Pregnant women should avoid raw or under cooked cassava (kamoteng kahoy). Cooking it thoroughly will make it safe to eat during pregnancy.
Raw cassava contains a naturally occurring toxin called cyanogenic glycoside. This toxin is also found in bamboo shoots but in lesser amounts. If not cooked properly, these toxins can harm pregnant women as well as their growing foetus, including brain malformations in the growing baby.
As per research published in the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, cassava can also trigger uterus contractions during pregnancy and lead to abortion. Cooking thoroughly can alleviate the risk.
As per Cleaveland Clinic, excessive intake of cassava can cause slowing of thyroid function, specially in presence of iodine deficiency. Therefore, cook thoroughly and avoid eating everyday.
Sabudana (sago) and cassava flour are two important products made from cassava roots. Both are safer to use for pregnant women than cassava roots as the harmful toxins are removed in the processing of cassava to make these products.