It’s wise to watch what expecting mothers eat during pregnancy, but what about fruits?
Fruits can provide women with many healthy vitamins and minerals that can benefit a newborn child; however, some fruits carry risks when eaten during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, your little one depends on you to provide the nutrition they need. That’s why it’s time to make sure you’re making the best food choices for your baby — and yourself.
It’s essential to eat a well-balanced diet that includes lots of fruits and veggies. These powerful foods have much of what you — and your baby — need to stay healthy.
Let’s talk about the very best ones you’ll want to keep on hand. And don’t forget: Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are often just as nutritious as the fresh kind, so don’t feel like you have to get them all straight from the farmer’s market.
Benefits Of Eating Fruit During Pregnancy
When you’re pregnant, it’s crucial to eat nutritious food and avoid empty calories.
If you eat mostly junk food during your pregnancy, you may be setting up your baby for a lifelong preference for fat and sugar, according to a 2013 study.
Fruits and vegetables are filled with nutrients. So when you add a variety of them to your diet, you’ll likely get most of the vitamins, minerals, and fibre that you and your baby need.
Eating fruits and vegetables also help prevent constipation, a common symptom during pregnancy. So get thee to a produce aisle, and you won’t regret it.
Eating a healthful, varied diet is particularly important during pregnancy as the proper nutrients can help the fetus develop and grow as it should.
In addition to supporting the growing baby, an increased intake of vitamins and minerals can help a pregnant woman keep her body in the best condition possible.
Eating plenty of fresh fruit during pregnancy can help to ensure that both the woman and baby remain healthy.
Fresh fruit contains lots of essential vitamins and nutrients and is a good source of fibre too.
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Nutritious Fruits You Should Eat During Pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, you might be craving something sugary. But try not to make a habit of reaching for a piece of cake or a candy bar to satisfy that sweet tooth. Fruit is the perfect solution.
It offers the sweetness you crave and the nutrition you need. Enjoy these fruits as part of a healthy pregnancy diet in salads, in smoothies, over yogurt, or as a snack anytime.
- vitamins A, C, and E
- beta carotene
All of these nutrients help with the baby’s development and growth. For example, iron can prevent anemia, and calcium helps bones and teeth grow strong.
Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are chock full of vitamin C. Vitamin C is responsible for helping your baby’s bones grow correctly.
Citrus can also help with a woman’s digestion and deter morning sickness during pregnancy.
Oranges are an excellent source of:
- vitamin C
Oranges are great for keeping a person hydrated and healthy. In addition, vitamin C can help prevent cell damage and assist with iron absorption.
Folate can help prevent neural tube defects, which can cause brain and spinal cord abnormalities in a baby.
Neural tube defects can cause conditions such as spina bifida, where the spinal cord does not develop properly, and anencephaly, where a large part of the brain and skull are missing.
Mangoes are another great source of vitamin C. One cup gives you 100 per cent of your recommended daily allowance.
Mangoes are also high in vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency at birth is associated with lower immunity and a higher risk of complications, like diarrhea and respiratory infections.
Although rare, it’s possible to get too much vitamin A, according to a 2019 research review.
Mangoes are a great addition to your pregnancy diet, but eat them in moderation, along with a variety of other fruits.
Mangoes are rich in vitamins A and C.
One cup of chopped mango provides 100 per cent of a person’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C and more than a third of their RDA of vitamin A.
A baby born with vitamin A deficiency may have lower immunity and a higher risk of postnatal complications, such as respiratory infections.
Pears provide lots of the following nutrients:
Getting plenty of fibre in a pregnancy diet can help ease constipation, a common pregnancy symptom.
Potassium can benefit heart health for both the woman and baby. It also stimulates cell regeneration.
Pomegranates can provide pregnant women with plenty of:
- vitamin K
Nutrient-dense pomegranates are also a good energy source, and their high iron content helps prevent iron deficiency.
Vitamin K is also essential for maintaining healthy bones.
Research suggests that drinking pomegranate juice may help to decrease the risk of injury to the placenta.
Some women say that avocados help relieve nausea, possibly because of the potassium and magnesium in the fruit.
