Eating Pickles During Pregnancy – Health Benefits and Risks

During pregnancy, it is common for most women to develop food cravings. These longings can differ from person to person. The turbulent pregnancy hormones may cause some women to desire certain unusual foods, like pickles. While in some cases, craving for pickles may satisfy their urge for spicy food, others find eating pickles useful in preventing one of the most typical pregnancy symptoms i.e., morning sickness.

The vital thing to remember here is not to give in to the craving in excess. Eating the tangy pickles on a day-to-day basis is not recommended. Eating in moderation is a wiser approach when dealing with cravings, to avoid any issues later on.

Why Do Pregnant Women Crave Pickles?

Hormonal Effect

Pregnancy hormones like oestrogen or other hormones affect the senses of smell and taste. Therefore, foods taste different to a woman during her pregnancy than they did before. Certain foods like pickles can satiate their heightened senses of taste or smell, which is why pregnant women tend to have pickles.

Emotional Stress

Pregnant woman may crave for comfort foods like pickles in case of emotional stress.

Nutritional Facts of Pickles

On the whole, the nutritional value of pickles is essentially not much. Pickles have very less cholesterol and are also very low in protein and fat. Pickles can be a good source of iron and sodium. They may also provide some calcium, dietary fibre, and vitamin C.  Every pickle may contain a different quantity of sodium, fat, and calories. So, it is important to check the product labelling detailing the nutritional facts. Although pickles by themselves don’t possess much minerals and vitamins, having pickles along with a meal may enhance the probiotic content of that meal.

Nutritional Facts of Pickles

Is Consuming Pickle in Pregnancy Safe?

Consuming pickles in limited measures when pregnant may not be harmful. But it is not advisable to make pickles a part of your everyday diet while pregnant. Overindulgence in pickles during pregnancy can lead to certain health issues. Moderation should be the guiding factor whenever you are tempted to reach for that jar of pickles!

Is Consuming Pickle in Pregnancy Safe?

Moreover, during pregnancy, it is crucial to pay special attention to your dietary intake for your health along with that of your growing foetus. Pickles don’t include much nutritional value. So, their consumption is best kept to the minimum. Further, you may also like to avoid consuming very spicy pickles. In case of any lingering doubt, it is always advisable to consult your doctor first.

Benefits of Eating Pickles during Pregnancy

It is not a stretch of the imagination for pregnant women to have cravings for pickles sometimes all through their pregnancy. Eating pickles in moderation during pregnancy may prove beneficial in the following ways:

1. Helps in Maintaining the Right Balance of Electrolytes

Minerals like sodium and potassium are the important electrolytes in our body, which play a key role in facilitating suitable electrical transmissions through our system. During pregnancy, your body may need more amounts of electrolytes to fulfil the demands of the developing foetus. Consuming pickles in small quantities can cater to this need as pickles contain a considerable amount of sodium and potassium.

2. Cholesterol-free and Low in Fat

Pickles contain no cholesterol and fat. So, pickles can be a good option for healthy snacking during pregnancy as it won’t add to the weight. Keep in mind to choose unsweetened pickles to maintain low-calorie intake.

3. Boosts Digestion

Pickles are thought to improve digestion and even the immune function to some extent. Pickles may contain healthy bacteria which prevents it from getting spoiled. So eating pickles can aid in multiplying the good bacteria in your digestive system, which can help in combating a lot of digestive issues.

4. Antioxidant Properties

Pickles are believed to have antioxidants. The pickled fruits or vegetables are usually not cooked, which preserves their antioxidants. Antioxidants help in defending the body against free radicals.

5. Source of Vitamins and Minerals

Having fresh pickles of various vegetables and fruits like amla may provide important vitamins like vitamin A, C, K and minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium which can lower your risk of falling prey to diseases during pregnancy by strengthening your immune system.

Risk of Consuming Pickles When Pregnant 

Nearly all pickles are high in salt content. Salt is added to pickles because it enhances the taste and functions as an anti-microbial agent, aiding in the preservation of pickles by keeping off undesirable fungi, yeast, and bacteria. Excess intake of salt through pickles during pregnancy can lead to gestational hypertension, which can result in heart attacks and strokes.

Risk of Consuming Pickles When Pregnant 

Furthermore, most Indian pickles have large amounts of oil, which can heighten your chances of cholesterol and fat development in the body during pregnancy. Eating very spicy pickles or pickles with chemical preservatives can cause bloating or gas when pregnant.

Precautions to Take While Eating Pickles

Pickles and pregnancy may not be completely conducive. Some of the precautions that you may like to observe if craving pickles while pregnant are:

  • Eating excessive pickles can lead to dehydration. Thus, make sure you drink lots of water and healthy fluids to remain suitably hydrated. Additionally, drinking water can also help to balance the sodium levels in your body.
  • If you are prone to gastritis while pregnant, it is better to avoid eating pickles during this time.
  • Refrain from eating very spicy pickles as it can trigger dysentery and digestive problems like heartburn and acidity.
  • Having pickles that are high in sodium can prompt gestational hypertension, which can adversely affect the growth of the foetus.
  • Consuming pickles treated with excess chemical preservatives can cause unnecessary complications during pregnancy.
  • Eating mango pickle during pregnancy, which is homemade may have traces of listeria bacteria that can be potentially dangerous for the pregnancy.
  • You may want to choose the unsweetened range of pickles to avoid any probable weight gain.

Take care to consume pickles occasionally while pregnant. Giving in to cravings once in a while is not harmful. Pickles, if consumed in small quantities, may offer some benefit. If you are buying pickles from the market, choose the organic variety devoid of chemical preservatives. Do consult your doctor when pregnant before consuming pickles and discuss your concerns regarding safety and likely allergic reactions.