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Ask a pregnancy nutritionist - can pregnant women eat runny eggs in the UK?

Pregnant woman in nature under a tree looking happy

Ask a pregnancy nutritionist - can pregnant women eat runny eggs?

Continuing the series of 'Ask a pregnancy nutritionist', this is one topic that comes up a lot, especially if you have been pregnant or living outside of the UK - can pregnant women eat runny eggs?

The short answer is yes. But there's a little bit of nuance to consider too. So let's crack on.

Table of contents

Eggs and a healthy pregnancy

Raw and runny eggs in pregnancy

Can you eat scrambled eggs when pregnant?

Are all eggs safe to eat during pregnancy?

What about mayonnaise?


Eggs and a healthy pregnancy

Eggs are a brilliant food to include as a part of a pregnancy diet, if animal products are something you usually include. They are incredibly nutrient dense.

Eggs are a good source of protein, omega 3 fats, vitamins A, D, E and K, selenium, iodine and more.

They also contain iron, which is really important for pregnant women, especially in the last stages of pregnancy when iron levels tend to drop. As with many foods containing iron, it's a good idea to eat a vitamin C-rich food alongside to help absorb the iron better.

Eggs are also super versatile, relatively low-cost, and an easy food to add into your diet on a regular basis.

Overall, if you can eat eggs, then do!

Poached eggs and avocado toast - example of eating eggs during pregnancy

Raw and runny eggs in pregnancy

Whilst eggs aren't always for everyone, for me, nothing beats a runny egg with marmite on toast soldiers to dip in. And when I was pregnant I really couldn't get enough of eggs for breakfast. I ate them SO often.

Back in the 1980's, pregnant women were advised to avoid raw or undercooked / runny eggs due to concerns about salmonella. Pregnant women are more at risk of infections from food poisoning, which salmonella can cause. So it's understandable that many of us are left wondering 'can pregnant women eat runny eggs?'

BUT. A lot has changed within the food and farming industries since then. And back in 2017, the Food Standards Agency changed its guidance to confirm it is safe for pregnant women to eat raw or runny eggs IF they have been produced under the British Lion Code of Practice. In 2021, this guidance extended to eggs produced under the 'Laid in Britain' scheme as well.

That means, as long as the eggs you by in the UK have either a Red Lion logo printed on them, or the company is registered with the 'Laid in Britain' scheme, it is perfectly safe to eat them raw, undercooked, runny or fully cooked - however you most enjoy eating your eggs!

Can you eat scrambled eggs when pregnant?

Absolutely. If you're eating out for breakfast or brunch and fancy some scrambled eggs it is absolutely fine to eat them slightly undercooked. You can check with the restaurant that the eggs being used are 'British Lion' or 'Laid in Britain' eggs, and they will be able to tell you. If for whatever reason they aren't from one of those schemes (and more than 90% hen eggs in the UK are), then it would be safest to ask for your eggs to be cooked through fully.

Are all eggs safe to eat during pregnancy?

All eggs are safe to eat, but not all eggs are safe to eat raw or undercooked during pregnancy.

For any eggs that are perhaps produced by a local farm and don't fall under the British Lion scheme, or eggs that are not from hens (e.g. duck, quail, goose), are not considered safe to eat during pregnancy, unless they are cooked thoroughly. Cooking the white and yolk of the egg through will destroy any salmonella bacteria that may be present.

This also means that if you are travelling during pregnancy and fancy eating eggs for breakfast, you will need to check local guidance. For many countries, the risk of salmonella from raw and undercooked eggs, is too high during pregnancy, and so advice is to make sure eggs are cooked thoroughly.

British Lion eggs logo for safety when checking eggs for pregnant women

What about mayonnaise?

In the UK, the NHS advise that it is safe to eat mayonnaise, or other foods made with raw eggs such as mousse, during pregnancy, as long as the eggs are covered by the Red Lion scheme or 'Laid in Britain'. Outside of the UK this is not the case, and you should check whether the mayonnaise contains raw egg or not.

You'll find that most mayonnaises and mousses sold in shops in the UK are made from pasteurised eggs, which will have destroyed the salmonella bacteria, but check the label to be sure. And if you are in doubt at all, you can contact the company to find out more.


Getting support from a pregnancy nutritionist

If you are feeling worried about what foods you can eat during pregnancy, and keeping you and your baby safe, then working with a pregnancy nutritionist could be for you.

I take the guesswork out of choosing the right foods and help you feel happy about the food choices you are making. Plus you have me on hand to ask all those questions like 'can pregnant women eat runny eggs?' throughout the 9 months.

I work with what’s important to you for your pregnancy and will support you to be confident and enjoy the foods you choose to eat. Your diet during pregnancy shouldn’t have to be restrictive and boring!

Pregnancy is a short window of time, so to get started working with me, get in touch at or fill out the form here and I’ll get back to you

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