Eating Sweet Potato during Pregnancy - Health Benefits, Risks & more

Eating Sweet Potatoes During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

Medically Reviewed By
Megha Mukhija (Paediatric Nutritionist)
View more Paediatric Nutritionist Our Panel of Experts

Maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy can go a long way in ensuring 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? Find out!

Is It Safe to Eat Sweet Potatoes During Pregnancy?

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

Sweet potatoes

The table below provides the nutritional value of one cup or 200 grams of cooked sweet potato.

Nutrients Weight
Vitamin A 1.9 milligrams
Vitamin C 22.2 milligrams
Manganese 0.2 milligram
Copper 0.15 milligrams
Vitamin B5 0.6 milligrams
Pyridoxine 0.1 milligrams
Vitamin B7 5.71 micrograms
Dietary Fibre 4 grams
Niacin 0.7 milligrams
Thiamine 0.06 milligrams
Riboflavin 0.04 milligrams

Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Listed below are a few benefits of eating sweet potatoes during 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.

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.

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.

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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