How To Partake In Pumpkin Spice Season While Pregnant
It’s pumpkin spice season, and for many of us that means it’s the time to enjoy our favorite annual treats. Possibly the most infamous is the PSL: Pumpkin Spice Latte. It’s been debated whether pregnant women can safely consume a PSL or other similar indulgences and the good news is that studies show it’s ultimately fine. But there are ways to be safe about it and consider the health of you and your baby. The season of all things pumpkin can actually be good for pregnancy, as long as expecting women are aware of a few things.
Consume Caffeine Carefully
One of the most notorious fall-flavored treats is the PSL or other coffee drinks that have pumpkin flavoring. Caffeine isn’t necessarily off-limits for pregnant women, but it should be monitored closely because it’s a stimulant that’s been connected to health issues. Experts suggest that at least cutting back on caffeine intake is helpful if it isn’t possible to refrain completely. As far as how much is safe to consume:
According to a study released by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, pregnant women who consume 200mg or more caffeine daily have an increased chance to have a miscarriage than those who do not consume caffeine. Moreover, numerous studies on animals have shown that excessive amounts of caffeine could be related to premature labor, preterm delivery, low birth weight, or other concerns.
Starbucks has referenced that the Grande size PSL contained 150 milligrams of caffeine, which is technically within a safe range, should you choose to consume caffeine at all. It’s also possible to order one with decaf espresso, which brings the caffeine total down to about 16 milligrams. In summary, the caffeine in a PSL or other pumpkin-flavored coffee should be taken seriously.
Opt For Natural Pumpkin
Not everything that tastes like pumpkin spice is in caffeinated beverages. There are a variety of treats that have become synonymous with the fall season–think pumpkin pie, bread, cookies, pancakes, smoothies, muffins, cereals, protein powders, and granola bars. There’s not much that can’t or isn’t turned into a pumpkin spice-flavored version in autumn. While each item should be reviewed on its own, pumpkin itself is actually good for pregnant women. It’s a vegetable that has been encouraged over the years due to its health benefits.
Studies have shown that consuming it in moderation can help:
- Increase protein and fiber intake
- Maintain blood sugar levels
- Ease cramps or pains
- Prevent issues like eczema or diarrhea
- Incorporate essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants into your diet
As a member of the squash family, pumpkins are naturally loaded with health benefits when consumed in their most raw form. You can enjoy it by adding canned pumpkin to a smoothie or using it to bake homemade goodies.
Check Ingredients Thoroughly
While pumpkin can be beneficial, the added ingredients in other pumpkin-flavored treats are not. Artificial and added ingredients can be found in many of these popular items, with labels that list their contents generically as “natural and artificial flavors.” Pregnancy is a time when you want to be the most vigilant about what you consume. BabyMed.com says of pumpkin spice:
“Pumpkin spice” is a flavor that is composed of many different elements and chemicals. In fact, it can be composed of more than 300 elements. And none of these chemicals are made directly from a pumpkin.
An easy alternative is to opt for homemade pumpkin spice, which simply consists of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg. Another thing to be mindful of is sugar, which can have adverse effects on your health. A small pumpkin spice latte may contain anywhere from 33 to 39 grams of added sugar. It’s generally recommended to be mindful of sugar consumption during pregnancy, especially if you have or are at risk of gestational diabetes. Other dessert-like items would require the same attention to their sugar contents.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy the flavors of fall without compromising your health. Everything in moderation is usually a key piece of advice, especially when you’re pregnant. If you’re in need of a pumpkin spice fix, seek out healthier alternatives that are low in sugar and artificial ingredients, or simply make them at home using canned pumpkin and real pumpkin seeds. Whole foods are always the best choice when it comes to making healthy choices and pumpkin season is no different. Enjoy!