Two weeks after finding out I was pregnant, I wondered for the first time what my pregnancy “side effects” would be. My next thought was: are there any natural things I can do to prevent them?
For some of us, the joy of finding out we’re expecting can quickly be overshadowed by some not-so-fun symptoms like nausea, lack of energy, constipation, and urinary tract infections, to name a few.
But what if some of these seemingly inevitable pregnancy woes could be eased by a 100% natural drink?
Coconut water is often touted in the crunchy mama community as a magical elixir.
But does it live up to its hype? I can personally attest to the fact that it did help me with some minor ailments while I was growing my son, so let’s take a look at what it is and how it might be able to help you.
What is coconut water?
Essentially, coconut water is the clear juice of a young (also called tender or green) coconut. It has a sweet and salty, almost nutty, flavor which may surprise those that are expecting it to taste like coconut.
For some, it may be an acquired taste when sipped plain, but it can be added to smoothies without notice.
The main attraction to the drink is that it’s packed with nutrients, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and other electrolytes.
It’s lower in calories, sugar, and sodium than fruit juices, sodas, and sports drinks. It’s also naturally fat free, low in cholesterol, and free of added colorings, flavorings, and sweeteners.
Is it safe during pregnancy?
Most likely. I couldn’t find any studies that say one way or another, but in my opinion there isn’t any reason why it would be unsafe for healthy pregnant women who consume it in moderation.
For any expecting mamas that struggle with high potassium levels, gestational diabetes, or high blood pressure, please check with your doctor or midwife before consuming.
Myths & Facts About Coconut Water During Pregnancy
Myth: It’s better for you than water and can provide all the vitamins and minerals you need during pregnancy.
False. There isn’t one food or beverage that can do this! While coconut water is great for hydration and is certainly better for you than soda, juice, and sports drinks, it should be enjoyed in addition to the 10–12 cups of water that pregnant women should be consuming daily—not in place of.
Myth: It can relieve mild constipation.
Yes. The fiber and magnesium found in coconut water have a gentle laxative effect that draws water into the stool, making it softer and therefore easier to pass.
But it’s important to note that if you consume too much coconut water, you may experience bowel movements that are too loose.
It can help to quell nausea.
Verdict: Unsure. There isn’t any scientific research to prove that coconut water helps with nausea, but many alternative health bloggers have taken the internet by storm with a theory that magnesium deficiency may be the cause of some cases of morning sickness.
Many moms-to-be (myself included) have experiential reasons to believe that coconut water, which is a great source of magnesium, may have been what helped us avoid nausea during our pregnancies.
I encourage you to do your own research and give it a try!
(Editor’s note: It’s possible that it’s the opposite: morning sickness is actually what causes magnisium deficiency.)
Myth: It can give you energy.
Yes. Your body can become fatigued due to a lack of electrolytes from either exercise, vomiting, or not getting enough nutrients due to nausea.
Coconut water offers a tasty, albeit temporary, way to replenish the necessary minerals your body needs and give your energy a boost.
Plus, coconut water helps you avoid the artificial ingredients and added sugars in typical sports drinks.
Myth: It will make baby have thick hair and fair skin.
No. There is no scientific proof for these claims. The fact is that genetics plays a role in these determinations, not coconut water.
Myth: It can prevent urinary tract infections, decrease swelling, relieve heartburn, lower high blood pressure, and boost immunity.
Possibly. However, more research is needed before any of these claims can be proven one way or another.
Some tips for enjoying coconut water:
- Always consume in moderation. For most healthy pregnant women, this will consist of about 1 serving per day. If you have any health concerns, always check with your doctor or midwife.
- Don’t drink it if you are allergic to coconuts or if it doesn’t sit well with you.
- Don’t consume the juice of a ripe coconut as this could lead to indigestion and constipation.
- When consuming the juice of a green coconut, make sure you trust the cleanliness of the person opening the fruit for you (if it’s somebody other than yourself), ask them to open it within eyesight, and consume the juice immediately.
- When buying canned, boxed, or bottled coconut water, always check the label to make sure the only ingredient is coconut water. This will ensure that you avoid any unnecessary additives.
Bonus labor tip.
Many hospitals and doctors enforce a “liquids only” rule during labor. For those for whom this rule applies, coconut water makes a great all natural beverage that accommodates the rule and allows you to get an extra burst of hydration and energy.
Bonus post-delivery tip
Not only can coconut water help you replenish the electrolytes lost during labor, it can also help you maintain regular bowel movements and avoid the much-feared post-delivery constipation.
I loved drinking coconut water during my pregnancy and felt that, along with a healthy diet, it contributed to keeping me hydrated, nausea-free, and regular with my bowel movements.
Whether you’re just beginning your pregnancy journey or are counting the days until your bundle of joy arrives, prop those feet up and enjoy a refreshing glass of coconut water—and embrace all of the amazing benefits this natural drink has to offer!
- BabyCenter.com: What Are the Benefits of Coconut Water During Pregnancy?
- WebMD: The Truth About Coconut Water
- MayoClinic.org: What’s Behind the Buzz About Coconut Water?