Can I Eat Creamy Pasta While Pregnant?

Eating creamy pasta while pregnant is perfectly safe and allowed in moderation, as long as you choose whole grain options and load up on veggies. Pasta can be a nutritious part of a balanced diet during pregnancy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Creamy pasta made with milk, cheese, or creamy sauces can be eaten in moderation during pregnancy. Choose whole wheat or veggie-based options.
  • Opt for healthy toppings like vegetables, lean protein, and olive oil over fatty, calorie-dense ingredients. Limit excess calories, fat, sugar, and salt.
  • Pasta provides carbs for energy, as well as protein, iron, calcium, and B vitamins. Combine with vegetables, protein, and healthy fats for balanced nutrition.
  • Eat slowly and avoid overeating, as pregnant women need only 300 extra calories per day. Excess weight gain can complicate pregnancy.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water with your pasta meals. Dehydration is common in pregnancy and can cause contractions.

Is Pasta Healthy In Pregnancy?

Pasta can be a nutritious part of a balanced diet during pregnancy when chosen wisely. The key is opting for whole grain varieties and topping your pasta with vegetables, lean protein, olive oil, and other healthy ingredients.

Most pasta is made from just wheat flour and water, which provides carbohydrates for energy. Whole wheat pasta offers more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than refined white pasta. When combined with protein foods, healthy fats, and produce, pasta can be a well-rounded part of pregnancy meals and snacks.

Here are some of the top nutrients pasta offers during pregnancy:

  • Carbohydrates: Pasta is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, which provide glucose that pregnant women can use for energy. Carbs are especially key in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters when energy needs rise.
  • Protein: Protein is vital for baby’s growth and development. Pasta provides some protein on its own, which can be boosted by adding chicken, shrimp, beans, cheese, or other protein foods.
  • Iron: Pasta contains some iron, which helps prevent anemia. Anemia occurs when you lack adequate red blood cells to transport oxygen, and it’s common in pregnancy due to increased blood volume.
  • B Vitamins: Essential B vitamins like folate, thiamin, and niacin in pasta assist with energy metabolism and nerve function. Folate is especially crucial in early pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects.
  • Calcium: Calcium in pasta helps build baby’s bones and teeth. Dairy-based sauces can provide additional calcium, as can adding cheese.

So loaded up with vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats, pasta can be an excellent well-rounded food for expecting mothers. Just be mindful of your portion sizes.

Choosing Healthy Pasta Options While Pregnant

The healthiest pasta choices during pregnancy include:

  • Whole wheat or whole grain pasta: Provides more fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals than refined white pasta. The whole grains make it more filling too.
  • Vegetable-based pastas: Varieties made from spinach, beet, tomato, or other vegetable purees add extra vitamins and minerals.
  • Bean or lentil pasta: Provides extra plant-based protein, fiber, and nutrients.
  • Brown rice pasta: Gluten-free option that’s a good source of B vitamins and fiber.
  • Portion control: Stick to 1-1.5 cups of cooked pasta per serving to limit excess calories.
  • Healthy toppings: Load up sauces and pasta dishes with vegetables, lean protein like chicken or salmon, beans, healthy oils, herbs, spices, and cheese for nutrition versus heavy cream or fatty meats.
  • Limit added sugar: Opt for tomato or olive oil-based sauces instead of sugary jarred sauces.

Reading nutrition labels can help identify healthier pasta choices for pregnancy. Seek options with at least 5g fiber and 5g protein per serving.

Are Creamy Pasta Sauces Safe During Pregnancy?

Creamy pasta made with dairy products like milk, cream, or cheese sauces can be enjoyed safely during pregnancy. In moderation, the dairy provides protein, calcium, B vitamins, and other nutrients beneficial in pregnancy.

Some creamy sauce options include:

  • Alfredo: Made from butter, parmesan cheese, and heavy cream. Choose light versions.
  • Carbonara: Cheese, eggs, bacon, and black pepper. Use less cheese and bacon for nutrition.
  • Cheddar cheese sauce: Made with cheddar and milk. Opt for low-fat milk and limit portion.
  • Macaroni and cheese: Uses cheese like cheddar or American plus milk. Add veggies for balance.
  • Lasagna: Layered with cheese like ricotta or mozzarella between pasta sheets and sauce.

