Whilst you’re pregnant, it is especially important you do all you can to stay healthy. If you have already looked online for diet advice, you’ve probably come across recommendations to drink orange juice. But, is orange juice good for pregnancy? Let’s find out!
You’re likely already aware that there are some changes you have to make to your diet when you’re expecting. However, you are still going to want to enjoy some tasty foods right? Fruits are a great middle ground as they are sweet but not too sugary.
Increasing water and general fluid intake will benefit both mother and baby, especially during summer. You may be wondering what drinks and fruits you can consume during pregnancy. More specifically, which fruity drinks. So, is orange juice good for pregnancy ? Are there other drinks that you should consume more often?
Let’s get started:
Is Orange Juice Good for Pregnancy?
If you were wondering ‘is orange juice good for pregnancy ?’, we have good news: depending on its type, orange juice can be great for your health, even when you’re pregnant. It is highly unlikely that the juice will hurt your unborn baby in any way.
There are many benefits to orange juice. You should preferably drink organic orange juice. It’s rich in many nutrients and vitamins that can help your immune system and overall health.
Here are some of the good nutrients orange juice contains:
- Folic acid: It aids the development of the baby’s neural tube, and helps prevent defects of the brain and spine.
- Potassium: Great for balancing your body fluids and electrolytes.
- Vitamin C: Essential during the third trimester, as it helps absorb iron and improves the immune system.
- Calcium: While it’s not naturally found in orange juice, almost all types of juices are fortified with it. It helps keep both yours and your baby’s bones strong.
- Fiber: Helps prevent constipation and bloating, both of which are common during pregnancy.
However, despite all these wonderful benefits, you shouldn’t go overboard and drink too much orange juice. After all, it isn’t a replacement for water, and you shouldn’t treat it as such.
What Type of Orange Juice Is Good for Pregnancy?
As we mentioned earlier, not every orange juice is equally healthy. This is why it’s challenging to answer the ‘Is orange juice good for pregnancy?’ question with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. A good orange juice should be as natural as possible.
Your best option is to buy pasteurized orange juice. This is similar to when you get dairy products, for example. Pasteurization is the process during which food and drinks are heated up until all harmful bacteria and microorganisms are killed. This way, you’ll ensure your immune system doesn’t have a tough time dealing with everything you intake.
Another thing to look for, is that your orange juice doesn’t have any added sugar, and that it doesn’t have a high sugar content. Fruits naturally have lots of sugar, and you have to look at the pregnancy sugar diet chart, especially if you’re at a high risk of gestation diabetes. If you’ve had too much sugar during pregnancy symptoms that may indicate the onset of diabetes include:
- Increased thirst.
- Dry mouth.
There are many high sugar in pregnancy effects on baby, especially if you leave diabetes untreated. These include:
- Preterm birth.
- Respiratory distress syndrome.
- Excessive birth weight.
- Low blood sugar right after birth.
- Increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
This is why you should avoid drinking orange juice that has added sugars.
However, there are other benefits like the added vitamins and minerals. Orange juice that is fortified with good supplements can have many benefits.
Finally, even though this might seem contradictory, be careful of buying orange juice that is fresh-squeezed when you are out and about. Sure, these juices usually don’t have any added sugars, but there are many other issues to consider. Most notably, fresh squeezed juices are not pasteurized. This means they are not protected from harmful bacteria. If they are truly fresh, this isn’t dangerous. However, if they have been standing around for a while, they are at risk of contamination.
Of course, the orange juice you’ve squeezed yourself will be a great and safe option. In fact, this is probably the healthiest orange juice you can have. Sure, you cannot fortify it with calcium, but you’ll know just what you’re drinking. Just keep in mind not to pack freshly-squeezed orange juice in your hospital bag, as it cannot stay fresh for long.
How Much Orange Juice Is Safe to Drink?
There is a saying that you cannot have too much of a good thing. However, this isn’t entirely true, at least not when it comes to a healthy pregnancy diet. You can certainly have too much of everything, and this isn’t healthy.
Sure, there are many benefits to drinking orange juice as mentioned before. However, you can get enough of all those benefits if you stick to one 150ml glass of juice a day.
Drinking more than this won’t bring you any extra benefits. Quite the opposite. It can potentially cause you harm, for example due to an increased sugar intake. Not to mention some other possible side effects like diarrhea, acid reflux, and bad breath. With everything else that’s happening to your body during pregnancy, you can do without these issues too!
Another problem that can occur if you drink too much orange juice is tooth damage due to the sugars and acidity of the juice. Pregnant women are more susceptible to oral health problems, so you should take extra care.
Is Orange Juice Good for Kids and Babies?
You shouldn’t give orange juice to kids under the age of 6 months and ideally not before the age of 1, unless clinically indicated. Even after this age, you still should proceed with caution. Juice should be a treat and not a regular part of your child’s diet. It’s contents are nowhere near as well balanced as that of a mother’s breast milk (or formula milk). The extra calories will likely just lead to a weight increase or even cause diarrhea.
