Does Watermelon Have Benefits for Pregnant Womens?

Watermelon is a water-rich fruit purported to offer many benefits during pregnancy.

These range from reduced swelling and risk of pregnancy complications to relief from morning sickness to better skin.

However, few of these benefits are supported by science.

This article looks at the research to determine whether watermelon offers any specific benefits during pregnancy.



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Watermelon nutrition

Watermelon is a source of carbs, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds. It also comprises around 91% water, which makes it a particularly hydrating fruit.

One cup (152 grams) of watermelon provides you (1Trusted Source):

  • Calories: 46
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: less than 1 gram
  • Carbs: 12 grams
  • Fiber: less than 1 gram
  • Vitamin C: 14% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Copper: 7% of the DV
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5): 7% of the DV
  • Provitamin A: 5% of the DV
Watermelon is also rich in lutein and lycopene, two antioxidants that help protect your body against damage and disease (1Trusted Source, 2).

For instance, these antioxidants may promote eye, brain, and heart health, as well as potentially offer protection against certain types of cancer (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).

Some research suggests that these specific antioxidants may also help lower the risk of preterm birth and other pregnancy complications. However, more research is needed before strong conclusions can be made.




SUMMARY
Watermelon is rich in water and provides moderate amounts of carbs, copper, and pantothenic acid, as well as vitamins A and C. It’s also rich in lutein and lycopene, two antioxidants that may protect against certain pregnancy complications.


May reduce the risk of preeclampsia

Watermelon is rich in lycopene, the compound that gives tomatoes and similarly colored fruits and vegetables their rich red pigment.

One older study suggests that supplementing with 4 mg of lycopene per day — or around 60% of the lycopene found in 1 cup (152 grams) of watermelon — may help lower preeclampsia risk by up to 50% (5Trusted Source).

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication marked by high blood pressure, increased swelling, and loss of protein in the urine. It’s a serious condition and major cause of preterm birth (6).

Based on the finding that lycopene supplementation may reduce preeclampsia risk, lycopene-rich watermelon is commonly touted to protect women from developing preeclampsia during pregnancy. However, two more recent studies fail to find a link between the two (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).

It’s important to note that these studies used high-dose lycopene supplements to deliver lycopene, not watermelon. Currently, there are no studies linking watermelon consumption with a lower risk of pre-eclampsia.

More research is needed before strong conclusions can be drawn.

SUMMARY
Watermelon is rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of a pregnancy-related complication known as preeclampsia. However, more research is needed to confirm this.


May lower the risk of side effects or complications in pregnancy

During pregnancy, a woman’s daily fluid requirements increase to help support optimal blood circulation, amniotic fluid levels, and an overall higher blood volume. At the same time, digestion tends to slow down (9Trusted Source).

The combination of these two changes may increase a woman’s risk of poor hydration. In turn, this increases her risk of constipation or hemorrhoids during pregnancy (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).

Suboptimal hydration during pregnancy may also be linked to poor fetal growth, as well as a higher risk of preterm delivery and birth defects (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).

Watermelon’s rich water content may help pregnant women better meet their increased fluid requirements, which may reduce their risk of constipation, hemorrhoids, and pregnancy complications.

However, this can be said for all water-rich fruits or vegetables, including tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, zucchini, and even broccoli. Therefore, although technically accurate, this benefit is not exclusive to watermelon.

SUMMARY
Watermelon is rich in water and may help pregnant women meet their increased fluid needs. In turn, optimal hydration may help lower the likelihood of developing constipation, hemorrhoids, or certain complications during pregnancy.


Possible safety concerns

Eating watermelon during pregnancy is generally considered safe.

However, this fruit is moderately rich in carbs and low in fiber, a combination that can cause blood sugar levels to spike (1Trusted Source).

As such, women with preexisting diabetes or who develop high blood sugar levels in pregnancy — known as gestational diabetes — may want to avoid eating large portions of watermelon (18, 19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).

As with all fruit, watermelon should be washed thoroughly before slicing and eaten or refrigerated promptly.

To minimize the risk of food poisoning, pregnant women should also refrain from eating watermelon that has remained at room temperature for longer than 2 hours


SUMMARY
Watermelon is generally safe to eat during pregnancy. However, pregnant women should avoid eating sliced watermelon that has remained at room temperature for too long. Moreover, women with gestational diabetes should avoid eating large portions.

Conclusion

Watermelon is a hydrating fruit rich in various nutrients and health-beneficial compounds.

Eating it regularly during pregnancy may reduce your risk of developing preeclampsia, constipation, or hemorrhoids. Its rich water content may also contribute to lowering the risk of poor fetal growth, preterm delivery, and birth defects.

However, the evidence for some of these benefits is weak, and in many cases, applicable to all fruits — not just watermelon.

Despite being touted to offer a long list of additional benefits during pregnancy, none of them are currently backed by science. That said, watermelon remains a nutrient-rich fruit and a great way to add variety to a pregnant woman’s diet.


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