Fruits to Avoid When Pregnant

Mix of dried fruits and nuts on rustic wooden background
It's important to watch what you eat when you're pregnant. (Image: samael334/iStock/GettyImages)

What you eat while pregnant impacts your health as well as your baby's development. As an expecting mother, you might wonder whether you should eat fish, eggs or citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit and tangerine during pregnancy. Many foods that are otherwise healthy may not be safe when you're carrying a child. Fruits are no exception.

Tip

Fruits are safe during pregnancy as long as you wash them thoroughly and remove the seeds or pits. Dried varieties should be consumed in moderation because of their high sugar content. If you're concerned about pesticides and herbicides, switch to organic fruits.

Can You Eat Dried Fruits?

Dried fruits are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. According to a 2017 review published in the journal Nutrients, these foods may help in diabetes management and prevention, reduce heart disease risk and improve metabolic health.

Despite their high carb content, they don't postprandial blood glucose levels. Dietary fiber, one of their key nutrients, slows sugar absorption into the bloodstream. Dried prunes, for example, provide 12.4 grams of fiber per cup, which is nearly half of the daily recommended intake.

The downside is that you may experience digestive distress if you eat dried fruits in large amounts. As Medical News Today notes, too much fiber may cause bloating, constipation and gas. It may also reduce nutrient absorption and make you feel too full. This is the last thing you want while carrying a baby.

Also, beware that dried fruits may contain sulfites. Some individuals may develop sulfite sensitivity and experience allergic reactions. To stay safe, stick to organic dried fruits and enjoy them in moderation.

Are Cherries Safe?

The role of cherry in pregnancy health is well-documented. Tart cherries, for example, are high in polyphenols that fight inflammatory and oxidative stress, according to a 2016 study published in the journal Nutrients.

Many moms-to-be experience swelling of the face and limbs during pregnancy, which is largely due to fluid retention and inflammation. A 2018 study published in Nature Neuroscience has found that maternal inflammation may interfere with the baby's brain development. A diet rich in cherries and other high-antioxidant foods can reduce swelling and keep your unborn child healthy.

Just make sure you don't eat the cherry pit as it contains cyanide. This toxic compound may cause severe poisoning and even death when consumed in doses as low as 0.7 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, as the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry notes.

Renal dysfunction, convulsions, dyspnea and asphyxia are common side effects. Apple seeds contain this chemical too. Cyanide is only released when you chew the pits, so eating them whole is unlikely to cause any issues.

Citric Acid During Pregnancy

Many expecting mothers are not sure whether they can eat orange, grapefruit or tangerine during pregnancy. These fruits contain citric acid, an organic compound that acts as a coagulant. It's also available in tablet and injectable form and prescribed for metabolic acidosis, kidney stones, hepatitis and urinary alkalinization.

Studies have shown no evidence of fetal risk following the consumption of citric acid, meaning that you can eat citrus fruits like orange and sweet lime during pregnancy without having to worry about potential side effects. In fact, most ripe fruits and vegetables are safe for expecting moms when consumed in moderation.

Don’t Take Unnecessary Risks

Beware that fresh fruits may be contaminated with bacteria, such as Toxoplasma gondii. According to a 2014 study published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, toxoplasmosis can be easily transmitted from the mother to the fetus, increasing the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Furthermore, this infection may cause epilepsy, blindness, eye diseases and developmental delays in the unborn baby.

Rinse the fruits well before consumption and cut away bruised areas. Store them in a separate drawer in the fridge, away from meat and dairy. Avoid buying pre-cut fruits at the store if you're worried about contamination.

When you purchase fruit juice, choose pasteurized versions. Pasteurization destroys the harmful bacteria in raw fruits and vegetables, eliminating the risk of contamination. The same goes for dairy foods. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, raw or unpasteurized milk products may lead to foodborne illnesses and even death.

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