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Can Pregnant Women Eat Unsalted Butter?

author image Julie Christensen
Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of MarmaladeMom.org, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."
Can Pregnant Women Eat Unsalted Butter?
Butter Photo Credit YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Getty Images

Unsalted butter is no more or less nutritious than salted butter. Butter in general is not the best choice during pregnancy because of its high fat content, but the occasional indulgence won't cause harm. Opt for organic butter that is free of hormones or additives when possible.


All butter sold in the U.S. is salted, unless it is specifically labeled "unsalted." Most people prefer the taste of salted butter for cooking or spreading on toast, potatoes or corn, but bakers often rely on unsalted butter to control the sodium content of baked goods, such as cakes and cookies. Unsalted butter is more perishable than salted butter, since salt acts as a preservative, but if properly stored in the refrigerator, it will last at least two weeks.

Unsalted Butter During Pregnancy

Pregnant women should reduce or eliminate butter and other full-fat dairy products from their diets during pregnancy, according to Dr. Aviva Jill Romm. Pregnant women who drink a lot of milk, or eat a lot of butter or ice cream, tend to have large babies, potentially complicating childbirth. One cup of butter contains more than 1,600 calories, all from fat.


There's no denying the satisfying creaminess butter gives to food, and a few pats of unsalted butter occasionally, or a cookie that contains unsalted butter won't likely hurt a pregnant woman. If you choose to use butter, do so in moderation, as part of a well-balanced, nutritious diet that includes at least two cups of fruit per day and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables. Eat at least 6 oz. of whole grains, such as wheat pasta and bread, brown rice, quinoa or faro. Do not eat unsalted butter that has an off flavor or smell and might be spoiled.


As you make healthy eating a part of your everyday lifestyle, your preferences will change and you'll crave fatty foods such as butter less frequently. Flavor potatoes, vegetables or rice with chicken broth, organic seasoning mixes or soy sauce. Add sliced almonds or cashews to salads and casseroles for a satisfying crunch. Top baked potatoes with low-fat plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream and chives.

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