Previously we wrote on presumptive sings of pregnancy. Now I will write about nutrition during pregnancy and if coconut water is of any help for pregnancy. Coconut is a natural drink gifted to humans as it contains no additives such as artificial flavors, colors or taste. The tropical drink is rich in nutrients containing calcium, chlorides, electrolytes Magnesium, vitamin C and Riboflavin. Coconut water during pregnancy is considered as one of the best sources of the nutrients as stated by the Coconut Development Board (CDB).
Coconut water surely is cool and energizing and feels refreshing in the hot summers to beat the heat but how do we know that how much benefits does it for pregnant women. Where many coconut based foods contain saturated fats, the natural drink plays an essential role in hydrating you and revitalizing your body during sickness. Here we would discuss the benefits, safety and warnings of coconut water in pregnancy.
Benefits of having coconut water during pregnancy
Coconut water during pregnancy is a source of nutrients bringing benefits to both mother and the child. It keeps your body hydrated and replenishes the natural salts that are lost. The drink is all natural, cool, refreshing and energizing. Let’s discuss the benefits of coconut water:
Keeps the Body Hydrated:
As we can see “water” right next to coconut, it is fair that it plays a role in keeping the body hydrated. Stating the facts, coconut water basically is 95% water. It isn’t a bad idea to use coconut water as it contains nutrients and keeps the body’s electrolytes in balance, however, if you’re aiming for hydration, its just better to use standard regular water. For sole hydrating purposes, water is better as it is less expensive than coconut water.
If you’re thinking about having sugary drinks, in that case coconut water is a better option as it has no additives.
Promotion of Weight Loss:
Coconut water promotes weight loss by eradication of bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol. Since the drink is free of saturated fats, it prevents the accumulation of excessive fats in the body and as mentioned before, keeps the body hydrated.
Healthy omega fatty acids that are recommended for pregnant women are present in coconut water that can help them keep their weight in check, however it is low in calories. It also contains some number of dietary fibres that are beneficial for the expecting mother.
Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe form of nausea that is experienced by as less as 1% of the people. Even mild nausea can leave you feeling miserable. Coconut tends to stabilize electrolyte balance in the body and for women who suffer from the condition, it can make up for the lost electrolyte by vomiting.
The daily fluid and electrolyte levels are well maintained in the body. Even in the regular morning sickness that occurs in the first trimester, the electrolyte imbalance can be stabilized and an energetic feeling can be provided by having coconut water.
There are medical evidences that shows how coconut water can improve body’s immune system. During pregnancy, women are more vulnerable to UTI, (urinary tract infection), coconut water acts as a natural diuretic enhancing the kidney function and prevention of UTI. It will increase urinary frequency also contributing to the reduced risk of UTI.
Antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, coconut water is rich in all three, all of these play a vital role in boosting the immune system of the body. This means that with the enhanced immune system, the mother and child, both are well protected from many diseases. “monolaurin”, produced by lauric acid is a disease fighting acid that prevents various illnesses including HIV and influenza.
Improved Digestion and Soothing of Acid Reflux:
Coconut water is known to increase metabolism, detoxifying the body and acts as a natural acid neutralizer. It strengthens the digestive system, improving the digestion and regulates the body’s pH levels. Due to the hormonal changes during pregnancy, such as the surge of progesterone levels, a person may have uncomfortable sour burps, as the stomach valves relaxes.
Many women say that sipping coconut water help them relief this uncomfortable feeling. It also helps relieving the pregnancy heartburns that are quite uncomfortable during pregnancy. Acid reflux really is agitating and can be relieved by having a few sips of the natural drink.
Although there is no scientific evidence in order to prove such claims, many women say that they did feel relieved after having coconut water. You should give it a go as well.
Reduction in Blood Pressure:
As it contains potassium, having coconut water is a smart choice for women who suffer from high blood pressure. Potassium is a nutrient that contributes to the regulation of blood flow and blood pressure. In a study conducted, it is shown that 71% of the participants showed reduced systolic pressure after having coconut water for 2 weeks.
It’s a good choice for reducing blood pressure or patients of high blood pressure, however, it cannot be used as a treatment. You should consult your doctor for better treatment options for high blood pressure or preeclampsia.
Nutrients for Fetal Development:
As the fetus develops, it requires proper supply of minerals and nutrients. Coconut contains many vital nutrients that helps in fetal developments. Some of its constituents that are essential are:
Of these, calcium is required for the development of teeth and bones in the child. The weightage can change depending upon the brand of the product. One thing you should keep in mind is that you should not depend solely on coconut water for nutrients. Consume nutrient rich foods and pre-natal vitamins must not be ignored. Have a healthy diet and a healthy life style for a healthy child.
Expecting moms perform pregnancy friendly exercises which can keep them energized, fresh and active. This not only helps that mother but helps the child as well. Coconut water can be used as a post-workout drink which as discussed previously, stabilizes electrolytes in the body and energize you. When you have prolonged exercises such as swimming, coconut water can help keep your body well hydrated. Instead of having energy drinks which are full of sugar, you can have coconut as a better alternative. Healthy mocktail:
Being pregnant, you can’t go to the bar and consume alcohol as it would be dangerous to the child but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice mocktail to enjoy. Coconut water is nature’s drink which is not only non-alcoholic but is also beneficial to the body as mentioned above. It has low calories, low carbs and exhibit a fancy look. Even though it doesn’t have high sugars, the natural flavors are good enough to enjoy.
When to drink coconut water during pregnancy?
The best time for drinking coconut water during pregnancy is in the morning because that is the time when nutrients are absorbed best by our bodies. Our body’s digestion systems works best in the morning and slows down at night. Therefore, it will be wise to drink coconut water in the morning to help our bodies absorb its nutrition and electrolytes optimally.
Does coconut water during pregnancy helps giving birth to a fair baby?
This is a myth and is false on two reasons. First, there is no ingredient in the coconut water which will directly or indirectly change skin pigmentation of a baby during pregnancy. And more importantly, skin color is almost exclusively determined by genetics. Therefore, drinking coconut water during pregnancy will not make your baby fair. However, because of its good nutrition profile, it will help you and your baby stay healthy during pregnancy.
Although coconut water is beneficial and highly recommended during pregnancy, but is coconut water safe to drink during pregnancy? First of all, you should not overconsume it. Any food item individually does not contain all sorts of required nutrients. According OB-GYN, one shall not consume more than 2 cups of coconut water per day. The important thing you should keep in mind are:
- Consume coconut water when the coconut is freshly cut.
- Consume in moderate amounts
You should also keep a track of what brand you use as different brands contain different levels of nutrient. Some brands may have added sugars to their coconuts which does not help is weight loss especially if you’re suffering from gestational diabetes, you must keep the brands in check.
Even though coconut water is refreshing and good for the expecting moms as well as the baby, one should not over consume it and the higher potassium levels may not result healthy for the mother and the child. Another thing you should keep in mind in that you should consume all sorts of nutrient rich foods that your body requires for fetal development and not restrict yourself to limited food items. Adopt a healthy lifestyle for a healthy baby.