Coconut Water During Pregnancy – Benefits, Side Effects & Facts
Pregnant women should drink about 8-12 cups (or 1.8-2.8 liters) of water every day.
Staying well-hydrated is crucial during pregnancy. It improves digestion, preserves an ideal amniotic fluid level, helps your body absorb vital nutrients for the growing baby, and flushes waste out of the body.
Coconut water, also known as Elaneer or Nariyal Pani, is one of the best and most refreshing natural drinks after water.
This soothing beverage keeps your body hydrated and provides vital nutrients to you and your baby. It is a zero-cholesterol, zero-fat beverage naturally low in calories and has more potassium than a banana.
Having a glass of coconut water once a day can help regulate blood pressure, says Deepshikha Agarwal, Dietitian-Nutritionist in Mumbai.
Read on to learn everything about coconut water and pregnancy, from benefits and side effects to facts.
Coconut Water In Pregnancy:
- Is Coconut Water Good for Pregnancy?
- Raw vs. Pasteurized vs. Unpasteurized Coconut Water
- Nutritional Value
- Possible Side Effects
- Popular Myths
- Frequently Asked Questions
Is Coconut Water Good for Pregnancy?
With nutrients like calcium, riboflavin, manganese, and vitamin C, plus being a rich source of dietary fiber, coconut water is a great way to replenish yourself during pregnancy, especially in summers.
This thirst-quenching natural drink is also high in proteins, minerals, electrolytes, chlorides, magnesium, and potassium, essential nutrients for a healthy pregnancy.
Coconut water is the best alternative to caffeinated drinks, sodas, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
However, if you have any health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or impaired kidney or heart function, you should consult your doctor before adding it to your pregnancy diet. The high amounts of electrolytes and carbohydrates present in coconut water can worsen these conditions.
Varieties of Coconut water - Raw vs. Pasteurized vs. Unpasteurized
There are many types of coconut water on the market today. Raw, pasteurized, and unpasteurized varieties are all available. But what's the difference between these types of coconut water? Which one is safer to drink during pregnancy?
Raw coconut water is the purest form of beverage and the best to drink during pregnancy.
It is fresh, raw water you get straight from green coconuts. It has not been heated or treated, retaining its natural nutrients and minerals.
Pasteurized coconut water has been heat-treated to kill bacteria. However, this process kills off many nutrients present in raw coconut water.
Therefore, many commercially available forms of pasteurized coconut water are safe for pregnant women but may not be as nutritious as tender coconut water.
Unpasteurized coconut water has not been heat-treated but filtered to remove impurities.
Many brands use micro-filtration to remove harmful bacteria from unpasteurized 'cold-pressed' coconut water and create a sterile product.
Packaged Coconut Water- Safety Tips
- You must refrigerate packaged coconut water and consume it before its 'best before' or 'expiry' date.
- You should check the ingredients carefully before purchasing packaged coconut water. Some brands use artificial sweeteners and add sugar to hide the flavor of preservatives, which may spike your blood sugar levels and cause unnecessary weight gain.
Raw Coconut Water- Buying Tips
For pregnant women, the best option is to drink water right from the young coconuts instead of pre-packaged bottles. Here are some tips for choosing the best coconut:
- Pick clean, medium-sized green coconuts as they are sweet and laden with water and nutrients. Avoid coconuts with hard brown rims and gray patches, indicating mature nuts.
- Shake the coconut near your ear to understand how much water it contains. A good coconut produces a good sloshing sound and has nearly a cup of water.
- Use a clean knife or cutter to open the coconut.
- Always use a clean straw.
- Consume the whole water from the coconut immediately after the coconut is cut.
Nutritional Value of Coconut Water
Coconut water or juice is a very balanced nutritional drink that eliminates tiredness and lethargy. According to USDA, 100ml contains the following nutrients:
- Water 95
- Carbohydrate 3.71g
- Sugar 2.61g
- Fiber 1.1g
- Protein 0.72g
- Energy 19 KCal
- Potassium 250mg
- Sodium 105mg
- Magnesium 25mg
- Calcium 24mg
- Phosphorus 20mg
- Iron 0.29mg
Related Article: Pregnancy Nutrition Guide- What to Eat and What to Avoid
Benefits of coconut water for pregnancy
Coconut water is a cholesterol- and fat-free drink equally beneficial for the expecting mother and baby. The health benefits of drinking this nutty water when pregnant include:
1. Hydrates Your Body
The reason for the word 'water' in the name!
