Health benefits of your Halloween pumpkin and other fall seasonal produce during pregnancy

Health Benefits of Pumpkin and Other Seasonal Fall Produce During Pregnancy

Discussing the importance of nutrition during pregnancy, Doula Kalli Chason says: 

“Nutrition is one of the most intuitive and natural medicines available to us during pregnancy and while nursing. When individuals can utilize their ability to intuitively eat, there are many pregnancy and nursing ailments that can be fixed. 

“Protein is a key component to a healthy pregnancy. Most individuals should be aiming for 60-80 grams of protein daily. Eating a decent amount of protein in pregnancy can help with morning sickness, prevent pre-eclampsia and help with anemia. Other nutrients to think about are fiber, iron and B12, and copious amounts of water.

“There are many guidelines about food intake during pregnancy and things to avoid. Raw fish, caffeine, and soft cheese are some of the most commonly avoided foods in pregnancy. In regards to raw fish, making sure that if you eat fish it is not a big predator fish is important and if you are going to eat sushi, make sure that it is from a high quality restaurant.

“Caffeine is safe to have during pregnancy in lesser amounts. ACOG (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) recommends no more than two six-ounce cups per day or less than 200mg of caffeine daily. Remember that caffeine is not just in your coffee or energy drink, it is also in things like chocolate and can sneak its way into your daily intake. 

1. Pumpkin

The autumnal fruit (or vegetable, as some would argue), pumpkin, which is popular around Halloween and Thanksgiving, is packed with vitamins, nutrients and fiber that are beneficial when pregnant. The fruit has many immune-boosting properties, as it contains beta carotene, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron and folate – all of which boast a host of health benefits. 

Throughout pregnancy, you will use lots of iron to help grow the fetus and placenta, plus it’s also needed to make blood to supply oxygen for you and your baby, so adding pumpkin to your diet can help keep your iron level in check and prevent iron deficiency anemia. 

Other additional benefits of pumpkin during pregnancy and while breastfeeding include:

  • Keeping constipation at bay
  • Helping with abdominal pains and improving immunity
  • Supporting healthy blood pressure,
  • Helping the fetus’s brain development. 

2. Butternut Squash

From a hearty butternut squash soup to a roasted recipe, fall is the most popular time of year to prepare a dish with the delicious root vegetable. Just like pumpkin, butternut squash is rich in vitamins and minerals that are the perfect addition to your diet during pregnancy. 

The seasonal squash is high in potassium, which helps you to maintain healthy blood pressure. This is important during pregnancy, as high blood pressure can be dangerous for your baby, as it can make it more difficult for the fetus to get nutrients and oxygen to grow. 

Butternut squash is packed full of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body, an essential vitamin for fetus development. Vitamin A is required for the development of your baby’s heart, lungs, eyes, bones, respiratory and central nervous systems. 

3. Brussel Sprouts

Sprouts are harvested from fall onwards and are a popular side dish on any Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner table. The vegetable is high in vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin B9, which is also known as folic acid, and is a requirement for your baby’s development. Folic acid plays an important role in the development of cells, it also helps to form the neural tube and helps the development of the brain and prevent any birth defects of the fetus’s brain. 

Brussel sprouts are a great source of vitamin C, which can help to lower the risk of pre-eclampsia and help the production of collagen that supports normal fetus growth and more. Vitamin K is another beneficial property of eating brussel sprouts. During pregnancy, it is essential for your baby’s bone development and is important for blood coagulation. 

4. Apples

Apples are both great for snacking on and baking into a pie, plus they are a great source of calcium. This vitamin helps to strengthen your baby’s growing bones, teeth and it also helps contribute to muscle, heart and nervous system development. 

The fruit is packed with other health benefits for both you and your baby, from fiber, which can help with digestion, to helping build your immune system with vitamin C and being rich in iron, which can help to prevent anemia during your pregnancy. 

5. Figs

Figs have a variety of different health benefits during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, from helping aid digestion, to preventing high blood pressure and strengthening and helping the development of bones and teeth. 

The fruit is rich in minerals, potassium and nutrients, including vitamins A, B1, B2, C, all which contribute to the growth and development of your unborn baby. Figs also contain omega-3 and folate, which can help support brain and eye development in your baby. 

Before you go, are you a member of the Your Baby Club? Get personalised offers and support and track your pregnancy with one of the UK’s leading communities for new mums.
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