If you are looking for more information or planning to have Bird's Nest during Pregnancy in 2022, you are going to love this guide! Here, we will be covering the topic of consuming Bird's Nest during Pregnancy and answering these commonly asked questions.
Table of Content:
- Health Benefits of Consuming Bird's Nest during Pregnancy
- How to cook Bird's Nest soup for Pregnancy?
- Allergies, Ailments and Side Effects of Consuming Bird's Nest
- What is the Best time to Consume Bird's Nest during Pregnancy?
- How Often should you Consume Bird's Nest during Pregnancy?
- How to Choose the type of Bird's Nest to Consume?
Health Benefits of Consuming Bird's Nest during Pregnancy
When you're pregnant, what you eat and drink is the primary source of nourishment for your baby. You will require more of all the essential nutrients than you did before you became pregnant. So let us understand how Bird's Nest can be beneficial to you and the baby.
1. Promotes Intellectual Development & Memory Boost
Medical circles have proven Sialic acid to be a major carbohydrate found in Edible Bird's Nest. Modern medical research abroad has found that Bird's Nest acid is an essential nutrient for the human body. It is also the main biologically active ingredient in breast milk necessary to provide healthy growth and development of the baby.
It participates in a variety of physiological functions on the cell surface and plays a vital role in regulating the physiological and biochemical processes of the human body. It helps children develop their brains during their growth period, improving their memory and making them think actively.
2. Improve Red Blood Cells Production & Prevent Iron Deficiency
Another essential trace element that Bird's Nest contains is Iron. Iron is a mineral you'll need twice as much during pregnancy than before. Your body needs iron to make more blood so it can carry oxygen to your baby.
Most studies show that you'll need 27 milligrams of Iron each day during pregnancy. Apart from Bird's Nest, you can get Iron from the food listed below:
- Red meat, poultry, and seafood
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Beans, peas, raisins, and dried fruit
On top of it, consuming fruits rich in Vitamin C like oranges and tomatoes can also increase the amount of iron your body absorbs. Being pregnant puts you at a higher risk of iron deficiency which is a condition that happens when you don't have enough healthy red blood cells.
Iron deficiency could potentially cause you to experience the following symptoms:
- Irregular heartbeats
- Cold hands and feet
A recent study on the prevalence of anemia and iron deficiency anemia in Chinese Pregnant women indicates that 19.8% of women were diagnosed with anemia, and 13.9% were diagnosed with IDA of the 12,403 pregnant women who enrolled.
3. Prevents Osteoporosis and Supports growth in baby's bone and muscles
Bird's Nest is a natural supplement that is easily absorbed by the body. It also contains Calcium, a mineral that helps your baby's bones, teeth, heart, muscles, and nerves develop during their growth period.
During Pregnancy, you need 1,000 milligrams of Calcium daily. Other sources of prenatal vitamin and food that is high in calcium includes:
· Milk, cheese, and yogurt
· Broccoli and kale
If you don't get enough calcium during pregnancy, your body takes it from your bones and gives it to your baby, which can cause severe health conditions, such as osteoporosis, later in life. Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle, and a fall or even mild stresses such as bending over or coughing can cause a fracture.
4. Repair Damaged Skin, Improve Hydration & Reduce Pigmentation
Bird's Nest is rich in Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF). EGF plays a vital role in promoting anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing activities in our bodies. A recent study by a Korean researcher showed that Bird's Nest might repair UVB-induced skin photoaging and inflammation as well as wound injuries, resulting in rapid healing effects.
EGF plays an essential role during pregnancy as your skin changes due to the shifts in your physique, hormones, and blood flow. Below are the common skin changes:
· Pigmentation changes. The area that tends to darken is around your nipples, the skin on your inner thighs, and genitals. Dark patches might also develop on your face (chloasma).
· Outbreak/Acne. Due to increased hormones, some women have trouble with acne during the first and second trimesters. They might experience more clogged pores that lead to bacteria, inflammation, and outbreaks during the process.
