In a nutshell
Yes and no. It all depends on the type of ice cream.
The expert view
There are three main types of ice cream, and they each have different recommendations.
- Ice cream sold in tubs and on sticks by supermarkets and shops should be absolutely fine to eat when you're pregnant, according to NHS advice. That's because they are processed products, made with pasteurised milk and eggs, so there's no risk of salmonella food poisoning.
- 'Mr Whippy'-type ice creams from vans and kiosks may, however be ones to be more cautious about, says registered nutritionist Dr Rana Conway, because they're dispensed from machines that can harbour listeria (a bacteria that can cause an infection that may lead to miscarriage of stillbirth) if not cleaned regularly and properly. If you really want to have this sort of ice cream, look for a van that's displaying a Food Standards Agency certificate with a hygiene rating of 4 or 5, as this indicates they have a good standard of hygiene
- Homemade ice cream. Most homemade ice cream recipes use raw egg, which is fine if you can be sure that the eggs used had the red British Lion stamp. You can also find recipes that use a pasteurised egg substitute or are completely egg-free. If you're in a restaurant and ice cream is tempting you from the menu, check with the kitchen whether it's processed ice cream or homemade. If it's homemade, you may want ask for reassurance that the eggs used were British Lion eggs before you order.
There's one other thing you might want to bear in mind about your ice cream consumption during pregnancy. "Most ice creams are high in saturated fat and sugar, so it's best not to eat them too often," says Dr Conway. "A good alternative is shop-bought frozen yogurt, which contains much less fat. Better still, make your own by blending fruit and yogurt and popping it in the freezer. Bananas work particularly well for this, as they taste sweet and provide a nice creamy texture."
Read more about which foods are safe in pregnancy:
Magda Ibrahim is a freelance writer who has written for publications including The Times and Sunday Times, The Sun, and the London Evening Standard, as well for MadeForMums.
Six big family moments that matter – and the products that make them easier to navigate
These products from John Lewis & Partners help support the memorable moments of family life.