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Pregnancy is an important phase in any woman's life. While there are many physical and emotional changes that a pregnant woman faces, another equally important facet is the added focus on the diet that a pregnant woman consumes. We must have all heard people, especially the older generation in our families, testifying to the importance of a balanced diet during pregnancy. An unhealthy diet during this period can adversely affect both the mother as well as the baby in her womb.
A balanced diet during pregnancy must also include fruits. While the importance of fruits can hardly be overemphasized, nothing should be consumed without seeking the advice of a qualified medical professional. The best judge in this situation would be the mother, and for obvious reasons.
While people around her might hector her to eat this or avoid that, a pregnant woman must not give in to family or societal pressures and follow her doctor's guidelines.
For a pregnant woman, watermelon features prominently among the many fruits available to choose from. Rich in water content, along with many vitamins - such as vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin B complex - watermelon also has magnesium and potassium. With water accounting for over 90%  of a watermelon's content, consuming watermelon is recommended for losing weight, relieving constipation and hydrating the body.
High in fibre, watermelon is an ideal healthy snack for a pregnant woman, as it effectively relieves the hunger pangs in a pregnant woman and keeps her feeling full for longer. The health benefits of watermelon for a pregnant woman are as follows.
1. Controls Morning Sickness
A common discomfort faced by a majority of pregnant women, morning sickness can be quite unsettling for the woman concerned. Watermelon, either consumed whole or as a juice, taken in the morning sometime after waking up, gives a most soothing and refreshing start to the day. Both nutritional as well as energizing, watermelon gives a great start to the day for a pregnant woman.
2. Relieves Heartburn And Acidity
Eating moderate servings of watermelon has a soothing effect on the food pipe as well as the stomach. With its cooling property, watermelon gives instant relief from the burning sensation in the throat caused by acidity and acid reflux.
3. Keeps The Body Hydrated
With over 90% water content, eating watermelon keeps your body hydrated. Especially in the summer months, a pregnant woman can safely snack on moderate amounts of watermelon during the day. Dehydration in pregnancy can cause various complications, such as the onset of early contractions leading to premature birth.
4. Reduces Swelling
With the pressure exerted by the growing baby in the womb, the blood flow to the legs gets significantly restricted during pregnancy. This restriction of normal blood flow to the legs leads to swelling in the feet as well as the hands. This swelling or oedema is a common problem during pregnancy. Watermelon effectively reduces the blockages in the muscles and veins, thereby preventing oedema to a large extent.
5. Prevents Skin Pigmentation
Pigmentation of skin is a common occurrence during pregnancy, and can be attributed to the increase in pregnancy hormones. Due to its high water content, watermelon aids in digestion and ensures smoothness of bowel movements. This eventually lessens skin pigmentation.
6. Boosts Immunity
Watermelon, a rich source of vitamins and minerals, has been shown to greatly boost immunity. While falling sick is never pleasant, sickness during pregnancy can be quite discomfiting for the expectant mother.
7. Reduces The Risk Of Pre-eclampsia 
In addition to controlling nausea and morning sickness, lycopene significantly reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia. Characterized by a higher blood pressure than normal, fluid retention as well as proteinuria or raised levels of protein in the kidneys which signal kidney damage, pre-eclampsia can lead to premature labour in addition to other health complications. Lycopene is also an immunity booster.
8. Prevents Constipation
A common problem associated with pregnancy, constipation can be quite irritating as well as uncomfortable for the expectant mother. With a growing belly, frequent trips to the rest-room as well as spending longer than usual time within can be tiring for a pregnant mother.
As medications for constipation are not recommended for pregnant women, the healthier alternative would be to seek natural means for easing constipation. While the fibre content in watermelon helps in the formation of stools, the high water content helps in the voiding of the same.
9. Reduces Muscle Cramps
Hormonal changes, as well as weight gain in pregnancy, can lead to pain in the bones as well as cramping of the muscles. Rich in minerals like magnesium and potassium, watermelon helps in preventing muscle cramps during pregnancy.
10. Treats Heat Rash
Along with the body naturally generating more heat during pregnancy, medications can also raise the body temperature as well. This combined body heat leads to rashes in pregnancy, accompanied by itching and general irritation. Watermelon has cooling and hydrating properties which can effectively check body rash. Consumption of watermelon also checks the dryness of skin.
11. Prevents Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections, especially in the initial months of pregnancy, are a common occurrence affecting a wide majority of pregnant women. While medication is not advisable, consumption of watermelon is a natural way for both prevention as well as cure of urinary tract infections.
A high water content, combined with antibacterial propensity that flush out the bacteria from the urinary tract, make watermelon a great tool for checking urinary tract infections the natural way.
13. Removes Toxins From Body
With the high water content, watermelon removes toxins from the body when consumed in moderate amounts. Elimination of toxins from the body prevents fatigue and keeps the body energized.
14. Aids In Bone Formation Of Foetus
Containing potassium and calcium, watermelon helps in the development of the bones of the foetus.
15. Promotes Healthy Vision
With beta-carotene, watermelon is also good for the eyes of the expectant mother.
16. Has Antioxidant Properties
Studies have revealed watermelon juice to have anti-oxidative  property which effectively neutralizes free radicals in the body, thereby reducing cell damage.
17. Reduces Inflammation
Though not specifically conducted on pregnant women as such, laboratory tests have confirmed the anti-inflammatory properties of watermelon  .
While a balanced diet is important for every one of us, there is an increased co-relation between diet and pregnancy. Fruits are an important part of the diet of a pregnant woman. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, along with high fibre and water content, watermelons are ideal for consumption in pregnancy.
The diet of the mother while pregnant has been generally believed to have an effect on the foetus as well as the baby much after birth. Studies have revealed that consuming fish and apples  can inhibit the development of allergic diseases such as childhood asthma later on in the child born to such a mother.
While watermelon has many health benefits for a pregnant woman, it should be consumed in moderation. As no two pregnancies are exactly the same, a diet beneficial to a particular woman might not be suited to another pregnant woman. A qualified medical practitioner should be consulted for guidance as to the most appropriate time as well as the acceptable quantity of the watermelon to be consumed by the pregnant woman.
-  Popkin, B. M., D'Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, hydration, and health. Nutrition reviews, 68(8), 439-58.
-  Naz, A., Butt, M. S., Sultan, M. T., Qayyum, M. M., & Niaz, R. S. (2014). Watermelon lycopene and allied health claims. EXCLI journal, 13, 650-660.
-  Mohammad, M. K., Mohamed, M. I., Zakaria, A. M., Abdul Razak, H. R., & Saad, W. M. (2014). Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. and Nakai) juice modulates oxidative damage induced by low dose X-ray in mice. BioMed research international, 2014, 512834.
-  Hong, M. Y., Hartig, N., Kaufman, K., Hooshmand, S., Figueroa, A., & Kern, M. (2015). Watermelon consumption improves inflammation and antioxidant capacity in rats fed an atherogenic diet. Nutrition Research, 35(3), 251-258.
-  Willers, S. M., Devereux, G., Craig, L. C., McNeill, G., Wijga, A. H., Abou El-Magd, W., Turner, S. W., Helms, P. J., … Seaton, A. (2007). Maternal food consumption during pregnancy and asthma, respiratory and atopic symptoms in 5-year-old children. Thorax, 62(9), 773-779.
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