13 Excellent Benefits Of Avocados During Pregnancy

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Avocados or butter fruits are popular due to their taste and nutritional value. But is it safe to consume avocados in pregnancy? These pear-shaped fruits are considered to be berries since they contain only one seed. You may enjoy them as part of several preparations. The fruit is also popularly consumed in the periconceptional period since it may increase fertility in men and women (1).

Read this post to learn the benefits and precautions to take while consuming avocados in pregnancy and some delicious avocado recipes.

Are Avocados Good During Pregnancy?

Avocados are safe to include in maternal diets as they contain high amounts of key nutrients –folate and potassium that are important for fetal growth and development. They are full of good fats, and other vitamins and minerals, all of which have a positive impact on pregnancy.

What Are The Benefits Of Avocados During Pregnancy?

The various benefits of eating avocado fruits, also known as butter fruits, are as follows.

1. Excellent source of folate

Lack of enough folate or folic acid can cause birth defects in babies. Therefore, the fetus requires sufficient folic acid for proper growth and development of the organs. Avocados being a rich source provide about 19mcg of folic acid per ounce of the fruit (2).

2. Treats anemia

Deficiency of iron during pregnancy can lead to anemia in pregnant women. Avocados contain abundant amounts of iron necessary during pregnancy (3).

3. Aids digestion

Stomach illnesses and constipation are common during pregnancy. The rich fiber content in avocado acts as a prebiotic and improves the microflora diversity in the colon (4).

4. Packed with vitamins

The butter fruit is packed with vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, C, E, and K, all of which are essential for maternal diet and important for the growing fetus (7).

5. Combats morning sickness

This is another common early pregnancy symptom that leaves you tired in the first three months. Vitamin C-rich avocados are useful in dealing with the problem (6).

6. Maintains cholesterol and sugar levels

Regular consumption of avocado helps in keeping cholesterol (7) and sugar levels in control during pregnancy (5).

7. Relieves leg cramps

Leg cramps are also common during pregnancy, and avocados can provide relief from leg cramps. They have more potassium than bananas. Potassium, along with calcium, can help ease cramping.  (11).

8. Boosts fetal brain development

A single cup of avocado contains 22mg of choline that is necessary for fetal brain and nerve development and also the nerve development (8).

9. Rich in minerals

Avocado contributes to your daily recommended intake of calcium, potassium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, copper, zinc, and manganese all of which are essential during pregnancy (9).

10. Helps in nutrient absorption

Not only do avocados provide nutrients, but they also help your system absorb nutrients from other foods. For instance, avocados make the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins found in foods like sweet potatoes, leafy greens, and carrots (10) possible.

11. Full of healthy fat

Extra calories are required during pregnancy for the growth of the fetus, and good fats are necessary for it. Avocados contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that are beneficial for both you and your unborn baby (11).

12. Lowers the risk of weight gain

As avocados are high in dietary fiber, they help lower the chances of tremendous weight gain. Almost 25% of fiber is soluble that helps friendly bacteria in the digestive tract improve metabolic health (11).

13. Reduces the risk of preeclampsia

The rich potassium levels in the fruit help lower the chance of preeclampsia as may reduce blood pressure levels. It could, therefore, decrease the risk of heart issues in the future.

Since avocados offer such amazing benefits, you should definitely know the nutritional facts of the fruit.

Nutritional Value Of Avocado

A 100g avocado contains the following nutrient values as per the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) (12):

NutrientAMOUNT PER 100g
Total calories160kcal
Total fat14.7g
Saturated fat2.13g
Polyunsaturated fat1.82g
Monounsaturated fat9.8g
Cholesterol0mg
Sodium7mg
Potassium485mg
Total Carbohydrate8.53g
Dietary fiber6.7g
Sugars0.66g
Protein2g
Vitamin A7mcg
Vitamin C10mg
Calcium12mg
Iron0.55mg

Though avocados are absolutely beneficial, you must have a cap on the quantity you eat.

How Much Avocado Should You Eat In A Day?

An avocado a day keeps the neurologist away. However, it is best to limit your daily intake to half a fruit as over-consumption could lead to a few, though rare, side effects.

