Are you eating these? 5 fruits to avoid during your pregnancy
There are some fruits that are best to avoid in pregnancy for very good reasons. Find out more.
Are all fruits okay to eat when you’re pregnant? Here’s a list of fruits to avoid during pregnancy especially when you’re in your first trimester.
What can you read in this article?
- List of fruits to avoid during pregnancy
- Guidelines on eating fruits while pregnant
Every woman who has been pregnant knows that nutrition is a major factor in having a safe and healthy pregnancy. As a woman’s body changes during pregnancy, her preference for food and her diet changes too.
One of the food groups that doctors advise pregnant women to eat is fruits and vegetables. But are all fruits safe to eat during pregnancy? And if not, why?
There are so many foods that pregnant women should steer clear of, but let’s put the spotlight on fruits. In this article, we will discuss some fruits to avoid during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. But first…
Why is the first trimester of pregnancy so important?
The first trimester or the first three months of pregnancy is regarded as one of the most delicate phases because even though your bump is barely showing, your baby is physically growing inside you. By the end of the first trimester, most of your tiny fetus’ organs have formed already.
Since the fetus is still developing, it is also defenseless as it still doesn’t have its own immune system. All of its growing organs can be injured by a variety of things, such as drugs, infections, radiation, tobacco, and toxic chemicals.
Knowing all these, one way of keeping your pregnancy healthy is to avoid food, activities, or vices that can harm you and your baby. Healthy fetal development also goes hand in hand with good lifestyle habits, such as exercising regularly, drinking an adequate amount of water, and eating the right things.
When it comes to food that is not safe to eat during pregnancy, we know of the usual suspects: soft cheese, sushi, soft-serve ice cream – anything that can result in food poisoning. However, did you know that there are some fruits that you should also avoid, especially in the first trimester?
Fruits to Avoid During Pregnancy First Trimester
There are mixed opinions about eating grapes when it comes to pregnancy.
Some experts advise that’s it safe to eat while some say it should be avoided. While grapes have high levels of vitamin A and C (which are important nutrients for pregnant moms), there are a few reasons why you might want to steer clear from grapes in your first trimester:
- Resveratrol toxicity. The outer skin of grapes is rich in a compound called resveratrol. Although scientific research identifies resveratrol as a healthy nutrient, it could be toxic to pregnant women. This is because resveratrol can react with disproportionate hormone levels a pregnant woman might have. A study also found out that pregnant monkeys fed with resveratrol supplements led to surprising results. Although more blood was directed from the pregnant monkey’s placenta to the fetus, the baby’s pancreas developed irregularly. The pancreas is important for controlling glucose levels in the blood, meaning that the babies were likelier to suffer from diabetes later on.
- Pesticides that remain on the skin. Grapes are often sprayed with pesticides that can’t be easily washed away. These pesticides may contribute to health complications in the fetus.
2. Unripe and semi-ripe papaya fruit
Papayas are known for their sweet, juicy, orange flesh and as a natural remedy for indigestion. It is common in tropical countries like the Philippines and comes in a variety of types and sizes. However, the unripe and semi-ripe forms of this fruit aren’t particularly good for pregnant women for the following reasons:
- They are abundant in latex, which promotes early uterine contraction. This may result in a miscarriage.
- They contain large amounts of papain. One of papain’s side effects is that it can trigger early labor. The reason behind this is that papain looks very similar to another molecule that performs this role, which your body mistakes papain for.
- Latex is a common allergen. Common allergic symptoms include a runny nose, swelling in the mouth area and skin rashes. However, sometimes allergic reactions can cause breathing difficulties and anaphylaxis. In such cases, medical attention should be sought immediately.
Do avoid food or dishes that contain unripe or semi-ripe papaya (which have completely green skin), such as green papaya salads or papaya smoothies containing papaya seeds.
While the unripe versions are best not eaten during pregnancy, ripe papayas, on the other hand, are completely safe.
In fact, ripe papayas (with fully yellow skin) contain many nutrients that are important for a healthy pregnancy, such as:
- beta carotene
- and vitamins A, B and C
Who doesn’t like pineapples? It’s sweet, juicy, and is tasty whether eaten ripe or used in dishes (like pineapple fried rice).
Sadly, this tropical fruit isn’t suitable for pregnant women. Pineapple is known to contain bromelain, an enzyme that breaks down protein. One of its side effects is that it may soften the cervix, which could lead to early labor.
Studies also show that bromelain tablets are so potent in breaking down the protein that they even can cause irregular bleeding!
However, do note that you need to eat massive amounts of pineapple (between seven to ten fresh ones at one go) to actually induce this effect. This means that while concentrated bromelain pills should be avoided, eating a few slices of pineapple while pregnant is okay.