When consuming creamy pasta, consider the following:

  • Limit portion sizes to 1-1.5 cups of pasta with 2-4 oz sauce per serving.
  • Avoid excessive calories, fat, sugar, and salt by loading up on vegetables and lean protein and limiting fatty ingredients like heavy cream.
  • Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Avoid risk of foodborne illness by heating sauce thoroughly and choosing pasteurized dairy.

Overall, creamy pasta can be safe to consume in moderation during pregnancy when prepared properly. Just focus on balance and variety in your diet.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Creamy Pasta While Pregnant

Here are some healthy tips for preparing creamy pasta dishes during pregnancy:

  • Use part-skim ricotta or mozzarella instead of full-fat versions to cut down on saturated fat and calories.
  • Replace half the cheese in macaroni and cheese or alfredo sauce with pureed cauliflower or butternut squash for added nutrition.
  • Swap full-fat cream for lower fat milk or half and half.
  • Boost protein by adding lean chicken, shrimp, salmon, chickpeas or white beans.
  • Increase veggies like wilted spinach, roasted broccoli, sautéed zucchini or roasted tomatoes.
  • Flavor with herbs and spices like basil, oregano, garlic, parsley instead of salt.
  • Drizzle with olive oil for healthy fats versus coating with butter.
  • Use whole grain pasta varieties to increase fiber.
  • Make your own sauce rather than pre-made to control salt and sugar content.
  • Limit portion sizes to 1-1.5 cups pasta and 2-4 oz sauce per serving.

With some simple substitutions and boosting veggies, pasta can be a healthy pregnancy meal. Just focus on moderation for creamy options.

What About Tomato-Based Pasta Sauces While Pregnant?

Tomato-based pasta sauces are a healthy option during pregnancy. Tomatoes provide vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, folate, and the antioxidant lycopene, which supports skin health.

Tomato sauces are also lower in fat and calories than creamy alternatives. Options include:

  • Marinara: Made from tomatoes, garlic, onion, herbs.
  • Arrabbiata: Features tomatoes, red pepper flakes, garlic.
  • Puttanesca: Includes tomatoes, olives, capers, anchovies.
  • Bolognese: Contains tomatoes as well as veggies and ground meat.
  • Vodka: Uses tomato sauce and vodka. Omit alcohol when pregnant.

When choosing jarred tomato sauces, select low-sodium options with minimal added sugars. Or better yet, make your own sauce using canned tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, olive oil, and fresh herbs.

Pair tomato-based sauces with veggies, beans or lentils, and lean protein for a well-balanced pregnancy meal high in antioxidants.

Ideas for Healthy Pasta Meals & Snacks During Pregnancy

Here are some nutritious pasta meal ideas to try while pregnant:

Lunches or Dinners:

  • Pasta with chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and feta
  • Shrimp scampi linguine with asparagus
  • Vegetable lasagna with turkey meatballs
  • Macaroni and cheese with broccoli
  • Pasta primavera with mixed vegetables
  • Whole wheat rigatoni with roasted eggplant and tomato sauce
  • Pumpkin and sage ravioli with brown butter sauce

Simple Snacks:

  • Whole wheat pasta salad with veggies and chickpeas
  • Rice pasta with pesto and cherry tomatoes
  • Cold sesame peanut noodles
  • Mini whole grain pasta quiches
  • Cheddar macaroni with steamed broccoli


  • Frittata with vegetables and whole wheat pasta
  • Breakfast lasagna with scrambled eggs, spinach and sausage
  • Cheese ravioli with sautéed peppers and eggs
  • Whole wheat pasta with roasted sweet potato and eggs

With some creativity, pasta can be transformed into nutritious meals and snacks for expecting mothers. The key is balancing it with lean protein, healthy fats, vegetables, and whole grains.

Portion Control & Weight Gain With Pasta

Pasta is high in carbohydrates, which can contribute extra calories and lead to excess weight gain during pregnancy if portions are too large.