Potassium may also help relieve leg cramps, a common pregnancy symptom. Leg cramps are often caused by low potassium and magnesium.
Choline is essential for the development of your baby’s brain and nerves. Choline deficiency may cause neural tube defects and lifetime memory impairment. Avocados are an excellent source of:
- vitamins C, E, and K
- monounsaturated fatty acids
- B vitamins
Avocados contain healthy fats that provide energy and help to prevent neural tube defects.
They also boost the cells responsible for building the skin and brain tissues of the developing baby.
The potassium in avocados can relieve leg cramps, another common symptom during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester.
Guava contains vitamin E and folate, making it an ideal fruit to eat during pregnancy.
Guava is an excellent choice of fruit for people wanting more of the following nutrients:
- vitamins C and E
Guava contains a varied combination of nutrients, making it ideal for pregnant women. In addition, eating guava during pregnancy can help to relax muscles, aid digestion, and reduce constipation.
Bananas are an excellent source of potassium. Potassium can help extensively regulate the fluid and blood pressure in a woman’s body and prevent leg cramps or pain during the later stages of pregnancy. Bananas contain high levels of:
- vitamin C
- vitamin B-6
The high fibre content of bananas can help with pregnancy-related constipation, and there is some evidence to suggest that vitamin B-6 can help relieve nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy.
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Eating plenty of grapes can boost people’s intake of:
- vitamins C and K
- organic acids
The nutrients in grapes can help to aid the biological changes that occur during pregnancy.
They contain immune-boosting antioxidants, such as flavonol, tannin, linalool, anthocyanins, and geraniol, which also help prevent infections.
This includes strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and pretty much any other berry your heart desires!
Berries are rich in antioxidants that can help prevent severe diseases for both mother and baby. Berries are a good source of:
- vitamin C
- healthy carbohydrates
Berries also contain lots of water, so they are an excellent source of hydration. In addition, vitamin C helps with iron absorption and boosts the body’s immune system.
They also contain phytonutrients like flavonoids and anthocyanins. Carbohydrates give you much-needed energy, and they pass quickly through your placenta to nourish your baby.
Eating mostly nutrient-dense complex carbohydrates like berries instead of processed, simple carbohydrates like doughnuts, cakes, and cookies are essential.
Consider whipping up a smoothie with both bananas and berries for a vitamin-packed meal or snack.
Apples are very high in fibre, which can help regulate a woman’s digestion and prevent hemorrhoids – a common issue that many pregnant women face.
Apples are packed with nutrients to help a growing fetus, including:
- vitamins A and C
One study found that eating apples while pregnant may reduce the likelihood of the baby developing asthma and allergies over time.
The following nutrients occur in dried fruit:
- vitamins and minerals
Dried fruit contains all the same nutrients as fresh fruit. Therefore, pregnant women can get their RDA of vitamins and minerals by eating portions of dried fruits smaller than the equivalent amount of fresh fruits.
However, it is essential to remember that dried fruit can be high in sugar and does not contain the water content that fresh fruit does.
This means that it does not aid digestion. Therefore, pregnant women should only eat dried fruits in moderation and should avoid candied fruits altogether.
It is best to eat dried fruits in addition to fresh fruits, rather than instead of them.
Fruits To Avoid During Pregnancy:
This list is much shorter than the last, but a few fruits pose a potential risk to expectant mothers and unborn children.
Papaya, when ripe, is pretty safe for expectant mothers to include in their pregnancy diets.
However, unripe papaya contains latex, which can cause premature contractions to occur.
In addition, even ripe papaya skin and seeds are unsafe to eat. As a result, many choose to cut out papaya altogether while pregnant to avoid these risks.
It tops the list for obvious reasons. Raw or semi-ripe papaya contains latex which can induce premature contractions, which can be dangerous for your baby.
However, ripe papaya is rich in vitamins and iron. Therefore, consuming it in controlled quantities will pose no harm but avoid eating unripe papaya during pregnancy.
These are also not recommended to pregnant women as they contain certain enzymes that alter the texture of the cervix, which could induce premature contractions. This can result in miscarriage.
Apart from inducing such an effect, it is also notorious for causing diarrhea, which can be very uncomfortable during pregnancy.
