Best Fruits to Eat During Pregnancy

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on May 29th, 2021

Pregnancy diet restrictions can be overwhelming. At the end of the day, most moms-to-be just want to know that they’ve consumed the most delicious, nutritious food possible. That’s why we’ve honed in on the best and worst fruits to consume during gestation. If there’s any source of nourishment that’s going to provide you with the vitamins and minerals you need, fresh fruit is it.

The 10 Best Fruits to Eat During Pregnancy

Everyone seems to have a favorite fruit. Hopefully, one of your favorites is on our list of the top 10 fruits to consume during gestation.

Apples

Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away? These tree-grown fruits are high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and potassium, all of which are essential to the health and development of a growing fetus. The fiber and bacteria in apples also make them excellent for gut health and digestion, both of which are issues that often plague expectant mothers.1The Nutrition Source – harvard.edu

Oranges

Oranges are an outstanding source of vitamin C, folate, iron, and water. Regular consumption of oranges during pregnancy may help you to cope with constipation, elevated blood pressure, dehydration, and skin issues. One orange contains 40 to 50 mcg of folic acid. Regular consumption of oranges may lead to a reduced risk of neural tube defects.

Keep in mind that highly acid citrus fruits could cause your gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or morning sickness symptoms to flare up. So, be sure to eat them in moderation.

Limit your daily intake to one to two organic oranges.

Bananas

Bananas are one of the most inexpensive, readily available, and arguably most delicious fruits on the market. A single banana is low in calories and a good source of protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin B6, omega-3, omega-6, and more.2Bananas raw nutrition data

Bananas help quash pregnancy symptoms, including nausea and constipation. They also offer some of the vitamins and minerals needed for healthy fetal development.

Pregnant women can safely consume one to two medium-sized bananas each day. Be sure to eat the brown spotted variety of these pulpy fruits. They offer the most antioxidants and are the easiest to digest.3Burton-Freeman, B. M., Sandhu, A. K., & Edirisinghe, I. (2016). Red raspberries and their bioactive polyphenols: cardiometabolic and neuronal health links. Advances in Nutrition, 7(1), 44-65.

Berries

As superfoods, berries are low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals. We strongly advise you to incorporate them into your pregnancy diet. They are a good source of:

  • Antioxidants
  • Fiber
  • Folate
  • Vitamin C
  • Manganese

According to the European Respiratory Journal, a maternal diet rich that is rich antioxidants may decrease a baby’s chance of developing asthma and other lung issues.4Bédard, A., Northstone, K., Holloway, J. W., Henderson, A. J., & Shaheen, S. O. (2018). Maternal dietary antioxidant intake in pregnancy and childhood respiratory and atopic outcomes: birth cohort study. European Respiratory Journal, 52(2), 1800507.

Scientists have also concluded that oxidative stress may increase a woman’s chance of miscarriage.5Jenkins, C., Wilson, R., Roberts, J., Miller, H., McKillop, J. H., & Walker, J. J. (2000). Antioxidants: their role in pregnancy and miscarriage. Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, 2(3), 623-628.

Avocado

Bring on the avocado toast, because these soft, green fruits are chockfull of vitamins and minerals that are essential to expectant mothers and their developing babies. A single avocado contains plenty of nutrients, including:

  • Monounsaturated “good” fats
  • Dietary fiber
  • Antioxidants
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin K
  • Copper
  • Riboflavin
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin E
  • Niacin

Studies show that avocados are an excellent addition to the diets of women who are trying to get pregnant, pregnant, and lactating.6Comerford, K. B., Ayoob, K. T., Murray, R. D., & Atkinson, S. A. (2016). The role of avocados in maternal diets during the periconceptional period, pregnancy, and lactation. Nutrients, 8(5), 313.

Apricots

Apricots are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including:

  • Vitamins A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Potassium
  • Fiber
  • Protein

Mangoes

Many pregnant women enjoy snacking on sweet and squishy mangoes. These delectable stone fruits offer a wealth of essential pregnancy nutrients, including:7Van Duyn, M. A. S., & Pivonka, E. (2000). Overview of the health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption for the dietetics professional: selected literature. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 100(12), 1511-1521.

  • Dietary fiber
  • Vitamin C
  • Copper
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin A

Ripe mango is an excellent addition to smoothies, fruit plates, and other meals. These tropical fruits offer the benefits of antioxidants and essential nutrients.8copen

Pomegranates

Pomegranates offer a generous number of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Dietary fiber
  • Protein
  • Vitamin K
  • Folate
  • Potassium

Studies show that pomegranates may improve maternal digestive health prevent oxidation stress in mom and baby, support fetal brain development, and prevent maternal anemia.9https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/eating-pomegranate-during-pregnancy-is-it-safe/

Be sure to eat plenty of these marvelous fruits during your first, second, and third trimesters.

