Refreshing with Fruit While Expecting
When you are pregnant, it’s important to consider what you are eating. Even if you are eating for two, craving chili dogs smothered in nacho cheese and jalapeños or a triple cheeseburger with bacon, pregnancy is the perfect opportunity to maintain or start implementing good eating habits.
Many of the vitamins and minerals needed in a pregnant woman’s diet can be found in fruit, so consider it your best friend for the next nine months – or more if you are nursing.
“In general, pregnant women should eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables,” says Dr. Philip Landrigan, professor of pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. “They should take multivitamins, most especially folic acid to help prevent birth defects.”
Why Is Fruit a Good Option: Benefits Of Fruits In Pregnancy
Fruits – and vegetables – are the foundation of a good diet in general, and certainly while you are pregnant. “Fresh fruits contain plenty of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients,” says Peggy O’Shea, a Boston-based nutritionist and president of the Massachusetts Dietetic Association. “In addition, many fruits are high in fiber, which can help with constipation, a common problem for many women during pregnancy. Fruit can also be a healthier way to satisfy those cravings for sweet foods!”
“Folic acid is important to help the development of the baby’s brain and spine and helps prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida,” says Mimi Ellis, PA-C, R.D., in Chandler, Ariz. “Folic acid is most critical in the early weeks of pregnancy. Most people don’t realize it, but orange juice is a good source for folic acid.”
Folic acid is also in strawberries, dates, peaches, apricots and raisins.
In general, vitamin C is important for forming collagen, a protein that gives structure to the connective tissue of the skin, bones, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels. Vitamin C also helps maintain the bones and teeth and aids in the absorption of iron, according to Ohio State University. Some women also believe that increasing vitamin C during pregnancy can help reduce those unsightly stretch marks. “There is no proof that increased vitamin C while pregnant will reduce stretch marks that I know of, but we do need it on a daily basis and it can’t hurt,” says Ellis.
Vitamin C also could help reduce the risk of premature rupture and preterm labor. “There is thought out there that inadequate vitamin C is linked to an increase risk of rupturing the water way too soon, which can cause preterm delivery,” says Ellis. “That can be very dangerous.”
Vitamin C is in apples, blueberries, oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, peaches and melon.
How much Fruits are good??
A serving is a half-cup of chopped fruit or a piece of a medium-sized fruit, like a half of a banana or an apple. For dried fruit, a serving is one-third of a cup. And for fruit juice, only 6 ounces is needed for a serving. “It’s easy to quickly drink 16 ounces of fruit juice,” says Ellis. “If you drink a ton of juice without realizing that only 6 ounces is a serving, you get a lot of extra calories and then wonder why you gained 10 pounds that month.”
Other than watching the amount of juice intake, Ellis says there is nothing wrong with having more than the recommended food pyramid servings. “It’s probably better to have an extra apple a day than an extra milkshake,” she says.
If this is your second pregnancy, you know the “C” word. If this is your first pregnancy, know this: You will most likely get constipated at some point. Constipation can lead to hemorrhoids, another miserable and uncomfortable manifestation of pregnancy.
A diet rich in fruit can help reduce, and possibly even prevent, constipation caused by hormonal changes. Fruit in general is a good source for fiber, which is good in pregnancy because women get constipated when you are pregnant
Good sources of dietary fiber include dried apricots, peaches, prunes or fresh fruit.
If you dislike fruit or find you get an aversion to fruit during pregnancy, there are alternative ways to get the needed nutrition. “Eat more vegetables”. But usually fruit is OK because it doesn’t have strong smells that some vegetables do that might cause nausea and an aversion.”
Dried fruit is a good alternative because it provides many healthy nutrients that you and your baby need, according to the National Dried Fruit Association (NDFTA). NDFTA says that dried fruits provide “little packages of concentrated nourishment when used for snacking and are ideal to assuage hunger pangs. Dried fruit is high in fructose (natural sugar) and often sweeter than in their fresh form … good to give you that extra boost of energy when feeling tired and far better than sweets.”
Dried fruits like apricots are high in potassium, iron and vitamin C, all important nutrients when you are expecting.
Another trick if you dislike fruit is to blend it in with other foods so you barely know it’s there. For example, blend orange juice, yogurt, ice and fresh bananas or strawberries for a delicious and refreshing fruit smoothie. Mash banana into your peanut butter sandwich or pancakes to get an added dose of nutrition. Dipping sauce can help, too. If you dislike apples, try dipping them in a caramel sauce for a sweet treat.
Please note: Content provided on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be construed to be medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.