Spinach During Pregnancy: Benefits, Side-Effects And Recipes To Try

Eat-Spinach-During-Pregnancy

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During pregnancy, your body requires proper nutrition for the growth and development of the fetus. Spinach, an edible plant from the Amaranthaceae family, is loaded with the necessary minerals, vitamins, iron, and protein. It is considered to be good for bone, hair, and skin health. If you are wondering whether or not it is safe to consume spinach during pregnancy, then this MomJunction post is for you.

Here, we tell you about the nutritive value of this green leafy vegetable, its benefits, and side effects during pregnancy.

Nutritional Facts of Spinach

Spinach is rich in vitamin A, C, E, and K, magnesium, folate, potassium, iron, and copper. It is also a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, and flavonoids (1).

One serving (100g) of spinach contains (2):

NutrientValue per 100g
Calories23kcal
Total fat0.39g
Dietary fiber2.2g
Protein2.86g
Carbohydrate3.63g
Water91.4g
Sugar0.42g
Vitamins
Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)28.1mg
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)0.195mg
Thiamin (Vitamin B1)0.078mg
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)0.189mg
Niacin (Vitamin B3)0.724mg
Folate (Vitamin B9)194µg
Vitamin A9377IU
Vitamin E2.03mg
Vitamin K482.9µg
Minerals
Iron2.71mg
Magnesium79mg
Phosphorus49mg
Potassium558mg
Sodium79mg
Calcium99mg
Lipids
Total saturated fatty acids0.063g
Total monounsaturated fatty acids0.010g
Total polyunsaturated fatty acids0.165

g=grams; mg=milligrams; µg= microgram, IU=International Units

Consuming spinach during pregnancy can be good for the mother and fetus’ nourishment, which makes it a good addition to the regular diet.

[ Read: Benefits Of Kale In Pregnancy ]

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Benefits of Spinach During Pregnancy

Here is how eating spinach in pregnancy can help:

  1. Minimize the risk of anemia: The heart of pregnant women usually works harder to offer sufficient nourishment to the baby in the womb. During this time, the blood volume in the body goes up by 30 to 50% taking in more iron and folic acid. Deficiency in iron may result in anemia. Regularly consuming spinach is a natural way to meet the iron requirements of the body (3).
  1. Maintain blood pressure: High and low blood pressure are common during pregnancy, which is usually associated with the intake of calcium by the body. Increased calcium levels may result in low blood pressure, while low levels of calcium may lead to hypertension in pregnancy. The bioavailability of calcium in spinach helps in maintaining the blood pressure levels in pregnancy (4).
  1. Relieve pain: The leaves of spinach contain antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-proliferative properties that are helpful in relieving pain during pregnancy (5).
  1. Treat constipation: Expecting moms may suffer from hemorrhoids, which is a common cause of constipation. Including spinach, a rich source of fiber, in your regular diet can be helpful (6).
  1. Strengthens teeth and bones: Pregnant women need enough calcium for strong teeth and bones. Consuming spinach during pregnancy can be helpful to meet the requirements. Also, it is known to improve muscular, nervous, and circulatory functioning (7).
  1. Develop the immune system: Spinach, a rich source vitamin A and C, is known to strengthen the immune system during pregnancy. It also helps in developing the vision and cells of the baby (8).
  1. Prevent birth abnormalities: Folate is essential during the early months of pregnancy for the development of the baby and to prevent abnormalities such as spina bifida. Spinach contains folate naturally, which is good for pregnancy and could reduce the risk of premature birth (9).
  1. Help treat asthma: Low consumption of antioxidants in pregnancy may result in allergies and asthma. Spinach is a good source of vitamin C and carotenoids that help to reduce inflammation and prevent respiratory problems (10).
  1. Good for fetal development: Expecting mothers need vitamin A for tissue maintenance and fetal development. Its deficiency may increase the chances of infant morbidity and slower development. Eating spinach while pregnant can help you meet the vitamin A requirements for a safe pregnancy and healthy baby (11).
  1. Proper functioning of the fetal nervous system: Consuming spinach during pregnancy helps you get adequate vitamin B, which is essential for the development of baby’s nervous system (12).

While spinach is good for pregnancy in many ways, it is important that you do not exceed the limits.

[ Read: Lettuce During Pregnancy ]

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How Much Spinach Should You Have During Pregnancy?

According to the Central District Health Department, Idaho, one serving of spinach per day is ideal for pregnant women, where 1 serving is equal to half a cup of spinach (13). Excess consumption of spinach when you are pregnant may lead to certain adverse effects.

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Side Effects Of Eating Spinach During Pregnancy

Ingesting too much of spinach when pregnant can result in some side effects too:

  • Risks of kidney stone formation: Pregnant women have more chances of developing calcium phosphate stones, especially during the second and third trimester. Also, high intake of oxalate foods may result in urinary tract infections. Consuming moderate amounts of spinach during pregnancy can however cut down the risks (14).
  • Diarrhea: Expecting moms are susceptible to listeriosis and salmonellosis, which may trigger a miscarriage. Spinach leaves may have bacterial contaminants that could increase this risk during pregnancy. Therefore, always wash the leaves properly before consumption (15).
  • Salicylate allergies: Salicylate, especially in the third trimester, can cause severe bleeding and prolong the labor. As spinach contains salicylate, you should avoid it in the last couple of months of pregnancy (16) (17).

