5 Fruits To Avoid During The First Trimester Of Your Pregnancy

5 Fruits To Avoid During The First Trimester Of Your Pregnancy

There are some fruits that are best to avoid in pregnancy for very good reasons. Find out more.

Pregnancy is a journey with many changes. From morning sickness to rapid changes in body structure, pregnant women adapt to a different set of routines that they aren’t normally used to. One of the main changes is diet: Exactly what’s safe and beneficial to eat, and what isn’t? Are all fruits and vegetables safe to eat? And if not, why? Here, we discuss three fruits to avoid during pregnancy first trimester. But first…

Why Is The First Trimester Of Pregnancy So Important?

A woman’s pregnancy is divided into three parts or trimesters. The first trimester is regarded as the first three months of your pregnancy. This is important because even though your bump is barely showing, your baby is physically growing inside you. By the end of the first trimester, most of your tiny foetus’s organs have formed already. 

fruits to avoid during pregnancy first trimester

Your little one is growing rapidly during the first trimester. By the end of it, he or she already has a complete set of organs – from the brain, heart, to even the voice box and eyelashes! | Image source: stock photo

Since the foetus is still developing, it is also defenceless as it still doesn’t have its own immune system. All of its growing organs can be injured by a variety of things, such as drugs, infections, radiation, tobacco and toxic chemicals. 

Knowing all this, one way of keeping you and your foetus healthy is to refrain from alcohol, caffeine, smoking or drugs. Healthy foetal development also goes hand in hand with good lifestyle habits, such as exercising regularly, drinking adequate amounts of water and eating the right things.

When it comes to food that is not safe to eat during pregnancy, we know of the usual suspects: soft cheese, sushi, soft-serve ice-cream – anything that can result in food poisoning. However, did you know that there are some fruits too that you should avoid, especially in the first trimester? Let’s take a look at these. 

3 Fruits to Avoid During Pregnancy First Trimester

1. Grapes

5 Fruits To Avoid During The First Trimester Of Your Pregnancy

Image source: iStock

There are mixed opinions about grapes when it comes to fruits to avoid during pregnancy first trimester.

Some experts advise that’s it safe to eat while some say it should be avoided. While grapes do have high levels of vitamin A and C (which are important nutrients for pregnant mums), there are a few reasons why you might want to steer clear from grapes in your first trimester:

  • Resveratrol Toxicity – The outer skin of grapes is rich in a compound called resveratrol. Although scientific research identifies resveratrol as a healthy nutrient, it could be toxic to pregnant women. This is because resveratrol can react with disproportionate hormone levels a pregnant woman might have. A study also found out that pregnant monkeys fed with resveratrol supplements led to surprising results. Although more blood was directed from the pregnant monkey’s placenta to the foetus, the baby’s pancreas developed irregularly. The pancreas is important for controlling glucose levels in the blood, meaning that the babies were likelier to suffer from diabetes later on.
  • Pesticides that remain on the skin – Grapes are often sprayed with pesticides that aren’t easily washed away. These pesticides may contribute to health complications in the foetus.
  • Constipation – Grapes may cause constipation as its skin is difficult to digest. 
  • Heatiness – This can affect both the mum and the baby.

If you are concerned about eating grapes while you are pregnant, please consult your doctor or gynaecologist for further advice.

2. Unripe and Semi-Ripe Papaya Fruit

5 Fruits To Avoid During The First Trimester Of Your Pregnancy

Image source: iStock

Papayas are known for their sweet, juicy, orange flesh and as a natural remedy for indigestion. It is common in tropical countries and comes in a variety of types and sizes. However, the unripe and semi-ripe forms of this fruit aren’t particularly good for pregnant women for the following reasons:

  • Papayas are abundant in latex, which promotes early uterine contraction. This may result in a miscarriage. 
  • One of papain’s side effects is that it can trigger early labour and papayas have large amounts of the same. The reason behind this is that papain looks very similar to another molecule that performs this role, which your body mistakes papain for.
  • Latex is a common allergen. Symptoms include a runny nose, swelling in the mouth area and skin rashes. However, sometimes allergic reactions can cause breathing difficulties and anaphylaxis. In such cases, medical attention should be sought immediately. 

