Is It Safe for Pregnant Women to Eat Mushrooms?

According to the Vancouver Health News, eating cooked mushrooms during pregnancy is safe. While raw mushrooms, hallucinogenic mushrooms and toxic mushrooms are to be avoided throughout the entire duration of pregnancy, there is no reason not to eat cooked mushrooms. In fact, when properly prepared, mushrooms offer many health benefits.

Raw mushrooms have a small amount of carcinogens present. However, these are removed through cooking or drying, according to the Vancouver Health News. By preparing mushrooms properly, they boost the immune system and provide fiber, vitamin D and minerals. Cooked mushroom varieties such as maitake and shiitake are safe to eat throughout pregnancy, as are more common mushrooms, such as the cremini or portobella button varieties. High in beta glucan, a polysaccharide sugar that doubles as a fiber, these types of mushrooms help to boost the immune system and have antibacterial, antioxidant and antifungal properties. Some of them are even thought to fight cancers.

Hallucinogenic mushrooms contain psilocybin, a substance that affects brain chemistry and has the potential to have adverse effects on an unborn baby or nursing infant, says the Vancouver Health News. Avoid picking and eating wild mushrooms unless certain about mushrooms identification. Many types of wild mushrooms are poisonous, including the commonly found "false chantarelle."