Author's opinion

11 Pomegranate Benefits For Pregnancy In 2024 You May Not Know

Emma Loker

Published at 08:45

Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

Medical reviewer

Pomegranate has health benefits for pregnant women and unborn babies. Photo: user6170755/freepik

Pomegranate is revered as a healthy food in the 21st century. It offers some specific advantages for pregnant women and their developing babies.
Below, you’ll find pomegranate benefits for pregnancy, safety information, and ways to include this versatile fruit in your diet. You’ll soon know how to start eating healthy with pomegranate.

11 Pomegranate Benefits For Pregnancy 

There are 11 scientifically proven benefits of pomegranate during pregnancy. It can:

  • Relieve cramps.
  • Protect the infant’s brain against injury.
  • Protect the placenta from damage.
  • Defend against viruses.
  • Keep mom calm.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Combat heart disease.
  • Support fetal nerve development.
  • Protect against autism.
  • Help to prevent preterm birth.
  • Relieve constipation.

Potential Benefits Of Eating Pomegranate During Pregnancy

benefits of pomegranate during pregnancy
There may be numerous benefits of consuming pomegranate during pregnancy. Photo: Mantana Boonsatr/Shutterstock

Pomegranate has many health benefits, such as improving maternal health and supporting the developing fetus. So, this delicious fruit potentially offers the chance for a happier, healthier journey to motherhood. For example, consuming pomegranate juice taken during pregnancy facilitates neurological brain development[1] in intrauterine growth retarded infants.

 Learn more about the benefits of eating pomegranates during pregnancy below.

May Provide Relief From Cramps

In one study on pregnant rats that has not been peer-reviewed yet, it reduced uterine contractions[2] and enhanced muscle relaxation. But it hasn’t been tested on pregnant humans.

The closest scientists have come to testing pomegranate on muscle cramps in humans is on athletes after physical exercise. Most studies show that muscles adapt,[3] recover, and cramp less in people who take pomegranate along with the exercise.[4]

Protects Infant Brain Against Injury

Some common pregnancy complications can cause brain injury in the fetus and subsequent developmental delays or cognitive impairments in the baby. These include maternal inflammation, high blood pressure, and umbilical cord compression.

In studies on rodents, this brain damage in the fetus[5] was reduced when the pregnant mother consumed pomegranate juice. The juice appeared to protect the baby’s brain from cell death. It also protected their nerves from damage and decreased the inflammation in the mother that put the babies at risk.

In a study on 99 human mothers and their 103 fetuses, researchers confirmed that the offspring of juice drinkers had a lower risk of brain injury,[6] both in white and gray matter. They attributed the findings to the polyphenolic antioxidants.

Protects The Placenta From Damage

One of the potential benefits of pomegranate during pregnancy is that it seems as if pomegranate juice can protect placental cells from oxidative damage and death,[7] present in diabetes and hypertension, which will help ensure your baby receives all its necessary nutrients.

Defends Against Viruses

The last thing you want while you are pregnant is to pick up a virus that makes you sick and tired. The 26 mg of vitamin C in one pomegranate may help stimulate your immune system to fight illnesses.

In a recent review of the scientific literature, researchers found that pomegranates showed great antiviral activity[8] against various viruses, including many that cause flu, herpes, diarrhea, and respiratory infections. You can also combine them with good vitamins for energy, and don’t forget prenatal vitamins that include important nutrients like vitamin C. Finally, don’t forget  postnatal support after you’ve given birth.

Reduces Moms’ Anxiety

If you are anxious about the birth, your potential for raising your baby, or anything else, you will be happy to learn that most published studies show that pomegranate and its phytochemicals can reduce anxiety.[9]

Lowers Blood Pressure

Two causes of high pressure sometimes occur during pregnancy: Gestational hypertension and preeclampsia. Pomegranate hasn’t been directly tested on women with the latter but may help with the former.[10]

Animal studies have shown that eating pomegranate decreases blood pressure[11] and oxidative stress during pregnancy. Even better, the pomegranate increases the amount of nitric oxide[12] physiologically, which relaxes blood vessels and lowers pressure.

Combats Heart Disease

Since you may not feel like physical exercise during this period of your life, pomegranate can protect your heart and blood vessels while you take a break. The polyphenolic antioxidants do wonders to reduce inflammation and protect against heart disease[13] and blood clots.

Because of its many antioxidants, it can prevent cholesterol from being oxidized,[14] improve blood flow[15] to the heart, and reduce blood sugar[16] and insulin.

Supports Fetal Nerve Development

Folate[17] is critical for normal neural tube development, eventually becoming the baby’s brain and spinal cord. 

If you prefer fruits to grains, a pomegranate contains approximately 15%[18] of the daily folate you need in your pregnancy diet, which can help fill your daily folate intake of 600 mcg. Eating pomegranate in your early pregnancy diet can aid nerve development. 

May Prevent Autism

The Office of Dietary Supplements, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, states that adequate folate intake in pregnancy, present in high amounts in pomegranates, may prevent autism spectrum disorders[17] in their babies. 

Helps Reduce The Risk of Preterm Birth

Because of the folate it contains, pomegranates may help prevent many conditions caused by low folate status in expectant mothers.[19] These include heart defects, low birth weight, and preterm births.

