Can You Eat Sour Cream While Pregnant 2022? Is It Really Safe?

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Medically reviewed by Dr G. Michael DiLeo, MD

can you eat sour cream while pregnant

Pregnancy is not only a unique and beautiful experience for the mother, but it’s also a time when both mother and the baby are more vulnerable to the hazards of our world.

Knowing which foods to eat and which to avoid can get to be a bit much during pregnancy. We all know how important prenatal vitamin supplements are for a healthy baby. Various pregnancy diets, however, also have been shown to keep both the mother and the baby healthy.

Calcium[1] intake is also very important during pregnancy. It can be supplied from a variety of sources. Milk and dairy products are natural sources of calcium, and one popular dairy product is sour cream. But can you eat sour cream during pregnancy? Let’s find out.

Can I Eat Sour Cream While Pregnant?

The short answer is yes, in most cases you can eat sour cream while pregnant. Generally, it is recommended that all “pasteurized” dairy products are safe and you can consume pasteurized sour cream. 

What are pasteurized milk products, you ask? They are the dairy products that have undergone the process of pasteurization[2] which entails heating the product under mild heat (usually less than 100oC) and then cooling it rapidly. 

Pasteurization removes unwanted bacteria and microbes from the product and is widely used as a standardized method for removing pathogens.

The National Health Service[3] of the United Kingdom recommends that any dairy products that are not pasteurized should not be consumed by women who are expecting, whereas those pasteurized sour cream products are generally considered safe for pregnant females. This applies to your own sour cream that you make at home as well.

Sour cream is made from a process called fermentation[4] which essentially uses lactic acid bacteria to break down glucose in the absence of oxygen. This produces a chemical known as lactic acid which gives the cream its characteristic sour flavor. 

This process is completely safe when done in a standardized industrial environment where the temperature, pressure, and humidity of the product are under strict control, and the growth of unwanted microorganisms and bacteria can be checked and prevented.

Making and eating sour cream at home is a completely different affair. The temperature of the cream cannot be well regulated, the humidity cannot be controlled to our satisfaction, the environment cannot be sterile, and the pressure is not under our control. 

This means that unwanted bacteria and microorganisms will grow on our homemade sour cream substrate. This might be fine for some, but this puts a pregnant mother at risk for unwanted infections, so stick to pasteurized sour cream.

So, if you are pregnant and thinking of eating or consuming sour cream (or any dairy product) be sure to check the package and see if it states, “Pasteurized.” If it does, it is fine to enjoy that sour cream any way you like. Most commercial sour creams are pasteurized. 

Health Benefits of Sour Cream for Pregnant Women

Sour cream is rich in nutrients and minerals that our bodies need. These needs may be more important during pregnancy, and some unique requirements also may arise due to the nature of pregnancy and the state of health of the expectant mother. 

Nutritional components[5] in 100 g of sour cream can vary depending on the amount of fat content present in the cream, which can be variable but generally, they are as follows (do not include all nutrients):

  • Energy: 200 kcal
  • Proteins: 3.33g
  • Total lipid (fat): 16.67g
  • Carbohydrates: 3.33g
  • Sugars (lactose): 3.33g
  • Calcium: 133mg
  • Sodium: 50mg
  • Phosphorus: 76mg
  • Potassium: 125mg
  • Vitamin A: 667IU

Strong Bones

Feeling aches and squeaks in your joints and bones in an already difficult pregnancy? Loading up on sour cream might just be the thing for you!

Sour cream (cultured cream) is a rich source of calcium and phosphate which are the building blocks of our bones. 

During pregnancy dietary requirements[6] for all nutrients and minerals, especially calcium may increase. Long-term calcium deficiency can lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis and other bone-related problems. 

Due to increased weight during pregnancy, there is also a chance of increased stress and pathological fractures. While this is only a concern for women with underlying diseases resulting in calcium deficiency, the additional calcium from the sour cream provides additional peace of mind for the expectant mother. 

Certainly, calcium and strong bones go together and help keep the expectant mother mobile, and the increased activity will lead to overall better health and a better pregnancy. 

Better Teeth

Due to possible alterations in calcium absorption during pregnancy, increased gastric reflux, hormonal changes, and a variety of other factors, there is a greater chance of enamel erosion, receding gums, and dental cavities.

The calcium and protein from the sour cream help the teeth discourage enamel erosion. Fewer problems with oral hygiene mean reducing the exposure of the mother to instrumentation at the dentist and contracting viral and bacterial infections.

Blood Pressure Control

Has your obstetrician told you to be careful with your blood pressure during your pregnancy? Turns out sour cream might just be the perfect condiment for your salads.

Disorders of blood pressure in pregnancy[7], especially those caused by the pregnancy, can be life-threatening, both for the mother and the fetus. 

Blood pressure problems in pregnancy follow a continuum (i.e., gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, eclampsia, and HELLP syndrome). And any one of these might not only require multiple medications which have their own side effects, but might also lead to surgery, admission to the intensive care unit, ventilatory support, and even death and stillbirth in some cases.

Studies have shown that increased calcium intake reduces the risk of these blood pressure disorders and helps better regulate blood pressure[8] in at-risk individuals.  

Vitamin B-12

The vitamin B-12 in the sour cream helps prevent its deficiency which is fairly common in the pregnant female population who follow a vegan diet or who have had bariatric surgery[9]

Vitamin B-12 helps metabolize proteins and enzymes, and its supplementation is necessary for treating anemia when it’s deficient. It also protects the neurological system and prevents loss of appetite and fatigue due to poor absorption.

Gut Health

Gastrointestinal reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and other gut-related issues are more common during pregnancy and have a significant impact on the quality of life of the mother during gestation.

