Is it okay to eat sunny-side up eggs while pregnant?

Eating sunny-side up eggs while pregnant is generally considered safe, as long as the eggs are cooked properly. However, there are some potential risks to be aware of.

Quick Answers

Can you eat sunny side up eggs when pregnant? Yes, you can eat sunny-side up eggs while pregnant as long as the yolks are cooked through. Undercooked egg yolks may contain harmful bacteria like Salmonella.

Are over easy eggs safe during pregnancy? Over easy eggs may be risky during pregnancy because the yolks are still runny. It’s best to cook the yolks completely.

What temperature kills bacteria in eggs? Eggs should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160°F to kill any potential bacteria present.

Is it Safe to Eat Undercooked Eggs While Pregnant?

No, it is not recommended to eat undercooked eggs while pregnant. When eggs are not cooked properly, such as when the yolk remains runny, they can potentially harbor harmful bacteria like Salmonella. Pregnant women have an increased risk of getting sick from foodborne illnesses, which can cause complications like dehydration, fever, diarrhea and in some cases stillbirth or miscarriage.

To prevent illness, pregnant women should only eat eggs that have been cooked until the yolk and white are firm. Sunny-side up eggs are fine as long as the yolk is cooked through. Over easy or soft cooked eggs are risky because the yolk remains runny and may contain bacteria.

Salmonella Risk

One of the biggest concerns with undercooked eggs is Salmonella. Salmonella is a type of bacteria commonly found in the intestines of birds, reptiles and farm animals. It can be present in eggs if the laying hen was infected.

Symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, chills, headache and stomach cramps. They typically appear 6-72 hours after ingesting contaminated food and last for 4-7 days.

According to the CDC, pregnant women are 10 times more likely to get sick from Salmonella than the general population. An infection can lead to preterm labor, miscarriage or stillbirth. The bacteria may also spread from the mother to the baby either before birth or during delivery, potentially causing a dangerous infant infection.

Other Foodborne Illnesses

In addition to Salmonella, undercooked eggs may contain other foodborne pathogens like E. coli, Listeria, Campylobacter or Staphylococcus aureus. All of these can similarly cause gastrointestinal distress and dehydration. Listeria is especially concerning during pregnancy, as it can cross the placenta and infect the fetus, possibly resulting in miscarriage, stillbirth or birth defects.

Proper Cooking Temperatures

To kill any bacteria present, eggs need to reach an internal temperature of 160°F. The safest way to cook eggs is until both the yolk and white are firm. Here are some guidelines for properly cooking eggs:

Sunny-side up or over easy:

  • Cook on medium heat until the whites are completely set and the yolks begin to thicken.
  • Cover the pan to let steam cook the tops of the yolks.
  • Check that the yolks are completely firm before eating.


  • Crack eggs into simmering water between 160-180°F.
  • Cook for about 3-5 minutes until the whites are set and yolks are firm.

Soft boiled:

  • Place eggs in a pot and fill with enough water to cover them by 1 inch.
  • Bring the water to a boil, then remove from heat.
  • Let eggs sit covered for 6 minutes to fully cook both the whites and yolks.

Hard boiled:

  • Place eggs in a pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch.
  • Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
  • Let eggs sit covered for 12 minutes.


  • Whisk eggs thoroughly before cooking.
  • Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until no visible liquid remains.


  • Cook eggs completely before adding any fillings.
  • Use a food thermometer to confirm the internal temperature reaches 160°F.

If the proper temperature is not reached, harmful bacteria can survive. When in doubt, using a food thermometer is the best way to check that eggs are fully cooked through.

Pasteurized Eggs

An alternative to consider is using pasteurized eggs. Pasteurized eggs have been briefly heated to destroy any potential Salmonella or other bacteria present. They are considered a safer choice for dishes with raw or undercooked eggs.

Pasteurized eggs labeled “heat treated” are heated to just below cooking temperatures. “Hard cooked” means they are cooked to the point of being hard boiled. Substitute pasteurized eggs for regular eggs in recipes like homemade mayonnaise, mousse, eggnog or Caesar dressing where raw eggs are traditionally used.

However, note that pasteurized eggs still need to be handled safely. They can become re-contaminated if they touch dirty shells, utensils or containers. Make sure to follow good food safety practices when handling all types of eggs.