Do avoid food or dishes that contain unripe or semi-ripe papaya (which have completely green skin), such as green papaya salads or papaya smoothies containing papaya seeds. While the unripe versions are best not eaten during pregnancy, ripe papayas, on the other hand, are completely safe.

In fact, ripe papayas (with fully yellow skin) contain many nutrients that are important for a healthy pregnancy, such as:

  • folate
  • fibre
  • cholene
  • beta-carotin
  • potassium, and
  • Vitamins A, B and C 

3. Pineapple

5 Fruits To Avoid During The First Trimester Of Your Pregnancy

Apparently, this tropical wonder can cause you to go into labour early, and is among the fruits to avoid during pregnancy first trimester | Image source: iStock

Who doesn’t like pineapple? It’s sweet, bright yellow and is tasty whether eaten ripe or used in dishes (like pineapple fried rice).

Sadly, this tropical fruit isn’t suitable for pregnant women. Pineapple is known to contain bromelain, an enzyme which breaks down protein. One of its side effects is that bromelain may soften the cervix, which could lead to early labour.

Studies also show that bromelain tablets are so potent in breaking down the protein that they can even cause irregular bleeding! However, do note that you need to eat massive amounts of pineapple (between seven to ten fresh ones at one go) to actually induce this effect. This means that while concentrated bromelain pills should be avoided, eating a few slices of pineapple while pregnant is okay. 

Do note that eating too much pineapple can cause issues due to its acidic nature, such as acid reflux,  heartburn, and even diarrhoea (which leads to dehydration).

Also, if you haven’t eaten pineapple for some time, it’s possible that doing so will cause an allergic reaction. If you have symptoms like nasal congestion, itchy or swollen areas in your mouth or asthma after consuming pineapples, do book an appointment with your local doctor and discuss this. 

Other Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

1. Raw Eggs

fruits to avoid during pregnancy first trimester

Image Source: Pexels

While athletes often consume raw eggs, and that too in abundance, during strength training, it may not be a good idea for pregnant women to do the same. Raw eggs pose a higher risk of contamination with the Salmonella bacteria.

Salmonella bacteria can cause symptoms like fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramp and even diarrhoea. However, for pregnant women, it can cause cramps in the uterus that will lead to premature birth or stillbirth. While cases of stillbirth due to consuming raw eggs are extremely rare, they still pose a health risk.

It will be a good idea then to avoid foods like the following from your pregnancy diet:

  • Light scrambled eggs
  • Poached eggs
  • Homemade mayonnaise
  • Caesar’s salad
  • Homemade cake icing

Instead, it will be a good idea to go for pasteurised eggs instead of raw eggs. As a thumb rule, always make sure to cook the egg till the white and the yellow yolk are firm to avoid any risk altogether. At the same time, be careful about commercial products that may contain raw eggs as part of the ingredients. Always make it a point to read the label before making the purchase. That being said, enjoy your eggs in moderation during pregnancy, which continue to remain one of the strongest choices for protein.

2. Unwashed Vegetables And Fruits

fruits to avoid during pregnancy first trimester

Image Source: Pexels

While green leafy vegetables need to be an important part of the diet of expecting mums, unwashed and unpeeled fruits and vegetables need to be completely avoided. As much as they are a strong source of vitamins and nutrients, unwashed fruits and vegetables can be contaminated with bacteria and parasites.

Some of these include Toxoplasma, E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria, which could be acquired from the soil or when handled from the farms to the store. This leaves room for uncertainty and is risky for the health of the mother and the newborn.

