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Christmas 2022: Is rum cake safe for pregnant women?

Rum cake is a favourite during Christmas. It's so delicious that people can't stop eating piece after piece. But many wonder if pregnant women can eat rum cake. As the debate goes on, a nutritionist weighs in on it.
control sugar intake during Christmas
This Christmas, control your sugar intake. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Updated: 23 Oct 2023, 11:10 am IST
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Christmas is all about sweets, treats and love, with rum cake making it to the top 10 list of must-eat during holidays. Yes, there are tarts, cookies and multiple cakes to make this winter festival sweeter, but rum cake screams celebration as it is a perfect mix of alcohol and dry fruits. If you love to bake, you must be all set to chop raisins, plums, walnuts and different dry fruits, and then soak them in rum. But if you are pregnant and thinking of indulging in this homemade happiness, you need to think again. Eating rum cake during pregnancy might actually not be a safe choice.

Looking for a rum cake recipe online? Stop if you are pregnant as it might not be the best choice for you.

Health Shots checked with Dr. Hari Lakshmi, Consultant – Dietitian/Nutritionist, Motherhood Hospitals, Alwarpet, Chennai, to find out what makes rum cake not a healthy choice for pregnant women.

walnut cake recipe
Pregnant women should avoid eating rum cakes. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Is it safe to have rum cake during pregnancy?

Expecting mothers can enjoy the festivities, but they should also be cautious about their diet and nutrition. Lakshmi said that pregnant women should not give in to the “cravings for unhealthy foods that have a high chance of affecting the development and well-being of their unborn child.” It goes without saying that pregnant women need to watch what they are eating during pregnancy, and it is okay to indulge in some treats. But the expert said that a Christmas rum cake “should not be one of those”.

Ingredients in rum cake that can be harmful for pregnant women

As the name suggests, rum cake contains alcohol. Lakshmi said that it is best for pregnant women to avoid any food containing alcohol, and one food item that has both alcohol and high amounts of sugar in it, is rum cake. Rum cake might seem like a harmless treat during Christmas. But if it is consumed by pregnant women, there is a risk of harming their “unborn child with exposure to alcohol while they are still developing in the womb.” The doctor warned about the side effects of alcohol during pregnancy on the unborn baby’s development and can even lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. There is another reason for pregnant women to avoid rum cake and other foods containing high levels of sugar. They might lead to gestational diabetes if they are consumed when pregnant.

pregnancy and varicose veins
Pregnant women can eat cake prepared with dark chocolate and unsweetened cocoa. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Pregnant women should steer clear of rum cake

You might want to eat just a small piece of yummy rum cake, but the expert advised pregnant women to “steer clear of rum cakes completely during the festive season.” According to Lakshmi, there is “no safe level of alcohol consumption for pregnant women, and so they should avoid it completely.” The expert also said that baking a rum cake doesn’t cook out all the alcohol content of the rum used.

Other cakes that pregnant women can have

Since eating a piece of rum cake is a big no, you can look for an alternative. Lakshmi suggested that pregnant women can have a cake that is prepared with dark chocolate and unsweetened cocoa. The expert said that it can be consumed in moderate quantities, and is a much better choice over a rum cake for pregnant women.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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