Yes, it is safe to eat popcorn during pregnancy. Popcorn is made from whole grains that are rich in fiber, and contain essential vitamins. You should generally avoid high-calorie popcorn while pregnant, such as those heavily coated with other ingredients such as caramel and cheese. This kind of popcorn is also high in sugar and fat content, which is unhealthy as it can cause inflammation and digestive problems, but it is not unsafe for pregnancy.
Avoid the microwaveable popcorn that you see in stores. Although the popcorn itself doesn’t pose any health risks, the packaging may contain harmful materials that are dangerous to your health. In the US, packaging made using this harmful compound called perfluorinated compounds (PFC) was banned in 2016, but in other countries it may still be used. Even in the US, there has been limited testing on the new type of PFC packaging adopted post the ban and hence its long term effects on health is yet to be seen. Therefore, it is better to avoid prepacked microwave popcorn, especially if you are pregnant.
Homemade popcorn that is air-popped is the healthiest choice for pregnant women. Although oil should generally be avoided so that the popcorn doesn’t have too much fat content, it is safe to use some types of oil such as olive oil or butter to enhance the flavour of your popcorn. You can also add herbs and spices like cinnamon powder.
Bottom-line, it is safe to eat popcorn during pregnancy and is a healthy snack choice. The popcorn you find in stores contain unhealthy ingredients, but they are not unsafe for pregnancy. Homemade popcorn with minimal salt and butter is the safest option.