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Is Ice Cream Harmful To a Fetus?

Updated on October 10, 2012

I’ve decided to write this hub due to the fact that I am pregnant, currently craving ice cream, and everyone keeps telling me ice cream is bad for the baby, so I imagine there are plenty of other women around the world who are privy to the exact same old wives tales. I’ve never actually listened to their reasons for why ice cream is bad for the baby, because it is at the end of the day packed with calcium, it soothes a tummy mortified by morning sickness, and it’s delicious. Therefore, having not listened to their advice or reasoning, this hub will basically serve as the report to my research on whether or not ice cream is actually bad for a fetus or not.

The alleged risk factor of eating ice cream during pregnancy is that it is high in fat, contains egg yolk, may be made from unpasteurized milk, and the cold can damage the fetus’ brain.

Firstly, the fat content isn’t all that high, and face it – pregnant women are going to gain a lot of weight in any case. No one will even realize that an extra 2kg is solely due to ice cream consumption.

The second point, the egg yolk content, is a little more concerning for two reasons – LISTERIA and SALMONELLA. Listeria is a bacteria often found in meat that isn’t properly cooked, soil, sewage, stream water, and unpasteurized milk. Listeria causes Listeriosis, which can manifest in forms of sepsis and meningitis. Salmonella is a food borne bacteria which can be transferred between humans and animals, and can be found in raw and uncooked food, salmonella causes Salmonellosis, essentially food poisoning, which is characterized by symptoms like fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headache. Listeriosis and Salmonellosis affect mostly small children, the elderly and pregnant women, due to their suppressed immune systems. However, although Listeria and Salmonella pose a serious threat to the fetus if Listeriosis or Salmonellosis are contracted, this can easily be avoided by sticking to branded ice cream like Baskin-Robbins, Dairy Queen and Nestlé, as they are certified to only use pasteurized products and would have been sued for billions ages ago had Listeria or Salmonella been found in their products.

Lastly, the cold cannot damage the baby’s brain, as you’re not going to be eating ice cream for hours and hours on end. Most pregnant women are content with one serving of ice cream, which takes roughly 5 minutes to consume and therefore you won’t be exposing your abdomen to the cold for an extended period of time. Also, by the time the ice cream reaches your tummy, it has melted completely and has been heated to match your body temperature. The only way extreme cold can affect your baby, is if you are exposed to extreme cold for a long period of time and suffer from hypothermia, which will drastically slow down your heart rate and blood flow to the fetus. I strongly doubt ice cream is cold enough to give you hypothermia.

Therefore we can conclude that ice cream, as long as it contains pasteurized milk and eggs, is completely safe during pregnancy.

Here is a list of certified ice cream brands, in alphabetical order:

- Amul

- Baskin-Robbins

- Campina

- Dairy Queen

- Foster Farms Dairy

- Gay Lea

- Mauds Ice Cream

- Mother Dairy

- Milko

- Nestlé

Go now, pregnant women, and enjoy your justified cravings!


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    • Tiffany365 profile image

      Tiffany Brighton 5 years ago

      Yes, unfortunately, some people are that uninformed. However, after reading my hub, they (hopefully) know better. Thank you for taking the time to comment :)

    • emmy1980 profile image

      emmy1980 5 years ago from North Carolina

      OMG! The cold damages the baby's brain? Are people really that stupid? Holy crap. I hope they aren't procreating. By the time ice cream hits your stomach it's already melted. By the time any nutrients in it reach your baby via the placenta, it's completely warmed up to body temperature. Unless you're injecting gallons of ice cream straight into your uterus via a needle, it's safe.

      *facepalm* REALLY?!