Apple Cider Vinegar While Pregnant: Is It Good Or Bad For You?

It seems that wherever we turn our heads today, we’re bombarded with information about the benefits that apple cider vinegar has to offer. We often hear about this ingredient being associated with weight loss benefits, health benefits, skin improvements when applied topically, and – the topic of this article – benefits for pregnant mothers-to-be.

While you would gladly experiment around with ACV in normal circumstances to see for yourself whether these benefits are true or it’s all hype at the end of the day, you’re likely unwilling to experiment with it now that you’re expecting – at least not until you’re absolutely sure that neither your health nor that of your baby will be affected.

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Before we get into all the details about taking apple cider vinegar while pregnant, let’s first do a quick rundown on what apple cider vinegar is exactly.

Apple cider vinegar, also commonly referred to as cider vinegar or ACV, is a product that comes as a result of crushing apples and then leaving them to ferment.

These crushed apples first ferment into alcohol, and later on ferment into acetic acid.

Is It Safe To Have Apple Cider Vinegar During Pregnancy?

The short answer to this question is YES and NO. How? Well, pasteurized apple cider vinegar is safe for women to drink during pregnancy, while unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is not safe for women to consume during pregnancy1.

Studies have found that pasteurized apple cider vinegar does not contain any harmful bacteria that may put either the mother’s health or that of the fetus at risk, due to the extensive processing it goes through to have all sediments and bacteria removed from it.

Note from Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN: “Pasteurization is a process of slightly heating a liquid (like ACV and milk) in order to kill harmful bacteria.

The slight increase in heat does not change the characteristics of the liquid—it just makes the bacteria die off so the product is safer.

Lots of non-liquids can also be pasteurized, such as eggs.”

For example, one of the most dangerous bacteria that’s often removed from apple cider vinegar during the pasteurization process is E.Coli.

However, the same is not true for unpasteurized apple cider vinegar that does not go through the same filtration process.

Even though you can easily get your hands on a bottle of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar by visiting a health store near you, this isn’t the best of ideas.

The consumption of unpasteurized ACV during pregnancy is often linked to cases of stillbirth, miscarriage, health problems in the pregnant mother, birth defects, and health problems in the baby after birth.

Note: During pregnancy, you’re best off staying away from anything that’s unpasteurized, and not just unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. Your immune system is already running low during pregnancy, so any bacteria that makes its way into your body from an unpasteurized source may make you very ill.

With that being said, pasteurized apple cider vinegar is not always necessarily safe for all pregnant mothers-to-be. You should always double check with your doctor first, especially if you’re already taking medication for a health problem you’re trying to get over.

Apple cider vinegar is known to cause conflicts and compilations when taken with certain medication, so always get the “green light” from your doctor first.

Even if no serious complications are caused because of this, apple cider vinegar is known to lower potassium levels in the body2, which may affect how efficiently your body absorbs the medication you’re taking.

You should also obviously stay away from any kind of apple cider vinegar if you’re allergic to it or have any kind of stomach problems that this ingredient would aggravate.

If at any point in time when taking ACV during your pregnancy you feel any sort of discomfort or anything unusual going on in your body, talk to your doctor about it as soon as possible.

How Can I Take Apple Cider Vinegar During Pregnancy?

It should be made clear right from the get-go that you should never drink apple cider vinegar in its rawest form and on its own no matter what – and the following is a list of some of the most important reasons why.

1) Dental Problems: Because of the highly acidic nature of raw apple cider vinegar, drinking it on its own can cause all sorts of dental problems, most serious of which is gradually wearing down your tooth enamel.

2) Irritation: Also due to its highly acidic nature, drinking apple cider vinegar on its own in its rawest form will likely lead to irritations in both your stomach and throat.

So, how can you drink apple cider vinegar while pregnant?

1) Mix With Water: The most popular method preferred by most moms-to-be is mixing apple cider vinegar with water and drinking it that way. One quick word of caution before you do this, though – it will taste bitter. That’s possibly the only drawback to drinking apple cider vinegar with water.

2) Drink With Straw: When mixing apple cider vinegar with water and drinking it that way, it would also be best if you drink it with a straw. By having the liquid pass through a straw, you’ll be minimizing contact between the vinegar and your teeth, which decreases the chances of dental problems from happening.

3) Rinse: Just to make sure your teeth are as protected as possible from any harm, rinse your mouth after drinking any liquid that contains apple cider vinegar.

How Much Can I Have?

Just because pasteurized apple cider vinegar has been proven to be beneficial to pregnant mothers-to-be, this does not mean that you should be taking this stuff on the hour.

Remember that too much of a good thing will easily turn into a bad thing that puts your health and well being at risk.

A Quick Note About Buying The Real Stuff

You should be extra sure that the apple cider vinegar you’re taking during pregnancy is the real, high quality stuff.

Read the ingredients list first and make sure you see both “crushed apples” and “cider” on there.

Are There Any Benefits To Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar During Pregnancy?

Many of the benefits associated with the consumption of apple cider vinegar that get touted around nowadays are rather myths that don’t have any scientific backing to them, especially when it comes to some of the more outrageous claims that people tend to believe.

When taken in calculated amounts and as part of an overall healthy diet, though, apple cider vinegar can indeed offer the following benefits to pregnant women. While reading this list, you’ll notice that some of these benefits apply to all women in general and not just expecting mothers.

A quick note should be made for transparency purposes though, that some experts believe that the process of pasteurizing apple cider vinegar also takes away much of the health benefits it has to offer.

