This Just In: Potatoes Are Bad for Pregnancy Health

As I am writing this, I am eating a potato — a sweet potato in the form of fries, actually. And it is absolutely delicious. 

But then again, I'm not pregnant, so it isn't necessarily a bad thing. But if you do happen to be pregnant, you may want to skip the starchy root. Why? Well, according to a new study that just came out, potatoes + pregnancy = not good. 

{ MORE: What Does a Balanced Diet For a Toddler Look Like? }

Image via Flickr/ 16:9clue

Basically, the study found that the more potatoes that women had in her diet, the higher her risk of gestational diabetes. The researchers in the study monitored women for a 10-year period of time, and even after taking out every other health factor, they still found that potatoes equalled bad news bears. 

The results of the study boiled down to this statement: “Higher levels of potato consumption before pregnancy are associated with greater risk of gestational diabetes, and substitution of potatoes with other vegetables, legumes, or whole grain foods might lower the risk.”

They also found that women who eat a lot of potatoes had higher BMIs, performed less physical activity, consumed greater total energy, and had a lower quality of overall diet.  

When I looked at the actual study, however, I didn't find anything saying they studied the difference between the types of potatoes that the women ate. I feel like it's pretty common knowledge, for instance, that the white ones aren't always as nutritionally the same as the sweet ones. Or maybe that's just wishful thinking because I like sweet potatoes?

From the study, it looked like the researchers pretty much studied white potatoes more and lumped all potato products, including mashed potatoes, french fries, and even potato chips into the same category. So eating a box of french fries counted the same as eating a baked potato. 

I don't know about you, but that seems a little silly to me. Shouldn't it be like, common sense, that eating french fries is not the same as eating a potato and that, in general, eating anything fried is not a healthy move? 

But the moral of the story is pretty much the same old advice for pregnant women as it is for the rest of the general population with a little added dose of pressure because, you know, growing a human being and all that: eat more green vegetables and lay off the french fries because potatoes every day, especially in the form of chips or fried anything, are never a good idea. 

If you're pregnant, will you be avoiding potatoes because of this study now?


What do you think?

This Just In: Potatoes Are Bad for Pregnancy Health

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. JQBMom says:


    When potatoes (of ANY kind) are frozen (or stored in near-freezing temps), the starch is converted into sugar.
    Most think of this as being worse for everyone, and a great percentage of Americans get most of their potatoes from frozen, in the form of fries and the like.

    Now, I had gestational diabetes, and am half&half Irish/German (so even more susceptible to tater weirdness), and potatoes did NOT spike my sugars… because if I ate fries, I made ’em myself, from fresh taters… MOST of the time. (Darn you, Wendy’s!)
    In any event, most of my tuber consumption was whole ‘fresh’ tater baked or cooked in homemade soup/stew/chowder.

    So, if you are one who gets spiked sugars due to taters, eat them “fresh, never frozen”. It will make a big difference (for most people).

  2. Adele says:

    I have just been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which came as a surprise since I was had a normal BMI prior to pregnancy, my weight has not increased beyond what is healthy in a pregnancy (might even be on the lower than normal side), I have maintained my regular moderate physical activities, and tend to eat mostly healthy foods – only indulging in sugary foods on the odd occasion. I thought I was doing all the right things, but it seems that I may have been genetically predisposed to get it, which now increases my chances of Type 2 diabetes later in life. Particularly if I become overweight.
    My obstetrician provided me with a sheet of recommended carbohydrates and which ones to avoid. Sweet potatoes (orange), Carisma potatoes and a few other kinds in the best category and your standard white ones in the avoid category. So, yes. Not all potatoes are equal in nutrition. I also have to avoid fatty foods too. So your potatoes, even the “good” ones, when fried aren’t too good either.
    Now that I have been diagnosed with this, my blood sugar levels need to be monitored and I need to be on a high fibre, low GI diet (keeping an eye on portion control) and get my minimum 30 minutes of exercise EVERY day (can be just a walk).

  3. Isabella says:

    What study are you referring to?
    And you spelled potato wrong,
    Thanks for the info though

  4. Jane says:

    Can’t imagine what my Irish ancestors who lived through the potato famine would think about this article.

    • JQBMom says:

      Faith and Begorrah, what a shame: to have them white-coat fruities slander so the noble apple of the ground!

      Sorry: just had to let my cartoon-self chime in. I blame the lack of sleep due to new baby.
      I left my real comment above (4th entry).

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