Is It Safe To Eat Muskmelon In Pregnancy? And How To Eat?

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Muskmelons are tasty and nutrition-packed fruits mostly available in the summer months. There are numerous muskmelon benefits. Thus, you may consider having muskmelon during pregnancy to meet your daily dietary requirements. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that women should consume two cups of fruits daily when pregnant, and muskmelons can be a good way to achieve the same (1). Call this fruit cantaloupe, rockmelon, sweet melon, or kharbuja, it remains as sweet and tasty. Continue reading this post to know more about eating muskmelon when pregnant, its health benefits, and the safest way to eat the fruit.

Is It Safe To Eat Muskmelon During Pregnancy?

Yes, you can eat muskmelon but in moderation. They are extremely beneficial during pregnancy and provide the best of nutrients while catering to the taste buds. Moderate in calorie count and high in nutritional value, muskmelon is good for pregnant women. These are one of the to-be-eaten fruits for the growth and development of your baby.

However, do not be surprised if your doctor tells you to avoid the fruit, as it could contain listeria bacteria on the outside. It is safe as long as you wash well, peel the outer cover, cut, slice and eat the inside pulp carefully.

So, why did we categorize this fruit as ‘to-be-eaten’?

Did you know?
Cantaloupes do not ripen or sweeten after being picked from the vine. However, they will become softer and juicier if not cut. Do not store them beyond four days at room temperature (10).

Cantaloupe’s Nutrition Facts

Muskmelons contain the most vital components essential for the growth of your fetus. We advise you to add a decent amount of muskmelon in your weekly diet because 100 grams of muskmelon provides you with the following nutrition (2):

  • Energy – 34 Kcal
  • Carbohydrate – 8.16gm
  • Protein – 0.82gm
  • Fat – 0.18gm
  • Sugar – 7.88gm
  • Dietary fiber – 0.8gm
  • Niacin (B3) – 0.694mg
  • Folates – 14µg
  • Choline – 7.6mg
  • Vitamin A – 232 RAE
  • Vitamin E – 0.05mg
  • Vitamin C – 10.9mg
  • Vitamin K – 2.7mcg
  • Potassium – 157mg
  • Sodium – 30mg
  • Calcium – 9mg
  • Phosphorus – 17mg
  • Iron – 0.38mg
  • Zinc – 0.44mg
  • Magnesium – 13mg

If you are asking, “How are these nutrients going to be helpful to me?”, then here is the answer.

Muskmelon Benefits During Pregnancy

The nutritional value of cantaloupe is immense. It balances fluids and electrolytes within the body and manages the body’s heat. The super advantages of having cantaloupe are:

1. Enhances baby’s cognitive development

Vitamin A is critical for the growing fetus to develop healthy cognitive functions and ward off any congenital disabilities. It supports the growth of your baby’s heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes and bones (3). Muskmelon contains a good amount of vitamin A. Being rich in folic acid, it also helps prevent neural tube defects (4).

2. Helps in formation of healthy bones and teeth

The calcium content in muskmelons helps in forming healthy bone and tooth structures in your baby. Calcium is vital for both mother and child during pregnancy.

3. Prevents pregnancy anemia

The amount of iron in muskmelon helps in the healthy production of hemoglobin (5). A good count of red blood cells prevents anemia in pregnant women. It also improves the blood flow through the uterine cavity with sufficient oxygen for the baby.

4. Phosphorus induces muscle contractions

Phosphorus is essential for active muscle contractions during labor. It also helps in blood clotting, kidney function, nerve conduction, tissue repair and heart function.

5. Anticoagulant property

Muskmelons contain abundant anticoagulants, otherwise called blood thinners, which prevent the formation of blood clots. The clots pose the risk of blood vessels blockage, kidney failure, and heart stroke in mothers. Muskmelon has the right amount of anticoagulants.

6. Fights common infections

Drink muskmelon juice in moderation to replenish vitamin C in the body

Image: Shutterstock

Vitamin C helps you to battle those annoying minor infections such as a cough, cold and flu during pregnancy. This vitamin is also necessary for the growing baby to develop a healthy immune system. Drinking muskmelon juice in moderation may help replenish vitamin C in the body. Also, carotenoids (beta-carotene and lycopene) present in cantaloupes can help strengthen the immune system of both the mother and the baby by fighting various life-threatening conditions such as cancer (6).

7. Treats constipation

The high water content in muskmelons prevents fluid and electrolyte loss from the body. Its coolant property manages the heat produced inside the body and thus provides relief from constipation, which is a major issue during pregnancy.

8. Vitamin B1 treats various issues

Thiamine or vitamin B1 helps in the healthy formation of the central nervous system in your baby while fighting several prenatal issues. The vitamin also helps control the extreme sense of nausea and morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy. It is also important for improving the quality of breast milk after delivery.

9. Regulates blood pressure levels

Potassium in cantaloupe regulates the fluctuating blood pressure levels through the course of pregnancy (7).

10. Ideal for overweight pregnant women

Overweight during pregnancy could pose a high risk of miscarriage, preterm labor, and high blood pressure. Calories in muskmelon are negligible, so it is an excellent alternative for fatty foods. It is a fat and cholesterol-free substitute.

11. Aids in digestion

Eating muskmelon in pregnancy aids in digestion

Image: iStock

Cantaloupe aids in the digestion of the food you take. It helps you stay away from heartburn, acidity, gas formation or any other digestive issues.

Nutritional fact
Cantaloupes have a low glycemic load (the ability to raise blood glucose levels) because of their high water content. Therefore, women with gestational diabetes can safely consume them in their whole food form and moderate amounts. (11).

Are There Any Side Effects Of Eating Muskmelon In Pregnancy?

Muskmelon does not pose any side effects or allergies unless you consume a pesticide-ridden fruit.

The only reason for the fruit to be “kept away when pregnant” is due to the bacterium listeria. In the year 2011, the US experienced a terrible listeria outbreak (8), and it was found that muskmelon was the source of the infection.

There are chances for the bacteria to enter into the fruit when cut, and can initialize the infection in pregnant women. If affected, listeria could lead to stillbirth, preterm labor, and miscarriage.

Then, what is the right way to eat the fruit?

Safe Way To Consume Cantaloupes

Eat muskmelon immediately after cutting it

Image: iStock

The fruit should be washed before you consume. It would help in washing off food-borne diseases such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis (9).

Scrub and wash the rinds before cutting the fruit. Also, wash your hands after handling the melons. Once cut, eat the fruit immediately, and avoid refrigeration for a long period.

Also known as cantaloupe, sweet melon, kharbuja, and rockmelon, there are several benefits of muskmelon. These advantages include those supporting safe and healthy pregnancy in women while also benefitting the growing fetus to develop healthy cognitive functions. Muskmelon can be eaten fresh or in salads, puddings, and milkshakes. Although it is completely safe to consume muskmelon while pregnant, eating an infected pesticide-laden fruit might have detrimental effects on the baby. Therefore, before eating muskmelon, scrub and wash your hands and the fruit and try to eat a fresh one.

Infographic: Muskmelon Recipes To Try During Pregnancy

Muskmelons are delicious but eating the fruit the same way every day may feel uninteresting. So, here are some muskmelon recipes that are quick to make and fill you up with instant energy and freshness.

quick muskmelon recipes for pregnant women [infographic]
Illustration: 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.
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