Pregnancy is a time in which you have to watch what you consume, as there are many foods and drinks that were okay to consume before pregnancy but can harm a pregnant woman and/or fetus. One of the substances that can be confusing for pregnant women is apple cider vinegar while pregnant.
Apple cider vinegar provides many health benefits to people, and many pregnant women hear that if you drink cider vinegar while pregnant, you’ll reap even more benefits. While this is true to an extent, consuming apple cider vinegar needs to be done correctly, if at all.
There are two types of apple cider vinegar. One is reasonably safe to consume while pregnant, and the other is not. Before you decide to drink apple cider vinegar in any capacity, it’s essential to understand its safe practices. Drinking apple cider vinegar without proper knowledge of what’s safe and what risks come with it could harm you or your unborn baby.
Is apple cider vinegar safe during pregnancy?
There are no actual studies that have concluded that drinking apple cider is safe or unsafe for pregnant women. So before you decide to cure your heartburn or morning sickness with it, you need to decide for yourself if it’s worth the risk.
Speaking with your obstetrician about consuming apple cider vinegar will help you decide if your unique situation calls for the consumption of this liquid and if your OB thinks it’s safe.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made from apple juice. Not the bottled drink that kids love (adults, too!), but the actual juice of apples. This apple juice is then fermented and turns into alcohol in the process. As it ferments further, it turns to acetic acid. The acetic acid is apple cider vinegar.
Types of apple cider vinegar
There’s nothing simple about pregnancy, so it should come as no surprise that there’s no straightforward answer when it comes to figuring out whether you can consume apple cider vinegar while you are pregnant. This is because there are many different types of apple cider vinegar, and there are also many ways you can ingest it.
The following are some of the types of apple cider vinegar.
Raw apple cider vinegar
Raw apple cider vinegar is apple cider vinegar (ACV) before anything has happened to it. It hasn’t been filtered, hasn’t had any chemicals added to it, and hasn’t been pasteurized. There has been no processing at all. Unfiltered apple cider vinegar is safe for consumption in some forms.
Pasteurized apple cider vinegar
Considered the safest form of apple cider vinegar, this pasteurized apple cider vinegar has undergone filtering and processing. It is not cloudy in look, and it is free of many of the bacteria that can grow in it and create foodborne illnesses.
Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar during pregnancy is not safe for consumption. This is because unpasteurized apple cider vinegar can contain bacteria that take away the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. Also, unpasteurized ACV contains potentially harmful bacteria that can make pregnant women very ill and also harm the baby.
Benefits of taking apple cider vinegar while pregnant
There are many benefits you could reap if you decide to consume ACV. Just make sure that you’re being safe and that, unless specifically stated, you only consume pasteurized apple cider vinegar.
Also, when drinking apple cider vinegar, be sure to do so in moderation and only when diluted. Acetic acid, which is what apple vinegar actually is, is very acidic and can burn the lining of your esophagus and stomach lining.
The following are some of the health benefits associated with consuming pasteurized ACV.
Urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections are painful. They are also common during pregnancy. While there is no proof that consuming acetic acid in the form of pasteurized vinegar can help to stop or prevent a UTI, many women swear by it.
There are studies and some proof that rice vinegar can help treat and prevent UTIs and combats yeast infections; it simply isn’t the same as apple cider vinegar.
The first symptom of a urinary tract infection is typically cloudy urine. If you would like to try apple cider vinegar during pregnancy, the way to do it is very simple. Simply dilute one to two tablespoons of pasteurized vinegar into a glass of water, stir, and drink. You can do this up to two times per day. Beware, however, that it tastes bitter.
The first trimester can be a doozy as far as morning sickness goes. You’re nauseous, have trouble keeping food down, and feel exhausted over it. Apple cider vinegar can help pregnant women with that.
Apple cider vinegar, on a pH scale, is neutral. Therefore, it works to calm down the stomach of pregnant women and can provide immense relief. Mixing two tablespoons in a cup of water that is warm water is all you need to do. Drink this in the morning, and you’ll soon experience relief.
