In moderation, lemon is good for pregnancy effects such as nausea. Lemon consumption has several benefits for pregnant women, but there are also some risks to be aware of.
During pregnancy, many women experience effects such as nausea. With concerns about the risks of taking medication, some women prefer to use herbal or natural remedies instead.
People commonly use lemon to help soothe nausea, but the citrus fruit may also have other benefits. Consuming too much fresh lemon may pose some risks, however.
This article explores the benefits and risks of consuming lemon during pregnancy.
Lemon has numerous qualities that make it good for pregnancy effects. The sections below discuss these in more detail.
Many pregnant women turn to herbal remedies for controlling nausea, as concerns regarding the safety of medications is increasing.
Lemon essential oil is a popular herbal remedy for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and tends to be safe. People should not ingest essential oils, however. They should inhale them during aromatherapy.
Taking lemon or lemon juice orally can help. Some studies have shown that lemon is more effective than a placebo for relieving nausea and vomiting during pregnancy when a woman takes it orally.
There are some reports of side effects with lemon and other herbal medicines, such as ginger, black seed, prune, and mustard oil. However, there are no known complications from using lemon during pregnancy.
A study from 2014 reports that lemon inhalation therapy could help reduce nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. The researchers recruited 100 pregnant women, at 6–16 weeks gestation, with mild-to-moderate nausea with or without vomiting.
The women inhaled either lemon essential oil or a placebo. The researchers instructed the participants to inhale lemon oil at the onset of nausea. The investigators noted nausea, vomiting, and retch intensity in the 24 hours before inhalation and during the 4 days after aromatherapy.
They noted statistically significant differences in the effectiveness of lemon essential oil compared with a placebo on the second and fourth days following treatment. They conclude that lemon scent can be effective in controlling nausea and vomiting throughout pregnancy.
However, there are several limitations of this study. These include the possibility of the lemon scent being unpleasant for some women and the fact that the researchers could not control for the possible psychological effects that cause nausea during pregnancy.
Doctors typically recommend that pregnant and breastfeeding women increase their daily intake by 300 calories during the second trimester. Doctors also recommend an extra 300 milliliters of fluid, or just over a cup, per day.
If a person likes the flavor of lemon drinks, it can provide motivation to drink more and stay hydrated.
Lemon contains folate. One average sized lemon is low in calories and contains around 6.38 micrograms (mcg) of folate. During pregnancy, women require more folate because it is an essential nutrient for neural development in the growing fetus.
The Food and Nutrition Board recommend that pregnant women obtain 600 mcg of folate from food and supplements. Most women in the United States need to take this as a supplement during pregnancy.
Women should not rely solely on lemons for folate, since its content is not high enough, and most may not enjoy eating raw lemons. Some other sources of folate include:
- breakfast cereals
- wheat germ
- white bread
Since January 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have required the manufacturers of enriched bread, flour, cereals, pasta, rice, and other grains to fortify their products with 140 mcg of folate.
Alongside other foods rich in folate, lemon can help pregnant women meet their daily folate requirements.
Although lemon consumption is generally safe during pregnancy, there are some risks linked with excessive consumption. The sections below outline these in more detail.
In one case study, dentists reported severe erosion of the enamel in a 30-year-old woman. She reported drinking lemon juice and water several times per day, usually following meals.
Dentists suggest that the loss of dentin may occur as a result of chemical trauma from the high citric acid, alterations in the acidity of saliva, and excessive use of whitening agents.
Of the most popular citrus fruits, lemon and lime juice have more citric acid than grapefruit and orange juice. Although these juices provide plenty of healthful nutrients, pregnant women should consume them in moderation to protect their teeth.
Sugar content in lemonade
Some people may not enjoy fresh lemon juice and instead prefer lemonade. Lemonade contains sugar to improve its flavor. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that people keep their intake of sugar to less than 10% of their total daily calories.
To promote a healthy pregnancy, doctors recommend a healthful diet and lifestyle. The United States Department of Agriculture have a website to help pregnant women learn how to make healthful food choices.
- eating smaller and more frequent meals
- not lying down right after eating
- avoiding foods that aggravate heartburn symptoms
Lemons contain high levels of citric acid, which may exacerbate heartburn symptoms in some pregnant women. Each person may notice that different foods can trigger heartburn. These foods may or may not contain higher levels of acid.
People should not automatically assume that highly acidic foods will worsen their symptoms. Instead, doctors recommend that people take note of which foods aggravate their symptoms and avoid them to prevent discomfort.
People can consume lemon in many different ways.
Although some people eat raw lemons or add them to drinks, others may mix freshly squeezed lemon juice with water and drink it warm. Some people drink fresh lemon juice. Lemonade also contains lemons but may also contain a high amount of sugar.
Some people have also used lemon essential oil for inhalation in aromatherapy.
Lemon consumption can help relieve nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and is generally a safe option. However, women planning to treat pregnancy effects with lemon should speak to their healthcare provider first.
People can consume lemon in the forms of tea, water and lemon mixtures, and fresh lemon juice. Not everyone enjoys the highly acidic taste of lemonade, so they may add sugar and calories to improve its taste.
It is important to consider which is the more healthful option to add to a pregnancy diet.
Although lemons are safe to consume during pregnancy, excessive consumption may come with some risks. For example, the high acidity can damage the teeth and aggravate heartburn. Pregnant women should therefore consume lemons in moderation.