food completely safe for pregnant women. In any case, it’s important to check the quality verification on the packaging.

Similarly, mayonnaise consumption during pregnancy should be limited, as it’s an energy-dense product. Although fat intake isn’t considered negative, excessive fat intake could lead to excess weight. From this point on, gestational diabetes is more likely to develop, according to research published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

A pregnant woman breaking an egg into a frying pan.
Boiled eggs can be consumed during pregnancy, as they contain high-quality nutrients such as vitamin D.

The benefits of egg consumption

Just because mayonnaise made with raw eggs should be limited in the diet doesn’t mean that boiled eggs aren’t beneficial for pregnant women. They contain a large amount of high quality nutrients that will help ensure the proper development of the fetus.

They’re also one of the few foods that provide vitamin D, a nutrient that’s deficient in the general population and that modulates the state of health. Maintaining adequate levels of the same prevents various problems such as autoimmune diseases and other chronic diseases.

Be careful with mayonnaise during pregnancy

As you’ve seen, it’s important to be careful when introducing mayonnaise to your diet during pregnancy. In fact, homemade mayonnaise is completely forbidden because of its microbiological risk. On the other hand, industrial mayonnaise made with pasteurized eggs can be consumed, although it’s not always a product of good nutritional quality.

Don’t forget that ensuring a good supply of nutrients during pregnancy will be crucial to ensure the future health of the baby. Therefore, it’s advisable to avoid deficits that may negatively affect its development.

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  • Guirguis, G. F., Patel, K., Gittens-Williams, L., Apuzzio, J. J., Martimucci, K., & Williams, S. F. (2017). Salmonella enterica Serotype Typhi Bacteremia Complicating Pregnancy in the Third Trimester. Case reports in obstetrics and gynecology2017, 4018096. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/4018096
  • Plows, J. F., Stanley, J. L., Baker, P. N., Reynolds, C. M., & Vickers, M. H. (2018). The Pathophysiology of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. International journal of molecular sciences19(11), 3342. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19113342

The contents of You Are Mom is for educational and informational purposes only. At no time do they replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. If in doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.