Maintaining stable blood pressure can be difficult during pregnancy. Many women experience fluctuations during pregnancy of blood pressure, which can pose a risk to both mom and baby.
For best results, add three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to either water or any other drink, and drink this every day for a week. Avoid mixing it with any sugary beverage. If mixing it with fruit juice, try to use sugar-free fruit juice.
Cold or cold symptoms
Pregnant women can’t have many over-the-counter medications to help with the symptoms of things like colds and other “bugs.” You can begin using apple cider vinegar at the onset of cold symptoms, such as sore throat symptoms, aches, congestion, etc.
Mix ACV (1 tbsp) in a glass of warm water, and drink it twice daily. You can also use it in a vaporizer to help clear your sinuses and get relief at night so you can sleep.
Most women experience circulation issues during pregnancy, especially during the second and third trimesters. This results in swelling and a feeling of discomfort. Acetic acids like apple cider vinegar are helpful and streamline blood circulation.
ACV mixed with any moisturizing lotion will help you control the swelling and blood circulation issues.
You can also mix ACV (1/2 cup) with aloe vera gel and a half carrot for a homemade cream that is very effective.
Low potassium levels cause many pregnant women issues with leg cramps, especially at night. ACV helps relieve leg cramps because there is a lot of potassium in it.
One of the fastest home remedies for getting rid of heartburn or indigestion, you can drink ACV to help calm your digestive system and reduce stomach pain. While there has been no proof of this in the scientific community, many women swear by it to treat their acid reflux.
Never try to diet while pregnant unless you are doing so under direct professional medical advice. However, after you have your baby, ingesting ACV supplements or drinking them mixed in juice or water can help you to feel full faster, which can lead to weight loss.
Risks of apple cider vinegar
Like so many natural remedies or “folk remedies” aimed to fix health issues, there are risks associated with it. The following are some of the risks that you assume when including this hot wellness trend in your daily routine while pregnant.
Moderation is key
If you ingest ACV directly, you assume the risk of overdoing it. This can come with tremendous risk. If you are pregnant, ingesting too much acetic acid can cause you to become sick and increases your risk of miscarriage or stillbirth.
ACV lowers the risk of heartburn for some women but can irritate the stomach and throat, and others, especially when too much is ingested.
Avoid unpasteurized ACV
Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, like any unpasteurized food, can present a risk of harmful bacteria that can lead to illness and even loss of pregnancy. Never ingest unpasteurized apple cider vinegar directly.
Damage to tooth enamel
Any time you have apple cider vinegar in your mouth, you may end up with tooth problems if you don’t rinse or brush your teeth immediately after. When you begin taking ACV as a remedy, and if you are using it regularly, the acid can sit on your teeth and eat away at the enamel. Due to things like a somewhat depleted immune system when pregnant, the teeth are a fragile part of a pregnant woman’s body, to begin with.
Many women have tooth issues during and immediately following pregnancy.
How to make ACV taste better
Half of the ACV fight is the taste of it. It’s vinegar made from crushed apples; therefore, it’s very bitter. However, there are some things that you can do to reduce this bitter taste. The following are some such examples:
- Add raw honey to the mix of water and ACV
- Mix with a sweet juice, such as grape juice
- Mix with a half teaspoon Stevia
Apple cider vinegar can offer many benefits that many women, especially those who are pregnant, swear by.
You should never ingest any unpasteurized ACV, nor should you use any substances to treat health or beauty issues without speaking to your doctor first.
However, the use of apple cider vinegar, with your physician’s approval, has been claimed to help regulate and lower blood sugar levels. It also helps maintain blood pressure, alleviates cramping in the legs, aids in weight loss, relieves the symptoms of indigestion, and so much more.
There are also risks that are associated with the direct consumption of apple cider vinegar, so you should always be cautious when using it. Ingesting in moderation, only consuming pasteurized ACV, and rinsing and brushing your teeth after use are all things you can do to help eliminate risk to yourself and your baby.