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Benefits of Pomegranates in Pregnancy

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Pomegranates are high in antioxidants, are good sources of vitamin B, C, calcium and phosphorus. Drinking pomegranate juice is known to prevent disease while giving the body healthy vitamins and nutrients. But can pomegranate help an expectant mother who is having a difficult labor in the delivery room? One day, it just might.

Research published in Reproductive Sciences reports that pomegranate seed extract may actually help to stimulate uterine contractions. This was concluded after studying the effects of pomegranate seed extract on the uterine tissue samples of animals.

Pomegranate seed contains a high amount of beta-sitosterol, a steroid found in many plant species. Scientists took pomegranate seed extract and added it to animal uterine tissue samples to see what effect it might have on the tissue. The result? The muscle cells of the uterine tissue samples increased their activity. This is probably from a rise in calcium levels, a necessary component in muscle contraction.

During labor, muscle contraction usually occurs due to nerve impulses, hormones and drug treatments such as oxytocin. When labor stalls, there is not much you can do to stimulate contractions other than to administer medication. And often, this leads to cesarean sections with added risk and recovery time.

Past research has shown that women who drink pomegranate juice during pregnancy could potentially reduce harmful brain injury to infants who are deprived of oxygen during birth. Furthermore, pomegranate juice might lessen negative effects from high altitude exposure during pregnancy. Of course it is important to talk to your physician about diet during pregnancy, including pomegranate juice intake.

Scientists feel the next step is to find out how beta-sitosterol can be used to increase calcium and therefore help women with stalled labors. What they do know is that potent pomegranate seed extract can indeed stimulate animal uterine muscle contractions. Perhaps with further research, pomegranate seed extract will become a common tool used in progressing stalled labor.

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