Can Pregnant Ladies Eat Vanilla Extract? [Explained]

Verified by Kimberly Langdon M.D.
Verified by Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Kimberly Langdon is an obstetrician/gynecologist with 19 years of clinical experience and graduated from The Ohio State University, College of Medicine.

When pregnant, indulging in food is almost inevitable. 

After all, you are actually eating for two.

But at the same time, you must be careful about what you eat and gain knowledge of which foods are safe for you and your baby. 

In this article, we will discuss if pregnant ladies can eat vanilla extract and other vanilla extract products and whether they are safe for breastfeeding.

Can pregnant ladies eat vanilla extract?

Yes, pregnant women can eat vanilla extract. However, due to the lack of more in-depth research, you are better off sticking to foods that use small amounts of vanilla extract in them.

Does vanilla extract have alcohol?

Vanilla extract does contain alcohol. Alcohol is found in pure vanilla extract as it is needed to draw the extract out of the vanilla pods. 

The extract has approximately 35% alcohol by volume but is considered safe to consume since it is not a significant amount. 

Furthermore, when used in baked goods, the alcohol actually evaporates due to the high heat.

Is vanilla essential oil safe during pregnancy?

Vanilla essential oil is too strong for use during pregnancy; therefore, it is not safe during pregnancy. It is recommended that women avoid the use of any essential oils during the first trimester of their pregnancies, as they can cause uterine contractions. Additionally, using any of them during the first trimester can have undesirable effects on the baby. 

Using some essential oils is considered safe during the second and third trimesters of the pregnancy. 

How much alcohol is in 1 tsp vanilla extract? 

Pure vanilla extract contains 35% alcohol. Therefore, a standard 5ml tsp of vanilla extract holds 1.75ml at most, which is a small amount. Additionally, as mentioned above, the alcohol evaporates during the baking process as it is only a carrier for the flavor.

Is vanilla extract safe for breastfeeding women?

Vanilla extract is considered safe for breastfeeding women as long as it is only the amounts found in foods. 

While you might think breastfeeding isn’t affected by the foods you eat, that is not always the case. 

Some foods can affect your milk supply by either changing the flavor of the milk or its volume. 


Being pregnant can be very stressful, and not being sure about what foods you can or can’t eat can add to that. 

So, it would be best if you always double-check before you consume something out of the ordinary for you. 

But as we covered, you shouldn’t worry about eating products with vanilla extract in them. 


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