· Stretch marks. Stretch marks appear in 9 out of 10 pregnancies. They are caused by the rapid skin stretching during the second and third trimesters when your body is actively developing.
With all the rapid skin changes in your body, it is crucial to supplement EGF or even include it in your nutrition plan to accelerate wound healing and for better skin.
How to cook Bird's Nest soup for Pregnancy?
Cooking Steps for Bird's Nest Cup:
Step 1: Soak the bird's nest cup (5-7g) in a bowl of hot water (90°C) for 30 mins. As it softens, pour away the water and gently tear it into strips.
Step 2: Add hot water (90°C) into the bowl with the Bird Nest strips and soak for another 10 mins.
Step 3: Drain the water, transfer the Bird's Nest into a Double Boiler, and add 200ml of hot water - simmer for 2 hrs.
*Ginseng can be added should you choose to.
Step 4: When you're left with a quarter of an hour to go (15 mins), add in your chosen condiments!
*We recommend Rock Sugar, Red Dates, and Wolfberries.
** Apart from the traditional recipe, feel free to experience different ways of eating this delicacy; in chicken soup, with fish maw, or even abalone.
Allergies, Ailments and Side Effects of Consuming Bird's Nest
As mothers, we want to consume products or food with the best nutrients and give it to our babies. Hence, we are also attentive and wary about the food we eat as we are sometimes unsure if there might be any allergies or side effects.
Bird's Nest is nature's superfood that contains many nutritional properties beneficial to a pregnant woman. Generally, it is regarded as safe for expecting mothers to consume during pregnancy.
Unfortunately, few individuals may be allergic to Bird's Nest. To date, the exact cause of many food allergies is still unknown. Some contribute them to allergic factors such as family genetics of asthma, eczema, hives, and hay fever playing a part in its development. Common symptoms of allergies include swelling, itch, hives, and shortness of breath. Like any other food, if you have a suspected reaction to eating Bird's Nest, stop and seek medical help immediately.
What is the Best time to Consume Bird's Nest during Pregnancy?
Most articles and research would agree that Bird's Nest is best consumed on an empty stomach which could be the first thing in the morning or just before heading to bed so you can effectively absorb all the goodness and nutrients it has to offer.
The rationale behind this practice could be similar to taking medicines/ supplements where you either take it "before food" or "on an empty stomach. This is because food or drinks can affect how these medicines work. For example, taking some medication simultaneously while eating may prevent your stomach and intestines from absorbing the drug, making it less effective.
Thus, we recommend having Bird's Nest without any other food so your body can effectively absorb its nutrients. It is best to consume on an empty stomach, about an hour before a meal or 2 hours after a meal as a general rule. Also, if you are on medication, it is advisable to take Bird's Nest two hours after taking your medicine.
How Often should you Consume Bird's Nest during Pregnancy?
Bird's Nest is a superior tonic in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as it has a good effect of nourishing yin. The nourishing nature of Bird's Nest is relatively mild and not overpowering, making it very suitable for pregnant women to eat when supplementing nutrition.
There is a correlation between the stage of pregnancy you are in and the amount and frequency of Bird's Nest you are consuming. Generally, the recommended consumption for the average person is 4g per day.
However, if you think it's the same for pregnant women, then the answer is no. Read on to understand why!
The first trimester (i.e., 0-13 weeks) is the earliest phase of pregnancy. This is an important period as your baby changes from a fertilized egg into a fully-formed fetus. All the major organs and systems are taking shape. Nutritional supplementation is critical for the baby's healthy growth. At this stage, it is recommended to consume 3-5 grams of Bird's Nest every day or every other day.
The second trimester of your pregnancy lasts from week 13 to 28, or months 4, 5, and 6. This is the period when both the mother and the baby are most stable. During this period, your baby grows up to 3 pounds in weight and up to 16 inches in length. Their brain and lungs will develop a great deal as well.
During this time, we would recommend eating more Bird's Nest since the high content of unique sialic acid in Bird's Nest can promote a baby's brain development and strengthen the immunity of pregnant women. It is recommended to consume 5 grams of Bird's Nest every day or every other day.