It is composed of about 95% of pure water.
It keeps your body well hydrated, which improves the skin's elasticity and minimizes the risk of developing stretch marks during pregnancy.
It is a great natural energy booster after a pregnancy-friendly workout. It replenishes natural salts and replaces lost electrolytes in the body. The electrolytes and other hydrating agents supply your energy when you feel exhausted.
However, it is crucial to remember that this fruity drink is not a substitute for regular normal water, the gold standard for hydration and moisturization.
2. Aids in Morning Sickness
Coconut water is rich in electrolytes that help replenish lost fluids and minerals from morning sickness, nausea, and diarrhea.
It supplies all the five essential electrolytes: calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and phosphorus, which are very beneficial for pregnant women suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, an extreme form of morning sickness that leads to excessive vomiting.
Pregnant women with this condition often require more electrolytes to compensate for losses from excessive vomiting. Water in coconut provides all these essential electrolytes and helps their system stabilize.
3. Soothes Acid Reflux
During pregnancy, the increased progesterone hormone levels relax your stomach valves. It causes gastric juice to bubble up into your esophagus, leading to discomfort and unpleasant sour burps.
Also, your growing baby pressing against your stomach triggers heartburn or acid reflux. Sipping nariyal pani may provide some relief from acid reflux during pregnancy.
4. Promotes Fetal Development
Vitamins and minerals are vital for your baby's development. That's why prenatal vitamins are so essential during pregnancy.
Since coconut water is a good source of micronutrients like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, adding it to your diet promotes both maternal and fetal health.
For example, magnesium has been associated with increased birth weight and a lower risk of preeclampsia, while calcium contributes to a baby's teeth and bone development.
5. Lowers Blood Pressure
Pregnant women are more likely to have high blood pressure or preeclampsia due to the increased blood volume.
Drinking coconut water for two weeks reduces systolic blood pressure in pregnant women. The potassium in it helps to regulate blood flow and blood pressure. It increases good cholesterol and improves heart health.
Drinking a glass every day during the third trimester offers a calming effect when the anxiety and stress caused by impending labor and delivery often increase your blood pressure.
6. Improves Digestive Health
Coconut water is rich in dietary fibers that improve the digestion process, promote intestinal health, regulate pH levels, and reduce the chance of constipation.
It acts as a natural laxative that prevents constipation and a natural acid neutralizer that relieves heartburn. It, in turn, detoxifies the body and leads to improved metabolism.
7. Helps Prevent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
As a natural diuretic, coconut water improves the function of the kidney, balances the uric acid levels, flushes out toxins from the body, and clears out the urinary tract.
Potassium, magnesium, and other minerals increase urine flow, preventing urinary tract infections. Furthermore, the anti-lithogenic properties of coconut water prevent kidney stones from forming.
8. Increases Amniotic Fluid Levels
One of the well-known benefits of coconut water during pregnancy is increased amniotic fluid levels.
Especially in the third trimester, drinking tender coconut water works as a natural way to increase the amniotic fluid index (AFI). Even many doctors recommend drinking it to achieve normal AFI levels.
9. Promotes Healthy Weight Gain
Pregnancy adds extra weight to your body, and coconut water, being fat-free and low in calories, helps prevent it from worsening. It controls hunger pangs, reduces total calorie consumption, and prevents fat buildup in the body.
For this reason, coconut water is a healthier alternative to those sugar-laden drinks that spike your blood sugar levels, cause you to become overweight, and lose your chances of having a normal delivery.
10. Lowers the Risk of Gestational Diabetes
Fatigue is a typical side effect of pregnancy. As a result, you may look for energy drinks, but excessive sugar consumption can drastically increase your overall blood sugar levels and hurt your child’s brain function.
On the contrary, coconut water has significantly low sugar than other energy beverages, which lowers the risk of gestational diabetes. For instance, one hundred grams of coconut water has only 2.1 grams of sugar, making it an ideal energy drink for pregnancy.
