Is Okra Good for Pregnancy? Safety and Benefits

Okra is a vegetable that is often eaten in the southern United States. It is low in calories and high in vitamins. Some people claim that okra has health benefits for pregnant women. How accurate is this?

Okra is rich in folate, a water-soluble vitamin that is important for pregnant women. Folate helps to prevent neural tube defects in the developing baby. Okra is also a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium, and calcium. These nutrients are essential for the development of the baby and the mother’s health during pregnancy.

Can a pregnant woman eat pickled okra? Have you heard of “okra water”? Can okra affect labor or assist in the process of giving birth? In this article, we will unravel the answer to these questions and discuss the benefits of okra.

Is Okra Good for Pregnant Women? The Benefits

Okra is rich in nutrients that are important for pregnant women and their developing babies, such as:

  • FolateFolate is a water-soluble vitamin that is important for pregnant women. Folate helps prevent neural tube defects in the developing baby (source: U.S. Pharmacist). It is recommended that pregnant women consume 400 micrograms (mcg) of folate daily (source: CDC). One cup of cooked okra contains about 60 mcg of folate (source: USDA).
  • Vitamin AVitamin A is necessary for the development of the baby’s organs, bones, and eyes. Pregnant women should consume 800 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A daily (source: Nutrients Journal). One cup of cooked okra contains about 36 mcg of vitamin A (source: USDA).
  • Vitamin C– Vitamin C is important for developing the baby’s immune system and for the mother’s tissue repair (source: Nutrients Journal). Pregnant women should get 80 mg of vitamin C daily (source: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists). One cup of cooked okra contains about 23 mg of vitamin C (source: USDA).
  • Potassium– Potassium lowers the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus and severe pre-eclampsia among pregnant women. Pregnant women should consume 4000 mg of potassium daily (source: Annal of Nutrition and Metabolism Journal). One cup of cooked okra contains about 299 mg of potassium (source: USDA)
fresh okra in a bamboo basket

Is Okra Safe During Pregnancy? Any Side Effects?

Okra is safe to eat during pregnancy, if eaten in moderation. Okra includes fructans, a type of carbohydrate that can cause gastrointestinal issues (source: Medical News Today). In people with digestive problems, fructans could produce diarrhea, gas, cramping, and bloating (source: HHS Public Access Journal).

As with all fresh vegetables, it is important to wash okra before eating. This will help remove any bacteria that may be on the surface. When washing any fruit or vegetable, it is essential to use clean water and be cautious to not buy damaged or moldy okra.

Can a pregnant woman eat raw okra?  Pregnant women can eat raw okra as long as it has been washed thoroughly. Raw okra contains the same nutrients as cooked okra, but it is important to wash it to remove any bacteria.

Is Okra Water Safe During Pregnancy?

Okra water is safe to drink during pregnancy as long as it is made with clean water and fresh okra. Some people believe that drinking okra water can help ease the process of labor and delivery.

While there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, drinking plenty of fluids during labor is generally recommended.  Dehydration can cause complications during pregnancy and labor (source: Journal of Nutritional Science).

Okra water serves as an excellent vessel for getting in extra nutrients that are important during pregnancy. If you are looking for an easy way to incorporate okra into your diet, try making okra water.

You will need:

  • A cup of chopped okra
  • 4 cups of water
  • One lemon, sliced
  • Honey (optional)

Instructions:

1. Add the okra, water, lemon, and honey to a pot.

2. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

4. Drink one cup of okra water per day during pregnancy.

Okra water is a great way to consume some important nutrients for pregnancy. It is also a refreshing and delicious way to stay hydrated during pregnancy.

Can Okra Affect Labor or Help with Giving Birth?

It is believed that okra could increase the likelihood of an easy labor and delivery. However, there is no scientific evidence supporting the claim.

Regardless of the lack of research for this claim, okra still contains strong health benefits and proves that it’s a nutrient-rich vegetable perfect to consume during pregnancy.

homemade pickled okra in a jar

Can I Eat Pickled Okra While Pregnant?

Cravings during pregnancy are very common, and many pregnant women crave pickled foods. Pickled okra is safe to consume during pregnancy if properly prepared.

Pickled okra and pickled foods, in general, are safe to eat during pregnancy if they are pasteurized and avoid the process of fermentation. This is necessary to verify that the pickles are safe for pregnant women and free of bacteria.

It is necessary to be aware of the sodium content in pickled okra as too much sodium can cause high blood pressure among pregnant women (source: Havard School of Public Health).

If you are going to consume pickled okra, be sure to choose a low sodium option. The recommended daily sodium intake for pregnant women is no more than 3000 mg (source: UCSF Health). 

Okra is a safe and nutritious vegetable to eat during pregnancy. It is important to eat okra in moderation and wash thoroughly before consuming. We hope this article has helped answer your questions about okra and pregnancy.

This article has been reviewed and approved for publication in line with our editorial policy.

Gina Waggott

Gina is the owner and founder of Pregnancy Food Checker. She holds a Certification on Nutrition and Lifestyle during Pregnancy from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and a Diploma in Human Nutrition.

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