Anyone who knows me well is all too familiar with my general coconut obsession. In fact, there are three young Thai coconuts sitting on my counter as I write this article. I realize that coconut oil is not all that alternative these days as every major grocery chain carries a variety of options, but there are still plenty of people who don’t understand the life-changing qualities of this edible oil.

Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel (meat) of matured coconuts, which is harvested from the coconut palm. In the past, coconut oil has been demonized because it contains saturated fat. It is one of the richest sources of saturated fat with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated. However, new data is showing that saturated fats are harmless and that the whole “artery-clogging” idea was a myth.

It also may be helpful to know that coconut oil doesn’t contain your average run-of-the-mill saturated fats like you would find in cheese or steak. They contain Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length. Most of the fatty acids in the diet are long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently. They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are either used as a quick-source energy or they turn into ketone bodies, which boosts brain power and development.

Ready to make a grocery run for this super food? Be sure to pick up organic, virgin coconut oil – stay away from the refined options. Read on for the top 14 prenatal and postnatal uses for coconut oil.

1. Add several tablespoons to bathwater for added moisture to your skin. A few drops of essential oils will also make the bathwater more soothing.

2. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a powerful anti-microbial fatty acid that protects the immune system of the fetus and newborn. Expectant mothers can ingest 2-3 tablespoons a day to boost their immune function. Mix it into a smoothie, your favorite herbal tea or in a warm breakfast porridge.

3. Rub the oil onto your skin to prevent stretch marks and itchy skin that seems to grow with your belly.

4. Take a spoonful to help with heartburn, acid reflux or indigestion.

5. Virgin coconut oil balances blood sugar, controls diabetes and helps combat morning sickness.

6. During those first few newborn diaper changes, coconut oil will help remove the sticky meconium from your little one’s tush.

7. Breastfeeding mamas can use it on their nipples when they become cracked or painful.

8. Eating a few tablespoons of coconut oil each day can increase your milk flow.

9. Coconut oil is the perfect way to remove your baby’s stubborn cradle cap.

10. Use coconut oil to battle your baby’s diaper rash (it is especially good for a yeast infection rash).

11. Need a pick me up after the hard work of taking care of your munchkin? Eat a spoonful for a boost of natural energy.

12. Coconut oil taken both internally and topically can help treat the yeast that causes both thrush and candida. A little oil dabbed inside your baby’s mouth, as well as mom eating it and applying it to her nipples before breastfeeding is very effective.

13. If you or your little one has eczema, rub coconut oil on your skin to soothe it.

14. Coconut oil makes a great hair conditioner that can tame that weird dry/falling out stage your hair goes through after pregnancy.

What about you? How do you like to use coconut oil? Cheers to a healthy and comfortable pregnancy with coconut oil!

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