Pregnancy & Vanilla Extract

By Mary Evett
Vanilla extract is safe to use during pregnancy.

Although vanilla extract--which is frequently used in cake, pie, bread or cookie recipes as a sweetener--contains alcohol, pregnant women should not be concerned about any adverse effects on the development of their unborn babies.

Function

Vanilla extract is commonly used as a flavoring in foods or medications, or as a scent component in candles, perfume, lotion or soap. Traditionally, it has been used as an aphrodisiac or a stimulant and may be added to foods to reduce the amount of sugar needed for sweetening.

Types

Pure vanilla extract is made by percolating the vanilla bean with a mixture of water and alcohol and accounts for only 6 percent of the vanilla flavoring market, according to Drugs.com. Synthetically produced vanilla extract is more widely available and is less expensive.

Safety

Vanilla extract that is consumed in food is generally considered safe during pregnancy and does not pose any risk to a fetus. Topical application of products that contain vanilla are also considered safe for use by pregnant women.

Warning

A pregnant woman should avoid dosages of vanilla extract that are more than those found in food, since its safety has been unproven. Vanilla extract does contain alcohol and should not be consumed excessively during pregnancy.

Considerations

While pregnant women may safely use products or consume foods that contain vanilla extract, some women may experience headaches or dermatitis (skin inflammation or rash) as a result. Contact a health care professional if an adverse reaction is experienced.

References

About the Author

A mother of three and graduate of the University of Texas, Mary Evett is the online pregnancy expert who contributes to AXS.com and CBS Local. Her passion for DIY projects is showcased monthly on the craft blog, My Crafty Spot. She is the author of the blog, Just Mom Matters.