For babies, it is recommended that they eat pureed fruits and veggies instead of orange juice. This way, you’ll make sure the texture of the food is just right, and you’ll avoid adding sugars and other types of additives.
If we’re talking about fresh juice and toddlers or young kids, there are many benefits to giving it to your children:
- It’s a convenient way to give fruits to your children even when they are too little to chew them.
- Kids who don’t like oranges might enjoy fresh orange juice.
- A great source of vitamins and minerals.
- Orange juice is easy to digest.
Remember though, orange juice is not perfect in all regards:
- It isn’t as nutritious as eating oranges due to lack of fiber.
- It can be high in sugar.
- Unlike oranges, orange juice has a rather short use-by duration. If your little one doesn’t consume it immediately, it can get spoilt and cause food poisoning.
- If you’re squeezing your own juice, you need excellent utensil hygiene. For example, if you don’t thoroughly clean your juicer, bacteria will start to grow inside it.
How Much Juice Should Adults and Kids Drink?
It’s important to know just how much juice your little one can safely drink. Here’s what the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has to say about orange juice intake:
- Avoid juice in under 1 year-olds. Only use in 6-12 months old if clinically indicated.
- 1-3 years olds should have a maximum of 4 oz /day
- 4-6 years old should have no more than 4-6 oz /day
- 7-18 year olds should only have up to 8 oz /day (or 1 cup of the recommended 2-2.5 cups of fruit serving per day)
If a baby drinks too much orange juice, this can result in a reduction of their milk consumption. This may mean they do not consume enough essential nutrients, which can lead to detrimental health conditions such as poor bone development.
Too much orange juice can raise blood sugar levels and cause obesity or even increase the risk of diabetes. Not to mention the increased risk of tooth decay.
When it comes to adults, there’s a bit more leeway. While the recommended dose is up to 250ml, drinking a bit more won’t cause severe health consequences. Excessive intake, especially if it’s recurrent, will lead to nutrient imbalance, which can lead to diabetes and obesity.
If you often drink orange juice, it’s important to opt for sugar-free juice and to make it a part of a wider nutrient-rich, balanced diet. This includes eating lots of good fats, protein, fiber-rich veggies and fruits, plenty of carbohydrates, as well as low-fat dairy products.
What Should You Drink During Pregnancy?
Most pregnant women know to be very mindful of what they eat during pregnancy. Equally important is what you drink.
So, we’ve already answered ‘ is orange juice good for pregnancy ?’– but what about other drinks? A general rule of thumb is that pregnant women should drink more liquid than they usually would. This is to help with the healthy development of their baby. Of course, everyone knows that alcohol should be avoided at all costs due to fetal alcohol syndrome, but what about other regular drinks that you may be uncertain about?
To stay on the safe side, here are some drinks that you can freely take even during pregnancy:
This one is really easy. Water is the most important drink throughout your entire life, and not just during pregnancy. In general, people should drink at least six 8oz glasses of water daily. However, when you’re pregnant, you should drink at least one glass more than you used to drink beforehand.
This is good news for all water drinkers. Water can be very beneficial for your baby, and it is the safest option out there. Just keep on sipping on it throughout the day to make sure you and baby stay hydrated.
This one is a bit tricky. Some types of tea can be of benefit during pregnancy. Others, however, can be very harmful and even toxic. You should try to avoid teas that contain high levels of caffeine, such as black tea.
A good idea is to drink rooibos tea, as it is caffeine-free and rather rich in antioxidants. Ginger and peppermint tea are also healthy and beneficial, especially for women who suffer from morning sickness. Green tea is also ok, as long as you drink it in moderation as it does contain some levels of caffeine. Thankfully, you can also find decaffeinated green teas. If this sounds appealing, contact your local health food store, as they’ll likely have a tea for you.
Most doctors would advise pregnant women to avoid drinking coffee as it contains caffeine. However, coffee is ok as long as you don’t drink more than 200mg of caffeine per day (one cup of coffee normally has about 137 milligrams of caffeine).
Ground coffee has a rather high caffeine level, so you might want to avoid it. Instead, try switching to instant coffee, as it has less caffeine and is a healthier option. Of course, moderation is the key, so don’t go overboard.
Decaffeinated coffee is your best option if you want to be super cautious.
The Bottom Line
Many pregnant women worry about what they can and cannot drink during pregnancy. Many will be thinking ‘ is orange juice good for pregnancy ?’, or should you avoid it altogether.
As long as you consume it in moderation, as a general rule for most women, orange juice is safe to drink during pregnancy. In fact, it has many health benefits, so you might want to drink a glass of organic orange juice every now and then. Just make sure that the juice contains real oranges and that it doesn’t have any added sugar.
Of course, every woman is different, so it would be advisable to speak to your own doctor about what is safe for you to drink.