Tips for Safely Eating Eggs While Pregnant

Here are some best practices for safely consuming eggs during pregnancy:

  • Only purchase eggs from refrigerated cases that are clean and not cracked.
  • Avoid dirty or broken eggs, as bacteria could have entered the insides.
  • Keep eggs refrigerated at 40°F or below and cook within 3-5 weeks of purchase.
  • Wash hands, cooking tools, surfaces with soap before and after contact.
  • Cook eggs thoroughly until both yolks and whites are firm.
  • Only eat raw or soft cooked eggs if they are pasteurized.
  • Avoid eating raw cookie dough, cake batter, etc. that contains eggs.
  • Use a food thermometer to check proper cooking temperatures.
  • Promptly refrigerate any leftover cooked egg dishes.

Following these simple precautions can help minimize the risk of foodborne illness from eggs when pregnant. While the chances of getting sick are low, pregnant women should take extra care.

Nutritional Benefits of Eggs

Despite the potential risks, eggs can be a highly nutritious addition to a pregnant woman’s diet. Here are some of the benefits of eating eggs while pregnant:

High in Protein

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, providing 6 grams per large egg. Protein is essential for the baby’s growth and development as well as maintaining maternal health.


Eggs are one of the best dietary sources of choline, supplying about 147 milligrams per egg. Choline is an essential nutrient during pregnancy that contributes to brain and spinal cord development.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption and bone health. Many yolks provide 10-15% of the recommended daily vitamin D intake.


Eggs contain a small amount of iron, providing 0.6 mg per large egg. Iron helps prevent anemia, a common condition in pregnant women.


Eggs contain approximately 22 mcg of folate per egg, or about 5% of the pregnancy RDA. Folate is a B vitamin that helps prevent neural tube defects in babies.

The nutritional value can vary slightly depending on how the eggs are prepared. Overall eggs are dense in many essential vitamins and minerals that support a healthy pregnancy when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Recommended Intake

So how many eggs are safe to eat during pregnancy? Here are some recommendations on egg intake while pregnant:

Up to 2 eggs per day

Most healthy pregnant women can safely consume up to 2 eggs per day. This allows you to obtain beneficial nutrients from eggs while minimizing risk.

No more than 7 eggs per week

To be extra cautious, limit intake to no more than 7 eggs per week. Spread them out over different dishes and prep methods.

Higher risk groups: 1 egg daily max

Women at higher risk for foodborne illness, like those with compromised immune systems, chronic illness or very young/old pregnant women, should limit eggs to 1 per day.

Avoid raw and undercooked eggs

Again, undercooked sunny side up or soft boiled eggs are best avoided. Only eat fully cooked eggs or use pasteurized eggs for raw egg dishes.

As always, discuss your diet with your doctor and listen to any advice they provide on appropriate egg consumption during pregnancy.

Sunny-Side Up Recipe Ideas

Here are some recipe ideas for enjoying sunny-side up eggs safely during pregnancy:

Avocado Toast with Sunny-Side Up Egg

– Toast or grill bread
– Mash avocado and spread over toast
– Cook egg sunny-side up until yolk firms
– Top toast with egg and season with salt, pepper, hot sauce


– Cut a hole in the center of a slice of bread
– Cook bread in skillet with butter on both sides
– Crack egg into hole and cook until whites and yolk are firm
– Season with salt, pepper, fresh herbs

Breakfast Quesadilla

– Lightly oil a small skillet and heat over medium
– Cook egg until whites and yolk are fully set
– Place egg and other fillings like cheese, ham, spinach between two tortillas
– Cook quesadilla in skillet until tortillas are lightly browned and cheese melts

Buddha Bowl

– Roast or sauté vegetables of choice (sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, etc.)
– Cook quinoa or brown rice
– Fry an egg sunny-side up until egg is firm
– Assemble bowl with grains, veggies and egg
– Drizzle with olive oil, herbs, spices, salsa, etc.

Breakfast Sandwich

– Toast an English muffin
– Add slice of ham and cheese
– Top with a fried egg cooked firm
– You can also add veggies like tomato, spinach, avocado

The Bottom Line

Sunny-side up eggs can be a safe and healthy breakfast choice in pregnancy when cooked properly to avoid consuming raw or undercooked eggs. Limit intake to 1-2 eggs daily, cook the yolks and whites thoroughly, and take care to prevent cross-contamination during storage and cooking. With some basic precautions, you can enjoy the nutritional benefits of eggs prepared sunny-side up or in a variety of other ways. As always, check with your doctor about any dietary restrictions that apply specifically to you.

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