Pregnancy is an amazing time in any woman’s life and things that we wouldn’t normally think about at all suddenly become a concern. Anything that you consume during pregnancy can be passed through to your baby so it is important to know what is good to eat and what should be avoided during pregnancy.
There are also plenty of old wives tales that do the rounds about what you should and shouldn’t do while pregnant which includes the things that you eat. A very common old wives tale is that you shouldn’t eat oranges while pregnant as this can cause your baby to have jaundice. This is not true, eating oranges while pregnant will not give your baby jaundice.
Baby jaundice is a yellowish discoloration of the skin and the whites of the eyes. Jaundice is caused by excess bilirubin in your baby’s blood. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment which is produced when primitive red blood cells are eradicated. This is something that often happens after your baby is born, it is not something that happens during pregnancy. Baby jaundice will usually appear when your baby is a day or two old and lasts until your baby is about seven to ten days old. At around this time the extra red blood cells have died and your baby’s liver is mature enough to absorb the excess bilirubin.
Now that that is cleared up let’s take a look at eating oranges during pregnancy and have a look at all the facts. Is orange a fruit to avoid during pregnancy or a fruit to add to your shopping list when you are expecting?
The Nutritional Value Of Oranges
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The Benefits Of Eating Oranges During Pregnancy
Oranges are a lovely and refreshing fruit to eat that is a firm favorite of many people. As you can see from the table above showing the nutritional value of oranges they are packed full of goodness that is very beneficial for pregnant moms and their developing babies.
Let’s take a closer look at the nutrients and their benefits during pregnancy.
Oranges are high in dietary which aids digestion. Constipation is very common during pregnancy and eating oranges is an excellent and natural way to relieve constipation.
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that is high in powerful antioxidants. It plays an important role in neurological functioning and maintaining healthy vision, as well as maintaining healthy skin and mucous membrane.
Vitamin A slows aging and reduces inflammation.
The need for Vitamin A during pregnancy is at its highest during the first trimester as this is the most common time during pregnancy for a deficiency in Vitamin A. Night blindness can affect a pregnant woman if she does not take in enough Vitamin A. Miscarriage can also be caused by Vitamin A deficiency.
Vitamin A is essential for your baby that is developing in utero, it will contribute to the healthy development of your baby’s eyes and build strong lungs. It will also help with healthy skin production and building a strong immune system.
Vitamin B6 plays an important role in the body and plays a part in functions such as movement, memory, blood flow and energy expenditure.
Vitamin B6 also helps the body to maintain a healthy nervous system, to make hemoglobin to balance our blood sugar levels to act as a natural pain reliever, to boost our moods and to create antibodies for our immune system, as well as to provide out body with energy from the foods that we consume.
Deficiencies in Vitamin B6 can be manifest in a variety of symptoms. Some are temporary but others are more serious.
Vitamin B6 is vital during pregnancy since it plays a role in developing your baby’s brain and nervous system, along with metabolizing protein and carbohydrates.
According to studies Vitamin B6 can help to relieve morning sickness.
Vitamin C is most well known for supporting a healthy immune system and fighting the symptoms of colds and flu. It acts as an antioxidant that protects your cells from damage as well as fights infections in your body.
It also has many more benefits including maintaining and building connective tissue, including blood vessels, bones and blood. During pregnancy Vitamin C is essential for your baby’s development in that it helps to build collagen, the structural protein that makes up cartilage, skin, bones and tendons.
Vitamin C helps your body to absorb iron which it vitally important for pregnancy.
Magnesium is vital for your body to function properly. It aids strong bones, keeps your heart rate steady and blood pressure normal. If your body does take in enough Magnesium it can lead to elevated inflammation markers, which in turn has been linked to conditions such as heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes and higher risk of osteoporosis.
Getting enough Magnesium during pregnancy is important to help your baby build strong bones and teeth. Magnesium works together with Calcium , where Magnesium assists muscles to relax while Calcium causes muscles to contract. According to research taking in enough Magnesium during pregnancy can help prevent the uterus from contracting too soon in your pregnancy.
Intravenous Magnesium can be used to treat pre-eclampsia during pregnancy.
Potassium is the third most abundant mineral present in your body. It is essential for the proper functioning of a number of organs, including the heart, the brain, the kidneys and muscular tissue. It is an important nutrient that maintains the fluids and electrolyte balance in your body.
Potassium hydrates your body and works along with sodium to support cellular function in your body’s sodium-potassium pump.
