Grapes During Pregnancy: Safety, Benefits, And Side Effects

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Is It Safe To Eat Grapes During Pregnancy?

Grapes are sugar-rich fruit rich in vitamins, organic acids, folic acid, pectiniA complex polysaccharide and source of dietary fiber present in the plant cell wall , and fiber. Besides, it contains several antioxidants that can benefit health over time. Hence, it would help to eat grapes during pregnancy in moderation to get sufficient nutrients and enjoy the fruit’s health benefits (1). Keeping grape intake in control is vital as they contain high levels of resveratrol, which in excess can be toxic (2).

If you like eating dried grapes (raisins), you should eat them in moderation. Read on to learn more about the possible maternal health benefits of grapes, when you should avoid eating grapes, and some tasty grape recipes you can make for yourself.
[Read: Nutritious Fruits To Eat During Pregnancy]

Nutritional Value In Grapes

NutrientRDA(3)(4) Per 100g of grapes(1)
Carbohydrates175g18.1g
Dietary fiber28g0.9g
Magnesium350 – 360mg7mg
Iron27mg0.36mg
Vitamin A770mcg3mcg

Apart from the above nutrients, ripe grapes are likely to contain the following nutrients that might do a world of good for you and your baby:

  • Glucose and fructose sugars.
  • Rich vitamin complex – A, C, K, P, and B group.
  • Organic acids – citric, malic, ascorbic, tartaric, and more.
  • Antioxidants like flavonoliPlant-derived nutrients present in fruits, vegetables, grains, roots, cocoa, and tea , anthocyaninsiAntioxidant pigments present in fruits and vegetables and impart colors to foods , linalool, geraniol, tannin, and nerol.
  • Calcium, iron, potassium, cobalt, manganese, and other elements.
  • The skin contains pectin and some fiber.
  • Biologically active compounds like phenols (5) (6).

10 Health Benefits Of Grapes During Pregnancy

If a pregnant woman adds grapes in her diet, it may influence her health condition, appearance, and the baby’s health and development in the following ways.

1. Anti-inflammatory properties

The anti-inflammatory properties in grapes could help you control arthritis and asthma that might aggravate in pregnancy. The hydrating ability of grapes might increase the moisture in the lungs, thus keeping you away from asthma.

2. Antioxidants for immunity

Grapes are rich in antioxidants such as flavonol, anthocyanins, linalool, geraniol, and tannin, all of which help boost your immunity and may prevent infections (6).

protip_icon Did you know?
Anthocyanins are the compounds that give red, blue, and purple color to grapes (11).

3. Magnesium for muscle cramps

Grapes contain good amounts of magnesium (1) that may help relieve cramps during pregnancy.

4. Fiber for constipation

Grapes contain dietary fiber, which acts as a laxative. It may help provide relief from constipation that is common in pregnancy.

5. Resveratrol controls cholesterol levels

Red grapes contain resveratrol compounds that may help control cholesterol during pregnancy. This enzyme is known to improve bile performance, which keeps blood fat under check (8). Consume the fruit and not the juice, since its ingestion of concentrated sugars might be too fast. Also, you may miss out on the fiber when it is juiced.

6. Organic acids

Organic acids present in grapes (9) help neutralize the bacterium in the oral cavity. They also support the formation and maintenance of calcium.

7. Polyphenols for heart

During pregnancy, moms-to-be could experience heart problems. The polyphenolsiSubstance found in plants beneficial for human health and helps prevent diseases present in grapes may extend support to the heart system (10).

8. Iron

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the global prevalence of anemia is 37%. Women with anemia or those at risk of insufficiency or deficiency should consume a well-balanced diet containing foods rich in nutrients like iron.

Grapes are a nutritious fruit that contains iron that can contribute to a mother’s iron needs and help maintain a healthy hemoglobiniA protein found in red blood cells,responsible for the transport of oxygen in the body level. Hence, they may be good for women with anemiaiA condition where the blood has lower than normal red blood cells or hemoglobin . Red grapes contain more iron than any other grape variety.

9. Some other benefits

The components present in grapes may improve memory and eyesight and can stimulate cerebral circulation. Therefore, fresh grapes and grape juice are recommended if you are suffering from weakness, tiredness, nervous breakdown, and stress.

10. For the baby

Vitamin B in grapes might aid in the body’s metabolism and could help the growing fetus receive more nutrients. Sodium may support the nervous system development, Vitamin A and flavonol might protect the baby’s eyesight, and folate may lower the chances of neural tube defects.

But before you settle on a couch with a cup of grapes, we would caution you to limit the portions of this fruit. Like any other food, grapes could be harmful when overeaten.

How Can Grapes Be Bad For You?

