5 Reasons why Pregnant Women Should Limit Intake of Coconut Water
By Dr. Nutan Pakhare
Health-conscious people, including pregnant women, are increasingly turning to coconut water for hydration. In the morning, many pregnant women drink coconut water as part of a healthy habit that benefits both them and their babies. Because of its natural calcium and potassium content, coconut water is an excellent source of nutrition. These nutrients are important for both the mother’s and baby’s health. It is also believed to reduce morning sickness and boost energy levels. Even though coconut water is a nutritious health drink, pregnant women should limit their intake. Moderation is key to maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy, and it’s key to remember that you’re not “eating for two.”
Here are 5 reasons why pregnant women should limit their intake of coconut water
1. High Potassium Levels
Coconut water is naturally high in potassium, which benefits overall health. However, an excessive intake of potassium can harm pregnant women. According to Dr Victoria Stern, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, “Pregnant women with kidney disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure should avoid drinking excessive amounts of coconut water, as the excessive levels of potassium can cause electrolyte imbalances.” This can lead to a condition called hyperkalemia, which can be dangerous for both the mother and the baby.
2. High Sugar Levels
Coconut water also contains natural sugars, such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose. While these sugars can provide quick energy, excessive sugar intake during pregnancy can increase gestational diabetes risk. Dr. Stern advises that “Pregnant women who are at risk of gestational diabetes or have a history of diabetes should limit their intake of sugary drinks, including coconut water.” Instead, she recommends opting for water, unsweetened tea, or low-fat milk.
Drinking excessive amounts of coconut water can cause upset stomach and diarrhoea, which can be particularly dangerous during pregnancy. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and even premature labor in some cases. According to Dr. Sherry Ross, an OB-GYN at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, “Pregnant women who experience diarrhoea for more than a day or have other symptoms, such as fever, vomiting, or abdominal pain, should seek medical attention.” It’s important to stay hydrated during pregnancy, but consuming too much coconut water can have adverse effects.
4. High Sodium Levels
Coconut water may also contain high sodium levels, which can harm pregnant women. Pregnant women with a history of hypertension or preeclampsia should limit sodium intake during pregnancy. Dr Ross suggests that “Pregnant women should aim for a sodium intake of no more than 2,300 milligrams per day.” While coconut water can be an effective source of hydration, it’s imperative to pay attention to the sodium content and consume it in moderation.
5. Imbalance in electrolytes
Drinking excessive coconut water can also cause electrolyte imbalances, particularly potassium and sodium. This can lead to a range of symptoms, including muscle weakness, cramping, and an irregular heartbeat. Dr. Stern says, “Pregnant women should consume coconut water in moderation and ensure electrolytes from other sources, such as fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.” A balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods ensures a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
Coconut water is an ideal beverage for pregnant women when consumed in moderation. As Dr Ross emphasizes, “Moderation is key to maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy, and it’s important to remember that you’re not ‘eating for two.'” Pregnant women should consult with their healthcare provider to determine a safe and healthy diet for themselves and their babies. Coconut water is rich in electrolytes, which help to prevent dehydration during pregnancy. It also contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium and potassium, which are beneficial for pregnant women.