Pickle, primarily called Achar in Indian households, is a common eatable in every house. The proper meal of almost all south Indian meals will start with a pickle (mango, lemon, tomato, or ginger) because of its taste and craving to eat it. In the same way, pregnant women also have these weird cravings for pickles.
Pregnant women generally crave things that are sour and spicy. The Indian pickles mainly the mango and lemon pickles are a combination of both tart and spicy, which makes pregnant women drive crazy for these pickles. The pickle, when mixed with rice with a small teaspoon of ghee, makes it a great combination to eat, which satisfies the craving of a pregnant woman. Let us read out the benefits and risks of the consumption of pickles during pregnancy.
Is It Ok to Eat Pickles During Pregnancy?
The study says that the tasteful ones are less healthy and the less tasty ones are healthier. So, in which category the pickle falls? No doubt, pickles are the most delicious food, and also they are safe when consumed in limited quantities. The same thing applies to pregnant women. Yes, it is safe to consume pickles during pregnancy but in a limited quantity and with the right amount of water to ease heartburn. The study says that for every 30ml of pickle consumed, drink at least half a litre of water.
A pregnant woman usually has multiple cravings, some very unusual ones too. One of the most common foods that pregnant woman craves is pickle other than ice cream and chocolate. The main question that comes to our mind is, why do pregnant women crave certain things? There are no specific answers for this, but one convincing explanation is that the mind will hint to the body that certain minerals and vitamins are lacking and the body needs immediate attention. In the case of pregnant women, even hormonal factors might play a role in cravings.
The other main reason is that hormones play a significant role in the changes of the pregnant woman. She will find new hobbies, new tastes, and even new cravings. Estrogen, the pregnancy hormone, affects the senses of smell and taste.
See More: Benefits of Saffron During Pregnancy
Nutritional Facts about Pickles:
- Pregnant women crave different types of foods at different times and even during odd hours. They might even wake up in the middle of the night to eat ice cream or have a proper meal. Some days they don’t even eat food but just live on milk and juice etc. Because of this, pregnant women will have digestion problems. Pickles contain certain essential nutrients that may deal with these digestion problems.
- Electrolytes are essential to the body. And for pregnant women, the body requires more of it. Pickles are considered to be one of the good sources of electrolytes that provide a pregnant woman’s body with significant amounts of potassium and sodium.
- Pickles are a primary source of the micronutrient Vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting. Each pickle has 25.4 mg or, in other words, 32% of the daily value.
Benefits of Pickles During Pregnancy:
- Nausea and morning sickness are common problems that women face during their pregnancy. The sourness and the spicy pickles get rid of these two problems.
- Pickles do not contain much cholesterol and fat content, which is a beneficial food to consume rather than consuming those food items which are high in fat and cholesterol content.
- Pickles are a good source of iron, calcium, and dietary fibre, which are beneficial for the growth and development of the baby present inside the pregnant woman.
- Some pregnant women find it challenging to find snacks that are tasty and healthy at the same time. Pickles contain almost no cholesterol, and also have less fat content in them, which makes them the best alternative for salty snacks.
- Pickles are cost-effective compared to other food items. Some middle-income groups and low-income group families cannot afford costlier food items daily. Consuming pickles by satisfying the cravings is economical.
- Some Indian pickles like lemon and mango last longer, i.e., for days and months. Hence pickles are food items that are readily available at any hour to consume.
Risks of Eating Pickles During Pregnancy:
- Excessive intake of pickles leads to an increase in salt content in the body, which makes the body get dehydrated. Dehydration is very dangerous for pregnant women and also for unborn babies.
- Consuming pickles during the summer season is not advisable for pregnant women because of the same reason dehydration.
- These days most pregnant women consume pickles which are bought from outside. These pickles contain preservatives, even the ones that claim to be organic. These preservative foods are not safe for pregnant women as they may cause severe complications in the future.
