Apricots are one of the most popular fruits in the world. They’re sweet, juicy, and delicious. They’re also really beneficial for pregnant women, too.
Apricots are a good choice for pregnant women, but a lot depends on the form they take – whether fresh, dried or even as part of the labor-inducing “midwives brew!”.
I’ll break down why they’re safe, and the healthiest ways to get them into your pregnancy diet without adding too much sugar/carbs, too.
The Benefits of Apricots for Pregnant Women
Apricots are one of the best sources of vitamin E, which is needed for cell division and growth. Vitamin E is also important for the development of the nervous system in your baby (Source: Journal of Lipidology).
The health benefits of eating apricots include their ability to help lower cholesterol levels, boost your immune system, fight cancer cells, reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and more.
Apricots are also an excellent source of copper, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. These minerals are important for your baby’s health and development (source: USDA).
Apricots are also a good source of vitamin B6, which is important for proper fetal brain development.
Overall, apricots have many nutrients that benefit both mom and baby. The key, however, is how they’re served. For example, a fresh ripe apricot is going to be much better for you and baby than a can of them in heavy syrup, which adds lots of extra calories and carbs.
Is It Safe to Eat Apricots in Early Pregnancy?
Apricots are safe at all stages of pregnancy, so long as you follow good hygiene practices in prepping the fruit. For more on this, check out our guide on how to prep fresh fruit during pregnancy.
Pre-prepared and pre-cut fruit should generally be avoided during pregnancy due to the higher risk of bacterial or cross-contamination, if you didn’t prepare it yourself.
Dried Apricots for Pregnancy: Are They Good for You?
Dried apricots are a more concentrated form of the fruit. They have all the same health benefits as fresh or canned apricots, but it’s much easier to eat far more of them.
For this reason, keep an eye on your portions – 50g of dried apricots has over 26g of sugar and around 118 calories (source: Nutritionix).
Although dried apricots are perfectly safe during pregnancy, it’s best to be mindful of the sugar content so as not to overdo it. If you’ve already been diagnosed with diabetes, then ask your health professional about eating dried fruit, since some of it is sweetened further during the drying process.
For more on this, check out our article on the best (and worst) fresh and dry fruits to eat during pregnancy.
How Many Dried Apricots Can I Eat When Pregnant?
If you’re eating dried apricots at home, be sure to check the nutrition label. You should limit yourself to a maximum of 2 servings a day – since there are natural variations in the size of the fruit, it’s sometimes less reliable to count the pieces of fruit, to know exactly how much sugar you’re getting.
Healthy Ways To Eat Apricots While You Are Expecting
Fresh apricots are probably the easiest way to consume these tasty treats while you are expecting. But if you don’t like eating fruit raw, there are other options available.
Dried apricots make an excellent snack when combined with nuts and seeds. Simply mix 1/4 cup almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp hearts, or any combination thereof with 2 tablespoons dried apricots.
This makes a healthy trail mix perfect for snacking throughout the day. It’s also great on top of yogurt or ice cream (just make sure it’s pasteurized) and can be a good source of energy if you’re flagging a little.
You could also try making your own apricot jam. Just combine 3 cups chopped ripe apricots with 6 cups sugar until it reaches desired consistency. Let sit overnight before using. It will keep well in the fridge for about two weeks.
If you prefer something more savory than sweet, then consider adding dried apricots to salads, or African-style dishes like tagine or couscous. Adding a teaspoon of cumin to your rice or couscous, along with some chopped dried apricots is an easy way of spicing up your side dish.
Apricot Juice During Pregnancy
Apricot juice is another tasty option during pregnancy. You can easily make your own by blending 3 to 4 fresh apricots with the same amount of water in a blender – you should blend until smooth before straining through a fine sieve or cheesecloth to remove any tough pieces of fruit.
Apricot fruit juice that is made at home and served straight away is usually safe during pregnancy – but make sure your blender and other equipment is clean. For more on this, see our article on juicing when pregnant.
If you’re buying store-bought apricot juice (or a blend containing it), then this must be pasteurized in order to be safe during pregnancy. Pasteurization involves heating the juice to a minimum of 160 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 15 seconds, which kills any harmful bacteria.
To make sure you’re getting pasteurized juice, check the label. If it says “Pasteurized,” “Heat treated” or something similar, then it should be fine.
But if you see the words “raw,” or sometimes, “fresh squeezed”, then it’s best to avoid it – even though the label might it’s “fresh”, then if it’s unpasteurized, it’s not safe during pregnancy. This is also the case with juice bought at juice bars, farmer’s markets and similar places.
It’s important that you don’t overdo it when drinking any kind of fruit juice while pregnant. Fruit juices are rich in fructose, which can spike blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes (including gestational diabetes) then check with your doctor first.
Fruit juices are best enjoyed as part of a healthy pregnancy diet, and not as replacements for other healthy foods. If you want to include more fiber, you could try smoothies rather than juice, too.
Finally, apricot juice is often listed as one of the key ingredients in midwives brew – a concoction designed to help induce labor. Read more about it (and get the recipe) here!
Is Apricot Kernel Oil or Extract Pregnancy-Safe?
Apricot Kernel is a natural product derived from apricots. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat various conditions including skin problems and other disorders.
It can also be made into an oil that is sometimes consumed to treat various ailments when taken by mouth – though this is unsafe. Apricot kernel oil contains a toxic chemical called amygdalin. This chemical can be converted to cyanide in the body, which can cause serious adverse effects, including death (webmd.com)
During pregnancy, it’s, therefore, best to avoid taking any apricot kernel products, including oils or supplements.
The fruit on its own is still safe to eat during pregnancy – but avoid taking any oils or extracts by mouth.
Overall, apricots are a tasty sweet fruit that can be easily incorporated into many dishes for you to enjoy during pregnancy.
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