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Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a pregnant mother’s diet as they provide the mother with the much-needed vitamins, minerals and fibre for the growth and development of the baby. Among fruits, the melon family that grows predominantly during summer is loaded with antioxidants and anti-coagulants, apart from the regular vitamins and minerals. One such melon, the muskmelon, is a superfood for expecting mothers. Read on to know more about how it plays a critical role in the health of a developing baby.
Is Eating Muskmelon (Kharbuja) in Pregnancy Safe?
Yes, muskmelon is a very safe fruit for pregnancy, if taken in moderation. The fruit is low on its calorie count and high in nutrients and fibre, making it a very safe and healthy snack option for expecting mother. Sometimes, a strain of bacteria called Listeria bacteria are found on the outer peel of the fruit, which can be harmful to pregnant women. Some doctor may ask you to avoid it for this reason. However, the inside fruit is safe to consume, if cleaned thoroughly.
Nutritional Facts of Muskmelon
Muskmelon has got plenty of essential vitamins and minerals. It is rich in vitamin A, B1 and C and minerals like iron, calcium and phosphorous. The fruit also carries a good amount of folic acid or vitamin B9. It is the most important vitamin required during pregnancy as it prevents neural tube defects in babies. It also contains zinc that is required for the proper tissue development of the foetus. Muskmelons also are a rich source of anticoagulant and anti-antioxidants for the mother.
Benefits of Muskmelon in Pregnancy
There are numerous health benefits of consuming muskmelon or kharbuja during pregnancy.
1. Prevents tube defects:
The neural tube of the baby that gives rise to the brain and spinal cord are formed during the first trimester. Consumption of folic acid rich muskmelon augments the daily dose of vitamin B9 required and helps in preventing the occurrence of any neural tube defects in babies. This is one of the most important of the cantaloupe benefits during pregnancy.
2. Prevents blood clot:
One of the complications that can arise during pregnancy is the clotting of blood. Although it is very rare, consumption of muskmelon helps in thinning the blood and preventing such clots.
3. Improves immunity:
Muskmelon has carotenoids in them that act as antioxidants and prevents the formation of free radicals in the body. This greatly helps in the formation of new cells and also in improving the immunity of the mother and the baby.
Heartburn is a such a common and annoying problem associated with pregnancy for mothers in the second and third trimester. One of the superfoods that calm your digestive system is muskmelon. The vitamin C in muskmelon, not only aids digestion and absorption but also reduces the acidity and heartburn.
Anaemia during pregnancy can be dangerous for the mother and the foetus. Consumption of muskmelon can keep a check on anaemia as it contains a good quantity of iron and vitamin C. Vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron into the digestive system, making it available for the body to use.
6. Leg cramps:
Many pregnant women experience cramps in their leg, especially in the night. Leg cramps occur due to potassium deficiency, and muskmelon greatly helps in supplementing the body with the much-needed mineral.
7. Eyesight of the baby:
A baby’s eyes start developing in the first trimester of pregnancy and achieve full vascularisation towards the end of pregnancy. During this time, consuming a good source of vitamin A, like muskmelon, greatly reduces the risk of any ophthalmological abnormalities in the foetus.
8. Blood pressure regulation:
During pregnancy, many mothers tend to develop blood pressure which can lead to complications like pre-eclampsia. Muskmelon contains a good mix of essential mineral salts that help regulate the blood pressure and keep it under control.
Consumption of muskmelon during pregnancy can go a long way in avoiding constipation. Many times, expecting mothers suffer from constipation due to a lack of dietary fibre intake. The digestion aiding vitamins and fibre in Kharbuja ensure good bowel movement during pregnancy.
10. Weight management:
Muskmelon is a great binge food as it is low in calories. Mothers can consume the fruit as a daytime snack to achieve a sense of fullness of the stomach and thereby control their pregnancy weight-gain. The fructose in the fruit is very minimal and does not contribute to weight gain.
11. Baby’s bone health:
The baby’s bones and teeth formed during the pregnancy require calcium from the mother. To supplement this requirement, a pregnant mother can take a serving of the calcium-rich muskmelon every day.
12. Post-partum recovery:
Not just during pregnancy, but also after delivery, the mother’s body requires large amounts of nutrition to recover from the process of delivery. The vitamin A present in muskmelon gets stored in the liver and the fat cells. This stored vitamin coming from the muskmelon consumed during pregnancy greatly aids the process of recovery.
13. Source of energy:
Although not a high-calorie food, muskmelon is a good source of proteins and carbohydrates that burn to get converted into energy. During pregnancy, it gives the much-needed energy to fuel the activities of both the baby and the mother.
Are There Any Adverse Effects of Having Muskmelon (Cantaloupe) During Pregnancy?
Cantaloupe or muskmelon is a very safe fruit for consumption during pregnancy. If you have heard from people around you to avoid the fruit, then, it can be because of the Listeria bacterium that is sometimes found on its surface. It can find its way into your body if the fruit is not washed well enough. The bacterium can cause listeriosis which is associated with some complications in pregnancy. Also, it not advisable for women who have known allergy to the fruit to consume it. Other than that, muskmelon is a very safe and nutritious fruit for expecting mothers.
Safe Ways of Eating Cantaloupes When Pregnant
To avoid any instance of listeriosis, it is very important to wash and clean the fruit properly before consuming it. For cleaning the skin of the cantaloupe, wash it thoroughly with running water and then immerse it for a few seconds in diluted vinegar. Then again wash it with water before cutting it open. Ensure that the knife and cutting board are cleaned properly.
Consumption of such cleaned and processed melon during pregnancy does not cause any harm to the body and serves as a powerhouse of nutrients for the expecting mother.
Muskmelon is a gift from nature for all the diet conscious mothers who want to eat healthily and keep themselves hydrated throughout their pregnancy. If you have any allergic reaction to the fruit, please talk to a trusted medical professional before consuming more.
Also Read: Should Pregnant Women Eat Blueberries?