Potassium assists your muscles to contract and and contributes to sending nerve impulses in your body.
Your blood volume increases by up to 50% when you are pregnant, this means that your body will need extra electrolytes to maintain the correct chemical balance and this is where Potassium comes into action with balancing the electrolytes and maintaining the fluids in your body.
During pregnancy it is quite common to experience leg cramps. This could be due to a lack of Potassium, Magnesium or Sodium.
The most abundant mineral in your body is Calcium and over 99% of it is stored in your bones and teeth structure.
It is a common misconception that the only foods you can get Calcium from is dairy but that is far from the truth. You can get Calcium from many other foods, including oranges – while oranges are not particularly high in Calcium cup of oranges will provide 7% of your recommended daily intake of Calcium. Other food sources that are high in Calcium are kale, broccoli and sardines.
Calcium controls your body’s PH levels (acid and alkaline) as well as achieving and maintaining your body’s hormone secretion, blood clotting, optimal nerve transmission and muscle contraction.
The benefits of taking in enough Calcium are good heart and bone health, preventing cancer, weight management and maintaining optimal blood pressure.
During pregnancy your baby needs Calcium to build healthy bones and teeth, as well as to assist with forming a healthy heart, nerves and muscles. Calcium helps to develop a normal heart rhythm and blood clotting capabilities.
Another benefit of taking in enough Calcium is that it helps to lower your risk of hypertension and pre-eclampsia.
It is essential to get enough Calcium in your diet due to the fact that if you have a Calcium deficiency your baby will draw the Calcium it needs from your bones which will affect your health negatively.
Folate also goes by the names Folic Acid and Vitamin B9. It is found naturally in foods such as green leafy vegetable, avos and of course oranges.
Folate is essential to synthesize and copy DNA, produce new cells, support nerve damage and immune function. According to studies folate can assist with preventing heart disease, birth defects, cognitive decline and anemia.
During the first trimester of pregnancy Folate is vitally important to help prevent neural tube defects which are serious brain defects and defects of the spinal cord. Your baby’s brain and spinal cord are formed in the neural tube of the embryo. These defects occur so early during pregnancy that many women are not even aware that they are pregnant yet. It is for this reason that it is recommended that anyone trying to conceive start taking Folate to help prepare their body for pregnancy and to lower the possibility of neural tube defects.
Research suggests that Folate can also help to lower other birth defects such as cleft palate, cleft lip and certain types of heart defects, as well as lower the risk of you getting pre-eclampsia during pregnancy.
Folate is required for the rapid cell growth of your baby and placenta, for repairing, producing and functioning of DNA and for the development of normal red blood cells that prevent a particular type of anemia.
Is It Safe To Eat Oranges During Pregnancy?
As you can see oranges are high in nutrients and provide great source of vitamin C, calcium, folic acid and potassium. While it is great to eat oranges during pregnancy make sure you do so in moderation since oranges do have a high sugar content.
It is also important to note that there can be side effects to eating oranges during pregnancy which are listed below.
Side Effects Of Eating Oranges During Pregnancy
Oranges are high in citric acid content which can lead to a sore throat. The high acidity can also cause pregnancy heartburn and if you already suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) it can aggravate it and make it worse.
Looking after your teeth while pregnant is absolutely essential, so take into account too that citric acid is not good for the enamel of your teeth.
Oranges can increase the amount of fiber in your body, which can impact on your digestive system causing abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
Eating oranges will increase the calories you take in and in turn increase your sugar levels which can put you at risk of getting gestational diabetes.
Eating Orange Peels During Pregnancy
There are plenty of recipes that call for orange zest (the peel) and it is good to know that it is perfectly safe to eat orange peels during pregnancy as long as you wash them well first to ensure that there is no residue of pesticides and harmful microbes.
Orange peels have double the amount of Vitamin C than the flesh of the orange plus they are loaded with antioxidants as well as being anti-inflammatory.
You can grate the orange peel to add to yogurt, desserts, salads, cereal or any other food recipes that requires orange zest as an ingredient.
Just keep in mind that moderation is always key here.
Drinking Orange Juice During Pregnancy
Orange juice is high in Vitamin C and Folic Acid both of which are essential during pregnant. Being a good source of Potassium it also helps to lower high blood pressure.
Drinking orange juice during pregnancy will be beneficial to mommy and baby, however once again it is important to only drink it in moderation due to all the factors mentioned above.