Pregnant women should include a variety of foods in their diet such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and fats. Soy products have been considered extremely healthy as they contain high amounts of proteins and all nine essential amino acids. However, according to MayoClinic.com, several studies have shown possible side effects of soy milk for pregnant and lactating women.
Soy milk contains isoflavones, which are able to mimic estrogen. According to MayoClinic.com, high doses of these compounds given to pregnant test animals resulted in tumors and physical deformities in the offspring. Some women may also be allergic to soy milk and develop allergic symptoms such as swelling, rashes, inability to breathe, nausea and vomiting. In rare cases, soy allergies could lead to anaphylaxis.
As of date of publication, there have been no conclusive studies that can prove or disprove any negative effects of soy milk and soy milk products in pregnant women. However, MayoClinic.com does report one study in which women who consumed large amounts of soy milk during their pregnancy experienced a higher frequency of having babies with birth defects in the genital area. Soy products also contain isoflavones, which are related to acute migraine headaches.
Possible Health Benefits
Soy products are considered a great source of protein. Soy milk also contains calcium, and both of these nutrients are important for pregnant women. For pregnant women who are vegetarian, soy milk may be the best source of proteins. MayoClinic.com reports that soy products can lower bad cholesterol. They may also contain antioxidants, which are beneficial for overall health.
Small quantities of soy milk are safe for pregnant women. Soy milk can be used as an alternative to cow’s milk for women who have lactose intolerance. The Cleveland Clinic recommends consumption of four servings of dairy products for pregnant women, including soy products such as soy milk. One cup of soy milk every day is safe for pregnant women who are not allergic to soy products.