Eating Sweet Potatoes During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?
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- Is It Safe to Eat Sweet Potatoes While Pregnant?
- Nutritional Value of Sweet Potatoes
- Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
- How Much Sweet Potato Should Pregnant Women Eat?
- Can You Eat Raw Sweet Potatoes During Pregnancy?
- Is It Normal to Have Cravings for Sweet Potato While Pregnant?
- Risks of Eating Sweet Potatoes During Pregnancy
- How To Add Sweet Potatoes to Your Pregnancy Diet?
Maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy can go a long way in ensuring the good health of both the mother-to-be and the baby. If you are pregnant, you must have already started eating everything nutritious there is, but there are some healthy foods, such as sweet potatoes, which you may not be sure of including in your pregnancy diet. Sweet potatoes taste delicious and are very nutritious, but can you include them in your pregnancy diet? Is it safe to eat sweet potato in pregnancy? What amount of sweet potato can be consumed by a pregnant woman? To know the answer to all these questions, read the information given below.
Is It Safe to Eat Sweet Potatoes While Pregnant?
Sweet potatoes are a good source of essential nutrients that a woman needs during pregnancy. They can provide energy in the form of starch. While they lack proteins and fats, they are well-stocked with various other nutrients like magnesium, potassium, calcium, fibre, etc. All these nutrients are necessary for the healthy growth of the baby.
Nutritional Value of Sweet Potatoes
The table below provides the nutritional value of one cup or 200 grams of cooked sweet potato.
|Vitamin A||1.9 milligrams|
|Vitamin C||22.2 milligrams|
|Vitamin B5||0.6 milligrams|
|Dietary Fibre||4 grams|
Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
Listed below are a few sweet potato benefits in pregnancy.
1. Helps in the Proper Growth of the Foetus
Doctors recommend that pregnant women eat foods rich in Vitamin A as they need at least 800 micrograms of Vitamin A daily. This can be obtained from less than half a cup of baked sweet potato. Vitamin A is crucial in foetal development as it helps in the growth of the organs like the heart, lungs, liver, blood, kidneys, and so on.
2. Prevents Constipation
Sweet potatoes are a good source of fibre, which is an important nutrient during pregnancy. Pregnant women often complain of constipation, which is a common problem during pregnancy. Your diet should comprise of around 30 grams of daily fibre – a third of this can be obtained from a single cup of sweet potatoes.
3. Helps in the Brain Development of the Foetus
Pyridoxine, also called Vitamin B6, is essential for the formation of a functioning brain and nervous system in the foetus. It is needed to produce blood and has been known to prevent nausea in pregnant women. A cup of sweet potatoes will have around a third of the required daily amount of pyridoxine.
4. Helps in the Bone Development of the Foetus
During pregnancy, a woman’s diet should include around 90 mg of Vitamin C per day. A single cup of sweet potato can provide at least a third of that amount. Vitamin C promotes enzyme activity, bone and tendon growth, skin development and so on. It also speeds up the absorption of iron, which is required for the formation of red blood cells. A cup of sweet potatoes can also provide your body with nearly half the amount of manganese required per day. Manganese is a rare mineral which also helps in the development of bones and cartilage of the foetus.
5. Cures Morning Sickness
Sweet potatoes help form red blood cells in the body as they are rich in Vitamin B6, which also helps relieve morning sickness.
6. Prevents Hypertension
Sweet potatoes are rich in potassium, that regulates the blood pressure. In pregnancy, the blood volume increases by around 50% and can take a toll on the electrolytic balance and blood pressure of the expecting woman.
How Much Sweet Potato Should Pregnant Women Eat?
A pregnant woman can consume one medium or large sweet potato in a day.
Can You Eat Raw Sweet Potatoes During Pregnancy?
No, you should not eat sweet potatoes raw as the outer layer of sweet potatoes, if uncooked, can lead to digestive-system related issues like bloating and heartburn. It can also cause nausea.
Is It Normal to Have Cravings for Sweet Potato While Pregnant?
In pregnancy, you can crave anything, be it a potato or a sweet potato. But if you are craving a sweet potato, it means that you are craving something sugary or starchy. It could also mean that your body wants carbohydrate-rich foods.
Risks of Eating Sweet Potatoes During Pregnancy
Everything you eat during pregnancy should be in moderation. If you eat too much, it can lead to complications. Some of the complications of eating sweet potatoes during pregnancy are mentioned below –
- Sweet potatoes are high in oxalates, which cause kidney stones in the body. This could lead to severe pain and impairment of kidney and gallbladder issues.
- Mannitol, a special kind of sugar present in sweet potatoes can cause stomach ache. It can also lead to gas and diarrhoea.
- As sweet potatoes contain starch in high amounts, women who have diabetes or are overweight can face some health complications if they eat sweet potatoes.
How To Add Sweet Potatoes to Your Pregnancy Diet?
Here are some simple ways to add potatoes to your pregnancy diet:
- Add half-baked sweet potato to your salad.
- Grill the sweet potato with some safe herbs and olive oil.
- Bake thinly sliced sweet potato with a bit of salt and pepper.
- Steam a sweet potato and enjoy it with some safe herbs.
1. Does Sweet Potato Cause Miscarriage?
Excess of Vitamin A in daily diet could increase the chances of abnormalities. And sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A. Therefore, you should not have more than what is recommended during pregnancy. An increased amount of vitamin A during the first stage of pregnancy can lead to congenital malformations and miscarriage.
2. Can I Eat Fried Sweet Potato in Pregnancy?
Yes, you can eat fried sweet potato in moderation. But baking, grilling, or boiling the sweet potatoes are the better alternatives.
3. Is It Possible to Have Twins By Eating Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes can help improve women’s fertility and the ovulation process. But no scientific proof or study can be associated with having twins after eating sweet potatoes.
4. Is Sweet Potato Healthy for Skin During Pregnancy?
Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin A, which helps your baby’s bones grow and form healthy eyesight and skin.
Sweet potatoes are a delicious and healthy treat, however, please ensure that you do not eat them in excess. Follow a balanced diet which includes green veggies, fresh fruits, whole grains, and protein-rich foods and you and your baby will be fine.
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2. Amy Webb Girard, Frederick Grant, Michelle Watkinson, et.al; Promotion of Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potato Increased Vitamin A Intakes and Reduced the Odds of Low Retinol-Binding Protein among Postpartum Kenyan Women; National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5404208/; May 2017
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4. What to eat before, during and after pregnancy; UNICEF; https://www.unicef.org/rosa/stories/what-eat-during-and-after-pregnancy
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