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As soon as you become pregnant, you are coaxed to eat more. However, the saying “eat for two” doesn’t hold true for a mother-to-be. Being pregnant does not mean that you must overeat, but rather that you consume a balanced diet to meet the additional requirement of nutrients for you and the growing baby. Your diet chart is incomplete without vegetables and fruits. If you don’t consume the requisite amount of vegetables and fruits, your body will not be able to fulfil the requirement of essential nutrients for the baby. Let’s look at the significance of fruits during pregnancy, and why you should make a conscious effort to include them in your daily diet.
Importance of Fruits in Pregnancy
Interestingly, child development experts in Canada have recently found that women who consumed more fruits during pregnancy gave birth to children who performed better on developmental testing once they touched 12 months of age.
Fruits form the most important part of your diet, and eating fruits rich in vitamins, fibre and minerals provides nutrition for the mother and the growing baby. Some of the key nutrients are obtained from fruits, and they can help you and the baby in the following ways:
- Fruits supply essential nutrients like beta carotene to the baby that helps in the development of tissue and cells, besides building a stronger immune system
- Vitamin C in fruits is vital for the baby’s bone and tooth development. It is also important for the body to get this vitamin in adequate amounts as it helps the body absorb iron, which is a key mineral required during pregnancy
- Folic acid, which is a water-soluble B vitamin, is also very important during pregnancy. It prevents foetal growth defects related to the brain and the spinal cord.
- Fruits rich in fibre help you deal with constipation and haemorrhoids while iron-rich fruits prevent anaemia
- Potassium is critical for maintaining the fluid and electrolyte balance in your body’s cells. Leg cramps are common during pregnancy, and these can be alleviated by consuming enough potassium
16 Healthy Fruits to Eat during Pregnancy
It is prudent to eat the following fruits as part of your daily diet in pregnancy:
Banana tops the list of fruits because it contains key nutrients such as folate, vitamin C, B6, potassium and magnesium. While folate performs the job of protecting the foetus from neural tube defects, Vitamin B6 helps regulate your sodium levels. Imbalanced fluid levels can cause nausea and vomiting in pregnant women, but the rich magnesium content in banana ensures a healthy fluid balance. Generally, one banana is recommended every day during your first trimester
Kiwi is second in the list because it is loaded with nutrients such as Vitamin C, E, A, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, folic acid and dietary fibre. Kiwis have a healing effect on the respiratory system. Kiwis also help protect you from cold and cough. They reduce the risk of blood clotting, as Kiwis have a high phosphorus content and help absorb iron
The nutrients available in guava make it a must-have in pregnancy. It is rich in Vitamin C, E, iso-flavonoids, Carotenoids and Polyphenols. Guava also aids digestion and provides strength to the baby’s nervous system
This is one of the most important fruits to eat while pregnant because eating it can enhance the immunity and strength of your baby. It helps reduce the risk of wheezing, asthma and eczema in your child as he grows. Apples are rich in nutrients and contain vitamins A, E and D and Zinc
Pears are close cousins of apples and contain high amounts of folic acid. They are a rich source of vitamin C too
6. Custard Apple
Custard apples are rich in vitamin A and C, which are necessary for the eyes, hair, skin and body tissues of the growing baby. This seasonal fruit is also recommended because it enhances cognitive development of your baby
Pomegranates contain calcium, folate, iron, protein and Vitamin C. Thus, they are highly recommended during pregnancy
Avocados are known to have more folate than other fruits. They are also a great source of vitamin C, B, and K, and contain fibre, choline, magnesium and potassium. Avocados also contain iron. Choline is important for your baby’s brain and nerve development because the deficiency of choline may impact the baby’s memory
Mangoes contain a high amount of Vitamin C which aids digestion, prevents constipation and protects you from minor infections. However, mangoes are seasonal fruits and may not be available in all seasons
Loaded with Vitamin C, cherries help fight infections such as common cold. Cherries also ensure efficient blood supply to the placenta
Strawberries are rich in vitamins, fibre and folate. They also contain manganese and potassium that aid the growth of strong bones of your baby
Watermelons contain Vitamins A, C, and B6, magnesium and potassium. Filled with minerals, they are also rich in fibre. Include watermelon in your diet, especially in the last trimester, as it helps relieve heart burn and swelling in hands and feet (oedema) and eases muscle cramps
13. Chikoo (Sapodilla)
Chikoos are full of electrolytes, Vitamin A, carbohydrates and energy. They help you control dizziness and nausea, besides checking irritable bowel syndrome
Blueberries are rich in Vitamin C, folate, calcium and fibre. When shopping for them, do make sure you buy organic varieties which do not have pesticides
This juicy fruit is a good source of potassium and helps in lowering high blood pressure
Grapes are full of nutrients such as glucose, fructose, phlobaphene, galic acid, silicic acid, oxalic acid, pectin, magnesium, calcium, iron, folic acid and different types of vitamins such as B1, B2, and B6
While most fruits are rich in nutrients, some of them, like black grapes, papaya and pineapple, are to be avoided during pregnancy for the following reasons:
Papaya: The latex content in unripe or semi-ripe papayas can lead to uterine contractions and early labour. Avoid them in the last trimester.
Black grapes: Avoid black grapes in the first trimester because they produce 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.
How Much Fruit Should a Pregnant Woman Have
You are advised to include two to four servings of fruit in your diet every day. You can consume them fresh, canned, juiced or dried, but try to have as much fresh fruit as possible. Some fruits, which are equivalent to a single serve, include:
- One medium piece of fruit, such as apple, banana or pear will be equivalent to a single serving while two small pieces of kiwi, apricots or plums are equal to a single serving
- One cup of fresh diced fruit such as pineapple, watermelon or canned fruit
- If you like juice, then half cup of fruit juice is considered equal to a single serving
Simple Tips to Add Fruits in Your Pregnancy Diet
- You can mix sliced fruits or frozen berries with yoghurt or cereal in your breakfast
- You can also add pieces of apple, pineapple, grapes or raisins to salads for a pre-lunch snack
- If you don’t have time to cut fruits, make smoothies or shakes by blending fruit with yoghurt or milk
- You can add dried or fresh fruit in oatmeal, pancakes and waffles
- The best option is to keep a bowl of fruit within your reach and sight so that you remember to grab a piece of fruit whenever hungry
- Keep dried fruit or fruits like grapes and strawberries handy, and snack on them instead of on junk food
- You can also bake yourself a fruit cake and include lots of fruits such as kiwi and berries. This is a delicious way to add fruits to your diet
- These super fruits in pregnancy can help you sail smoothly through the nine months of your pregnancy. So, tuck into them to your heart’s content and have a healthy pregnancy.