Eating Coconut While Pregnant: Health Benefits and Complications

Consuming Coconut in Pregnancy

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

Coconuts are used traditionally in cooking in most tropical countries. The fruit has its own flavour and is infused with many vital vitamins and minerals. Much hype has been generated on the benefits and risks involved in externally using and consuming coconut milk, coconut oil, and coconut during pregnancy. Tender coconut during pregnancy or in any other form offers excellent health benefits for the mother and the baby. It not only helps with the proper growth and development of the foetus but also boosts breast milk production. In this article, we have covered important information related to the consumption of coconut for pregnant women. Let’s read below how safe coconut consumption during pregnancy is, its health benefits, the risks associated with its consumption, and the ways to consume it.

Is It Safe to Eat Coconut When Pregnant?

Coconut is enriched with many vital nutrients, and coconut water is highly beneficial during the pregnancy phase. Consumption of coconut, especially coconut water, helps in the prevention of dehydration, nausea, bowel movements, and infections as well during pregnancy. Therefore, coconut is good for pregnancy as it’s one form of the other that helps relieve morning sickness, acidity, and bowel movements.

Nutritional Value of Coconut

Let’s take a look at the nutrients and their quantities present in a coconut (80g):

Constituent Quantity
Carbohydrate 12.18 g
Fibre 7.20 g 
Sugars 4.98 g
Vitamin B6 0.043 mg 
Vitamin C 2.6 mg 
Vitamin E 0.19 mg
Vitamin K 0.2 mcg
Calcium 1.20 mg
Copper 0.35 mg
Iron 1.94 mg
Magnesium 25.60 mg
Potassium 284.80 mg

Amazing Health Benefits of Eating Coconut During Pregnancy

Each human being’s physical conditions are different. Especially during pregnancy, one needs to eat right. The baby gets nourished depending on what the mother eats. Let’s look at the benefits of using coconut during pregnancy.

  • Coconut is rich in dietary fibre, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, minerals, hormones, enzymes etc. Eaten moderately, tender coconuts work to prevent anaemia, urinary tract infections, morning sickness, and swelling in the feet due to poor blood circulation.
  • The fats in coconuts are medium-chain triglycerides and are said to help to burn off stored fat in the body. Hence, coconut milk during pregnancy acts as an excellent source of good fat, promoting the growth of a healthy baby and increasing volume of urine and breast milk.
  • Coconut oil is obtained from the coconut using a cold-press. Since there is no heating, bleaching, deodorising etc. involved, it is called virgin coconut oil.
  • It is used for cooking, skincare, and lubrication, among other things.
  • Using coconut oil in pregnancy helps maintain skin elasticity, and prevents belly scarring and itching due to pregnancy. It contains good amounts of Vitamin E and lauric acid, making it the secret recipe for being beautiful throughout and after pregnancy.

Coconut oil benefits

  • Coconut water is 94% water and fairly low in calories. Drinking coconut water during pregnancy keeps the blood volume regulated, prevents dehydration, tiredness, and nausea, and is very easily digestible and absorbed by the blood.
  • Tender coconut works as a laxative and prevents constipation.
  • It seems to be a good source of Vitamin B, Potassium, electrolytes, amino acids, plant hormones, and enzymes. It is an antioxidant and is claimed to improve immunity to bacterial infections.
  • Skin-tone and elasticity are improved and any itchiness in the skin in taken care of.
  • It helps with belly distention, heartburn, and anaemia because of the presence of absorbable iron in it. Anaemia in pregnant women is very common and can have disastrous results for both mother and child.
  • Coconut water contains lauric acid, which helps increase the breast milk volume and maintain elasticity in the breasts.
  • Adding coconut to your pregnancy diet helps to enhance blood circulation, which relieves foot and leg pain during pregnancy, which is mainly due to poor blood circulation.

Complications Associated With Consuming Coconut When Pregnant

The use of small amounts of coconut consumed will provide for the growing baby’s health. However, there may be certain complications that you need to consider.

  • Prolonged usage of a coconut-rich diet may lead to complications like dyslipidemia in obese women, which causes the cholesterol level to rise.
  • Some people could be allergic to pollen and plants from the Arecaceae or Coconut family.

Myths About Coconut Water During Pregnancy

1. Myth: Coconut water makes the baby fairer

Fact: The baby’s skin colour depends on genetic factors only and cannot be altered by the consumption of coconut water or any other food.

2. Myth: Coconut water makes the baby’s hair grow thicker and stronger

Fact: Baby’s hair strength and texture depend on genes and health. Drinking coconut water during pregnancy will not show any impact on the baby’s hair growth.

3. Myth: Coconut water causes acidity

Fact: Coconut water does not cause acidity during pregnancy. Any acidity that you experience is due to the expansion of the belly, which interferes with the digestion process.

FAQs

1. Is Dry Coconut Good for Pregnant Women?

Dry coconut is the best supplement for pregnant women as it has high fibre content, which helps avoid constipation.

2. Can Eating Raw Coconut in Pregnancy Increase Constipation?

Consuming raw coconut in moderation does not cause or increase constipation.

Eating coconuts and tender coconut during pregnancy is safe and highly recommended in moderate quantities. Coconut water should be used in moderation and not as a substitute for water, during pregnancy. Discuss the amount you consume and check with your doctor if there are any contraindications.

References/Resources:

1. Nuts, raw, coconut meat; nutritionvalue.org; https://www.nutritionvalue.org/Nuts%2C_raw%2C_coconut_meat_nutritional_value.html

2. Svetlana Madjunkova, Caroline Maltepe, Gideon Koren; The Leading Concerns of American Women with Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy Calling Motherisk NVP Helpline; National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649700/; April 2013

3. Nuts, coconut water (liquid from coconuts); fdc.nal.usda.gov; https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170174/nutrients

4. The Health Benefits of Coconut Water; health.clevelandclinic.org; https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-health-benefits-of-coconut-water/

5. Renuka Gunasekaran, Mohammed Rafid Shaker, Siti Waheeda Mohd-Zin; Maternal intake of dietary virgin coconut oil modifies essential fatty acids and causes low body weight and spiky fur in mice; National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5273853/; January 2017

Also Read: Drinking Coconut Water during Pregnancy

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