Pineapples are shown to contain bromelain, which can cause the cervix to soften and result in early labour if eaten in large quantities.
Many doctors believe pineapple is safe when eaten in small portions, and the fruit contains many helpful nutrients that could prove beneficial.
However, to be safe, it’s recommended to limit pineapple intake to the first trimester of pregnancy.
Grapes aren’t recommended for consumption during the final trimester. They are known to generate heat in the body which is not suitable for both mother and the child.
Avoid consuming too many grapes during your pregnancy to stay clear of any complications.
This one is a bit up in the air, but it is sometimes advised that women avoid grapes during their pregnancy.
This is because grapes contain resveratrol, a toxic compound that could cause poisoning or other pregnancy complications.
Like pineapple, however, when eaten in moderation, grapes typically prove to be a low-risk food.
How Much Fruit Should Someone Eat During Pregnancy?
The advice for pregnant women is to eat at least five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables each day and to vary these as much as possible. Fruit can be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried.
As a general rule, a serving of fruit is:
- one piece of fruit, for fruits that are larger than the size of a tennis ball
- one cup of chopped fruit
Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables during pregnancy provides pregnant women with adequate nutrition to support their developing babies.
It should also minimise the risk of certain diseases and defects and help to nourish the woman’s body.
Medical professionals usually recommend eating two to four servings of fruit and four to five servings of vegetables each day.
In general, one serving of fruit is:
- a medium piece of whole fruit (about the size of a tennis ball)
- 1 cup of cut fruit
One serving size of vegetables is:
- 1/2 cup of raw or cooked vegetables
- 1/2 cup of vegetable juice
- 1 cup of leafy greens
When it comes to 100% fruit juices, as long as they’re pasteurised, they’re safe to drink. But you may miss out on some of the nutrients in juice form.
Dried fruit can also be used to get nutrients in an on-the-go form. Just be aware that they can be more calorie- and sugar-dense than their fresh counterparts.
Why Hydration Matters During Pregnancy?
Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluids than you take in. It’s always serious, but it especially concerns during pregnancy.
Water helps form the placenta and amniotic sac. It also supports your baby’s growth.
If you’re experiencing morning sickness, your risk of dehydration is higher. To avoid dehydration, drink 8 to 12 glasses of water daily. Because fruits contain water, they can help you stay hydrated.
Fruit Safety Tips
If possible, purchase organic fruit that hasn’t been treated with synthetic pesticides and fertilisers. But keep in mind that eating non-organic fruit is much better than eating no fruit at all.
- To lessen your risk of consuming pesticide residue or bacteria, follow these tips:
- Wash fruit thoroughly, even if it’s prewashed.
- Remove any bruised areas where bacteria may lurk.
- Drink only pasteurised or boiled fruit juice.
- Avoid eating pre-cut melons, or eat them immediately after cutting.
- Store fresh fruit in the refrigerator, away from raw meat.
Fruit is an excellent source of nutrients that are essential during pregnancy.
Fruits can provide vitamins, folate, fibre, and more, which all help to keep the woman and baby healthy. These nutrients can also help to relieve some of the common symptoms of pregnancy.
Pregnant women should aim to consume at least five different portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
The fruits listed in this article are excellent choices during pregnancy.
Pregnant women should also limit their intake of dried fruits and fruit juices as these can be higher in sugar and calories than new types.
Eating fruit during pregnancy helps ensure that you and your baby stay healthy and ready to take on the world.
Fresh, frozen, and canned fruits are all excellent options. Just make sure no sugar has been added to canned or frozen varieties.
Contact your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your pregnancy eating plan.
ALWAYS wash fruit before consuming. Any fruit can have pesticide residue or soil remaining from harvest, which can be unhealthy for both mother and child.
For this reason, many mothers opt for organic produce, but it is still necessary to wash.
Many fruits have a high sugar content, which can be a problem for women with a risk of gestational diabetes.
For this reason, it’s recommended to altogether avoid fruit juices and keep fruit intake to small serving size to keep getting the nutrients without the excess sugars.
If you have any questions about your pregnancy diet, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor about recommendations and ways to get the essential nutrients to help your baby grow appropriately over your pregnancy. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
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