Based on the principles of healthcare and preservation in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is necessary to pay attention to the gradual process of taking Bird's Nest during pregnancy. Persistence & perseverance will undoubtedly yield results.
How to choose the type of Bird's Nest to Consume?
The following would act as a guide as you decide to consume Bird's Nest during your pregnancy or purchase Bird's Nest for someone dear to you. Choosing the right type and the best quality of Bird's Nest is vital as we always want the best for the mother and the baby. Here, we break down the choosing process into steps so it's easier to follow and understand.
Bottled Bird's Nest or Raw/Dry Bird's Nest?
Many might agree that Dry Bird's Nest is always better because it is often perceived as more natural, not processed, and they can decide the cooking method. It also allows the flexibility to control taste and texture, just like how you want your steak done.
Some prefer Bottled Bird's Nest because it is convenient to consume, skipping the hassle of cooking Dry Bird's Nest, and is usually more price effective. Both ways are viable, but these are things to look out for when deciding between Bottled Bird's Nest or Dry Bird's Nest.
Bottled Bird's Nest
These are some certifications that are considered essentials and labeled on the product in the food industry to ensure that the product is safe for consumption.
ISO 22000 is a global food safety standard that ensures that the food producer/manufacturer is responsible for managing the safety of their products for consumption.
HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point)
HACCP is another global food safety standard that ensures the product is free of biological, chemical, or physical hazards that could potentially bring harm to you.
Suppose the Bottled Bird's Nest does not have these certifications. They might not have been produced with safety standards in place. In that case, manufacturers are not held responsible, and products might not be safe to consume.
Preservatives, natural or artificial, are added to products to increase their shelf life. Unfortunately, most preservatives used today are primarily artificial rather than natural and potentially harmful. Some are safe to consume, and some are unhealthy to consume that may cause serious health hazards. A research was done to increase awareness of consuming preservatives and the health risk that comes with them.
Bird's Nest Substitutes Free
It is no secret that Bird's Nest is indeed a luxury commodity, and the prices vary according to the grade, origin, and color of the Dried Bird's Nest. The commonly sold white swiftlet Dried Bird's Nest ranges from SGD$6,000/kg - SGD$8,000/kg or SGD$6.00/g - SGD$8.00/g. Expensive, isn't it? So to meet consumers' demand for lower prices, some brands add Bird's Nest Substitutes, commonly seaweed or white fungus, which has a somewhat similar texture to the original Bird's Nest, helping make Bottled Bird's Nest more affordable and seemingly thick to consumers. Therefore, if it costs you less than $8.00 per bottle, chances are that the bottle has less than a gram of authentic Bird's Nest, which is not enough to supplement you during pregnancy.
Raw/Dried Bird's Nest
Identifying a fake Bird's Nest
The bird's nest industry globally is an estimated US$ 5 billion reported by Bloomberg News in 2014 when Hong Kong and the United States were the largest importers of nests then. Currently, China is the biggest importer of Bird's Nest, and the estimated figures could be way higher. Alike making purchases in any other lucrative industry, one must always pay extra care when buying Bird's Nest.
Step 1: Always buy from a reputable source or an established retailer. There might be a lot of good deals on numerous e-commerce platforms, but are they credible or accountable? Give yourself peace of mind by purchasing from someone with good track records or a physical presence in Singapore.
Step 2: Conduct a short physical appearance test. Like our fingerprints, Bird's Nest comes in different shapes and sizes. No two are 100% identical.
Step 3: Like how you can bleach your teeth to make them look white and clean, coloring might also be added to Bird's Nest to make it look desirable. In contrast to the traditional method of cleaning Bird's Nest, which is expensive and time-consuming, unethical sellers would rather bleach them because it is a cheaper and faster alternative. Therefore, to verify if the Bird's Nest has undergone artificial coloring or bleaching, soak it in water, and it should be semi-transparent.
Step 4: Not recommended, but well, if it's for educational purposes, you can do a durability test. Authentic bird's nests are fragile and break easily.