Toxoplasma, for instance, is particularly infectious. It does not have any symptoms while some may have the flu for a month. However, the parasite can infect the baby while still in the womb. The baby born will have no symptoms at birth but toxoplasma can cause blindness or even intellectual disabilities.

It’s important then that you stay cautious of the foods you consume to ensure you and your baby are at minimal risk throughout the pregnancy. Make it point at all times to wash the produce as soon as you bring it home. This is all the more important in the post-pandemic era when the concerns around hygiene and sanitisation are at their peak.

More Tips About Eating Fruit When Pregnant

5 Fruits To Avoid During The First Trimester Of Your Pregnancy

All fruits should be washed before and after cutting. | Image source: iStock

Clearly, unwashed fruits aren’t fit for consumption whether you are pregnant or not. However, they are especially risky for pregnant women.

The soil particles on fruits and vegetables can harbour bacteria such as toxoplasma, which makes infection possible for both the mother and baby. 

Always wash your fruits and vegetables, ensuring that they are completely free of soil particles before eating them.  

Why Should Pregnant Women Eat Fruits As Part Of Their Diet?

Fruits are an essential part of a pregnant woman’s diet. Not only do they have nutrients that support your baby’s growth, but they also provide minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and fibre.

Furthermore, their rich nutrient content is counterbalanced by low-calorie content, making it the ideal food for pregnant women! In addition, the following benefits have been linked to fruit consumption:

  • Preventing cell damage. Fruits have antioxidants, which help to reduce any fetal cell injuries from damaging substances in the environment.
  • Reduced infancy wheezing, which is associated with higher consumption of apples.
  • Lower likelihood of childhood eczema, which is linked to eating citrus fruits during pregnancy. 

What Fruits Are Completely Safe To Eat During Pregnancy?

1.  Apples

foods that treat eczema

Image source: iStock

Apples contain a variety of beneficial nutrients, like fibre, vitamins A & C, and potassium. In addition, previous research also highlights another added bonus: Most children born from mums who ate apples while pregnant did not develop childhood asthma or allergies.   

2. Oranges

diet tips

Image source: iStock

In addition to preventing childhood eczema, oranges also have:

  • High water content, helping you stave off dehydration;
  • Folate, a key vitamin that stops irregular development of the brain and spinal cord;
  • Vitamin C, which not only has antioxidant properties, but also aids iron absorption.

3. Bananas

superfoods for family

Image source: iStock

Bananas contain high levels of potassium, vitamin B-6, vitamin C and fibre. Fibre in bananas can help prevent constipation, whereas vitamin B6 can mitigate nausea and vomiting from morning sickness.

4. Avocados

5 Fruits To Avoid During The First Trimester Of Your Pregnancy

Image source: iStock

Avocados are the nutrient powerhouses of all fruits, containing a diverse array of nutrients such as:

  • Vitamins B, C and K
  • Fibre
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Iron 
  • Choline
  • Folate – avocados have much higher levels compared to your average fruit. 

In particular, eating avocados can reduce the instances of:

  • Leg cramps from low potassium and magnesium levels
  • Nausea, perhaps due to its high magnesium and choline content
  • Abnormal brain and nerve development in your baby via supplying ample amounts of choline

5. Berries

kids snacks improve memory, first finger foods that are safe

Image source: iStock

These yummy fruits are also nutrient-dense superfoods that provide a lot of beneficial compounds, such as:

  • carbohydrates
  • vitamin C
  • folate
  • fibre
  • flavonoids
  • anthocyanins

To maintain healthy levels of energy during the day, pregnant women should consume 50 to 60% of their calories from carbohydrates. Berries pack a lot more nutrients than other “empty calories” from refined grains. Do consider limiting refined carbohydrates and eating more nutrient-rich sources of carbohydrates like berries, instead.

References: Medical News Today, American Pregnancy, NHS, Healthline, Only My Health, Healthline, LifecellHopkins Medicine, Healthline, Apta Club

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