Cucumber During Pregnancy: Health Benefits And Side Effects

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Cucumbers are effective body coolants during summers. They are the perfect low-calorie snack to control hunger pangs at work or to add to your weight loss salad. But is it a good idea to have cucumbers during pregnancy? Can they have any negative impact on you or your baby? Continue reading this post to know how much cucumber is safe during pregnancy, its health benefits, and possible adverse side effects.

Is It Safe To Eat Cucumbers During Pregnancy?

You can eat small amounts of cucumber, although it is not usually recommended in the pregnancy diet. Cucumbers are known to cause allergic reaction, frequent urination due to excess water and salt content, and belching and indigestion (1). So, discuss with your healthcare provider before adding it to your regular diet, because they can do good too.

How Cucumber Can Be Beneficial During Pregnancy

Though cucumbers are known to cause certain side effects when consumed during pregnancy, they are also known to be beneficial when taken in small amounts.

1. Low-calorie food

Cucumbers are low in calories, and can prevent obesity. They can keep you full for a longer time and prevent excess eating, thus avoiding weight gain.

2. High water content

Cucumbers contain about 96% water (2). You can keep yourself hydrated by consuming cucumber, in addition to drinking.

3. Natural diuretic

The water content of cucumber acts as a diuretic (3), thus supporting the elimination of toxins. It also reduces swelling (4).

4. Cooling and cleansing

The cooling and cleansing property of fresh cucumber juice is helpful for skin nourishment and tightening (4).

5. B vitamins

Cucumber is rich in B vitamins. B vitamins are known to boost your mood. They ease anxiety and might help reduce stress (5).

6. Fiber

Cucumbers are a great source of soluble and insoluble fibers.

Image: iStock

Cucumbers are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels whereas insoluble fiber softens stools and treats constipation, which is common during pregnancy (6).

7. Essential micronutrients

Rich in antioxidants (7) including vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese (9), cucumbers help improve immunity and thus prevent contracting infections. Also, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iodine, and sulfur (10) (8) are all important for fetal development and can prevent growth abnormalities.

9. Electrolytes

The availability of sodium and potassium electrolytes in cucumber juice can help regulate blood pressure levels during pregnancy (9). (9).

Next, we tell you about the nutritional facts of cucumber.

Quick fact
Applying cucumber slices to your eyes can help reduce puffiness and dark circles caused by pregnancy-related water retention (12) (13).

Nutritional Value Of Cucumber

According to the USDA, the nutrition present in 100g of raw cucumber with peel is as follows (10):

Nutrient Amount
Water 95.23g
Calories 15kcal
Carbohydrates 3.63g
Protein 0.65g
Fiber 0.5g
Fat 0.11g
Sugars 1.67g
Vitamins
Vitamin C 2.8mg
Thiamine (Vit B1) 0.027mg
Riboflavin (Vit B2) 0.033mg
Niacin 0.098mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.03mg
Pantothenic acid 0.259mg
Pyridoxine (Vit B6) 0.04mg
Folate 7mcg
Alpha-carotene 11mcg
Beta-carotene 45mcg
Vitamin A 105IU
Vitamin K 16.4mcg
Electrolytes
Potassium 147mg
Sodium 2mg
Minerals
Calcium 16mg
Iron 0.28mg
Magnesium 13mg
Zinc 0.2mg
Phosphorus 24mg
Copper 0.041mg
Zinc 0.2mg
Manganese 0.079mg
Selenium 0.3mcg
Fluoride 1.3mcg

g=grams; mg=milligrams; mcg=micrograms; IU=international unit

Though cucumbers have a high nutritional value, they can pose some risk when taken in excess amounts.

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Cucumber During Pregnancy?

The downside of consuming cucumbers in excessive amounts include:

  1. Gas formation and indigestion (11).
  1. The excess water content in cucumbers will increase the frequency of urination, which could make you uncomfortable.
Excess water in cucumbers cause frequent urination in pregnancy.

Image: iStock

  1. Sometimes, cucumbers can cause allergic reactions resulting in itching and swelling.
  1. Cucumbers contain toxic substances such as cucurbitacins and tetracyclic triterpenoids, which are responsible for the bitter taste and are life-threatening when taken in excess amounts (12).

Can You Drink Cucumber Juice During Pregnancy?

Freshly made cucumber juice is safe during pregnancy.

Image: iStock

Yes, you can have freshly made cucumber juice. Select firm and dark colored cucumbers, blend them and consume.

Quick tip
Pick cucumbers with smooth skin, and do not buy those with blemishes or shriveled ends. Also, avoid buying bigger and thicker cucumbers as they contain more seeds (13).

How To Consume Cucumber In Pregnancy?