Side Effects Of Avocado During Pregnancy

Here are the situations where you may have to limit or stop eating avocados are:

  • If you are trying to manage weight, avoid consuming the fruit in excess. The high calories, though from good fats, can add up.
  • If you are allergic to latex then be cautious with avocados as the fruit as been linked to latex allergies (13).

It is good to check with your health practitioner in the above cases.

Also, avocado is more beneficial at certain times than others during pregnancy.

[ Read: Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy ]

When Is The Best Time To Eat Avocado While Pregnant?

It is best to include avocado during early pregnancy because of its high folate content. Low folate levels in the early stages of pregnancy are associated with neural tube defects (14). Including avocado in your prenatal diet can help reduce the risk of deficiency-related birth defects.

In the next section, we will tell you the different ways to include the fruit in your diet.

Simple Avocado Recipes

To include avocado every day, you can try the below easy recipes.

1. Raw avocado smoothie

Image: iStock

You will need:

  • ½ avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • ½ green apple
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • ½ lime, peeled
  • 1 big bunch parsley
  • Ice

How to:

  1. Put all the above ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend it slowly, and increase the speed gradually.
  3. Let it blend for about one minute or until you get a smooth consistency.
  4. Raw avocado smoothie is ready to drink.

Preparation time: 5 min

Servings: One or two

2. Baked eggs in avocado:

Image: iStock

You will need:

  • 2 avocados, ripe
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. De-seed the avocados, and slice them in half. Scoop out some flesh from the center so that the egg can fit in.
  3. Place the half sliced avocados on a baking tray and crack one egg in each of the halves.
  4. Try to crack it in a way that the yolk goes first and then the egg white to cover the rest.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes. Cooking time may vary. Ensure that the egg white is set properly.
  6. Once baked, remove and top them with pepper and chives. You can also add any other garnishing of your choice.

Preparation time: 30 min

Servings: Two

3. ALT (avocado, lettuce, and tomato) sandwiches

Image: iStock

You will need:

  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 4 large leaves of Romaine/ Boston lettuce
  • 1 large, ripe tomato, sliced
  • 8 slices whole-grain bread with flaxseed, toasted
  • 12 thin slices cucumber
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise, fat-free
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese, reduced fat and reduced sodium version

How to:

  1. Spread mayonnaise evenly on bread slices.
  2. Layer 4 slices of bread with 1 lettuce leaf, 1 slice avocado, 1 slice tomato, 3 slices cucumber, and 1 slice Swiss cheese. Top them with remaining 4 bread slices each.
  3. Cut each of the sandwiches diagonally, and they are ready.

Preparation time: 15 min

Servings: Four

4. Guacamole

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:

  • 3 medium sized avocados
  • 1 firm tomato, finely chopped
  • ½ white onion
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • Salt and pepper (optional)

How to:

  1. Cut the avocados in half, and scoop out the flesh.
  2. Use a fork to mash the flesh so that any hard parts are softened.
  3. Add all the other ingredients and stir them properly.
  4. You can use it right away or refrigerate it.

Preparation time: 10min

Servings: Two and a half cups

So, quickly make these recipes and enjoy the taste and health, all in one.

Below, we cover a few questions that expecting couples may have regarding avocados during pregnancy.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it safe to eat avocado with black or brown spots?

Avocados turn black or brown when they are exposed to cold temperatures for a long time before they begin to ripen. The discoloration also occurs as a result of compression with excessive handling. The fruits can be eaten by removing those spots with a knife.

2. Are avocado seeds edible?

It is not recommended to eat avocado seeds as there is not enough research to support their consumption. However, there are studies on the potential benefits of avocado seed extracts rather than the seeds. The extract is known to have antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties (15).

3. What happens if you eat too much avocado?

If you overeat avocados, it will likely cause weight gain.

4. Does eating avocados make you fat?

Eating more calories than the body requires, no matter the source, can lead to weight gain. Avocados are high in healthy, monounsaturated fat. Your body requires this kind of fat for energy, absorbing fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K), and mental focus.

5. Is guacamole healthy during pregnancy?

Guacamole is an avocado-based dip that contains abundant monounsaturated fatty acids. It can be used as a dip or spread for chips, crackers, sandwiches, and wraps. You can integrate it into your meals during pregnancy to reap its nutritional benefits.

