Most edible mushroom species are safe during pregnancy if thoroughly cooked and cleaned before consumption. You and your developing fetus can get plenty of vitamin D, B vitamins, minerals like selenium and iron, fiber, protein, and antioxidants from mushrooms.
Still, when your obgyn tells you you are about to add a newborn to your family, you must be more strict about the mushrooms you consume. While pregnant women can consume medicinal mushrooms like Reishi, Lion's mane, Chaga, and Turkey tail, they should avoid magic mushrooms. Moreover, before adding mushroom varieties to your diet, visit the hospital and consult your doctor on the safest options.
Below we will explore the link between mushrooms and pregnancy benefits. We will also show you the safest options during the nine magical months of your life.
The Best Mushrooms During Pregnancy
Like most people introducing a mushroom diet into their lives, any pregnant woman will want information on the best culinary mushrooms she can eat. To safely eat mushrooms while pregnant, consider sticking to the following options:
- Lion's mane mushrooms
- Chaga mushrooms
- Reishi mushrooms
- Oyster mushrooms
- Turkey Tail Mushrooms
- Maitake mushrooms
- Cordyceps mushrooms
- Morel mushrooms
- White button mushrooms
- Porcini mushrooms
- Chestnut mushrooms
These culinary mushrooms can be cooked or obtained as supplements—powdered mushrooms—and used in mushroom coffee, smoothies and other recipes.
Read More: Learn how to cook tasty Lion’s Mane pasta.
Benefits Of Medicinal Mushrooms During Pregnancy
For pregnant women, mushrooms are a good source of numerous essential nutrients. They have a low calorie and fat content, are abundant in minerals and B vitamins, and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, they serve as prebiotics to promote gut health.
Read More: See how turkey tail mushrooms promote gut health.
It is safe to keep eating the same mushrooms if you loved them before getting pregnant and had no adverse effects. So let's now explore the benefits of eating medicinal mushrooms during pregnancy.
1. Lion's Mane Mushroom For Pregnancy Brain
Pregnancy brain refers to the cognitive decline and brain fog that pregnant women struggle with. Some symptoms include forgetfulness, poor concentration, absentmindedness, and poor memory.
Lion's mane mushroom, or Hericium erinaceus, has a reputation for helping to clear the mental haze.Additionally, it helps to increase focus, memory, and sharpness. Moreover, Lion's mane is known to fight anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders that often affect new mothers before birth.
Hericium erinaceus, also known as "nature's brain juice," is a potent brain enhancer(1). The mushroom ingredients promote the synthesis of the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), which renews brain cells.
Read More: See our detailed guide on eating Lion's mane during pregnancy.
2. Chaga For Anti-Inflammatory And Immune Support
The mother's immune system constantly changes during pregnancy, from a pro-inflammatory state at the beginning and end to an anti-inflammatory state in between.
Research has shown that Chaga mushrooms, or Inonotus obliquus, contain beta-D-glucans that support a healthy immune system in the mom before and after delivery. The mushroom stimulates your immune system when you need a boost while carrying your daughter or son in your belly. Moreover, Chaga mushrooms can downregulate the immune system when overactive, protecting your child from birth defects.
The anti-inflammatory properties(2) of ergosterol peroxide, ergosterol, and trametenolic acid, isolated from Chaga mushrooms, are well known. Therefore, it might aid in reducing inflammatory conditions during pregnancy.
The maturation of dendritic cells(3), derived from bone marrow and an essential part of the immune system, is encouraged by inotodiol, a lanostane triterpenoid from Chaga.
Read More: Read our detailed guide on eating Chaga during pregnancy.
3. Reishi and Oyster Mushrooms For Combating Oxidative Stress
Antioxidants shield the body from free radicals that contribute to various pregnancy-related illnesses. Oxidative stress also affects multiple reproductive issues, including high blood pressure (preeclampsia), miscarriage, fetal growth restriction leading to low birth weight, preterm labor, and infertility.
Reishi, or Ganoderma lucidum, is well-known for its antioxidant properties(4), which boost the immune system and keep pregnant women healthy and free from disease. Triterpenoids and polysaccharides are primarily responsible for Reishi's defense against oxidative damage.
Research also supports(5) that oyster mushrooms are rich in antioxidants. Oyster mushrooms contain several antioxidant compounds, such as phenolics, flavonoids, ascorbic acid, glycosides, tocopherols, polysaccharides, ergothioneine, and carotenoids which fight oxidative stress.
Adding Reishi and oyster mushrooms to your diet reduces the risks associated with pregnancy, ensuring you give birth to healthy offspring.
Read More: See all the health benefits of Reishi mushrooms for the children, mom, and dad.
4. Cordyceps And Turkey Tail Give You A Burst Of Energy
Pregnancy can sap the energy out of you as your body is working hard to support the new life growing inside. In addition, before you have to visit the midwife, your body has to adapt to many physical changes with the development of a baby. Furthermore, increased levels of progesterone, low sugar, and blood pressure can add to your fatigue.
The extract of Turkey tail mushroom, or Trametes versicolor, has been shown to enhance energy and fight fatigue(6).Moreover, Cordyceps can boost the body's synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which supplies muscle energy.
Read More: See how cordyceps boost energy levels for the expecting woman, father, and kids.
5. Shiitake Mushrooms for Additional Iron
Shiitake mushrooms are a good source of nutrients that can benefit pregnant women. However, the primary health benefit of Shiitake mushrooms for pregnant women is their high iron content.
