Coconut Oil During Pregnancy

The coconut fruit is full of health benefits. Many of these come from the oil whose skin and hair care qualities rival those of expensive products. In the kitchen, coconut oil is a great companion in cooking tasty meals that also boost your immunity and energy while regulating cholesterol levels. But, can you use it during pregnancy? Many people say coconut oil is a great superfood for pregnant women, while some may dispute this. Understanding its effects on you and your unborn baby will help you make your own decision.

Is It Safe to Use Coconut Oil During Pregnancy?

Yes, it is safe to use coconut oil while pregnant. But as with most foods, moderation in the use of coconut oil is important. It is made up of nearly 100 percent saturated fats. According to the American Heart Association, you need to limit your intake of saturated oils including coconut oil to about 5 percent of your daily calorie intake. More than this can have an adverse effect on your health.

Lauric acid in coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid (MCFA), which helps to regulate cholesterol levels in your blood. MCFA also has antimicrobial qualities which reduce incidence of bacterial infections. So it is a rather safe saturated fat. Consuming moderate quantities of coconut oil during your pregnancy will help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins. These will in turn boost your health and support the healthy development of your unborn baby.

Once you decide to use coconut oil, whether in skin and hair care or cooking, go for extra virgin products. Extra virgin coconut oil does not contain harmful chemicals. Refined, bleached or deodorized options contain chemicals that may be difficult for the liver to break down.

What Are the Benefits of Using Coconut Oil During Pregnancy?

1.     Protect from Stretch Marks

Coconut oil can protect you against the development of stretch marks. For maximum benefit, start applying it to your growing bump as early as possible. This will improve the elasticity of your skin. Eating it during pregnancy will also help reduce the chances of developing stretch marks.

2.     Keep Morning Sickness Away

Using coconut oil while pregnant can help keep away morning sickness. It neutralizes stomach acid and soothes your gut to keep away heartburn and nausea. The fatty acid profile helps to stabilize blood sugar which otherwise causes morning sickness. Eat lots of protein, avoid refined foods which may lead to spikes in your blood sugar levels, and take coconut oil to rid yourself of morning sickness. Many women recommend taking half to one tablespoon of coconut oil first thing in the morning.

3.     Control Gestational Diabetes

Coconut oil prevents spikes and drops of blood sugar associated with gestational diabetes. In addition, stable blood sugar reduces cravings for sweet treats. For maximum benefit, take coconut oil as part of your meals or in between the meals.

4.     Soothe Hemorrhoids

Coconut oil helps to soothe the pain associated with hemorrhoids by cleansing the colon and increasing rate of metabolism so that food is digested faster and moves through your digestive system faster. You can also apply virgin coconut oil to the hemorrhoids, 2 to 3 times daily, to relieve the pain.

5.     Boost Your Immunity

You want to be healthy for yourself and your unborn baby’s sake. Taking coconut oil during pregnancy helps to boost your immunity and keep you energized. It also provides important vitamins and minerals to deal with any ailment that may arise. Coconut oil has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties that help protect you from colds, flu and other ailments. By taking two tablespoons daily, you can improve your immunity and keep disease away throughout your pregnancy.

6.     Replace Dairy Products

Although dairy has many health benefits, you may experience strange aversions to dairy products during pregnancy. The good news, however, is that you can get most of the dairy benefits by eating coconut oil.

7.     Promote Healthy Lactation

The natural form of lauric acid is only found in coconut and human breast milk. And because lauric acid is stored in adipose tissue, eating coconut oil during your pregnancy can lead to healthy lactation. Research carried out on lactating mothers has shown that breast milk of mothers who eat coconut oil has more lauric acid as well as capric acid. 

8.     Promote Healthy Skin

Coconut oil is a great skin conditioner that soothes dry and itchy skin. By applying coconut oil to the perineum area as the birth date approaches, you can reduce the tear associated with birth. You can also use it to help clear acne and blackheads that arise during pregnancy.  

9.     Work As a Mild Laxative

Constipation is common during pregnancy. But you can deal with it by taking about 4 tablespoons of coconut oil or drinking some coconut water daily. The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil help to soften the stool and ease bowel movement.

10.  Soothe Candida/Thrush Symptoms

Candida infections or thrush is caused by a fungus known as Candida albicans. This fungus is usually present in the human body, but causes an infection when there is an imbalance or a depletion of good bacteria. Candida infections can cause itching and burning sensations. A rise in progesterone causes an imbalance that makes the pregnant women more susceptible. Because coconut oil has antifungal properties, you can use it to soothe the thrush symptoms. Apply it to the area of infection such as the vagina and the birth canal using clean hands.

How to Use Coconut Oil During Pregnancy

Here are some practical methods of using coconut oil while pregnant to reap its benefits.

  • As a Supplement. Seek your doctor’s advice about supplementing your diet with extra virgin coconut oil during your pregnancy.
  • As Anti-Stretch Mark Cream. Applying virgin coconut oil to your growing baby bump can keep away new stretch marks.
  • In a Smoothie. Make a smoothie using half a cup of coconut water, your favorite ingredients, two teaspoons of virgin coconut oil and ice.
  • In Your Bath Water. A few drops of coconut oil added to your bath water hydrates skin and relieves stress.  
  • As Eye Cream. Soothe sore eyes and dark circles by applying coconut oil under your eyes.
  • As Hair Conditioner. If pregnancy makes your hair frizzy, rub coconut oil to moisturize and condition it.
  • As a Lip Balm. Coconut oil is semisolid at room temperature. This makes it a great remedy for chapped lips.
  • As Face Mask. Make a face mask by combining one tablespoon each of coconut oil, honey and mashed banana, and half a teaspoon of avocado. Apply the mixture and leave on for ten minutes before washing it off.
  • Eczema Treatment. Consider substituting coconut oil during your pregnancy for topical steroids.
  • As Cracked Nipple Cream. Once the baby has come and you get cracked nipples from breastfeeding, apply soothing coconut oil.
 
 
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