Sour cream has certain probiotic elements in it that help improve gut health[10]. Probiotics also help to improve the overall immunity of the body. Reduced incidences of other bodily infections have been shown in studies in people who take probiotics in their diet regularly.

Potential Risks

Alas, that old idiom that excess of anything is bad holds true. There are some potential hazards associated with the intake of sour or cultured cream, especially when taken in excess. Some of the potential risks are the following:

Weight Gain

Consumption of dairy products including sour cream has been shown to promote weight loss when taken as a part of an overall calorie-restrictive diet. Unfortunately, excessive intake of sour cream can result in weight gain, since it does pack quite a few calories in its small serving size.

Even though pregnancy typically includes weight gain, excessive weight gain[11] can result in several problems, including blood pressure problems, gestational diabetes, increased instances of cesarean surgery, and complications with the health of the baby (fetal macrosomia)[12].

Be sure not to overdo it with the sour cream. Choose light sour cream to lower your calories.

Watch That Bad Cholesterol

A major portion of calories in sour cream come from saturated fat. Excessive amounts of saturated fats will increase the level of “Bad Cholesterol” (low-density lipoproteins–” LDL”) in your blood, which can lead to heart disease and high blood pressure if elevated over an extended period of time.

If you have a history of increased bad cholesterol blood levels in your family, it is probably wise to shift to a low-fat or fat-free sour cream.

Are You Lactose Intolerant?

If you are, it is best to stay away from sour cream as it is a dairy product and might cause gastrointestinal upset. If you feel it’s an irreplaceable part of your diet, switch to a vegan alternative.

How To Consume Sour Cream Safely While Pregnant

Always see the label to check that the sour cream you are consuming has been pasteurized industrially. 

Make sure that the sour cream is not expired and store it in a cool dry place where the temperature is controlled, like your refrigerator. If you use sour cream dip, put the dip in a separate dish, and do not dip from the container as this can introduce contamination

Always check that the sour cream is in accordance with and a part of your diet plan. Use it in moderation to avoid excessive fats and calories.

The Bottom Line

Be it a soup, a salad, or some chips, sour cream might be a perfect sidekick for all your snacking needs during pregnancy. This treat might be the perfect complement for your palate, and it also comes with a bunch of nutritional benefits.

Eating commercial sour cream and pasteurized milk products during pregnancy might give you some much-needed calcium and proteins while also complementing your diet by adding some vitamins into the mix.

Take care to avoid unpasteurized milk products and homemade sour cream during pregnancy, though, and make sure not to overdo it with the sour cream!


+ 12 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. McKeating, D.R., Fisher, J.J. and Perkins, A.V. (2019). Elemental Metabolomics and Pregnancy Outcomes. Nutrients, [online] 11(1), p.73. doi:10.3390/nu11010073.
  2. CURRIER, R.W. and WIDNESS, J.A. (2018). A Brief History of Milk Hygiene and Its Impact on Infant Mortality from 1875 to 1925 and Implications for Today: A Review. Journal of Food Protection, [online] 81(10), pp.1713–1722. doi:10.4315/0362-028x.jfp-18-186.
  3. Nhsinform.scot. (2022). Eating well in pregnancy. [online] Available at: https://www.nhsinform.scot/ready-steady-baby/pregnancy/looking-after-yourself-and-your-baby/eating-well-in-pregnancy
  4. Solomons, N. (2002). Fermentation, fermented foods and lactose intolerance. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, [online] 56(S4), pp.S50–S55. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601663.
  5. Usda.gov. (2022). FoodData Central. [online] Available at: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/954265/nutrients
  6. Kumar, A. and Kaur, S. (2017). Calcium: A Nutrient in Pregnancy. The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of India, [online] 67(5), pp.313–318. doi:10.1007/s13224-017-1007-2.
  7. Metoki, H., Iwama, N., Hamada, H., Satoh, M., Murakami, T., Ishikuro, M. and Obara, T. (2022). Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy: definition, management, and out-of-office blood pressure measurement. Hypertension Research, [online] 45(8), pp.1298–1309. doi:10.1038/s41440-022-00965-6.
  8. Hofmeyr, G.J., Lawrie, T.A., Atallah, Á.N., Duley, L. and Torloni, M.R. (2014). Calcium supplementation during pregnancy for preventing hypertensive disorders and related problems. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. [online] doi:10.1002/14651858.cd001059.pub4.
  9. Wolffenbuttel, B.H.R., Wouters, H.J.C.M., Heiner-Fokkema, M.R. and van der Klauw, M.M. (2019). The Many Faces of Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) Deficiency. Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes, [online] 3(2), pp.200–214. doi:10.1016/j.mayocpiqo.2019.03.002.
  10. Khademi, F., Naghizadeh Raeisi, S., Younesi, M., Motamedzadegan, A., Rabiei, K., Shojaei, M., Rokni, H. and Falsafi, M. (2022). Effect of probiotic bacteria on physicochemical, microbiological, textural, sensory properties and fatty acid profile of sour cream. Food and Chemical Toxicology, [online] 166, p.113244. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2022.113244.
  11. McDowell, M., Cain, M.A. and Brumley, J. (2018). Excessive Gestational Weight Gain. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health. [online] doi:10.1111/jmwh.12927.
  12. Mayo Clinic. (2022). Fetal macrosomia – Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fetal-macrosomia/symptoms-causes/syc-20372579

Written by:

Haroon Javed, MD

Medically reviewed by:

Michael DiLeo

Haroon is a licensed medical doctor who did his MD from the prestigious National University of Medical Sciences in Islamabad, Pakistan. He graduated with flying colors and has clinical experience spanning the better part of the decade. In addition to seeing patients in his clinic, he also enjoys writing about health and fitness.

Medically reviewed by:

Michael DiLeo

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