Here are some side effects of grapes in pregnancy:

1. Toxicity

The major problem of consuming grapes in excess amounts is that they contain large amounts of resveratrol. It is a toxic compound (7) that may be dangerous for pregnant women whose hormones are imbalanced. It may also lead to resveratrol poisoning that could further cause many complications during pregnancy. It is found in grapes with dark skin, such as black and red ones.

2. Thick skin could cause diarrhea

Black and red grapes have thick skin that might be difficult to digest. It could lead to diarrhea in women with a weak digestive system.

3. Raw grapes are a big no-no

Raw and sour grapes are acidic. Consuming too many of them could cause heartburn, headache, nausea, and vomiting.

4. Sugars may hike blood sugar levels

Although the natural sugars present in grapes taste perfect, they might increase the blood sugar levels.

Have we left you confused? If “To eat or not to eat,” is your question, then let’s tell you that you need not avoid grapes unless you fall under the ‘risk’ category.

protip_icon Quick fact
Grapes are low in sodium and high in potassium, which may help balance blood pressure levels (12).

When To Avoid Grapes During Pregnancy?

If you are falling under any of the below groups, it may be ideal to avoid eating grapes during pregnancy, as it could lead to severe complications.

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Obesity
  • Susceptible to allergies
  • Indigestion

Also, eat only in their fruiting season as non-season grapes are grown using pesticides and chemicals. Go for organic varieties whenever possible.

How To Consume Grapes When Pregnant?

You can include whole fruits or grape juice in your diet.

protip_icon Point to consider
Limit grape juice intake as much as possible as it is high in sugar (13).

Easy Recipes With Grapes

It is good to eat grapes as a whole. But you may try these recipes occasionally.

1. Chicken with red grapes

Chicken with red grapes during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:

  • 2tbsp. butter
  • 1tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 skinless and boneless halved chicken breasts
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup seedless rinsed red grapes

How to:

  1. In a pan, melt butter and oil over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the chicken breasts. Cook for about three to five minutes until it turns golden brown on all sides.
  2. Add cream, salt and pepper, and thyme. Bring the heat down to a simmer. Cover and cook for about five to seven minutes.
  3. Remove the cover. Let the cream reduce until it thickens. Add the red grapes and let them heat up. Remove from heat.

2. Caramel grapes

Caramel grapes during pregnancy

Image: IStock

This is a delicacy but is high in sugars, so consume this after careful consideration.

You will need:

  • 2 cups sour cream
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 5 cups green seedless grapes
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar

How to:

  1. Mix sour cream, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Add grapes and mix well.
  2. Add butter and brown sugar in a pan. Place it on medium heat and keep stirring until the mixture turns thick. Do not let it boil.
  3. Pour the butter and brown sugar syrup over the grape mix. Stir it properly until everything mixes. Let it chill for at least two to three hours before eating.

3. Grape salad

Grape salad during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:

  • 1lb green seedless grapes
  • 1lb red seedless grapes
  • A pack of softened cream cheese
  • A jar of marshmallow cream
  • A pack of slivered almonds

How to:

  1. Wash the grapes and remove their stems.
  2. In another bowl, add cream cheese and the marshmallow cream. Mix them well until they turn soft and creamy. Pour this mix over the grapes. Stir everything well so that the grapes are completely coated with the creamy mix.
  3. Add almonds.
  4. You can eat it immediately or refrigerate it for an hour to let the flavors blend.
protip_icon Quick tip
You may add half a cup of pomegranate and toasted sesame seeds to enhance the salad’s taste and nutritional value.

4. White chocolate grapes

White chocolate grapes during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:

  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 2tsp shortening
  • 1lb seedless grapes
  • 1 cup finely chopped salted peanuts

How to:

  1. In a small microwave-safe dish, mix white chocolate chips and shortening. Heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds or until they melt completely and turn smooth. Make sure you stir them properly to avoid any sticking at the bottom. Spread out the chopped peanuts on wax paper.
  2. Take fresh seedless grapes and dip them in the white chocolate mix and roll them in peanuts.
  3. Set all the grapes on the wax paper to dry.

5. Garlic chicken and grapes

Garlic chicken and grapes during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:

  • 3tbsp prepared Dijon-style mustard
  • 3tbsp soy sauce
  • 2tbsp honey
  • 2tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds of skinless, boneless halved chicken breasts
  • 1tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 cups seedless grapes

How to:

  1. Mix honey, vinegar, mustard, and soy sauce. Keep it aside.
  2. Mix garlic and oil in a microwave-proof pan. Place the chicken in the pan with the skin side facing down.
  3.  Cover and bake for about 10 minutes at a temperature of 400 degrees F. Take off the cover and turn over the chicken pieces.
  4. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the chicken pieces.
  5. Bake again till the chicken is no longer pink in the center. It should take about another 15 to 20 minutes for the chicken to cook thoroughly.
  6. Once it is done, sprinkle the grapes over the chicken. Bake again for about five minutes before removing it from the oven.

