Apple Cider Vinegar During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?
- What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
- Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe to Consume During Pregnancy?
- Benefits of Consuming Apple Cider Vinegar During Pregnancy
- What Quantity of Apple Cider Vinegar Is Good During Pregnancy?
- Unpasteurised or Pasteurised Vinegar?
- Possible Risks of Apple Cider Vinegar
- Tips and Precautions for Pregnant Women
- When to Consult Your Doctor
- How to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
Pregnancy is a time when extra care and precaution must be exercised. A woman’s health goes through various changes like hormonal imbalance and weakening of the immune system. During this period, it is vital that she takes care of herself. If you are pregnant, too, you would have come across several tricks or remedies to get through the term. One such remedy is to consume apple cider vinegar. But, is it safe during pregnancy? Let’s find out!
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar (AVC) is one of the most common types of vinegar available. It is made from cider, a type of concentrated apple that has been left to ferment over a period of time. The cider first ferments to alcohol before finally transforming into acetic acid. It is safer to consume pasteurised vinegar, as it is free of harmful bacteria that can cause E. coli in pregnancy.
This versatile ingredient can be used in salads, sandwiches, etc. However, it is most beneficial to drink a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar every day in a glass full of warm/lukewarm water. Remember that unfiltered, unpasteurised apple cider vinegar is extremely potent and can burn your oesophagus if consumed raw.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe to Consume During Pregnancy?
Although there hasn’t been any study to prove apple cider vinegar is harmful to consume during pregnancy, you must practise caution and check with your doctor before making it a part of your diet. Usually, drinking apple cider vinegar is safe, as long as it is pasteurised and diluted.
Consumption of raw apple cider vinegar during pregnancy is not recommended due to its potency, its potentially harmful bacterial content, and a weakened state of the immune system during pregnancy. Therefore, pregnant women must be cautious as a foetus has requirements different from that of a fully developed baby.
Another consideration is the antibodies that support the immune system are overworked during pregnancy and could fail to combat the adverse effects of this kind of bacteria. It is, therefore, best to consult a doctor and seek appropriate medical guidance before consuming apple cider vinegar.
Once the doctor has given the go-ahead and decided upon a quantity of apple cider vinegar, you can include in your diet, you are bound to reap some of the benefits given below.
Benefits of Consuming Apple Cider Vinegar During Pregnancy
Consuming apple cider vinegar is not always recommended during pregnancy. It is strictly advisable that pregnant women consult their doctor before adding any dose of apple cider vinegar into their diet to gain some health benefits, such as the ones given below. Please bear in mind that there are hardly any studies to prove the benefits of consuming apple cider vinegar during pregnancy. Therefore, we urge readers to seek guidance and inputs from their medical practitioners.
- Preventing Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) – Apple cider vinegar is known to have enzymes and minerals to help with the prevention and treatment of UTIs. It is recommended to dilute apple cider vinegar (ACV); the ideal ratio would be 1 teaspoon of ACV in 1 glass of water. It is advised that you check with your medical practitioner for the quantity and frequency of having ACV. Having said that, you must also bear in mind that its effectiveness to prevent UTI stands unproven due to the lack of adequate studies.
- Regulates Heartburn – Pregnant women are commonly afflicted by heartburn around the 12th week of pregnancy. Apple cider vinegar is often considered as one of the quickest acting natural remedies for heartburn; however, its effectiveness to regular heartburn during pregnancy has not yet been established.
- Controls Blood Sugar – The enzymes in ACV are believed to help control blood sugar levels. Again, there is no medical study that proves that pregnant women who have blood sugar issues could control their blood sugar levels by consuming ACV.
- Moderates Blood Pressure – ACV has minerals that are believed to work in cohesion with the enzymes that help control blood sugar to help moderate spikes and drops in blood pressure. This again has no studies to help establish its credibility. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that ACV could provide relief from any blood pressure issues that are common during the second and third trimester of pregnancy.
- Helps Combat Cold – Cold and blocked nose are very common during pregnancy. ACV mixed with warm water could help clear the nostrils, prevent sinus infections and combat viruses like the common cold, but none of it has been proven yet. You must check with your doctor for more guidance on this.
