You already know that the foods you eat can promote the healthy development of your unborn baby, but with all the nutrition advice from your doctor, friends and family, you're likely to become overwhelmed when it comes to choosing what foods to eat. Focusing on vegetables, lean meat, whole grains, low-fat dairy foods and fruit is one way to promote the health of your baby, and blueberries are among the most nutritious foods you can eat during pregnancy.
1. Blueberries and Safety
Blueberries are a safe food to consume during pregnancy, according to Medline Plus. When you eat a reasonable amount of blueberries, you likely have nothing to fear. The effects of huge amounts of blueberries isn't known, according to the Medline Plus website, so it's best to eat a normal amount, such as one or two servings a day. Even if you eat more, you're unlikely to experience any negative side effects. You should, however, avoid using medicinal blueberry products because the effect on humans, including pregnant women, isn't known. You should opt for organic blueberries when you do eat them, because the pesticides sprayed on conventional produce can cause birth defects in large amounts, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Keep in mind that the dangers are associated with pesticides and not with the blueberries themselves.
2. Blueberries and Pregnancy Nutrition
A serving of blueberries supplies you and your growing baby with certain nutrients that are crucial during pregnancy. One cup of fresh blueberries delivers 14.4 milligrams of vitamin C, which is about 18 percent of the 80 milligrams you need each day. Vitamin C protects your immune system and helps your body absorb iron, a nutrient that can help reduce your risk of premature delivery or having a low birth weight baby. That same cup of blueberries contains small amounts of folate, which helps prevent birth defects, and potassium, which is necessary for your baby's heart.
3. Benefits For Baby
Blueberries are good for your unborn baby for many of the same reasons they're good for you. They are low in fat and calories and supply key vitamins and minerals that encourage normal growth. Though blueberries don't contain much calcium, they might help promote the healthy development of your baby's bones. According to a 2011 article published in "Agricultural Research," a compound called polyphenols in blueberries benefits the formation of bones. The same article notes that preliminary research done with animals found that eating blueberries, as well as other nutritious foods, during pregnancy can protect an unborn girl's mammary glands, which can reduce the risk of breast cancer later in life.
4. Tips and Considerations
Eat fresh blueberries plain as a healthy snack or combine them with low-fat Greek yogurt for an extra boost of protein, which encourages proper muscle development, and calcium, which encourages normal bone development. Make a fiber-rich smoothie by combining blueberries with raspberries, plain yogurt and 100 percent fruit juice. Fiber can help prevent constipation, which is an uncomfortable ailment that affects many pregnant women. Add blueberries to a spinach salad or stir them into cooked quinoa and drizzle the combination with honey.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Blueberries, Raw
- Medline Plus: Blueberry
- American Pregnancy Association: Nutrients and Vitamins for Pregnancy
- MayoClinic.com: Pregnancy Diet: Focus on These Essential Nutrients
- American Pregnancy Association: Pesticides and Pregnancy
- Agricultural Research: Blueberries and Your Health: Scientists Study Nutrition Secrets of Popular Fruit
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images