Grapes are nutritious, but they could be bad for you if you fall into the risk category. Before avoiding the fruit out of fear, talk to your doctor and find out if it could harm you and your baby’s development in any way. Take a decision to eat or avoid based on their recommendation.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I eat dry grapes/raisins during pregnancy?

You may consume dry grapes or raisins during pregnancy. However, do not over-consume them. Dry grapes are a source of energy and are filled with high levels of essential nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber, which might help an expectant mother.
Raisins may be taken directly or added to any dish such as cakes, muffins, bread, buns, chocolates, and porridges. If you have diabetes, restrict their consumption.

2. Is red/white wine good when I am pregnant?

Excessive drinking might cause complications in pregnancy. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, no amount of wine is safe during pregnancy. Therefore, avoid wine in pregnancy.

3. Can you eat grape seeds while pregnant?

Grape seeds or concord grape seeds may not be recommended in some situations, especially if you have allergies or taking medications and supplements. Therefore, you should consult your healthcare provider before taking grape seeds or grape seed extracts while pregnant.

4. Is it safe to eat grapes that have black spots on them?

It is better not to eat grapes with spots of mold on them as they can be contaminated.

5. How many grapes can a diabetic have (gestational diabetes)?

You may eat grapes, but make sure your daily sugar intake remains the same. Take them along with fruits that are low in sugars and carbohydrates. For instance, you may add them to raspberries and beetroot, or you may mix red, green, and black grapes.

Grapes during pregnancy are a healthy choice as they contain several antioxidants that help in boosting the immune system and maintaining a healthy heart. However, consuming them in moderate amounts is advised as excess intake could lead to adverse effects and complications. Also, refrain from having raw grapes as they are sour and might induce vomiting or nausea. With the help of the recipes that we have provided in the post, you could easily include grapes in various forms in your diet and reap its benefits.

Infographic: Health Benefits Of Grapes During Pregnancy

Grapes are packed with beneficial nutrients for the mother and the growing baby. In addition to this, they are delicious and easy to incorporate into your diet. Please give the following infographic a read to learn about its health benefits. Also, share the information with your loved ones.

advantages of grapes during pregnancy (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Grapes are a sugar-rich fruit and a rich source of vitamins, antioxidants, organic acids, folic acid, pectin, and fiber.
  • Grapes offer benefits such as anti-inflammatory qualities, magnesium for muscle cramps, fiber for constipation, and resveratrol for cholesterol control.
  • Grapes may also aid with cardiac problems, improve memory and vision, promote brain circulation, and benefit the baby’s health.
  • Pregnant women should consume grapes in moderation as high quantities of resveratrol can be harmful, and the thick peel may induce diarrhea.
Grapes During Pregnancy_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

1. Grapes, American type (slip skin), raw; Basic Report; USDA
2. Paulo Zielinsky and Stefano Busato; Prenatal Effects of Maternal Consumption of Polyphenol-Rich Foods in Late Pregnancy upon Fetal Ductus Arteriosus; Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today (2013)
3. Lisa S. Brown; Nutrition Requirements During Pregnancy; Jones And Bartlett Publishers
4. Micronutrient Needs During Pregnancy and Lactation; Linus Pauling Institute | Oregon State University
5. Grapes; ; California Department Of Public Health
6. Ali Sabra et al.; Grape bioactive molecules, and the potential health benefits in reducing the risk of heart diseases; NCBI (2021).
7. Red grapes, blueberries may enhance immune function; Oregon State University (2013)
8. Joseph A. Baur and David A. Sinclair; Therapeutic potential of resveratrol: the in vivo evidence; Nature Reviews | Drug Discovery; University of Pennsylvania (2006)
9. Murli Dharmadhikari; Composition of Grapes; Iowa State University
10.Jayne Dawkins; Mounting Evidence Shows Health Benefits of Grape Polyphenols; Elsevier
11.Ali Sabra et al.; (2021); Grape bioactive molecules, and the potential health benefits in reducing the risk of heart diseases; NCBI
12.10 Health Benefits of Grapes; Cleveland Clinic
13.The Truth About Juice; Heart And Stroke Foundation Of Canada

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Jyoti Benjamin
Jyoti BenjaminMS, RD, CSO, FAND, CD
Jyoti Benjamin has 25 years of experience as a clinical dietitian and currently works in Seattle. She focuses on teaching people the value of good nutrition and helping them lead healthy lives by natural means.Benjamin has a masters in Foods and Nutrition, and has been a longtime member and Fellow of AND (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) and the International Confederation of Dietetic Association.

Read full bio of Jyoti Benjamin