Reasons Pregnant Women Should Drink Orange Juice
As a popular beverage, orange juice is safe for pregnant women. It can prevent neural tube defects thanks to its high level of folate. If the orange juice is fortified with calcium, you’ll get extra protection against preeclampsia and bone problems. The potassium in orange juice also controls your blood pressure, while the vitamin C boosts your immunity. Even iron absorption will improve because of the vitamin C. If you have high blood sugar, avoid orange juice.
Pregnancy comes with a lot of rules for your diet – eat this, not that! Eventually, you start wondering if it’s safe to eat and drink anything at all! But one of the common concerns you might have had as well concerns orange juice, a staple of the average American breakfast. Can you drink orange juice when pregnant?
The answer is a definite “Yes,” as it might even help more than just with being able to stomach those prenatal vitamins! Here are five ways orange juice is good for pregnancy.
A healthy pregnancy depends on folate or folic acid. It’s also known as vitamin B9. This nutrient is so crucial that you can find it in prenatal vitamins.
During pregnancy, your daily requirement increases from 400 mcg to 600 mcg. Orange juice can add to your intake, as a 6-ounce glass has 35 mcg. A single fresh orange has 29 mcg.1
Folate plays a huge role in preventing neural tube defects. It decreases the risk by 70 percent, ensuring that your little one is born healthy. The most common neural tube defect is spina bifida, a condition where the spinal cord stays outside of the baby’s body.2
Additional risks of low folate intake include preterm delivery, low birth weight, and delayed growth. Spontaneous abortion and preeclampsia might also occur.3 Later on in life, emotional issues are likely in children who didn’t get enough folate in the womb.4
All of these problems develop early on. So even if you aren’t pregnant yet, folate is a must.5 Drinking orange juice during pregnancy can really help.
When you’re expecting, your calcium needs to stay at 1,000 mg a day. However, if you already have a low intake, calcium may prevent preeclampsia. Orange juice offers 261 mg in a 6-ounce cup, making it a healthy drink for pregnant women.
It’s also just good for overall bone health. How else will you carry around your little one? By keeping your bones strong, you’ll limit the chances of knee pain during pregnancy.
To get these benefits, opt for calcium-fortified orange juice. Always check the label before purchasing. Plus, if you’re lactose intolerant or don’t like milk, orange juice can contribute to your calcium intake.6
Like calcium, your potassium requirements don’t change while pregnant. You still need 4,700 mg each day. Yet, it’s essential for healthy heart function, fluid balance, and digestion. It also regulates your blood pressure and prevents hypertension. 7
During pregnancy, this is so important. High blood pressure equals a greater risk of preeclampsia, low birth weight, and early delivery. You can even develop kidney damage.8
A 6-ounce glass of orange juice boasts 372 mg of potassium, making it a good drink for pregnancy. Other sources include prunes, tomato, spinach, and bananas.9
4. Vitamin C
If orange juice is known for anything, it’s the vitamin C! A 6-ounce cup has anywhere from 62 to 92 mg. This will add to your daily requirement, which goes from 75 mg to 85 mg during pregnancy.10
You need vitamin C every day since your body can’t make or store it. Getting enough is key for a healthy immune system.
Remember, pregnancy changes your body and immunity, making you vulnerable to germs and colds. In order to protect a baby, your body needs to be in top shape. Orange juice will help the cause.
Other foods that are rich in vitamin C include red peppers, grapefruit, broccoli, and kiwi.11
5. Better Iron Absorption
With vitamin C comes enhanced iron absorption.12 And when you’re pregnant, this means the world. Your daily requirement of 18 mg increases to 27 mg.13 Prenatal supplements also have iron.
The fetus and placenta need iron for proper development. This will prevent a short gestation period and low birth weight. In the later stages of pregnancy, iron deficiency is more likely, stressing the need for consistent intake.
Aside from prenatal supplements, you can get iron from beef, chicken liver, tuna, prunes, and raisins.14 Drinking orange juice will ensure optimal absorption.
Orange juice is good for you depending on your body type and any health issues. If you have gestational diabetes, avoid orange juice. An 8-ounce glass has about 21 g of sugar.15 This can worsen the condition and cause pregnancy complications.16 Talk to your doctor and decide how safe it is for you.
Even if your blood sugar levels are OK, think about the sugar intake. Freshly squeezed orange juice will limit the chances of added sugar. It won’t be fortified with calcium, but you’ll get the other benefits of orange juice.
And there’s no universal standard for the amount of orange juice good for pregnant women. Observe your body’s reaction to it and drink in moderation with other vital beverages as well.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Folate. National Institutes of Health.|
|2.||↑||Folic Acid: the Vitamin That Helps Prevent Birth Defects. New York State Department of Health.|
|3.||↑||Scholl, Theresa O., and William G. Johnson. “Folic acid: influence on the outcome of pregnancy.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 71, no. 5 (2000): 1295s-1303s.|
|4.||↑||Steenweg–de Graaff, Jolien, Sabine J. Roza, Eric AP Steegers, Albert Hofman, Frank C. Verhulst, Vincent WV Jaddoe, and Henning Tiemeier. “Maternal folate status in early pregnancy and child emotional and behavioral problems: the Generation R Study.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 95, no. 6 (2012): 1413-1421.|
|5.||↑||Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid). University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|6.||↑||Calcium. National Institutes of Health.|
|7.||↑||Potassium. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|8.||↑||High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.|
|9.||↑||Potassium. Oregon State University.|
|10.||↑||Vitamin C. Oregon State University.|
|11.||↑||Vitamin C. National Institutes of Health.|
|12.||↑||Vitamin C. MedlinePlus.|
|13, 14.||↑||Iron. Oregon State University.|
|15.||↑||Full Report (All Nutrients): 45138760, FLORIDA’S NATURAL, 100% ORANGE JUICE WITH CALCIUM AND VITAMIN D, ORANGE, UPC: 016300165660. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|16.||↑||Dietary Recommendations for Gestational Diabetes. UCSF Medical Center.|