Is It Safe To Eat Oranges During Pregnancy?

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Oranges are a delicious fruit and are a great source of vitamin C. It is a beloved fruit of many, whether taken as tangy juice or fresh slices. However, you must be cautious about everything you consume when pregnant, and you may be confused about eating oranges during pregnancy. Read this post to learn about how safe it is to eat oranges when pregnant, their health advantages, how to incorporate oranges into your pregnancy diet, and any potential side effects.

Is It Safe To Eat Oranges During Pregnancy?

Oranges are safe to eat during pregnancy, but you should have them in moderation. They provide plenty of nutrients and are a rich source of vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, potassium, and more. In order to reap the benefits of oranges, you can consume them every day.

When eaten in excess they have some uncomfortable side effects. The high fiber content in oranges affects digestion directly. When eaten too much, this might lead to abdominal cramps and diarrhea. 

Health Benefits Of Oranges During Pregnancy

Here is a quick look at the nutritional benefits that you and your unborn child will get from oranges:

1. Improves immune system functions

Vitamin C boosts the immune system, and pregnant women require healthy immunity as they may be prone to many allergic and food-borne illnesses. Consuming oranges will not only strengthen your immunity but also keep your baby healthy (1). The healing properties of oranges come from their phytonutrient compounds like anthocyanins, citrus flavanones, a variety of polyphenols and hydroxycinnamic acids.

Vitamin C also helps to absorb certain nutrients such as iron that in turn helps form the baby’s cartilage, blood vessels, bones, and tissues.

2. Aids brain development

The need for folate increases by five to ten times during pregnancy and oranges can fulfill the requirement. Folateaids the development of fetal brain and prevents neural tube defects in babies. Folate also helps develop new blood cells and tissues, and improves the baby’s birth weight (2).

3. Prevents constipation

The rich fiber content helps in easy bowel movements and prevents constipation which is a common problem during pregnancy (3). The fiber in oranges not only help in good digestion but also regulates blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and prevents atherosclerosis.

4. Controls blood pressure

The high potassium index of oranges prevents hypertension in pregnant women by controlling blood pressure (4).

5. Promotes hydration

Oranges contribute greatly to the daily fluid intake, thus providing sodium and potassium to maintain the fluid levels in the body (5).

6. Treats kidney stones

Oranges increase the pH value of urine, thereby increasing the citric acid excretion from the body. The fruit, therefore, helps in the prevention of kidney stones (6).

7. Supports respiratory system

The high carotenoid content in oranges helps in maintaining respiratory health during both normal and pregnancy phases (7).

8. Benefits skin

Vitamin C in oranges offers two beauty benefits. The antioxidative effect keeps the skin moist and taut, and also helps you deal with acne, which is a common problem during pregnancy (8).

Are Orange Peels Good For You?

Orange peels contain double the amount of vitamin C than the fruit does. They are a rich source of antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, they are perfect for consumption during pregnancy. Simply grate the peel and add to yogurt, porridge, or salads.

But you need to wash the orange thoroughly before using the peel. You could also wash them in warm water. However, note that the peels of fruits and vegetables are laden with pesticides and harmful microbes. Also, you need to eat the fruit in moderation.

How Many Oranges Can You Eat In A Day?

The US National Institute of Health recommends a daily dosage of 85 milligrams of vitamin C, which can be obtained from two oranges.

But you need to consider the quantity of vitamin C present in the other fruits and foods that you may consume in the day. Therefore, make sure that your overall intake of vitamin C meets the recommended daily dosage, as oranges are acidic in nature; and excess consumption could lead to acidity issues.

What Is The Best Time To Eat Oranges?

Oranges or any other citrus fruits can be eaten at any time of the day, even on an empty stomach. You can eat them two to four times a day by including the fruit in your diet in various ways.

How To Include An Orange In Your Diet?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Add some sliced oranges to a salad for extra taste
  • Mix with other fruits for a rich fruit bowl
  • Peel and blend the fruit with some water and sugar for fresh orange juice
  • Top orange slices with brown sugar and microwave them to broil.
  • Make orange juice cups or popsicles by putting in molds and freezing them.

Oranges are indeed nutrient-packed fruits, and are very easy to eat. But, they could come with a bunch of side-effects.

