Orange juice contains many essential nutrients that support a healthy pregnancy. In fact, "Parents" magazine lists it as one of the top five foods that all pregnant women need to consume. While you may risk your health if you consume unpasteurized juice during pregnancy, it is definitely not unhealthy to drink pasteurized orange juice.
One cup of orange juice contains 82 mg of vitamin C. The National Institutes of Health recommends pregnant women aim for an average of at least 85 mg of vitamin C per day. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, promoting immunity. It is also essential to healing and the development of healthy cartilage, tendons, bones, nd skin. Orange juice is also a source of folate, which can help prevent certain neural tube defects in fetuses. One cup of orange juice contains 45 micrograms of the 600 micrograms recommended daily for pregnant women. With 473 mg of potassium per cup, orange juice is a good source of this fluid-balancing mineral. Potassium can help keep your blood pressure levels in check. High blood pressure can cause serious complications during pregnancy.
Proper hydration is critical during pregnancy. If you suffer from morning sickness, plain water can be hard to choke down. Orange juice, even slightly watered down, may be more palatable. Vitamin C also facilitates the absorption of iron, which helps keep the red blood cells in your body and your baby’s body healthy.
Orange juice labeled “fresh-squeezed” or “chilled” may be unpasteurized, which means it could carry bacteria that may cause food-borne illness. Pregnant women may be at a greater risk of infection from these bacteria. Food-borne illness can cause dehydration, premature labor, miscarriage, stillbirth or other pregnancy complications. To be safe, choose frozen concentrate, canned or cartons of juice that have “pasteurized” on the label.
Choose pasteurized orange juice fortified with calcium to increase your intake of this bone-building mineral. If you are lactose intolerant or find dairy products distasteful because of morning sickness, fortified orange juice can be a good choice. While orange juice offers a number of nutrients, you may still need to take a prenatal vitamin. Check with your health care provider for recommendations.
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