11. Relieves Joint Pain
During pregnancy, your body undergoes many physical changes, leading to joint and muscle pain. The significant amount of magnesium in coconut water helps relax your nervous system and provides relief from sore muscles and joint pain.
12. Boosts Immunity
Coconut water is rich in vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help improve your immunity. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties keep your immune system in top shape. Additionally, it protects both mother and baby from various diseases and changing-weather ailments like flu.
Side effects of coconut water during pregnancy
Coconut water is safe to consume in pregnancy, but its overconsumption may adversely affect your maternal health. The possible side effects of this tropical fruit drink during pregnancy include:
- Lower blood pressure
- More frequent urination
- Hyperkalemia (too much potassium in the blood)
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Increased blood sugar levels
Also, if you're allergic to coconut water, be sure to consult your healthcare provider before adding it to your diet.
Coconut Water In Pregnancy: Myths and Facts
Although coconut water is beneficial for pregnant women in many ways, there are a few myths floating around about consuming it during pregnancy. Here, those myths are busted:
Myth 1: Coconut water fulfills the complete dietary requirements of a pregnant woman.
Truth: Although coconut water contains vital minerals and nutrients, drinking it alone won't fulfill all your nutrient requirements during pregnancy. You need to be nourished well with vegetables, fruits, and other food groups for a healthy pregnancy.
Myth 2: Coconut water strengthens and thickens the baby's hair.
Truth: Your baby's hair strength and texture are determined by genetics. There is no connection between consuming coconut water and hair growth in the baby. It's just a myth that has been passed on for generations.
Myth 3: Coconut water causes acidity during pregnancy.
Truth: No, it's absolutely a myth. The acidity you experience is due to your growing baby, who pushes the intestine upwards and interferes with digestion.
Myth 4: Coconut water makes the baby's skin fairer.
Truth: This myth is baseless as the baby's skin color depends entirely on genetic factors and cannot be altered simply by having coconut water.
Myth 5: Drinking coconut water during pregnancy increases the baby's head size.
Truth: This myth does not hold good, as drinking coconut water does nothing to your baby's head size. There is no scientific evidence for it.
Myth 6: Coconut water is the best source of hydration during pregnancy.
Truth: Although coconut water helps combat dehydration, water is the best hydrator for pregnant women. It's highly recommended that you drink at least 8-12 glasses of water every day to stay well-hydrated during pregnancy.
Q1. Can I drink coconut water during pregnancy?
Answer: Yes, coconut water is 100% safe to consume in pregnancy, but make sure you drink it in moderation. Also, always check with your doctor before making any changes in your diet during pregnancy.
Q2. When should I start drinking coconut water during pregnancy?
Answer: You can start drinking coconut water as early as the first trimester. You and your baby can leverage its nutrients from early pregnancy onwards.
Q3. What is the best time to drink coconut water during pregnancy?
Answer: The best time to consume coconut water is early morning hours, as your empty stomach quickly absorbs nutrients and electrolytes found in it.
Q4. How much coconut water should I drink per day during pregnancy?
Answer: Moderation is the key. You can drink up to one to two glasses of coconut water per day.
Q5. Is coconut water safe in early pregnancy?
Answer: Yes, coconut water is safe in early pregnancy when you have symptoms like morning sickness, nausea, acidity, heartburn, and constipation. It helps relieve all these symptoms.
Q6. Is tender coconut water good during pregnancy?
Answer: Yes, it's good. The water of fresh coconut is a naturally refreshing drink with no added chemicals. Consuming it during pregnancy keeps you well-hydrated and healthy, especially during summers.
Q7. How often to drink coconut water during pregnancy?
Answer: Try not to drink coconut water more than twice a day during pregnancy.
Coconut water is a safe and hydrating beverage choice for expecting mothers. It is full of nutrients, with a refreshing effect and a nutty flavor.
However, like any other food or drink, you should consume it in moderation to enjoy all the benefits without any adverse side effects.
Also, remember that coconut water is not a replacement for regular water, but it is a better option than other drinks with added sugar, such as sports drinks, sodas, and some fruit juices.