Eating an all-natural, whole-food-based diet helps ensure you and your baby are getting the best nutrition possible throughout pregnancy. Drinking coconut water, a refreshing beverage that comes directly from the inside of coconuts, can put you on the path to meeting your daily needs for water and electrolytes. If you're in a tropical place, you may be able to purchase whole coconuts with a straw in them to drink the liquid. In more temperate regions, look for coconut water in cans and drink packages in your grocer's beverage aisle or health food section.
Drinking coconut water helps meet your increased need for water when you're pregnant. This higher fluid need supports your increased blood volume, maintenance of amniotic fluid volume and fetal circulation. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women consume a total of 3 liters of water per day. About 20 percent of this fluid comes from moisture in foods you eat, and the remaining 2.4 liters should come from drinking water and caffeine-free beverages. Drinking coconut water as part of your fluid intake provides you with variety in your routine.
Provides Essential Electrolytes
In addition to fluid, coconut water supplies your body with electrolytes needed to keep you hydrated. These nutrients are minerals, such as calcium, sodium, potassium and phosphorus, that carry an electrical charge in your body. They help maintain blood pressure and fluid balance, regulate your body pH and keep muscles functioning properly. Any time you sweat, have diarrhea or lose body fluids, you need to replace both the water and electrolytes you lost. If you're suffering from morning sickness with severe vomiting, coconut water helps to replace the electrolytes you've lost.
As you probably know, your diet greatly impacts the health of your baby. You should avoid certain medications and foods when pregnant to prevent passing potentially harmful compounds on to your baby. The impacts of food additives on your baby's health have not been extensively studied. However, the Center for Science in the Public Interest notes that pregnant women may want to avoid certain food additives, such as artificial sweeteners and nitrates, as a precaution to prevent side effects for mom or baby. Coconut water is an all-natural beverage with no added coloring, flavoring or sweeteners, whereas other electrolyte drinks commonly contain these ingredients.
Low Sugar Content
Coconut water provides significantly less sugar per serving than other beverages. Coconut water naturally contains 6 grams of sugar per 1-cup serving, while sports drinks provide about 13 grams per cup and unsweetened apple juice has about 24 grams of sugar per cup. It's important to limit high-sugar foods when pregnant. According to a December 2009 article in the journal "Diabetes Care," eating a diet rich in complex carbohydrates and low in simple sugars may reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes. A diet high in simple sugars may cause adverse effects, such as a high birth weight baby and excessive maternal weight gain.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Nuts, Coconut Water (Liquid From Coconuts)
- The Journal of Perinatal Education: Nutrition Column: An Update on Water Needs During Pregnancy and Beyond
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: Electrolytes and Water
- Medical News Today: What Are Electrolytes?
- Center for Science in the Public Intrest: Chemical Cuisine: Learn About Food Additives
- SDA National Nutrient Database: Beverages, Pepsico Quaker, Gatorade, G Performance O 2, Ready to Drink
- SDA National Nutrient Database: Apple Juice, Canned or Bottled, Unsweetened, Without Added Ascorbic Acid
- The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society: Maternal Carbohydrate Intake and Pregnancy Outcome
- Diabetes Care: Dietary Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes Mellitus