Bitter gourd is a vegetable that we either love to bits or completely despise because of its bitter taste. During pregnancy, we get cravings for all kinds of food items and some of us start craving for bitter gourd even when we never liked bitter gourd before. But is it actually safe to consume bitter gourd while pregnant? This is a question that has been going around for ages, just like the doubts over whether or not papaya and pineapples are safe during pregnancy. bitter gourd pregnancy
We call it by several different names in India - karela, pavakka, kakarakaya, hagalakayi, etc. In English, we commonly call it bitter gourd or bitter melon. This vegetable has been known to have a whole lot of nutritional benefits which is why some of us eat it even if we don’t like it that much. But few women have said that this bitter vegetable causes uterine bleeding and a couple of other side effects during pregnancy. bitter gourd pregnancy
Benefits Of Bitter Gourd
Before we get into why and how bitter melons can be bad for you during pregnancy, let us talk about why it is actually beneficial during pregnancy. It is a great source of folate which is vital for pregnant women. It helps to protect the fetus from any neural tube defects. It helps control the blood sugar levels thus lowering the risk of gestational diabetes. It contains a lot of fibre which will help in digestion and keeps you feeling full so that you don’t end up snacking on unhealthy foods. It is also really good for the immune system as it contains vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc and will ensure that you don’t fall sick during pregnancy. bitter gourd during pregnancy
Risks Of Eating Bitter Melon
As with any good thing, too much of it can be really bad for you. Excessive consumption of bitter melons and the seeds of this vegetable can lead to early labour. The bitter taste of the vegetable can even cause pulsations in the tummy and womb. Also, consuming too many bitter melons can cause severe digestive problems. But all of these side effects does not mean you should cut it out of your diet completely. You should be consuming it but in moderate quantities. bitter gourd pregnancy
When You Should Eat Bitter Gourd
Since bitter gourd does have some negative effects during pregnancy, even if they are mild, it is best to avoid them during the first trimester. Once you are well into your second trimester, you can bring bitter gourd back into your meals as they do have a number of benefits for you and your baby. So if you have any cravings for some bitter gourd, save it up for the second half of your pregnancy. You can then enjoy countless dishes with bitter gourd along with other delicious and healthy vegetables. bitter gourd pregnancy
How Much Bitter Gourd Is Safe To Consume
The first point to note is that if you have never eaten bitter gourd prior to your pregnancy, don’t start now. If you have always avoided, it is best not to start during pregnancy as you never know whether your body can handle it or not. As for those who have had it before, you can continue eating it the way you usually did as long as your doctor has no issues with it. If you have any complications or have had a miscarriage before, it is best to ask your doctor if you can eat bitter melons. Make sure you don’t consume anymore bitter gourd than you normally would. About a cup full of bitter gourd per day in the form of a curry or a salad would be fine. You can have a maximum of two cups of bitter gourd, but not all in one sitting - you can have one serving at lunchtime and another for dinner.
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bitter gourd in pregnancy