6. Can avocado cause stomach pain in pregnancy?

Avocados can cause stomach pain in pregnant women who are allergic to them. They may experience allergic reactions such as runny nose, tearing, and lip swelling followed by consumption (16). Sometimes, overconsumption can lead to stomach aches, although you are not allergic to avocados. You may consume avocados in moderation to get benefits.

Consuming moderate quantities of avocados during pregnancy is safe and beneficial for the mother-to-be and her unborn. Avocados are rich sources of folate, vitamins, and iron, essential for a baby’s development. Moreover, this fruit alleviates digestive issues, leg cramps and regulates sugar and cholesterol levels in pregnant women. Therefore, you may add avocados to your pregnancy diet in a raw form or include them in various foods and preparations such as smoothies and sandwiches. Also, talk to your doctor about the right quantity to consume to avoid health complications.

Infographic: Tips To Include Avocado In Your Pregnancy Diet

An avocado is a tasty option for a healthy pregnancy diet. But how can you have it every day without getting bored? This infographic will help you with tips for adding avocados to your meals and snacks to keep them interesting. Dive in, and don’t forget to save it whenever you want to cook up a meal.

avocado as a healthy replacement in your pregnancy meals [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Avocados are safe to eat during pregnancy, especially in the early days.
  • Avocados can treat anemia and help in digestion during pregnancy.
  • It can also help deal with leg cramps and morning sickness during pregnancy.
  • Remember to limit your avocado consumption to half a fruit every day.
  • Eating a half-sliced avocado baked with an egg poach in the middle is delicious and healthy for pregnant women.

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. Kevin B. Comerford et al.; (2016); The Role of Avocados in Maternal Diets during the Periconceptional Period, Pregnancy, and Lactation.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4882725/
  2. Folic Acid and Folate Values for Selected Foods.
    https://cchealth.org/folic-acid/list.php
  3. Ways to boost blood iron levels while eating a vegan or vegetarian diet.
    https://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2017/10/06/ways-to-boost-blood-iron-levels-while-eating-a-vegan-or-vegetarian-diet/
  4. Avocados.
    https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/avocados/
  5. Mark L. Dreher and Adrienne J. Davenport; Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3664913/
  6. Start_Smart_Pregnancy_Book/.
    https://ldh.la.gov/assets/docs/Making_Medicaid_Better/Resources/CCN_RFP_Proposals/LA_Healthcare_Connections/Start_Smart_Pregnancy_Book_EnglishFINAL.pdf
  7. An avocado a day may keep cholesterol at bay.
    https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/an-avocado-a-day-may-keep-cholesterol-at-bay
  8. Kevin B. Comerford et. al; (2016); The Role of Avocados in Maternal Diets during the Periconceptional Period, Pregnancy, and Lactation.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4882725/
  9. In Case You Need a Reason to Eat More Avocado.
    https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/healthy-and-delicious-avocado.html
  10. Victor L Fulgoni, III et. al; (2013); Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001–2008.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3545982/
  11. Healthy-Child-Guide.
    https://naviauxlab.ucsd.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Healthy-Child-Guide-4-22-16.pdf
  12. Avocado, raw.
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1102652/nutrients
  13. Fruits.
    https://farrp.unl.edu/informallfruit
  14. Folic Acid Helps Prevent Serious Birth Defects of the Brain and Spine.
    https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/features/folic-acid-helps-prevent-some-birth-defects.html
  15. A Colored Avocado Seed Extract With Antioxidant, Anti-carcinogenic And Anti-inflammatory Effects.
    https://etda.libraries.psu.edu/catalog/12666
  16. Three Less Common Food Allergies You Might Not Know About.
    https://www.allergycliniclondon.co.uk/three-less-common-food-allergies-you-might-not-know-about/

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Swati Patwal

Swati Patwal is a clinical nutritionist, a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a toddler mom with over eight years of experience in diverse fields of nutrition. She started her career as a CSR project coordinator for a healthy eating and active lifestyle project catering to school children. Then she worked as a nutrition faculty and clinical nutrition coach in different...
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Dalia Kinsey

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Dalia Kinsey is a School Nutrition Specialist and a Registered Dietitian on a mission to make health accessible to all by encouraging body respect and joyful movement. After years of working in public health, Dalia saw a need for health education resources that speak directly to the experience of BIPOC and LGBTQIA people. All of her work is BIPOC and...
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