Side Effects Of Oranges In Pregnancy

Although the benefits of eating oranges are multifold. During pregnancy, you must be aware of the unwanted effects of their excessive consumption.

  • The high citric acid content can lead to a sore throat and is also bad for the enamel (9).
  • It can increase the fiber content in the body, which may have a negative effect on digestion, leading to loose motions and abdominal cramps.
  • It can increase your calorie intake and sugar levels, thus putting you at risk of gestational diabetes if you eat them excessively.
  • Being high in acidity, they can cause heartburn. If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), it may aggravate the condition.
  • Excess vitamin C can lead to preterm labor (10).

With all that information, you might have a few questions to ask. In the next section, we have covered a few commonly asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is orange juice a healthy option during pregnancy?

Yes, pasteurized orange juice without any additives is a good option. You can have up to two glasses of orange juice a day one to two hours after a meal. It is rich in calcium and helps in having healthy bones.

Fortified orange juice is also a good option in case you are suffering from morning sickness or are lactose intolerant. However, you should consult your healthcare provider before using it (11).

2. What happens if you eat orange seeds during pregnancy?

Orange seeds will not cause any problem, but in rare cases, large seeds might choke you. Therefore, go for navel oranges as they are seedless and easy to peel.

3. Are halos safe to eat?

Halos are California-grown mandarins. They are grown in rich, fertile soil, and are sweet and delicious. They are safe to eat unless you consume more than four a day.

4. Are cuties good for you?

Cuties are another type of California-grown mandarins that are seedless. They are bright, sweet, and have superior flavor. They are good to eat in moderation, and are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

Consuming oranges during pregnancy can impart various health benefits such as the baby’s brain development, increased immunity, improved digestion. But anything taken in excess can be harmful. Therefore you need to consume only the recommended number of oranges during pregnancy to avoid any adverse reactions. Two oranges a day could provide you with all the nutrients and benefits you require, but consult your OB/GYN to check its safety and follow the necessary precautionary tips for a healthy and safe pregnancy.

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. Orange.
    https://hcnp.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Orange.pdf
  2. Folic acid for a healthy baby.
    https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=134&contentid=2
  3. Eating, diet and nutrition for constipation.
    https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/constipation/eating-diet-nutrition
  4. Potassium.
    https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=19&contentid=potassium
  5. Healthy hydration combines fluids and and water-packed foods.
    http://www.nutritionatc.hawaii.edu/HO/2015/579.htm
  6. Kidney stones-self care.
    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000135.htm
  7. Andrew L Thorne-Lyman and Wafaie W Fawzi; (2012); Vitamin A and carotenoids during pregnancy and maternal, neonatal and infant health outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
    https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/26864784/nihms519234.pdf?sequence=1
  8. Jae-Hee Park et al.; (2014); Antioxidant activity of orange flesh and peel extracted with various solvents.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4287321/
  9. Are oranges good for your teeth?
    https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa14/2014/10/16/are-oranges-good-for-your-teeth/
  10. Anna Maria Siega-Riz et al.; (2003); Vitamin C intake and the risk of preterm delivery.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14520228/
  11. Survival of Listeria monocytogenes in fruit juices during refrigerated and temperature-abusive storage.
    https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/9619

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Dr. Shikha Sharma

(MBBS)
Celebrity nutrition advisor Dr. Shikha Sharma has founded Dr. Shikha’s Nutrihealth in 1998. Dr. Shikha has done her MBBS from Maulana Azad Medical College and her organization, Dr. Shikha's NutriHealth, has over 50 Ayurveda experts and nutritionists who provide consultation services to the clients. The Nutrihealth expert team handles weight loss/weight gain, PCOS, thyroid, diabetes, cholesterol, post-pregnancy weight loss and... more

Rebecca Malachi

Rebecca is a pregnancy writer and editor with a passion for delivering research-based and engaging content in areas of fertility, pregnancy, birth, and post-pregnancy. She has been into health and wellness writing since 2010. She received her graduate degree in Biotechnology and Genetics from Loyola Academy, Osmania University and obtained a certification in ‘Nutrition and Lifestyle in Pregnancy’ from Ludwig... more