Kiwis

Are you fond of these furry green and brown fruits? If so, you’ll be happy to know that unique tropical flavor is the host to several nutrients, including:

  • Dietary fiber
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Vitamin C
  • Folate
  • Beta Carotene

Kiwis are a good source of folic acid, which prevents neural tube defects. There are approximately 17 mcg of folic acid in one kiwi.10What Are the Benefits of Eating Kiwi Fruit During Pregnancy?

The importance of proper prenatal nutrition

Fruits and vegetables are the foundation of healthy nutrition. These nutrient-dense foods enable pregnant women to meet their daily diet requirements. Let’s see how maternal diets impact the essential stages of fetal development.

Folic Acid: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that expectant women consume 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid each day. Folic acid supports the development of the neural tube. Without enough of it, unborn fetuses may develop grave brain and spine diseases, including anencephaly and spina bifida.11Folic Acid Fortunately, citrus fruits, bananas, and avocados are excellent sources of folic acid.

Vitamin C: The American Pregnancy Organization recommends that pregnant women consume 86 mg of vitamin C each day. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), vitamin C is responsible for the development of collagen, L-carnitine, and various neurotransmitters.12Sun, Q., Qiu, H., Huang, M., & Yang, Y. (2020). Lower mortality of COVID-19 by early recognition and intervention: experience from Jiangsu Province. Annals of intensive care, 10(1), 1-4.

Vitamin C also plays an essential role in the body’s ability to metabolize iron. Still, it is necessary to note that excess vitamin C supplement consumption can cause several health issues.

Vitamin A: Vitamin A also a crucial element of prenatal nutrition. This vitamin is responsible for several stages of fetal health and development. According to the Oxford Journal of Nutrition, maternal vitamin A deficiencies can cause various embryonic malformations.13Zile, M. H. (1998). Vitamin A and embryonic development: an overview. The Journal of nutrition, 128(2), 455S-458S.

Vitamin A deficiency tends to be worse during the third trimester. It can lead to maternal anemia or even preterm delivery. According to the World Health Organization, the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A for pregnant women is 10,000 IU.

Vitamin B6 is essential to maternal and fetal health, and it is also known to reduce the effects of morning sickness.14uofmhealth

Studies show that 10 to 25 milligrams may reduce hormone-induced nausea and vomiting. Bananas are some of the only fruits that contain vitamin B6.

Potassium: Be sure to eat plenty of potassium during pregnancy. Pregnant women need approximately 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day. This mineral plays an integral role in human development. Your best chance of meeting your daily intake requirement is by eating plenty of potassium-rich fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, potatoes, prunes, and oranges.

Potassium deficiency can cause several health problems in otherwise healthy pregnant women. Signs of potassium deficiency include severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Antioxidants: Antioxidants are an integral part of prenatal nutrition, and fruits happen to be one of the best sources of these amazing micronutrients. Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress, which is one of the causes of miscarriages.15Jenkins, C., Wilson, R., Roberts, J., Miller, H., McKillop, J. H., & Walker, J. J. (2000). Antioxidants: their role in pregnancy and miscarriage. Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, 2(3), 623-628.

Regular consumption of antioxidants may also reduce birth defects related to alcohol consumption.16Antioxidants During Pregnancy May Help Prevent Birth Defects Tied To Alcohol

Berries and stone fruits are some of the most reliable sources of antioxidants. 
Maternal antioxidant deficiencies during pregnancy could lead to several complications, including preeclampsia, reduced fetal growth, and a baby’s increased risk for diseases (including cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes) in adulthood. Regular consumption of antioxidants may also reduce birth defects related to alcohol consumption.17Mistry, H. D., & Williams, P. J. (2011). The importance of antioxidant micronutrients in pregnancy. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2011.

Fiber: Fiber is also a crucial element of a healthy pregnancy diet. According to the International Journal of Women’s Health and Reproductive Sciences, pregnant women need to consume 25 to 35 grams of dietary fiber each day during pregnancy.18Importance of optimal fiber consumption during pregnancy

A diet that is high in fiber may reduce a woman’s chance of developing high blood pressure or preeclampsia during gestation. Raspberries, pears, apples, and bananas are just a few of the most delicious sources of dietary fiber.

