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With pregnancy starts one of the most amazing and surprising phases of life. Along with the expectant mother and father, the entire group of family and friends celebrate the happiness. And it is also at this time that, along with the good wishes, a horde of instructions starts to pour in, especially about the mother's diet. Amongst the confusion, it can be hard to tell what information is legit. Some people may pass on the information that their doctor gave them, others may pass what they received by word-of-mouth.
Such is the case with lemon juice during pregnancy. While a fraction of your folks may tell you it's unhealthy, others will tell you it's healthy. But what is the truth? Don't worry, we're here to tell you exactly that. Although there are a lot of other beneficial foods that are surrounded by myths, this article aims at busting the myths about lemon juice and how it affects you during your pregnancy.
Is Lemon Juice Safe During Pregnancy?
Pure lemon juice is considered to be an all-around drink because of the sheer amount of nutrients it contains. 100 grams of lemon juice contains 0.3 grams of dietary fibre, minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc) and vitamins (vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, vitamin A, vitamin E).
But being rich in nutrients doesn't necessarily mean that it is healthy during pregnancy, right? Well, there are possible side effects of drinking lemon juice (gastrointestinal discomfort, dental damage, etc. , but those are attributed to consuming large amounts of the juice. When consumed within a limit, lemon juice can work wonders for your pregnant body. Yet, when you're pregnant, it is always best to seek your doctor's advice on your diet to rule out any possible complications.
That said, be sure to intake only natural and freshly prepared lemon juice, and not the commercially prepared extracts or products off-the-rack. Those may contain preservatives or other chemicals which are not suitable for when you're pregnant. In addition to that, drink only moderate amounts of it in one go.
So is lemon juice healthy during pregnancy? Yes, in moderation, it is.
What Are The Benefits Of Lemon Juice During Pregnancy?
From lowering blood pressure to preventing infections, lemon juice has numerous benefits. Read on.
1. Lowers blood pressure
A lot of pregnant women encounter problems with their blood pressure, more specifically hypertension or high blood pressure. This could be because of multiple reasons including the anxiety that mothers have regarding the health of the baby. However, high blood pressure is very dangerous and poses various risks to the mother and the baby. Consumption of lemon juice is directly related to the regulation of high blood pressure. According to a 2014 study , the daily ingestion of lemon juice along with walking was found to lower blood pressure. Apart from that, the flavonoids in lemon juice may also lower cholesterol which directly plays a role in hypertension and other fatal diseases.
2. Boosts immunity
The vitamin C present in lemon juice plays an active role in boosting our immune system. 100 grams of lemon juice contains 38.7 mg of vitamin C. While being pregnant, it is natural that our immunity may dwindle and make us vulnerable to infections and diseases. In such a situation, consuming lemon juice will help strengthen the functioning of our body against these infections and keep both the mother and the baby healthy.
3. Improves digestion
During pregnancy, because of the uncontrollable cravings, metabolism and also because we need to eat for two, indigestion, as well as constipation, are very common things and you'll most likely suffer from them at some point of your pregnancy too. Lemon juice has been known to regulate the secretion of digestive juices in the stomach and thereby aiding digestion to prevent constipation. Moreover, lemon juice also contains trace amounts of dietary fibre which is linked with regulating the digestive system.
4. Boosts the bone health of the mother and the baby
According to the USDA, lemon juice is a good source of minerals Calcium and magnesium (6 mg per 100 grams each). These two have been scientifically known to help with structuring the bones and helping in bone development. This can prove beneficial to pregnant women who encounter a loss of such important minerals throughout the journey of their pregnancy.
5. Treats swollen feet
One of the most common things that most pregnant women suffer from is swollen feet towards the later parts of the trimesters. Because of their weight gain and other anatomical factors, swollen feet can cause pain, discomfort and make it difficult for the mother to concentrate or carry on everyday activities. But you can use lemon juice to counter this. Not only does it reduce the swelling, but it also helps to ease out the pain. Lemon juice also contains antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory properties  and help bring down the swelling in your feet.