Iron is essential for producing hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. During pregnancy, a woman's blood volume increases to support the growth and development of the fetus, which means that more iron is needed to produce additional red blood cells.
Iron deficiency is a common problem during pregnancy and can lead to anemia, characterized by fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath. Shiitake mushrooms are a good source of non-heme iron, which is found in plant-based foods.
6. White Button Mushrooms for Better Digestion
Pregnancy can negatively impact digestion by slowing digestion, causing discomfort, bloating, constipation, acid reflux, and nausea. However, adding white button mushrooms to your nutrition can help you benefit from bioactive components that improve your digestion.
White button mushrooms are an excellent source of fiber, which helps promote regular bowel movements, preventing constipation and maintaining digestive health. Additionally, white button mushrooms contain prebiotics that nourishes beneficial gut bacteria, improving digestion and boosting the immune system.
Mushrooms to Avoid During Pregnancy
While most mushrooms are safe to consume during pregnancy, some should be avoided due to foodborne illness or other potential risks. Here are some mushrooms to avoid during pregnancy:
While pregnant women eat mushrooms, it is best to avoid eating wild mushrooms during pregnancy as they can be toxic and cause serious harm to both the mother and the developing fetus.
It is important to remember that some edible mushrooms have poisonous look-alikes. Therefore, even if you are a seasoned forager, you may consume poisonous mushrooms. Therefore, always use edible mushroom supplements from reputable brands to avoid consuming toxic mushrooms.
Read More: Learn about Lion's mane look-alikes.
Eating raw mushrooms during pregnancy can pose a severe risk to the health of both the mother and the developing fetus. This is because raw mushrooms can be contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites, which can cause foodborne illness, also known as food poisoning.
This can lead to complications such as dehydration, premature labor, miscarriage, or even stillbirth. Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain, ranging from mild to severe.
Cooking mushrooms can kill harmful bacteria or parasites, making cooked mushrooms safe to eat during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Cook mushrooms until soft and tender to avoid consuming them raw or undercooked.
Read More: See our handpicked Lion's mane mushroom recipes.
Psilocybin mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms, shrooms, or psychedelic mushrooms, are known for their psychoactive effects and ability to cause hallucinations. However, consuming these mushrooms during pregnancy can pose severe risks to the mother and the developing fetus.
The active ingredient in these mushrooms, psilocybin, can cross the placenta and affect the developing fetus, potentially causing developmental abnormalities or other adverse effects.
Moreover, psilocybin mushrooms can alter mood and perception and cause unpredictable and uncontrollable hallucinations. This can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and fear, negatively impacting both the mother and the developing fetus.
Furthermore, using psilocybin mushrooms during pregnancy can cause various health problems, including changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature, which can be dangerous for both the mother and the developing fetus.
FAQs About Mushrooms Pregnancy
Are Mushroom Supplements Safe During Pregnancy?
Most edible mushrooms are safe to consume during pregnancy. These include common types of mushrooms such as button, portobello, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms. They are low in calories, fat-free, and provide nutrients such as vitamin D, potassium, and selenium.
However, pregnant women should avoid consuming magic mushrooms, which are known for their hallucinogenic properties. These mushrooms contain psilocybin, which can cross the placenta and affect the developing fetus.
Pregnant women should also avoid eating raw or undercooked mushrooms, which may harbor harmful bacteria such as E. coli or salmonella. Instead, cook mushrooms thoroughly before consuming them.
Wild mushrooms should also be avoided during pregnancy, as it can be challenging to identify the species, and some wild mushrooms can be toxic and harmful to both the mother and fetus.
Which Mushroom Is Best For Pregnancy?
Most edible mushrooms are safe to consume during pregnancy and provide various nutritional benefits. However, some mushrooms may offer more nutrients than others.
Shiitake mushrooms, for example, are a good source of vitamins B and D and have immune-boosting properties. They also contain antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. Button mushrooms are low in calories and contain potassium, vitamin B, and vitamin D. They also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Portobello mushrooms are a good source of vitamin B and contain potassium and selenium. They are also low in calories and fat. Finally, Maitake mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans, which have immune-boosting properties. They also contain potassium, vitamin B, and vitamin D.
While pregnant, culinary and medicinal mushrooms such as Lion's mane, Turkey tail, Chaga, and Reishi are safe to eat. These mushrooms provide pregnancy benefits such as keeping the mind sharp, increasing energy levels, and fighting inflammation and oxidative stress. On the other hand, magic mushrooms, uncooked mushrooms, unwashed mushrooms, and wild mushrooms are unsafe for expecting mothers.
Always seek your healthcare provider's approval before using medicinal mushrooms while pregnant. Never use health products or medicinal mushrooms alone unless they are safe for you and the life developing inside you.
Have you used medicinal mushrooms while pregnant or parenting? Which mushrooms did you use? Let us know in the comments.
- Dietary Supplementation of Hericium erinaceus Increases Mossy Fiber-CA3 Hippocampal Neurotransmission and Recognition Memory in Wild-Type Mice, (1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5237458/
- Anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities of extracts and compounds from the mushroom Inonotus obliquus, (2)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814613000526
- Inotodiol From Inonotus obliquus Chaga Mushroom Induces Atypical Maturation in Dendritic Cells, (3)https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2021.650841/full
- Antioxidant properties of several medicinal mushrooms, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12358482/
- Oyster mushroom: A rich source of antioxidants, (5)https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323018916
- Effect of Coriolus versicolor Mycelia Extract on Exercise Performance and Physical Fatigue in Mice, (6)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5666542/
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