In tropical countries all over the world, coconuts have long been praised as having fertility and pregnancy enhancing properties. In India, for example, a woman hoping to conceive will go to her priest for a special coconut; Thai babies receive, as their first solid food, three spoonfuls of soft coconut meat from their priests; a Balinese woman is forbidden to touch a coconut tree for fear she will drain its fertility into her own; and pregnant women from tropical countries consume large amounts of coconut water, hoping to increase their unborn child’s strength and vitality.
In addition to these traditions, there is now scientific evidence of the numerous health benefits of coconuts. While these health-boosting properties extend to everyone, they can be particularly beneficial to pregnant women. I have scoured all of my coconut resources and created a list of some of the powerful ways the coconut can be a pregnant woman’s ideal food product to consume:
1. As nature’s “sports drink,” it keeps the body well hydrated. In fact, coconut water not only replaces fluids and minerals lost during physical exertion but it provides those extras needed to help support pregnancy and expanding blood volume.
2. It alleviates vomiting. Coconut water has long been used as a remedy for typhoid, malaria and other illness-induced vomiting. It also helps with a bad case of morning sickness.
3. Along those same lines, it soothes the stomach. In addition to offering some relief from actual vomiting, coconut water can quell a queasy tummy and lessen the symptoms of nausea.
4. It is a mild laxative. Drinking moderate amounts of coconut water or consuming at least 4 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil daily can help to keep things running smoothly and relieve the constipation so common during pregnancy.
5. It keeps the body cool. With excess weight, progesterone, and anxiety, it’s easy to get overheated during pregnancy. Drinking coconut water helps to regulate body temperature and keep you cool.
6. Virgin coconut oil balances blood sugar and controls diabetes. This also helps keep morning sickness in check and offers some protection against gestational diabetes.
7. It boosts the immune system. Virgin coconut oil is comprised of nearly 50% lauric acid, which has been shown to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. This can help protect a mother-to-be from a host of potentially threatening infections as well as boost her immunity, which is naturally weakened during pregnancy.
8. It alkalizes the body. High in potassium, magnesium and other alkalizing minerals, coconut water can help to create an environment more conducive to conception and perhaps even reduce the risk of miscarriage.
9. It cleanses the kidneys and offers protection against Urinary Tract Infections. UTIs are very common during pregnancy and can be dangerous if antibiotics are not used to treat them. Of course antibiotics during pregnancy have a whole host of risks!
10. It is amazing for skin. Coconut oil can be applied to soothe the dry, itchy skin associated with pregnancy. It may also help to reduce the occurrence of stretch marks. When applied to the perineum in the weeks leading up to labor, it can help reduce tearing during birth. Coconut water applied to the face helps to clear blackheads and acne that many women experience with the surge of hormones during pregnancy.
11. It promotes healthy lactation. The only other significant source of lauric acid is human breast milk. Research has shown that lactating mothers who consume virgin coconut oil and other coconut products have higher levels of lauric and capric acids in their breast milk. This increases its antimicrobial and immune boosting properties, while promoting both brain and bone development in the infant. Since the body stores lauric acid in the adipose tissues, consuming coconut during pregnancy may also help to ensure successful lactation.
Clearly, coconut water and oil is something every pregnant woman should try to incorporate into her lifestyle. Of course, if you are allergic to coconut or latex, you need to avoid it like the plaque. I am constantly amazed at the wonders of coconut.