Relieves Constipation

Since one pomegranate contains more than a third[18] of the daily recommended[20] fiber intake, which is even more than a dragon fruit, it can help pregnant women relieve constipation caused by hormonal changes and pressure on the intestines. Just remember to drink enough water to metabolize the fiber.

Is Consuming Pomegranate While Pregnant Safe?

Is Consuming Pomegranate While Pregnant Safe?
Consuming pomegranate while pregnant may pose risks to the baby. Photo: l1112000/freepik

No specific studies have been performed on the safety of pomegranate in pregnant women. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states that it might be safe to consume the fruit and pomegranate juice.[21]

However, nothing is known about the safety of the fruit’s extracts and whether there are benefits of pomegranate seeds during pregnancy. As such, it’s better to take other good fruit and vegetable supplements while sticking to eating the fruit and drinking the juice.

Is drinking pomegranate juice during pregnancy alright? It is reasonable to assume that eating pomegranate fruit and drinking its juice is safe since many of the above studies were conducted on pregnant women.

Suppose you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications. In that case, it is best to talk with your doctor before you add them to your diet. This is because they can interact with prescription[22] medications for many medical conditions.

Pomegranates are especially high in vitamin K, thus potentially interacting with blood thinners like warfarin or Coumadin. This is something to keep in mind while considering pomegranate juice and pregnancy as well as “Is pomegranate fruit good for pregnancy?”

Pomegranate For Pregnancy: How To Include Pomegranates In Your Diet 

Pomegranates are not only good for pregnancy but also tasty and versatile. But like dates, soursop, and grapefruit, it isn’t always obvious how to consume them without letting them get boring. 

Some ways to include them in your diet include the following:

  • Eat them fresh: Cut the fruit in half and scoop the sweet, tart flesh and seeds straight into your mouth with a spoon.
  • Make pomegranate juice: The benefits of pomegranate juice for pregnancy are numerous. Scoop the watery flesh and seeds out of the fruit and strain through a fine sieve to remove the seeds. Pulse the seeds in a blender to remove their juice so you can drink pomegranate juice during pregnancy.
  • Top your salads: The seeds add sweetness and tartness, which is especially useful in green salads that might otherwise be a bit bitter. You don’t want to miss the benefits of pomegranate seeds during pregnancy!
  • Create salsa: Pomegranate works well with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice in a refreshing salsa for meat, chicken, or fish.

Pomegranate While Pregnant: Potential Associated Risks To Be Aware Of 

In discussing, “Is pomegranate good for pregnancy?” it is also important to be aware of the potential risks. A strong majority of scientific studies report no side effects of pomegranate when consumed in fruit or as pomegranate juice. Still, there are some potential risks to remember:

  • Some people are allergic to them, so start off with small amounts until you’ve confirmed you don’t respond with throat irritation, a runny nose, difficulty breathing, stomach cramps, itching, or swelling. Definitely think about allergies before eating pomegranate in early pregnancy.
  • There are some rare case reports[23] of gastrointestinal problems, flu-like symptoms, and urinary problems.
  • Most healthy things consumed in excess can become unhealthy, and the ingredients in pomegranate should also be enjoyed in moderation. For example, excessive amounts of pomegranate will give you too much sugar at 34 grams per fruit.
  • As mentioned earlier, pomegranate may interact with drugs.[22] Their high fiber content of 10 grams per fruit may cause abdominal cramping and gastrointestinal distress if you are not used to a high-fiber diet.

Conclusion

There are numerous benefits of eating pomegranate while pregnant. It may relieve uterine cramps, protect the infant’s brain against injury, safeguard the placenta from damage, combat viruses, reduce anxiety, and lower blood pressure. 

In addition, it supports heart health and fetal nerve development and may even offer protection against autism and maternal constipation. 

It must be consumed in moderation. However, after consulting your doctor to verify that it does not clash with the medication you are already taking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is pomegranate fruit good for pregnancy? 

Yes. Pomegranate is considered one of the healthiest fruits during pregnancy. It provides essential nutrients, supports the mother’s health, and helps fetal development. Consume it in moderation as part of a balanced diet to ensure its numerous health benefits.

What organ is pomegranate good for?

Pomegranate is considered good for various organs, primarily benefiting the heart and blood vessels[14] due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients. But it also offers potential advantages for the brain,[24] placenta,[7] and liver.[25]

How do you use pomegranate during pregnancy?

Pomegranate fruit has been tested more in pregnant women than pomegranate supplements. Since supplements are not tested[26] for safety and purity by the FDA, consuming the fruit and its juice is safer.  

How much folic acid is in a pomegranate?

One average-sized pomegranate contains 107 mcg[18] of folate. Adults and pregnant women require a daily intake[27] of 400 mcg and 600 mcg, respectively. So, combine pomegranate fruit with fortified cereals, bananas, avocados, eggs, asparagus, and legumes to get adequate amounts.

How to avail of the benefits of pomegranate juice for pregnancy?

Remove the watery flesh and seeds from the fruit and strain through a fine sieve. Then, pulse the seeds in a blender to get the juice and drink!

Emma Loker is a professional writer specializing in psychology. She has a 1st class honors degree in Psychology and is currently training as a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counsellor at the University of Cambridge.

Resources

MANA adheres to strict sourcing guidelines, avoids most tertiary sources, and uses only professional resources updated to contain accurate and current information. We majorly rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research from reputable medical associations. For more information regarding our editorial process, please refer to the provided resources.

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