Taking Mushrooms While Pregnant: What You Need to Know

Can you take mushrooms while pregnant?

When a woman becomes pregnant, everything she puts in her body can affect the developing fetus in her womb. This is because certain substances as well as food and beverages can pass into the placenta, which is the fetus’ main source of food and oxygen during pregnancy. Because the fetus is sensitive during its development, women should monitor everything they put into their bodies and avoid using drugs during pregnancy. This includes avoiding prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and illegal substances such as magic mushrooms.

Mushrooms are a flavorful food used in dishes of endless cultures. Whether you prefer them on top of your pizza or in your favorite pasta dish, mushrooms add flavor and texture to a variety of meals. Although flavorful and filled with nutrients, pregnant women should be wary of eating mushrooms if they have not been properly cooked.

Mushrooms can provide ample amounts of Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Iron, protein, fiber, and a wide range of antioxidants to you and your growing fetus, but certain varieties — especially raw and poisonous varieties — should not be consumed by a pregnant woman.

Psilocybin mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms, can be eaten raw with foods or eaten after they are dried. These types of mushrooms have mind-altering effects when consumed, which can be deadly to a growing fetus. Side effects of magic mushrooms can include anxiety, an unpleasant experience while tripping, a psychotic reaction, perceptual changes that can last for weeks to years after using mushrooms, and impaired cognition which can lead to dangerous behaviors such as driving a car under the influence.

Magic mushrooms are illegal because they contain the illegal substances psilocybin and psilocin. These substances are classified as Schedule I drugs under the United Nations 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. These drugs are considered to have a high potential for abuse and have no recognized medical uses. However, some cultures in different countries revere magic mushrooms for their therapeutic abilities. Regardless of whether you believe magic mushrooms may be medicinal, you should not ingest them while pregnant.

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Taking Mushrooms While Pregnant: What You Need to Know

Eating raw mushrooms can be extremely dangerous to your baby. Mushrooms grow within soil or on top of other plants, making them not safe for consumption without being cooked. Raw mushrooms are known to be carcinogenic, meaning they can cause cancer in mother and possibly fetus. Cooking a mushroom is known to cause the carcinogenic effects to subside, and the valuable nutrients of a mushroom cannot be released unless it is cooked thoroughly. During pregnancy, it is safe to only eat cooked mushrooms and avoiding raw mushrooms is greatly recommended for the health of your fetus.

Consuming magic mushrooms — which contain a chemical called psilocybin that alters brain activity — can gravely affect a pregnant woman and her fetus. Consuming poisonous mushrooms may lead to physical birth defects, and should be avoided at all costs during pregnancy. However, there are not enough well-controlled studies available to completely determine what kinds of birth defects and other malformations may be caused by ingesting magic mushrooms during pregnancy.

One animal study did find that using magic mushrooms during pregnancy would not increase the chance of physical birth defects. Although, this is only one study and its findings cannot be confirmed until more research is done in both animal and human studies.

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Although raw mushrooms can be potentially dangerous if ingested while pregnant, there are various varieties of mushrooms that are safe to eat during pregnancy. White button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, maitake mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, and chestnut mushrooms are deliciously flavorful and safe for consumption during pregnancy. Pregnant women should always avoid consuming any poisonous or magic mushrooms, as these can be potentially fatal to the fetus.

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