Blueberries: A Prenatal Superfood

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Pregnancy takes a major toll on the expectant mother’s body. Because the mother is pulling nutrients and materials from her body to nourish the child, it is important to maintain a healthy diet. A great food to incorporate into a pregnancy diet is blueberries.

Blueberries have numerous health benefits for both the mother and the developing child. For instance, blueberries are great for boosting the immune system. During pregnancy, the immune system is compromised while trying to protect the growing fetus. Eating foods like blueberries help increase the immune system’s ability to fight off illnesses. Blueberries also help the body absorb iron. Pregnancy-related anemia is common, and can result in the need to take multiple pills. Eating a proper amount of blueberries naturally restores iron levels.

In addition to boosting the immune system, eating blueberries can help maintain a healthy weight. Weight gain is going to occur, based on the amount of amniotic fluid needed to surround the baby, as well as the baby’s growth will result in additional pounds. Blueberries have a low amount of fat, making it easy to eat a bunch of them without adding additional weight. Blueberries also help with regulating bowels. Constipation is a common symptom of pregnancy. By regularly eating blueberries, the fiber content will allow bowels to occur easier and more frequently.

In addition to maternal benefits, blueberries aid in the development of the unborn child. Blueberries are great for fetal bone development. Blueberries contain a compound polyphenols that help with bone density prior to birth. Blueberries also help with preventing low birth weight. With the number of premature births increasing, consuming blueberries lowers the risk of premature birth, which allows the infant to reach a healthy weight before delivery. Another major complication associated with pregnancy is preeclampsia, which occurs when the placenta malfunctions while the fetus develops. Blueberries, among other calcium-rich foods, help lower the chances of developing preeclampsia.

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Blueberries can be incorporated into a pregnancy diet in various ways. For instance, a great way to consume them is in a salad. Spinach salad with blueberries is a great source of folic acid, which help produce the additional blood the mother needs for a healthy pregnancy. The lack of folic acid can result in numerous health deficiencies, including spina bifida, a condition causing the spinal cord of the infant to be exposed, and anencephaly, which is the underdevelopment of the fetus’s brain. Another great way to incorporate blueberries is by drinking smoothies. Smoothies are a refreshing and portable way to stay hydrated, especially for working pregnant women. These are also great for women who have issues digesting solid foods. Mixing other foods high in folic acid (oranges, leaf greens, etc) will allow the mother to get enough to properly aid development.

Blueberries, like any food, should be consumed in moderation. If any complications or irregular reactions occur after eating blueberries, consult your healthcare provider. Blueberries, along with drinking water and proper rest will result in a healthy pregnancy.