- Pickles also contain sodium in them. Excessive consumption of pickles leads to an increase in sodium content in the body of a pregnant woman, which may lead to gestational hypertension. It is a serious condition wherein blood pressure rises, and it can lead to severe complications.
- Pregnant women sometimes have problems with heartburn because pregnancy causes their bodies to produce more of the hormone progesterone. This hormone relaxes the valve that helps keep stomach acid and partially digested food from backing up into the oesophagus. Pickles usually contain vinegar. This vinegar is acidic, and acidic foods sometimes make heartburn more likely.
- Excessive consumption of pickles by pregnant women leads to seizures. The intake of excess sodium content will damage the functioning of the kidneys, which may lead to insufficient oxygen supply to the baby present inside the womb, which in turn leads to premature delivery of the baby.
- Some pickles contain excessive oil in them. Consuming such types of pickles increases cholesterol and fat content in the body. This increase is very harmful to pregnant women and may lead to serious problems.
Precautions to Take:
- Make sure that pickles are not consumed daily. It is better to find an alternative for pickles so that the craving for the pickle slowly dies.
- Drink plenty of water when pickles are consumed so that the pregnant woman doesn’t get dehydrated.
- As much as possible, do avoid pickles purchased from outside or canned pickles since they contain preservatives that are harmful to the pregnant woman and the unborn baby.
- If the pickles are homemade, try to avoid adding vinegar as this increases heartburn.
- The mango pickle, which contains listeria bacteria is potentially dangerous during pregnancy. Avoid consuming mango pickles.
- Some pickles contain sugar content in it. Try to avoid consuming these types of pickles since they may account for weight gain.
- Some pickles contain high oil content in them for good taste. Consuming such types of pickles is very harmful, as it may increase cholesterol. For such type, dry out the oil content and then consume it or mix this type of pickle with a good amount of rice and eat the pickled rice.
Types of Pickles to Consume During Pregnancy:
- Pickles that are sour and less spicy have to be consumed to satisfy the cravings.
- A study suggests that homemade pickles are very safe to consume than the commercial pickles bought outside.
- Pickles that contain less oil have to be consumed.
- The Pickles which do not contain any preservatives or minimal preservatives have to be consumed.
- Pickles that are freshly made have to be consumed. Days-old or months-old pickles should not be consumed at any cost.
Pickles, being one of the spicy foods are surely a delight for pregnant women. The spice cravings will undoubtedly be satisfied with the pickles. Apart from this, the pickles also contain essential vitamins and nutrients that help the development of the fetus present inside the body.
Homemade pickles are considered the safest ones to consume rather than canned pickles, which may contain preservatives. Lastly, consuming pickles during pregnancy may be safe only if consumed in moderate quantities. Make sure to consult your doctor or gynaecologist before incorporating pickles into your diet during pregnancy.
See More: Is it Safe to Eat Mushrooms in Pregnancy
Q1. Are homemade pickles safe to eat during pregnancy?
Ans: First and foremost thing, eating pickles in limited quantity does not harm your body or the unborn baby. Homemade pickles do not contain any preservatives, so they are safe to consume but make sure that they are less oily.
Q2. Eating pickles during breastfeeding is safe or not?
Ans: No, it is not safe to consume pickles during breastfeeding. Because the newly born baby directly feeds on your milk. Whatever you eat will be transferred directly to your baby through the milk. If you have heartburn or stomach burn after consuming pickles, the same will be felt by the baby. Hence avoid eating pickles during breastfeeding.
Q3. Are canned pickles safe during pregnancy?
Ans: No. Because canned pickles may contain preservatives. Try to avoid them.
Q4. Is it true that eating more pickles tells us the gender of the baby?
Ans: False. Consuming more pickles does not tell us what gender the baby is. You can only know the gender of the baby after you deliver the baby.
Please be advised that all the information in this article is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to be construed nor is it a substitute for medical advice. If you want to include pickles in your diet during pregnancy, make sure you pay a visit to your doctor for proper information about it.