6 Side effects of consuming MSG during pregnancy


Pregnant women must be extra cautious while eating as it will affect your baby directly. Many doctors suggest homemade simple foods and to avoid junk and processed food items. This due to many chemicals and preservatives that have been added in order to make it more flavourful. One of the most widely used additives especially in Chinese cuisines is Monosodium glutamate also known as MSG. It comes in various different packings and can be purchased separately or already ingrained in certain food items.

Over the years, MSG also known as Ajinomoto has been a dispute for its consumption by pregnant women. However, as of today, there are no identified severe side effects in the mother or the fetus (baby) due to it. After years of testing, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has commented on it as “generally recognized as safe.” Thus, any food item that contains Ajinomoto should be labeled with this tag.

It has also been identified that naturally available foods like tomatoes, parmesan cheese, grapefruit, cow milk, breast milk, and apples also contain free glutamate however it does not harm the body and is considered safe.
It has been advised that during the pregnancy period, Ajinomoto must be avoided if any of the following 6 side effects arises:

1. Migraine

Ajinomoto must be avoided if you experience migraines while you are pregnant. MSG also increases the frequencies of migraines as aspartame and nitrates. Since a woman may experience many mental, hormonal and physical changes during the pregnancy life cycle the body may also try to react in adversative ways for such consumptions.

2. Weight Gain

As MSG is present in most of the junk food such as processed or canned it can lead to rapid weight gain effect. This can cause backaches and other adverse issues. Therefore, it is best to avoid such junk foods.

3. Allergies

If Ajinomoto or MSG is allergic even before pregnancy it is best to avoid it during pregnancy. As these can cause illnesses such as a headache, numbness in muscles, tingling of muscles, nausea, chest pain, excessive sweating, and flushing.

4. Water Retention

This has been one of the common issues for most pregnant women as the body produces 50% more blood and other fluids in order to provide support for the baby’s growth. Though, surplus retention of it within, in severe cases, could be a sign of preeclampsia, which will require instant medical attention. Salt has been identified as the culprit. This is due to MSG being a sodium salt of glutamic acid, intake of it during pregnancy can worsen the condition of water retention.

5. Placental Barrier Breakdown

MSG consists of glutamates which can cause the placental barrier to break down. Such a breakage can cause your baby to be exposed to bad substances in your blood which can affect the immune system of the baby. Certain glutamates in the blood can also reach the baby brain and stimulate them in negative ways.

6. Heartburn

This has been one of the identified problems most women face in their pregnancy months, especially during the last few months. As MSG is a synthetic additive, it might advance add to the risk of increasing the existing situation. The digestive system may have to create an additional effort to digest it, triggering heartburn.

Therefore, the final decision for the safety of MSG during pregnancy is to avoid it if you are having any of the above-identified side effects or allergies even before pregnancy. However, if you don’t, having a serving of Chow Mein once in a while wouldn’t harm you or your fetus.

Although, take it as a caution for frequent intake can lead to issues like heartburn and water retention. In any case, it is advisable to confirm with your doctor/ gynecologist prior consumption or if you are facing any of the above side effects after eating it.


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