Another thing to remember is that eating too much pineapple can cause issues due to its acidic nature, such as acid reflux, heartburn, and even diarrhea (which leads to dehydration).
Also, if you haven’t eaten pineapple for some time, it’s possible that doing so will cause an allergic reaction. If you have symptoms like nasal congestion, itchy or swollen areas in your mouth, or asthma after consuming pineapples, do book an appointment with your local doctor and discuss this.
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4. Fruits that are high in sugar
One of the upsides of eating fruits is because of the natural sweetness that we love. This is why we don’t have any problems adding fruits to our diet, especially if we want a healthy dessert to cap off our meal. However, sugar is also one reason why we need to be more discerning with the fruits we consume while we are pregnant.
One of the food group that pregnant women should avoid throughout their pregnancy are foods that have high sugar content.
Consuming too much sugar during pregnancy is linked to excessive weight gain and can lead to diseases like gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. It can also increase the possibility of pre-term delivery or low birth weight in babies.
For this reason, some fruits that are high in sugar are included in this list of fruits to avoid during pregnancy. Topping this list are mangoes, pears, cherries and watermelon.
If you can’t resist eating these fruits (especially when you have those cravings), make sure to eat them in moderation. A slice of mango won’t hurt, just don’t overdo it and drink plenty of water after.
More Tips About Eating Fruit when Pregnant
Clearly, unwashed fruits aren’t fit for consumption whether you are pregnant or not. However, they are especially risky for pregnant women.
The soil particles on fruits and vegetables can harbor bacteria such as toxoplasma, which makes infection possible for both the mother and baby. Always wash your fruits and vegetables to ensure that they are completely free of soil particles before eating them.
How much fruit is recommended for pregnant women? Experts recommend that pregnant women consume five portions of fruits and vegetables each day. As a general rule, one serving of fruit is equivalent to one piece of fruit, for fruits that are larger than the size of a tennis ball or one cup of chopped fruit.
Why should pregnant women eat fruits as part of their diet?
Fruits are an essential part of a pregnant woman’s diet. Not only do they have nutrients that support your baby’s growth, but they also provide minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber that can help alleviate some of the unwanted symptoms of pregnancy.
Furthermore, their rich nutrient content is counterbalanced by low-calorie content, making it the ideal food for pregnant women! In addition, the following benefits have been linked to fruit consumption:
- Preventing cell damage. Fruits have antioxidants, which help to reduce any fetal cell injuries from damaging substances in the environment.
- Reduced infancy wheezing, which is associated with higher consumption of apples.
- Lower likelihood of childhood eczema, which is linked to eating citrus fruits during pregnancy.
What fruits are completely safe to eat during pregnancy?
Apples contain a variety of beneficial nutrients, like fiber, vitamins A & C, and potassium. In addition, previous research also highlights another added bonus: Most children born from mums who ate apples while pregnant did not develop childhood asthma or allergies.
In addition to preventing childhood eczema, oranges also have:
- High water content, helping you stave off dehydration;
- Folate, a key vitamin that stops irregular development of the brain and spinal cord;
- Vitamin C, which not only has antioxidant properties but also aids iron absorption.
Bananas contain high levels of potassium, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, and fiber. The fiber in bananas can help prevent constipation, whereas vitamin B6 can mitigate nausea and vomiting from morning sickness.
Avocados are the nutrient powerhouses of all fruits, containing a diverse array of nutrients such as:
- Vitamins B, C and K
- Folate – avocados have much higher levels compared to your average fruit.
In particular, eating avocados can reduce the instances of:
- leg cramps from low potassium and magnesium levels
- nausea, perhaps due to its high magnesium and choline content
- abnormal brain and nerve development in your baby via supplying ample amounts of choline
These yummy fruits are also nutrient-dense superfoods which provide a lot of beneficial compounds, such as:
- vitamin C
To maintain healthy levels of energy during the day, pregnant women should consume 50 to 60% of their calories from carbohydrates. Berries pack a lot more nutrients than other “empty calories” from refined grains.
Do consider limiting refined carbohydrates and eating more nutrient-rich sources of carbohydrates like berries, instead.
Eating plenty of fruits during pregnancy provides pregnant women the adequate nutrition to support their growing baby, minimize the risk of certain diseases and defects, and help to nourish the mother’s body.
If you have any questions regarding the fruits and other foods that you should or shouldn’t be eating while pregnant, don’t hesitate to consult your OB-Gynecologist.
Republished with permission from theAsianParent Singapore
Medical News Today, American Pregnancy, NHS, Healthline, Only My Health, Healthline, Lifecell, Hopkins Medicine, Healthline, Apta Club
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