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Many readers have asked and suggested we extend our Soups for Children and Confinement Soups section to include a unique (but temporary) group of individuals – the expectant mother.

In Chinese traditions, it is commonly known that the first three months of pregnancy are the most critical.  I think western medicine will echo this too because the baby is just beginning to develop most of the critical pieces and there can be lots of instability.  You will too often hear people announce their pregnancy after the 3 month incubation period is over and be cautious of what they eat.

Here is a straight forward guide and list of soups safe to consume during pregnancy.  The basic concept of the Chinese soups is that none of them are extremely cooling, healing or potent in herbal additives.  Enjoy!

Black Silkie Chicken with Vegetables and Chestnuts
Chicken Herbal Soup
Fish Maw with Seabed Coconut and Pork Bones
Fish Tail Soup with Lily Bulb and Carrots
Ham Bone Sour Vegetable Soup (The sour soup will probably really hit the spot in your early months)
Orange Vegetable Fish Soup
Papaya Fish Soup
Pork Bones and Arrowroot Soup
Pork Bones with Lotus Root Soup
Red Dates and Young Coconut with Fish Tail Soup
Seabed Coconut, Carrot and Corn Soup
Tomato Fish Soup
Tri-Coloured Pepper Vegetarian Soup
Turkey Bone Sour Vegetable Soup

In general, I would recommend fish soups.  Although be careful of not using fish that are too large (due to the increased level of mercury in larger fish compared to smaller fish).


  • LadyTong says:

    Dear Michele, should be OK to drink snakehead fish soup at any time of your pregnancy (depends also on the ingredients used inside). It’s better in general to have heaty foods vs cooling foods and the fish is neither. Hope this helps and g’luck! Lisa

  • LadyTong says:

    Dear Eve,
    All the soups you mentioned are perfectly safe for you to drink during your pregnancy (first trimester). You can consider these two soups (that contain salted mustard greens – which help bring back some appetite and allow you to eat better or more after the vomiting).



    But going into your 2nd trimester, most things are safe for consumption (vs the 1st trimester). Hope this helps and all the best!

  • Yu516 says:

    Hi! I was just wondering are blue date water safe during the first and second trimesters?

  • wei says:

    In my first pregnancy I had some dong kwai with chicken.I had cramp for a few days and so severe that I ended up at a and e.Found out every time I have it it promotes contraction especially I have fibroids which make it worse.Another is tofu.Soy mimic hormones.Everytime I had it I will have cramp.So I m avoiding all these two items.

  • richrach says:

    Dear Lady Tong,

    I’m 22 weeks pregnant with my 2nd baby. I have had bad experiences with bleeding almost on a weekly basis since week 16.

    Is there any recommendations on nutritious soup to strengthen my ppregnancy?

    Thank you.

  • LadyTong says:

    Dear Richrach,

    Yes – go with rich, healing and dense soups – ie: double-boiling. Chicken soup is best – or even black chicken (silkie chicken) with Chinese herbs. Here are a few you can try.


    Hope this helps and g’luck!

  • Allison says:

    Dear Lady Tong,

    Is it safe to eat bitter melon during your 3rd trimester? I have gestational diabetes and bitter melon seems to bring down my blood glucose level although I’ve read that it could also induce labor. In any case, I was wondering if it is common for chinese women to eat bitter melon during pregnancy. Thanks.

  • cat says:

    Hi there! I love your site its got so much useful information.
    I’m early into my second pregnancy about 7 weeks and my mum in law is here helping out. She likes making lots of soups but I’m a bit concerned as I don’t know if I can take any of the ingredients she is adding.
    We don’t want to tell her I’m pregnant yet as we haven’t passed the 1st trimester.
    Can you let me know what to avoid?
    Is something like white fungus and pork ribs soup ok? What about fa Kay Sam?
    I know i should avoid wood ear fungus.
    Any help would be great she’s actually boiling soup tonight so need to know if I have to avoid it.

  • LadyTong says:

    Dear Cat, avoid any cooling ingredients – especially in your first trimester. This includes Fa Kay Sum (ginseng), bitter melon, water melon, most melons in soup like winter melon, fuzzy melon, snow pears. Go with neutral vegetables like corn, old cucumber, lotus roots, most roots are good. Hope this helps. White fungus is OK, pork ribs is OK. Hope this helps! Lisa

  • LadyTong says:

    Dear Allison, it’s a cooling food, so it may help speed up / induce labour, although perfect OK during the third trimester. In fact, the Chinese have this interesting old wives’ tale where they encourage women who are ready to give birth to eat lots of water melon, that will definitely cause contractions (that’s what cooling foods do). It’s common to eat bitter melon during the tail end of the pregnancy! Congrats and g’luck! Lisa

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