Question marks over pineapple’s safety have been circulating online for quite some time.
Though many opinions from friends and family are well-intentioned, it can be tough to tell if any warnings hold any weight.
While pineapple is typically thought of as healthy, it’s normal to be nervous about it enjoying the fruit while pregnant and wondering if prenatal pineapple eating might cause harm.
Despite some scary rumors, pineapple is perfectly safe to enjoy during pregnancy and is packed with beneficial fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The acidity may not sit well in every stomach though, so go easy on pineapple during pregnancy if you experience heartburn.
Pineapple sits at the center of many pregnancy myths. I tracked down the truth from everything from induction of labor, health benefits, and what your pineapple cravings mean.
Is Pineapple Safe For Pregnant Women?
For many expecting mothers, the main concern when it comes to eating pineapple is bromelain.
Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple that helps to digest certain proteins and is also used as a medicine to treat inflammation after some surgeries.
The bromelain works so well to break down proteins, that it’s even a common ingredient in meat tenderizers!
When bromelain is used as a medicine, it’s traditionally given as a tablet. Bromelain tablets are also found as an over-the-counter digestive aid.
While it does work well as a prescribed medicine, bromelain can also increase bleeds, including menstrual bleeding.
Just because bromelain is found in pineapple doesn’t mean you need to avoid pineapple during pregnancy, however.
The amount of bromelain in pineapple isn’t enough to lead to the same side effects as the highly concentrated bromelain tablets.
What’s more, most of the bromelain is found in the stem, or core, which is usually too tough to eat (source: AIP Conference Proceedings).
Fun fact: Bromelain is what gives a light tingly feeling on your tongue when you eat pineapple.
Pineapple is fairly acidic, so some mothers-to-be may experience heartburn or acid reflux, especially if sensitive to other acidic foods like tomatoes or oranges.
As with many acidic foods, if you’d like to enjoy pineapple for the first time since becoming pregnant, it’s always a good idea to start with a smaller amount and eat only as much as is comfortable for both you and baby.
What do Pineapples do to Pregnant Women?
Despite all of the old wives’ tales surrounding pineapple, there is very limited research on pineapple consumption during pregnancy.
The tropical fruit makes a great tasting snack or addition to your meal, but beyond being delicious, there are no special pineapple effects on pregnant women, no matter what you might have heard or read.
There are lots of frightening, persistent and above all, incorrect myths about pineapple during pregnancy.
Here’s a breakdown of the most common ones, and the science-backed evidence and answers to them, to help reassure you about all things pineapple:
Does Pineapple Induce Labor?
Well-meaning moms on parenting message boards often tout pineapple as the fix to jump-start contractions when their due-date has passed.
The reasoning behind this rumor is that the bromelain softens the cervix, readying the body for labor.
The limited research available doesn’t seem to agree, however.
A few studies show that putting pineapple juice or extract directly onto uterine tissue stimulates contraction (sources: Phytomedicine, Healthline), but actually eating or drinking pineapple doesn’t seem to have the same effect.
Since research testing on pregnant women is risky, scientists tested the pineapple theory on rats.
They fed the pregnant rats pineapple juice daily during late pregnancy, but didn’t see labor progress any faster (source: European Journal of Contraceptive and Reproductive Healthcare).
Overall, there’s no scientific evidence that eating pineapple past your due date is harmful, but it won’t help you meet baby any sooner.
Tip: Want to be better prepared for labor, from the comfort of your home? Check out the best online prenatal classes, all run by qualified professionals.
Can Pineapple Cause Miscarriage?
Similar to the myth that pineapple can induce labor by stimulating uterine contractions, you may have heard that pineapple can cause miscarriage for the same reasons.
Because eating pineapple or drinking pineapple juice doesn’t cause any significant increase in uterine activity, this means it also won’t cause miscarriage.
All the scientific evidence points towards pineapple being perfectly safe to eat while pregnant (source: International Journal of Bio-Science and Bio-Technology).
Is Pineapple Safe in Every Trimester?
Overall, pineapple is a fairly benign food, even while pregnant. The one concern when it comes to trimesters is heartburn.
As your baby grows, more space is taken up in your body, oftentimes pushing on various organs.
While this can be first and foremost, a bit uncomfortable, bigger babies nearer to their due date may also put pressure on the stomach and intestines.
This pressure can cause stomach acid to flow upwards into the esophagus causing heartburn (source: American Pregnancy Association).
So while pineapple is safe for mothers in all trimesters, those in their late second or third trimesters might have more acid reflux-related discomfort.
If this happens, try limiting pineapple eating to only a few pieces at a time.
What Are The Benefits of Pineapple During Pregnancy?
A little bit goes a long way with pineapple. One cup of the sweet fruit has over 130% of your daily need for vitamin C (source: Nutritionix).