Consume spinach in moderate amounts to prevent these risks. Next, we have some easy-to-make, healthy, and delicious spinach recipes that you can include in your pregnancy diet.

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Easy Spinach Recipes

1. Spinach Soup:

Spinach Soup

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:

  • 85g spinach, minced
  • 1/4th cup half & half milk
  • 1 1/4th cup vegetable broth
  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Turmeric
  • Ground chili pepper

How to:

  1. Wash the spinach leaves properly.
  2. Heat the minced leaves of spinach for four minutes in a microwave.
  3. Take a pot, add two tablespoons of oil, and fry the onions on a low flame.
  4. Mash the garlic, add it in the onions, and fry the mixture for a minute or two.
  5. Add spinach and stir, and then add salt, pepper, and turmeric as per your taste.
  6. Add oatmeal, stir the blend, and fry for two minutes.
  7. Now pour the vegetable broth, stir it, and let it cook for about five to eight minutes
  8. The final step is to pour half & half milk and stir.
  9. Voila! Your delicious and quick spinach soup is ready.

Calories:

One serving (100 g) = 95

[ Read: Eating Cabbage During Pregnancy ]

2. Spinach omelet with cheese:

Spinach omelet with cheese

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3rd cup spinach
  • 1 tbsp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Tomato, diced
  • ½ tsp unsalted butter
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

How to:

  1. Whisk eggs with salt and pepper, and keep it aside.
  2. In a nonstick skillet, melt the butter. Add spinach and tomatoes, and cook for one or two minutes. Once they are cooked, transfer into a bowl and keep the mixture aside.
  3. Add eggs to the skillet, and cook for half-a-minute. Then add the mixture of tomato and spinach to it, and top it with some grated cheese.
  4. Once the eggs are set, fold your omelet and let it cook for half a minute more. Your spinach omelet is ready to serve.

Calories:

One serving = 190

3. Spinach smoothie:

Spinach smoothie

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1oz orange juice
  • 1½ cup mango cubes, frozen
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

How to:

  1. Add all the ingredients in a blender, and blend until it is smooth.
  2. Pour it in a glass and enjoy.

Calories:

1 serving = 126

Relish these quick and healthy spinach recipes to reap the benefits when you are hungry. Next, we answer some questions about spinach intake during pregnancy.

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Frequently Answered Questions

1. Can I drink spinach juice in pregnancy?

Yes, you can drink spinach juice when pregnant, provided you are making it fresh at home. However, drink it in limited quantities only to reap the health benefits and for a safe pregnancy.

[ Read: Anemia During Pregnancy ]

2. Can I eat spinach salad while pregnant?

Yes, but make sure you are using fresh leaves of spinach and wash them properly before making the salad to avoid bacterial contamination.

Adding green leafy vegetables such as spinach to your pregnancy diet is definitely recommended for its benefits. However, remember to consume in recommended quantities.

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Did you have spinach during pregnancy? If yes, then tell us how this leafy vegetable was helpful to you.

References:

1. Spinach the Super Food; NC State University (2012)
2. Basic Report: 11457, Spinach, raw; United States Department of Agriculture
3. J Schilling; California Food Guide Iron Deficiency; California Department of Health Care Services (2005)
4. J. Higdon, J. Higdon, V. J. Drake, et al.; Calcium; Oregon State University (2017)
5. Lomnitski L, Bergman M, Nyska A, Ben-Shaul V & Grossman S., Composition, efficacy, and safety of spinach extracts; Bar-Ilan University (2003)
6. Hemorrhoids; Aurora Health Care
7. M. L.Gavin; Pregnant or Breastfeeding? Nutrients You Need; Nemours Children’s Health Systems (2014)
8. Nutrition; Allina Health’s Patient Education Department (2015)
9. Marti-Carvajal A, Pena-Marti G, et al., Prematurity and maternal folate deficiency: anemia during pregnancy study group results in Valencia, Venezuela; Universidad de Carabobo, Venezuela (2004)
10. J. A. Grieger, L. G. Wood & V. L. Clifton; Improving Asthma during Pregnancy with Dietary Antioxidants: The Current Evidence; Nutrients MDPI (2013)
11. Vitamin A; National Institutes of Health
12. Spinach; Foundation Louis Bonduelle
13. Eating for a Healthy Pregnancy; Central District Health Department, Idaho
14. L. Frassetto & I. Kohlstadt; Treatment and Prevention of Kidney Stones: An Update; American Academy of Family Physicians (2011)
15. S. K. Mritunjay & V. Kumar; A study on prevalence of microbial contamination on the surface of raw salad vegetables; Indian Institute of Technology (2017)
16. Salicylate (Oral Route, Rectal Route); Mayo Clinic
17. J. Hennecke; Salicylic add – a problem substance for allergy sufferers (2014)

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