Pineapple contains various essential nutrients and has been associated with various health benefits, including improved digestion and immunity. However, if you are a pregnant woman, you might be apprehensive about the safety of pineapple during pregnancy.
While some believe that eating pineapples is safe, others consider it a strict no during pregnancy. So, if you enjoy eating pineapples and can’t resist its enticing scent, you might want to read on to know the safety and risks of eating pineapples during pregnancy and learn how much pineapple you should eat when pregnant.
Is Pineapple Safe To Eat During Pregnancy?
In India and other Asian countries, the fruit is categorized under sour and hot foods that can induce miscarriage, uterine contractions and preterm labor (1) (2). It is a taboo in these regions to eat pineapple, especially in the first trimester.
Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain that thins the blood, breaks the clots, and reduces blood clot formation. This ability of bromelain can break down proteins and cause abnormal bleeding leading to early labor or miscarriage.
However, Integrative Medicine (2018) observes that there are “no known risks associated with pineapple during pregnancy”. It also observes that bromelain is present in the fresh fruit, but the canning process destroys it (3).
Therefore, an occasional cup of ripened pineapple pieces (preferably the canned ones) or a glass of juice may not be harmful during pregnancy (4). However, if your doctor suggests against eating pineapple, then it is good to follow their suggestion as they know your case better than anyone else.
How Much Pineapple Is Safe To Eat During Pregnancy?
One cup of pineapple is safe to consume as it offers the recommended amount of vitamin C for a pregnant woman. Pregnant women require 80 to 85mg of vitamin C (5), and one cup of pineapple provides 78.9mg (6).
Why You May Eat Pineapple During Pregnancy
Pineapple has vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water. It contains high dietary fiber and low saturated fats.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) boosts the immune system and promotes collagen production (that is responsible for the growth of the baby’s skin, bones, cartilage, and tendons) (7).
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine) helps in proper muscle functioning, healthy nervous system, and heart (8).
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is essential for several body functions and treats morning sickness (9).
- Folic acid helps prevent birth-defects of the brain and spinal cord (11).
- Bromelain helps treat edema (12), a common complaint during pregnancy
You may have a cup of canned or fresh pineapple or pineapple juice if you enjoy the fruit and get these benefits too. However, you don’t have to eat pineapple just to get these benefits. Eat the fruit only if you enjoy it. Otherwise, you may find alternative vegetable and fruit sources that provide the required nutrients.
What Could Be The Risks Of Eating Pineapple During Pregnancy?
Though moderate consumption of pineapple causes no side effects, you may have some adverse effects if you are having a sensitive stomach, eating pineapple in large amounts, or are allergic to the fruit.
The acids in the fruit could cause acid reflux or heartburn. You should avoid the fruit if you are already having peptic ulcer disease or gastritis.
Eating the fruit in large quantity could lead to:
- Diarrhea and gastric discomfort due to bromelain content
- Tenderness or swollen tongue, cheeks, and lips
If you are allergic to pineapple, you may have allergic symptoms such as skin reactions, swelling or itching in the mouth, runny nose or congestion, and asthma. These reactions are similar to the allergic reactions of latex or pollen and occur soon after eating pineapple.
Therefore, to avoid any of these above effects, you should be eating the fruit in moderation.
How Much Pineapple Should You Eat To Induce Labor?
Pineapple is believed to induce labor if you consume in high amounts. Bromelain is said to soften the cervix and help induce labor (3). However, what quantity of it can induce labor is not known. There are no studies on humans on this. Some research says that pineapple’s effect on labor may be due to its stimulating property of sugars and fiber in the fruit.
Ways To Include Pineapple In Your Pregnancy Diet
Some ideas for eating pineapple:
- One cup of pineapple slices is a simple way to add the fruit to your diet.
- Add diced pineapple to grilled pork chops for a strong taste.
- Top chicken spinach salad or grilled chicken sandwich with sliced pineapple.
- Toss fresh pineapple chunks into yogurt and have it in the morning.
- Blend into a smoothie along with other fruits such as apples and bananas.
- Place big chunks on kebabs made of veggies or meat.
- Add diced fruit to a salad.
- Chop pineapple to make salsa.
- Add to cakes, cookies, or tarts.
Being skeptical about the foods you consume during pregnancy is natural since you want to ensure your baby’s safety. Since certain foods are unsafe for pregnant women, you may wonder whether consuming pineapple during pregnancy is safe. Although there may be a certain stigma surrounding the fruit, studies show it causes no serious side effects in pregnant women. Consuming the recommended amount of pineapple during pregnancy can offer you and your baby different health benefits. However, you should consult your ob/gyn before consuming such foods to prevent adverse reactions.
2. Sana Sarfaraz, et al.; Fruits and vegetables contraindicated in pregnancy: Myths or reality; World Journal Of Pharmacy And Pharmaceutical Sciences
3. D. Jill Mallory, Integrative Medicine (Fourth Edition), 2018
4. Adam Fourney et al.; Exploring time-dependent concerns about pregnancy and childbirth from search logs; The Pennsylvania State University
5. Vitamin C; NIH (2011)
6. Pineapple, raw; Basic Report 09266; USDA
7. Key nutrients during pregnancy; Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
8. Thiamine (B1); Winchester Hospital
9. Top 12 foods to beat morning sickness naturally; American College Of Healthcare Sciences
10. Devinder Dhingra et al.; Dietary fibre in foods: A review; J Food Sci Technol (2012)
11. Folic acid: The vitamin that helps prevent birth defects; New York State Department of Health (2007)
12. Varicose veins; Winchester Hospital
13. Gene Bruno; Bromelain; Huntington College of Health Sciences (2009)
14. Md. Farid Hossain et al.; Nutritional value and medicinal benefits of pineapple; International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences (2015)