Is Rice Dangerous While Pregnant?

Researchers tested the urine of 229 pregnant women for its arsenic concentration. The tap water in each woman’s home was also tested for the chemical to ensure the levels were within an average range. Out of the 229 expectant mothers, 73 had reported eating half a cup of cooked rice daily. The others did not eat any rice.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the pregnant women who ate rice regularly had arsenic levels of 5.37 micrograms per liter. Those that did not eat rice had 3.38 micrograms per liter of arsenic in their systems. This is a statistically significant difference. Pregnant women who ate rice had 53 percent more arsenic in their bodies than expectant mothers who did not eat this staple food.


Before you stop eating rice completely, however, keep in mind that the researchers didn’t study the health outcome of the pregnant women or their babies. They only measured arsenic levels from rice and not the impacts. More research is needed to examine the potential health risks of eating rice in pregnancy.

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