6. Eases labour
This might come as a surprise, yet it is true that lemon juice helps to ease the very dreaded labour pains. Talk about pregnancy, and the worst part has got to be the excruciating labour pains that seem like they're going to take your life away, isn't it? Well, lemon juice can help you with this as well. Even though there is a lack of scientific evidence confirming this information, lemon juice consumed on a regular basis right from the 5th month of pregnancy is known to reduce the pain during labour. Also, undergoing labour is as much stressful as it is painful. And the ingestion of lemon juice can also help you with lowering your stress levels. But remember, before you start consuming lemon juice on a daily basis, kindly contact your ob-gyn.
7. Treats morning sickness
Another annoying thing that happens during an otherwise-happy pregnancy is the morning sickness that comes along with it. Would you believe it if we told you that lemon can heal your morning sickness? Well, in this case, it is not the lemon juice that works wonders but the lemon itself. It has been scientifically proven that inhaling the scent of natural lemon helps reduce nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy.
You can also drink lemon juice in order to act on the bile and eliminate the morning sickness. However, if you experience a really bad morning sickness with uncontrollable nausea, you must visit your doctor immediately.
8. Prevents infections
A 2015 scientific study confirms that lemons possess diuretic properties, which means that they help in maintaining proper health and functioning of our kidneys, thereby preventing urinary infections. Moreover, the antioxidants present in lemon also act as anti-microbial agents and bring about the same effect of preventing infections in the body.
9. Keeps you hydrated
During pregnancy, your body may get dehydrated for the mildest reasons, if not hydrated properly in regular intervals of time, especially if you're someone who lives in the hotter climates with the scorching sun shining above. Dehydration can, in turn, cause a lot of trouble to your body, including side effects like dizziness, headaches, cramps, etc.
Lemon juice contains so many vitamins and minerals that you can rely on it to keep you hydrated throughout the day. Yet, again, it is important to drink it in moderation. You can also use a fruit infuser water bottle and carry it with you the entire day while sipping small amounts of the juice wherever you go.
Can Lemon Juice Really Cause Abortion?
It is true that lemon juice is sometimes considered by people as an abortifacient, or a natural remedy to induce abortion because of the presence of citric acid. But, what they won't tell you is that it has chances of working only during the very early stages of pregnancy, that too, only if consume it in large amounts on a regular basis. And when we say 'chances', it means that it may or may not work, with the probability of the latter being higher.
So can consuming moderate amounts of lemon juice during pregnancy cause a miscarriage or an abortion? No. Yet, if you're still unsure and need a confirmation, visit your ob-gyn. A doctor will also be able to properly prescribe you how and when you should consume lemon juice according to the needs of your body type. Overall, lemon juice is a very beneficial food item for when you're pregnant.
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-  Lv, X., Zhao, S., Ning, Z., Zeng, H., Shu, Y., Tao, O., Xiao, C., Lu, C., Liu, Y. (2015). Citrus fruits as a treasure trove of active natural metabolites that potentially provide benefits for human health. Chemistry Central journal, 9, 68.
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-  Quita, S. M., & Balbaid, S. O. (2015). The protective effect of lemon fruit extract on histopathological changes induced in small intestines and pancreas of male mice by cyclophosphamide. Electronic physician, 7(6), 1412-1422.
-  Zou, Zhuo & Xi, Wanpeng & Hu, Yan & Nie, Chao & Zhou, Zhiqin. (2015). Antioxidant activity of Citrus fruits. Food Chemistry. 196.
-  Yavari Kia, P., Safajou, F., Shahnazi, M., & Nazemiyeh, H. (2014). The effect of lemon inhalation aromatherapy on nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: a double-blinded, randomized, controlled clinical trial. Iranian Red Crescent medical journal, 16(3), e14360.
-  Zou, Zhuo & Xi, Wanpeng & Hu, Yan & Nie, Chao & Zhou, Zhiqin. (2015). Antioxidant activity of Citrus fruits. Food Chemistry. 196. 10.1016
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