If your healthcare provider has given the go-ahead to consume cucumbers, you can enjoy the benefits by including it in your diet.

First, peel the cucumbers, since their skin contains toxic pesticides. Wash them at least for three to four minutes in running water and scrub them using a vegetable brush.

The best ways to consume cucumbers are:

  1. Salads: Combine cucumbers with tomatoes, onions or any other vegetables with little olive oil, salt, vinegar, and pepper. You can also make a delightful salad by combining cucumbers, black olives, chopped dill, avocado, and cress. This tastes good with kosher salt, olive oil, and lemon juice.
Point to consider
Avoid storing cucumbers with tomatoes, apples, avocados, or bananas, as they will cause them to ripen too quickly (13).
Cucumber salad is a healthy snack during pregnancy.

Image: iStock

  1. Soup: Blend sliced cucumbers, red onions, garlic clove, chopped dill, olive oil and some sour cream. Once the puree is ready, refrigerate for about one to two hours. This is an excellent soup to have on hot and long summer days.
  1. Sandwiches: Cut thin slices of cucumber and put in between two slices of bread along with some unsalted butter, chopped mint leaves, and sour cream cheese. These make an ideal snack to go with a cup of green or mint tea.
  1. Tzatziki sauce: Combine one large, sliced cucumber, three tablespoons of plain or Greek yogurt, one tablespoon of fresh mint or dill, and one minced garlic clove. Add one tablespoon salt and three tablespoons lemon juice. Refrigerate the mixture for five to six hours, and serve as a salad dressing.
Tzatziki sauce is made with cucumber and yogurt.

Image: Shutterstock

  1. Homemade pickle: Take three to five cups of water, one tablespoon of sugar, one tablespoon salt and 25 cups white vinegar. Boil the mixture and let it cool. Take four cups of cucumber spears, two heads fresh dill and two garlic cloves in a container. Add the chilled mixture over the vegetable, cover the lid and refrigerate for two to three days before consuming.


Next, we answer a few commonly asked questions about eating cucumbers when pregnant.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is pickled cucumber safe during pregnancy?

Yes, it is safe to eat pickled cucumber but be watchful about the sodium intake. Go for home-made pickles, that too in minimal quantities.

2. Does craving cucumbers when pregnant tell something about baby’s gender?

According to old wives tales, craving for cucumbers can indicate that you are carrying a boy. However, this has no scientific value.

3. Can you eat cucumber seeds during pregnancy?

You cannot have excess amounts of cucumber seeds since they contain a compound called cucurbitacin (12). This is toxic and results in indigestion in some people, especially those who have a sensitive digestive system.

4. Can cucumber cause miscarriage?

Cucumbers are not known to cause miscarriage; there are no studies to show an association between them.

Nevertheless, add cucumbers to your pregnancy diet in tiny quantities. If you feel alright, you might add a few more pieces but do not over-consume.

Cucumbers are loaded with nutrition. They are high in water content, fiber and are excellent for cooling and cleansing the body. However, cucumber during pregnancy is not an ideal choice because it causes indigestion, gas, frequent urination, and allergies. That said, consuming cucumbers in small quantities will not cause any harm. Consume them after peeling and washing them properly. This reduces the toxic effects of pesticides. Include them in your diet of salads, soups, and pickles. If you have any medical condition, talk to your doctor before consuming cucumbers during pregnancy.

Infographic: How To Consume Cucumber In Pregnancy?

The refreshing and super hydrating fruit can relieve the common pregnancy side effects while helping you maintain a healthy body. So if you want to include it in your diet, you can refer to this infographic to find new and easy ways of relishing cucumber. Scroll on!

ways to include cucumber in your pregnancy diet [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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  2. Cucumber: A Brief History.
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  3. Cucumber, Cucumis sativus.
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  4. Pulok K Mukherjee et.; (2013); Phytochemical and therapeutic potential of cucumber.
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  5. Kathleen Mikkelsen et al.; (2016); The Effects of Vitamin B in Depression.
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  6. Boost health with more fiber.
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  10. Cucumber, with peel, raw; FDC ID: 168409.
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168409/nutrients
  11. Tips on Controlling Gas.
    https://iffgd.org/gi-disorders/symptoms-causes/intestinal-gas/tips-on-controlling-gas/
  12. How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Eyesight
    https://www.all-eyes.org/2021/12/28/how-pregnancy-can-affect-your-eyesight-2021/
  13. Cucumbers
    https://ucsdcommunityhealth.org/work/eat-ca/cucumbers/
  14. Ujjwal Kaushik et. al.; (2015); Cucurbitacins – An insight into medicinal leads from nature.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4441156/
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