Because vitamin C boosts the immune system, which is lowered during pregnancy, this can be especially helpful.
Pineapple’s effect on immune health isn’t limited to eating just the fresh fruit, either.
Canned/tinned pineapple has been shown to decrease the length of infections by increasing the body’s disease-fighting white blood cells (source: Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism).
Combining vitamin C with the small amount of bromelain in pineapple flesh makes pineapple loaded antioxidant power as well.
Because antioxidants can decrease inflammation, they may help to quell aches and pains from conditions like arthritis or strenuous exercise.
One major drawback often mentioned is sugars, especially for mothers who have diabetes or gestational diabetes.
Pineapple is very sweet-tasting, and this comes from naturally occurring carbohydrates, or sugar, in the fruit.
Pineapple is fairly carbohydrate-heavy, but because it’s a good source of fiber, eating pineapple won’t cause a large spike in blood sugar (source: Science and Technology of Food).
The fiber in pineapple slows down digestion, meaning the sugars from the fruit are released into the body at a slower rate which is beneficial to help control blood sugars (source: University of California San Francisco).
Carbohydrate is the body’s preferred energy source, so the sugars in pineapple should not keep you from enjoying the fruit.
Pineapple can definitely be a part of a healthy pregnancy diet. If you or your doctor are concerned about high blood sugars, it’s best to eat pineapple as part of a full meal to slow down digestion even more.
Why am I Craving Pineapple During My Pregnancy?
Pineapple has a very similar flavor profile to citrus fruits, like oranges and lemons.
Similarly to citrus, it’s a bit of a legend that cravings for pineapple can predict a baby’s gender- specifically, that craving these fruits means you’re having a girl! To read more about cravings, specifically for fruits, check out our article here.
Using cravings to predict a baby’s gender is exciting and fun, but unfortunately, this is a myth.
There isn’t any scientific evidence to suggest that craving pineapple means your baby is a girl.
Even though having a hankering for pineapple doesn’t mean anything when it comes to the gender of your baby, it’s a healthy fruit and perfectly safe to indulge your pineapple cravings.
In the end, these cravings may also help you meet the recommended 5 daily servings of fruits and veggies!
Types of Pineapple and Pregnancy Safety
With so many ways to eat pineapple, it can be confusing to know if the same advice applies to all the different types.
Here, I’ll break down the different ways to eat pineapple and how safe they are during pregnancy.
Raw / Uncooked or Unripe Pineapple
This is what you normally think of when hearing “pineapple” and is perfectly safe to eat when pregnant.
While unripe pineapple may not taste as great as ripe pineapple, there are no additional safety concerns here.
Canned / Tinned Pineapple
Found in canned/tinned foods, BPA is a chemical that is known to disrupt hormones, especially during pregnancy (source: Advances in Nutrition).
What does this mean? There is some evidence from animal studies to suggest that BPA exposure, especially during late pregnancy, can cause adverse effects including altered development of bran and reproductive organs in the fetus (source: ASPPH, Science Daily).
When possible, choose fresh pineapple over canned versions.
If fresh pineapple isn’t available or is too expensive, look for pineapple in BPA-free cans or other packaging.
Pineapple on a Pizza
Either love it or hate it, nothing may be more polarizing than pineapple on pizza, often called “Hawaiian pizza.”
Many pizza restaurants used canned pineapple for their pizzas, so those safety points apply here too.
Since canned pineapple doesn’t need to be cooked to be safely enjoyed, there is no minimum temperature needed.
However, if the pineapple comes into contact with meat toppings, such as canadian bacon or ham, then you’ll need to make sure the pizza is served with all toppings “steaming hot” at 165°F / 74C.
If you want to eat pizza during pregnancy, you’ll love our article on a complete guide to which pizza toppings are safe for pregnant women.
Pineapple Juice or in a Smoothie
Getting your daily 5 servings of fruits and veggies is important for pregnant mothers and juices and smoothies are easy ways to reach this goal.
As with other juices, choose pasteurized versions during pregnancy to protect against foodborne illness.
Additionally, juices are often missing the pulp, which contains the beneficial fiber I talked about earlier.
To get the most nutritional benefit from your pineapple, choose juices with pulp or blend chunked pineapple into a smoothie.
Overall, cravings for pineapple are as common as the pregnancy myths that surround this tropical fruit.
Pineapple isn’t shown to have any special effects on pregnant women and predicting the gender of your baby, to stimulating labor or miscarriage, the rumors around pineapple are simply myths.
Despite these myths, pineapple is perfectly safe to enjoy during pregnancy, so choose fresh pineapple to avoid BPA concerns and limit serving size if you experience pregnancy-related heartburn.
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