- Streamlines Blood Circulation – ACV is known to regulate the circulation of blood, and help one remain active and energised. It may seem like one of the best remedies to deal with the feeling of heaviness and lethargy, especially during the second and third trimester, but there isn’t enough research to confirm its usefulness for pregnant women.
- Reduces Swelling & Bloating – ACV is known to have anti-inflammatory and digestive properties that could help prevent, manage, and relieve bloating and help reduce swellings as well, but not much has been proven when it comes to pregnant women. If swelling and bloating have been serious issues for you, you must consult your medical practitioner.
- Combats Acne – Another common problem during pregnancy is an acne breakout, especially if you had acne before. ACV is believed to help keep the skin healthy and combat acne, none of which is medically proven. Also, remember that the acids in AVC can cause burns and leave scars on the skin. Therefore, it is best to consult a dermatologist who can work along with your OB/GYN to prescribe appropriate treatment for severe acne.
Apple cider vinegar may have been known to combat a lot of conditions, but due to the absence of adequate research and studies, we strictly recommend that you consult your medical practitioner before including it in your pregnancy diet.
What Quantity of Apple Cider Vinegar Is Good During Pregnancy?
If your medical practitioner has approved and prescribed apple cider vinegar, you must also check with him/her for the quantity. This is because the concentration and quantity of apple cider vinegar might differ than the regular quantity during pregnancy.
Unpasteurised or Pasteurised Vinegar?
A general rule of thumb would be to go with pasteurised consumables during pregnancy, as they eliminate potentially harmful bacteria. However, even before consuming pasteurised vinegar, you must consult your medical practitioner to know about any possible risks it may cause for you and your baby’s health.
Possible Risks of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar may not have any disadvantages otherwise, but there are no studies that prove the level of risks it may pose for pregnant women and their babies growing inside them.
Having said that, drinking undiluted apple cider vinegar can be harmful to various parts of the digestive system, as it contains acetic acid, which can burn through the oesophagus. Apple cider vinegar can also erode teeth if consumed raw, due to the same acidic properties.
Apple cider vinegar could also interact badly with drugs like insulin as well as some diuretics. Therefore, seek advice from your primary healthcare physician to see if the drugs you are on can react adversely when combined with apple cider vinegar.
Tips and Precautions for Pregnant Women
Here are some tips to remember before you make a decision to consume apple cider vinegar during pregnancy.
- Take precautions when consuming apple cider vinegar capsules or supplements. Run them by your doctor first.
- Moderate the dosage of consumption of ACV based on an in-depth discussion with your physician.
- Don’t combine ACV with other vinegar when consuming. It can increase the acidic potency.
- Do not use ACV as a substitute for medication unless your physician says otherwise.
- Take precautions when trying to consume ACV mocktails.
- To maximise the benefits, buy organic ACV.
- Do not consume plain ACV as it can erode your tooth enamel and oesophagus. Dilute it in water or any other liquid (non-vinegar/non-acidic) and drink it.
- Immediately rinse your mouth with water after consuming apple cider vinegar to protect your enamel from harm.
- Do not consume apple cider vinegar if you are suffering from stomach problems (unless advised by your doctor).
- Avoid consuming ACV 30 minutes before or after drinking coffee or tea.
When to Consult Your Doctor
Consult your doctor if you notice any of these signs after consuming ACV:
- Red, hot, and itchy rashes on your face
- Acidity, indigestion or any stomach related problem
- Nausea and vomiting
How to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
- Dilute one teaspoon of ACV in a glass of filtered water or coconut water and add two spoons of honey. Mix and drink.
- Dilute one teaspoon of ACV in a glass of fruit juice (low-acid) and drink. Add a spoon of honey, if required.
Apple Cider vinegar is beneficial for your body; however, its consumption during pregnancy might vary on a case-to-case basis. It may have multiple health benefits, but it could potentially cause other health issues during pregnancy. Therefore, expectant mothers must speak to their medical practitioners before making a decision.
References & Resources: Healthline