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Healthy Fruit Juices During Pregnancy

Nothing beats a tall glass of ice-cold fruit juice at the end of (or during) a long day—and it's healthy too, right?

Refreshing? Definitely. Healthy? Perhaps. While fruit juice provides vital nutrients for energy and health, moms-to-be should follow safe preparation guidelines to avoid illness caused by bacterial nasties that can lurk on the skins of raw fruits and veggies. It's also a good idea to monitor levels of sugar and acid in fruit juices to avoid further nasties like weight gain and erosion of tooth enamel. Then juice your favorite fruits, kick back and enjoy!

Health Benefits

Moms-to-be should eat two to four servings of fruit each day. Fruits contain nutrients such as vitamin A; potassium; folic acid, vital for healthy fetal development; vitamin C, which increases iron absorption and helps prevent maternal anemia; and magnesium. "Magnesium will keep the mind calm and allow you to sleep deeply at night," says nutritionist Annie Padden Jubb, author of "The LifeFood Recipe Book." Although fruit juice, such as orange juice, counts toward your recommended daily intake of fruits, it may contain less fiber and is less hunger-busting than its whole fruit counterpart. However, fruit juice counts toward your recommended fluid intake and will help keep your body hydrated—vital during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and constipation, along with preterm labor and miscarriage.

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Fructose

"For the first three months [of pregnancy] there are no extra calorie requirements. However, for the last six months, it's generally recommended to add 300 more calories a day," says Padden Jubb. Fruit juice is high in fructose, or fruit sugars, which are simple carbohydrates that provide extra calories and quickly raise your blood sugar levels. They are great for flagging energy levels during your last trimester, but be warned: 8 ounces of natural, no-added-sugar fruit juice can contain up to 6 teaspoons of sugar. Bad news if you want to avoid excess weight gain and get back into those jeans post birth! However, a 50-50 combination of apple juice and sparkling water will quench your thirst while ticking all the boxes for tanginess, fizz and fewer calories.

Dental Erosion

If you have experienced pregnancy-related morning sickness and vomiting, which can weaken tooth enamel, you might wish to limit your consumption of fruit juices that are high in citric acid, such as orange, grapefruit, lime and lemon, to avoid further acid erosion. Paradoxically, citrus fruits also provide a healthful shot of vitamin C, which helps to strengthen your immune system and keep your teeth and gums healthy. Dr. Michael Adams of the Adams Dental website recommends drinking acidic drinks, such as fruit juice, through a straw. You should then rinse your mouth with water and wait for at least an hour before brushing your teeth to limit dental erosion.

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Safe Preparation Tips

Toxoplasma is a parasite that sometimes lurks on unwashed fruits and if ingested during pregnancy, it could harm both mom and baby. Wash raw fruits thoroughly under running water and use a small brush to remove dirt. Cut away any bruised or damaged areas, peel the fruit and then rinse the peeled flesh before juicing. You should only buy pasteurized or shelf-stable fruit juice since unpasteurized or untreated store-bought juices may contain bacteria that could harm your baby's development. Store pasteurized juice in a refrigerator. Shelf-stable juices are packed in treated containers that you can store in your pantry until opened. Once opened, store them in a refrigerator for up to three days.

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