Here are some tips for keeping pasta portions in check:

  • Stick to 1-1.5 cups of cooked pasta per meal, which provides 30-45g of carbs.
  • Read labels and weigh dry pasta before cooking to have a serving reference. 1 oz of dry pasta equals 1/2 cup cooked.
  • Bulk up your pasta with low-calorie vegetables to create a larger dish you can fill up on.
  • Avoid going back for seconds and focus on eating slowly to allow your brain to register fullness.
  • Leftovers can be portioned out to stay within serving recommendations at later meals.
  • Pair pasta with protein, fat, and fiber to help control hunger and blood sugar levels.
  • Stay hydrated by sipping water with your pasta meal, which helps avoid overeating.

During pregnancy, women only need about 300 extra calories per day, especially in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Excess weight gain can increase risks like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery. Tracking portions and choosing nutritious toppings is key for pasta.

Health Risks of Eating Too Much Pasta While Pregnant

While pasta can be included as part of a healthy pregnancy diet, eating large portions or too much pasta frequently can pose risks including:

  • Excessive weight gain: Pasta is high in carbohydrates and calories, which can easily lead to going over recommended pregnancy weight gain if overeaten. This raises risks of complications.
  • Gestational diabetes: Carb-heavy, high-glycemic foods like pasta may increase risk of this pregnancy-related high blood sugar condition if not balanced with protein and fat.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Overfilling on pasta versus a variety of whole foods can result in inadequate intake of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
  • Heartburn: Heavy, carb-dense meals can trigger pregnancy-related heartburn in the second and third trimester.
  • Constipation: Refined white pasta lacks fiber that helps avoid constipation, which is common during pregnancy.
  • Food aversions: Some women develop pasta aversions or carbohydrate intolerance during pregnancy due to hormonal shifts. Listen to your body.

To help prevent these risks, eat pasta in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet, choose whole grain varieties, and pair with other nutritious foods like vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats. Stay active, drink plenty of water, and avoid overeating.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Pasta in Pregnancy:

Can I eat pasta every day while pregnant?

Eating pasta daily is fine during pregnancy if you control portions and choose whole grain options. Limit to 1-1.5 cups cooked pasta per meal and pair with veggies, plant proteins, and healthy fats to help manage blood sugar levels. Add variety by switching up sauces, veggies and proteins so you don’t get bored.

Which pasta is healthiest when pregnant?

Some of the healthiest pasta choices in pregnancy include whole wheat or whole grain varieties, vegetable-based pastas like those made from spinach or tomato, bean or lentil pasta for extra plant protein, and gluten-free options like brown rice pasta.

Is shrimp alfredo safe in pregnancy?

Shrimp alfredo can be safe to eat during pregnancy if prepared properly. Be sure shrimp is fully cooked to the proper internal temperature. Opt for light alfredo sauce made with reduced-fat dairy and limit portions to 1/2 cup. Pair with veggies for balance and avoid overeating high-calorie, heavy meals.

Can eating pasta cause a miscarriage?

Eating pasta in normal food amounts does not increase risk of miscarriage. Having a well-balanced diet that includes carbohydrates like pasta along with protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables is important in pregnancy. Very large portions of pasta or overeating can contribute to excessive weight gain, which may potentially impact pregnancy complications. As long as you eat pasta in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet, it will not increase miscarriage risk.

Is pasta good for nausea while pregnant?

For some women, plain pasta can help settle nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy due to its bland carb-based calories that are easy on the stomach. The BRAT diet for nausea includes bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, which are all binding, bland foods. However, for others carbs can worsen pregnancy nausea. See what works for your body.

The Bottom Line

Pasta made with tomato sauce or creamy dairy-based sauces can be safely enjoyed in moderation as part of a nutritious pregnancy diet. Choosing whole grain varieties and loading your pasta up with vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats provides balanced nutrition for you and baby. Just be mindful of portion sizes and weight gain. With some planning and creativity, pasta can be a tasty, versatile component of a healthy diet throughout pregnancy.