Eating eggs in pregnancy: everything you need to know

A pregnant woman holds a chicken egg in her hand

by Adejumoke Ilori |
Published on

In the early stages of your pregnancy journey, your changing hormones can affect the foods you normally enjoy, through developing cravings or aversions. At the same time there are certain foods that you're advised to avoid during pregnancy, to help protect you and your developing baby.

This leads to a list of foods you question each time you go to plan out your meals for the week. And at some point, you have probably questioned whether you can eat runny eggs in pregnancy, or maybe even eggs in general.

According to NHS midwife Malena Monteverde, who also works with My Expert Midwife: "One of the most common questions midwives get asked when we first meet a pregnant woman for her booking appointment is 'can I eat eggs?', and the answer is always received with relief: 'Yes, you can!'"

Are eggs safe?

"Eggs are not only safe to eat in pregnancy but, because of their nutritional value, they are considered a very healthy food for pregnancy, and one that we actively recommend.", says Malena.

Pregnancy woman eating eggs and salad
©Getty: trumzz

Egg-cellent nutrition

Eggs contain protein, vitamin D and vitamin B12, as well as vitamins B2 & B5 and choline, a nutrient that supports memory and mood.


A healthy intake of protein is essential for your baby’s growth in pregnancy, as it is with protein that new muscles, organs and bones are built.

Eggs are a great source of protein and because your protein requirements increase as your pregnancy progresses, eating several eggs throughout the week is an easy and economical way to meet your protein needs.

Protein can also be obtained from animal meat and from plants. As well as eggs, good sources include poultry, fish, lean meat, beans and legumes, soy products, quinoa, nuts and seeds and, in smaller quantities, in some vegetables.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential in pregnancy, as it helps calcium to be absorbed into bones, teeth and muscles, building your baby’s skeleton and protecting muscle strength. It is also instrumental during preconception and post-birth for your bone health, your emotional well-being and your immune system.

We produce vitamin D in our bodies from exposure to sunlight (weather and lifestyle permitting), but it can also be obtained from foods, and egg yolks are a good source. Other food sources of vitamin D include oily fish (sardines, salmon, trout), some mushrooms, fortified dairy and plant milks, cheese and poultry.

During pregnancy, your need for vitamin D increase and these higher requirements are difficult to meet with just foods and (hopefully) sunshine. This is why the Department of Health recommends that all pregnant women take a daily supplement, such as My Expert Midwife’s Women pre-conception + pregnancy supplement, containing 10 micrograms (4000iu) of vitamin D.  Look out for a supplement that also includes folic acid (as folate), vitamin B12 and other essential micronutrients.

Vitamin B12

Eggs also contain vitamin B12, a micronutrient that is thought to be as essential as folate (folic acid) for the development of your baby’s brain and neural tube. Vitamin B12 also plays a vital role in the formation of healthy red blood cells, in making DNA and in the maintenance of a healthy nervous system. A deficiency in this vitamin can lead to anaemia, so it is important to take enough through your diet.

Other good sources of vitamin B12 that are safe in pregnancy also include oily fish such as mackerel, Atlantic herring, canned sardines, trout and salmon, meat such as steak, beef in different forms and lamb shank, fortified breakfast cereals, fortified plant milks (coconut, almond, soy, rice), semi-skimmed milk and low-fat yoghurt.

When to avoid eggs in pregnancy?

To be safe from salmonella during your pregnancy, it is important to choose eggs that have the Red Lion stamp and to avoid eating raw eggs.

If you are eating out or do not know where the eggs have come from, make sure to only eat eggs where both the yolk and the white have been thoroughly cooked through.

Unless they are completely cooked through, eggs without the Red Lion stamp could contain a bacteria called salmonella. Although salmonella will rarely cause harm to your developing baby, it can cause you severe vomiting and diarrhoea. So, avoid foods containing raw or undercooked eggs, such as tiramisu, mousse or homemade mayonnaise.

The good news is that, if you are certain that the eggs being used have the Red Lion stamp, you can have ‘runny’ eggs and foods where the eggs may not be thoroughly cooked through, such as quiche.

Including eggs in your diet

Eggs are a very easy and versatile food, which makes including them in your diet pretty simple and straight-forward.

Here are some ideas on how to eat more eggs:

• Have them for breakfast - poached, scrambled or, for a naughty treat, fried in a little oil. Eating eggs for breakfast will also help to stave off sugar slumps later on in the day.

• Make omelettes, frittatas and Spanish tortilla – you can eat them hot, cold, have them in a sandwich or have the leftovers as a satisfying snack. If you add eggs, cheese or some meats or fish, you’ll also be getting a good mix of fibre, vitamins and minerals with your protein!

• Add hard-boiled eggs to salads or have one (or two!) on its own as a snack.

• Prepare an egg sarnie for a filling lunch.

If nausea and sickness mean you struggle to eat eggs in your first trimester, don’t worry, you will actually reap most of their benefits during your second and third trimesters.

Meet the Midwife:

Malena Monteverde is a midwife, maternity ward co-ordinator and community midwife. She is passionate about postnatal care and recovery for women after childbirth, and an avid advocate for women’s rights and choices throughout their childbearing experience (and beyond). At My Expert Midwife Malena continues to pursue her passion for supporting women and families through pre-conception, pregnancy, and into the postnatal period through expert blogs, social media content and antenatal classes.

Mummy to a little girl, Adejumoke Ilori is Commercial Content Writer for Mother&Baby. With a BA hon in Creative Writing, she has worked for digital platforms, where she has empowered women from the inside and out, by sharing real life stories based on relationships, loving yourself and mummyhood.

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