Calcium: Calcium is yet another essential building block of fetal development. Pregnant women should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day to achieve optimal fetal and maternal health. During fetal bone development, 250 to 350 milligrams of calcium is transferred from mom to baby each day.19How Much Calcium Do You Need During Pregnancy?

While prenatal vitamins may offer a nominal amount of supplemental calcium, it’s even better to get your daily dose of this mineral from fresh fruits and vegetables, such as calcium-fortified orange juice, blackberries, guavas, papayas, and kiwis.

The best way to consume fruit during pregnancy

We’ll show you how you can maximize the benefits of your fruit intake without having to compromise the flavors and diversity of the foods you eat.

Fresh fruit

One of the best ways to maximize the number of vitamins and minerals you take in each day is to eat fresh, organic fruits. Fresh fruit is an excellent source of dietary fiber and water. Since digestive health and adequate hydration are essential to a healthy pregnancy, we cannot think of a better way to consume these delicious foods.

The CDC advises pregnant women to steer clear of pesticide-rich foods.20Pesticides – cdc.gov

Pesticides are associated with an increased risk of miscarriage. What’s more, these chemicals have the potential to cross over to a baby through breast milk. You can certainly limit your exposure to pesticides by eating organic fruits and vegetables during pregnancy. Given the high cost of organic produce, you may also wish to choose foods with the lowest chance of pesticide contamination.

Dried fruit

It’s safe to consume dried fruits during pregnancy. What’s more, dried fruit generally contains the same amount of vitamins and minerals as fresh fruit. The only thing is that dried fruit does not contain water.

Expectant mothers must limit their daily intake of dried fruit, as serving sizes will likely be smaller than that of equivalent fresh fruit portions. What’s more, excess dried fruit consumption can cause gastrointestinal issues and weight gain. Keep in mind that many dried fruits contain sugars, salts, and other flavor agents that are not beneficial to mom or baby. Feel free to consume dried fruit in moderation. Just be sure to also include fresh fruit in your diet.

Fruit juice and smoothies

Pregnant women should take precautions whenever drinking fruit juice during pregnancy. For one, steer clear of packaged unpasteurized fruit juices and smoothies, as these foods may contain bacteria that are harmful to your unborn baby. What’s more, be mindful of packaged fruit juices that may contain sweeteners and other additives, such as cane sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Whenever possible, opt for whole fruits over fruit juices if you are suffering from gestational diabetes, which is high blood sugar during pregnancy.21Gestational diabetes diet – Medlineplus

Foods that you may want to avoid during pregnancy

Truth be told, there aren’t any fruits that are off-limits during pregnancy. Still, you might want to think twice before you eat the following fruits.

Papaya

While papaya often makes the list of fruits that are taboo during pregnancy, is actually an excellent source of vitamin A. Studies show that ripe papaya is a perfectly safe addition to any pregnancy diet. It is the latex in unripe and semi-ripe papaya that has the potential to cause premature uterine contractions.22Adebiyi, A., Adaikan, P. G., & Prasad, R. N. V. (2002). Papaya (Carica papaya) consumption is unsafe in pregnancy: fact or fable? Scientific evaluation of a common belief in some parts of Asia using a rat model. British Journal of Nutrition, 88(2), 199-203.

Foods that you may want to avoid during pregnancy

Grapes

There’s a lot of misinformation spreading that grapes are not safe to eat during pregnancy. Still, a recent study published in Bioscience Reports demonstrated that resveratrol consumption during pregnancy improves the metabolic health of an unborn baby.23cncbi

Grapes contain several vitamins and nutrients that are vital for a healthy pregnancy, including:

Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Vitamin K
Antioxidants

Pineapple

Doctors sometimes advise pregnant women to cut down on their pineapple consumption, but what is it that makes this tropical fruit so threatening? The available scientific findings are from conclusive, but one recent study in a medically reviewed journal looks at the traditional use of pineapple extract as a means to induce labor.24Monji, F., Adaikan, P. G., Lau, L. C., Said, B. B., Gong, Y., Tan, H. M., & Choolani, M. (2016). Investigation of uterotonic properties of Ananas comosus extracts. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 193, 21-29.

Pineapple extract can cause uterine contractions when applied topically. But there are no conclusive findings that regular pineapple consumption causes premature labor.

Wrapping up

A woman’s nutrition during pregnancy has a direct impact on fetal health, labor and delivery, and lactation. Fortunately, fruits are some of the tastiest and most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. When it comes time for you to develop a diet for pregnancy and beyond, be sure to eat plenty of fresh, organic produce!

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Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on May 29th, 2021

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