Pregnancy can be a challenging time for some women with a lot of emotional and physical changes. The excitement to welcome a newborn in the world is undeniable, but it’s no secret that it’s always a nine-month of morning sickness, midnight hunger pangs and mood swings.
It needs a lot of patience and care to look after the mother and the baby.
Pregnant women are usually coaxed to eat more food. However, the saying ”eat for two” doesn’t hold for a mother-to-be.
Making healthful food choices is crucial for women when they are pregnant. Their diet will provide the fetus with the nutrients essential for growth and development.
A lot of people are aware that a healthy diet must include fruits, whole grains, lean protein, healthy fat, vegetables etc. However, they may not realize that specific fruits are particularly beneficial during pregnancy.
And if you fail to consume the required quantity of vegetables and fruits, your body will not be able to fulfil the nutritional requirement for the baby.
In this article, we’ll explain why it’s necessary to eat fruits during pregnancy. The fruits you should eat and that you should avoid during pregnancy would also be discussed.
What are the benefits of eating fruit during pregnancy?
Fruits provide vitamins and minerals that can help your baby along throughout your pregnancy. Pregnant mothers require foods rich in fibre, potassium, vitamin A and C, folic acid, and other nutrients to keep their bodies strong until baby arrives, and fruits can be an excellent and easy source.
- Oranges: Oranges are safe to eat during pregnancy, though it should be taken in moderation. Oranges are great for keeping a person hydrated and healthy. Sour or sweet oranges are good for women suffering from nausea. They have high water contents and it’s a good source of Vitamin C popularly known as ascorbic acid which boosts the immune system and helps in building other connecting tissues necessary for the baby’s physical development. Orange also contains folate which can help prevent neural tube defects, which can cause brain and spinal cord abnormalities in a baby.
- Mangoes: Mangoes are a good source of Vitamin C and A, which help your baby’s immunity. While it’s technically impossible to get too much Vitamin A as long as you’re enjoying your mangoes in moderation, you should be fine. A baby born with vitamin A deficiency may have lower immunity and a higher risk of postnatal complications, such as respiratory infections and diarrhoea. It’s advised we take Mangoes in moderation with other fruits.
- Avocado is quite a unique fruit. Most fruits majorly consist of carbohydrate, but Avocados are an excellent source of healthy fat that you should be eating while pregnant. They might not be sweet or pleasant on the eye, but avocados are still technically a fruit and a fantastic one at that. The texture will help you calm your cravings for fat in a healthy way while still giving you a good amount of fibre. Avocados are known to have more folate than other fruits. They are also a great source of Vitamin C, B, and K, and contain choline, magnesium and potassium. The choline in Avocado is important for your baby’s brain and nerve development because the deficiency of choline may impact the baby’s memory.
- Berries are tiny, tasty, and colourful fruits. They are a great source of antioxidants, and also contain lots of fibre and folate, which are great for both you and your baby. It’s advisable to eat mostly nutrient-dense complex carbohydrates like berries instead of processed, simple carbohydrates like doughnuts, cakes, and cookies etc. And unless you have gestational diabetes, carbohydrates should account for 50% of your pregnancy calories daily. Because carbohydrates supply the required energy and pass easily through your placenta to nourish your baby. Kindly note, when shopping for them, do make sure you buy organic varieties, which do not have pesticides.
- Watermelon has it all, one of the fruits with a high amount of water. The sweetness and crunch are satisfying, watermelon contains potassium, zinc, and folate to battle your nighttime leg cramps and help with your baby’s spinal development. Magnesium helps muscles relax, which can prevent premature contractions during pregnancy. Include watermelon in your diet, especially in the last trimester, as it can fight morning sickness, reduce heartburn, and prevent dehydration.
Other fruits you could consider include pears, plums, cherries, apples, mangoes, guava, etc.
Fruits to Avoid During Pregnancy
While most fruits do contain the required vitamins and nutrients that your body needs during pregnancy, especially when the fetus undergoes a growth spurt, some fruits may not do any good to your body. Some fruits have even been known to affect the health of the foetus, while others can lead to a miscarriage. Here is a list of fruits that you should not eat during pregnancy:
- Papaya: The latex content in unripe or semi-ripe papayas can lead to uterine contractions and early labour. Avoid them during pregnancy
- Black grapes: Avoid black grapes in the first trimester because they produce a body-heat, which could be harmful to the baby.
- Pineapples: Pineapples contain bromelain, which could soften the cervix and cause early labour.
- Dates: Dates excite the muscles of the uterus and generate body heat. Avoid these in excessive quantities.
The bottom line
When you’re pregnant, it’s essential to avoid foods, fruits and beverages that may put you and your baby at risk. You might also want to consult your physician for a healthy meal plan for you and the baby.
The information in this article is general and available for educational purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for advice from a medical professional or health care provider. If you’re not sure of a healthy meal plan you should indulge, kindly consult with your doctor.