Can Pregnant Women Eat Soy Sauce? (Quick Answer!)

By KidSpaceStuff •  Updated: 04/25/24 •  7 min read

During pregnancy, it can be challenging to determine what to eat and avoid, particularly when it comes to our favorite dressings and sauces. One of the pregnant women’s most frequently asked queries is, “Can I eat soy sauce?” Even seemingly harmless substances can have unanticipated effects on a pregnant woman. 

In this article, I’ll delve deeply into the realm of soy sauce. To provide pregnant women with a complete answer, we’ll examine its ingredients, benefits, and potential dangers.

Can You Eat Soy Sauce While Pregnant?

Pouring soy sauce into a white bowl

Soy sauce is safe to eat while you are pregnant, as long as you don’t eat too much of it. 

Soy sauce has a lot of sodium, which can raise blood pressure, so it’s important to eat other low-sodium foods with it. Most commercial soy sauces are pasteurized, which makes them safer, but for homemade sauces, it’s best to check. Also, soy products contain phytoestrogens, but the fermentation process in soy sauce lowers these amounts, and it hasn’t been shown that moderate consumption is bad for you. 

But keep an eye out for things like MSG and stay away from soy sauce if you are allergic to soy. It’s always a good idea to talk to a doctor or nurse about what to eat when you’re pregnant.

What is Soy Sauce?

Soy sauce is a liquid condiment that originated in East Asia, traditionally made from a fermented paste of soybeans, roasted grain (usually wheat), brine, and specific strains of mold. The mixture undergoes a fermentation process ranging from several months to several years, resulting in a flavorful and salty liquid. 

Once fermentation is complete, the juice is pressed from the solid matter, refined, and then bottled. Soy sauce is widely used in Asian cuisine, particularly in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean dishes, to add saltiness, umami, and a depth of flavor. Different varieties and preparations exist, with nuances in flavor and color depending on the ingredients, fermentation time, and regional variations.

Nutritional Benefits of Soy Sauce

Soy sauce, a popular condiment in East Asia, offers a unique blend of flavor and nutrition. Here’s a quick overview of its nutritional benefits:

  1. Protein: Soy sauce contains protein essential for building and repairing body tissues.
  2. Umami Flavor: Beyond its nutritional value, soy sauce enhances the taste of foods due to its umami flavor.
  3. Low in Calories: It has approximately 8.5 calories per serving, making it a low-calorie dish addition.
  4. Minuscule Fat: Soy sauce contains nearly zero grams of fat.
  5. Carbohydrates: It has about 0.8 grams of carbs per serving, which can provide a small amount of energy.

Concerns about Soy Sauce during Pregnancy

Soy sauce makes many pregnant women think twice about what they eat. Most women worry about how much salt is in soy sauce when pregnant. Blood pressure can increase when you eat salt, which is bad for pregnant women. 

Most store-bought soy sauces are heated to kill bacteria that could make you sick. Some traditional soy sauces that are made by hand may be different. This could allow germs to get into food. Phytoestrogens are found in soy goods like soy sauce. 

Even though it hasn’t been shown that moderate drinking is harmful to a baby, people still argue about it. Lastly, soy sauce might have allergens like MSG, chemicals, and fillers. A little bit here and there might be fine, but pregnant women should talk to their doctors or nurses about any worries they have about what they eat.

Recommendations for Pregnant Women

For pregnant women, being mindful about dietary choices is crucial, and when it comes to soy sauce, there are a few recommendations:

Alternatives to Traditional Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a beloved seasoning, offering a unique blend of saltiness and umami to dishes. However, pregnant women often seek alternatives due to concerns about sodium content and other factors. Here are some soy sauce substitutes suitable for expectant mothers:

#1: Low-Sodium Soy Sauce 

This is a version of regular soy sauce with reduced salt content. It offers a similar flavor profile without as much sodium.

#2: Tamari 

Often gluten-free, tamari is a soy sauce made primarily from soybeans, with little to no wheat. It’s a good alternative for those avoiding gluten and wanting a more prosperous, less salty flavor.

#3: Coconut Aminos 

Made from the fermented sap of coconut palm and sea salt, coconut aminos are soy-free and gluten-free. They provide a sweeter, milder flavor than traditional soy sauce.

#4: Liquid Aminos 

Derived from soybeans, liquid aminos are gluten-free and offer a taste similar to soy sauce but often with less sodium.

#5: Dashi 

A Japanese stock made from fish and seaweed that you can use in sushi, dashi can provide a deep umami flavor without the high salt content of soy sauce.

#6: Homemade Soy Sauce Alternatives 

Combining broth, vinegar, molasses, and a pinch of salt can create a flavorful sauce reminiscent of soy sauce.


Is there a difference between light and dark soy sauce regarding safety during pregnancy?

Light and dark soy sauces primarily differ in flavor and color. Light soy sauce is saltier and thinner, while dark soy sauce is thicker with a sweeter, richer taste due to longer fermentation or added molasses. Regarding safety during pregnancy, the concerns remain similar for both: high sodium content. However, neither is inherently unsafe when consumed in moderation.

Can consuming soy sauce affect fetal development?

Excessive consumption of soy sauce can lead to high sodium intake, which may result in elevated blood pressure in the mother. While no direct evidence links soy sauce to adverse fetal development, consistent high blood pressure can pose risks during pregnancy. Always consume in moderation.

Are other soy products, like tofu or tempeh, safe during pregnancy?

Other soy products like tofu and tempeh are generally safe during pregnancy. They are good sources of protein and other essential nutrients. However, it’s advisable to consume them in moderation and ensure they are prepared and cooked correctly to avoid any food borne illnesses.

Are you wondering what to eat everyday when you’re pregnant? Check out the video below!

Final Thoughts

Pregnant women can consume soy sauce, but it’s essential to do so in moderation. 

The main concerns with soy sauce during pregnancy center around its high sodium content, which, if consumed excessively, can lead to elevated blood pressure. Moreover, while many soy sauces are pasteurized, some artisanal varieties might not be, posing a risk of bacterial contamination. 

Alternatives like low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos can provide similar flavors without as much salt. As with many dietary considerations during pregnancy, it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional to tailor choices to individual health needs.