These experts claim that most of these health benefits exist thanks to “the mother” (which is basically a colony of enzymes, proteins and bacteria) – so when “the mother” is taken out during the pasteurizing process, these health benefits are wildly reduced.

1) Morning Sickness

If there’s anything that’s effective in the fight against morning sickness, especially during your first trimester, it’s apple cider vinegar3.

ACH can help regulate stomach acids responsible for the feeling of nausea because it has neutral pH levels itself.

A good general dosage to follow in your fight against morning sickness is mixing two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with one cup of water, and drinking it early morning.

2) Losing Weight

If you’ve ever tried your way with a weight loss plan before, you’ve probably been advised to drink apple cider vinegar during your diet.

And truth be told, it works.

Drinking a little bit of apple cider vinegar in between meals helps make you feel satiated, which in turn helps you maintain a larger caloric deficit and lose weight as a result.

There’s no magic correlation between drinking apple cider vinegar and losing weight, it’s just that it keeps you feeling full throughout the day and eating less as a result.

While it may be very smart for you to take advantage of apple cider vinegar’s weight loss benefits in normal circumstances, that’s not the case during pregnancy – quite simply because these 9 months are not the right time for you to be losing weight!

Pregnancy is a time you should be eating for two, both you and your baby, not a time to be restricting calories.

3) Improved Digestion

A calculated amount of apple cider vinegar a day will greatly help with your digestion, something many mothers-to-be will appreciate because of how often they tend to experience irregularity and constipation during pregnancy.

Sometimes harmful bacteria lurk around in our stomachs and cause digestive problems, but ACV contains antibiotic properties known to fight these harmful bacteria in favor of the good bacteria that helps aid digestion4.

4) Diabetes

Apple cider vinegar is excellent for individuals who suffer from diabetes because of its abilities to regulate blood sugar levels.

Note from Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN: “If you’re a diabetic, though, you should know that ACV can lower blood sugar values so watch you sugars when taking it5.”

This is often credited to the acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar.

You should always consult with your doctor first before taking ACV for anything diabetes related, though, especially if you’re taking any medication for it.

5) Cold & Sore Throat

Being down with a cold and/or having a sore throat are common occurrences during pregnancy, and apple cider vinegar can help with both cases because of the antibacterial properties it has.

This way, you’ll be keeping things as natural as possible and will be staying away from medication, if that’s your preference of course.

6) Indigestion

Many women tend to experience indigestion (a.k.a heartburn) at different times throughout their pregnancy, with the most common time being during the second trimester.

During this time, your baby is rapidly growing and exerting continued pressure on your digestive tract, which leads to the contents in your stomach moving back towards your esophagus and leading to esophageal irritation and heartburn.

While you could talk to your doctor about that and they could prescribe antacid medications to help you feel better, many women prefer trying natural remedies first.

Try mixing one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with one glass of water a day and see if that helps.

7) Skin Problems

Mother-to-be or not, diluted apple cider vinegar applied topically may help with a whole host of skin problems thanks to antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties it contains.

These conditions include (but are not limited to) warts, acne and eczema.

Mothers-to-be tend to experience all sorts of hormonal changes throughout their pregnancy, so these skin conditions are definitely expected.

ACV is also able to treat these conditions by re balancing your skin’s pH levels.

8) Yeast Infections

Topical application of apple cider vinegar also helps treat yeast infections such as candida infections.

By diluting ACV and topically applying it on the infected area on your skin, there’s a good chance that the infection will die down and its symptoms will be reduced.

This will, of course, depend on the severity of your yeast infection and what stage it’s currently at.

9) Urinary Tract Infections

Because of all the changes your urinary tract goes through during pregnancy, you’re more likely to experience urinary tract infections throughout this period.

If you notice cloudy urine on a frequent basis, that’s one of the most telling signs that you’ve got a UTI.

Note from Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN: “Not every pregnant woman gets the telltale burning you might see with a UTI, so cloudy urine might be your only sign you have one6.”

Consumption of apple cider vinegar can slow down a urinary tract infection’s growth and advance because of the enzymes and useful minerals it contains that fight UTI-related bacteria.

Experts recommend that you mix two teaspoons of ACV in one full glass of water, two times a day, to help in treating your UTI.

10) Improved Sleep

Apple cider vinegar may help you sleep better during pregnancy.

This is especially true for mothers-to-be that experience excessive buildup of secretions and mucus in their nasal passages that make it hard for them to breath through their nose, which in turn causes a decreased quality of sleep.

Apple cider vinegar is rich in anti inflammatory properties that work on thinning the mucus and reducing sinus swelling.

11) Regulated Blood Pressure

It goes without saying that you should be extra careful about your blood pressure levels during pregnancy, both for your own sake and that of the baby you’re carrying.

The acetic acid that apple cider vinegar contains suppresses an enzyme in the body called renin, which is responsible for rise in blood pressure levels.

12) Improved Blood Circulation

Proper and efficient blood circulation is also very important during pregnancy, as this will ensure your baby gets all the oxygen and nutrients they need throughout this period of time.

Pregnant women tend to experience poor blood circulation more than non-pregnant women, which shows when complaints are made and questions are asked about why their hands and feet are swelling.

Apple cider vinegar contains properties that makes your blood flow smoother, this minimizing the chances of you experiencing swelling.

What About Supplements?

Many pregnant women are not comfortable with the idea of drinking apple cider vinegar and would much rather take it in its supplement form instead, often believing that taking this ingredient in the form of a supplement is a much safer option.

However, taking apple cider vinegar supplements in tablet, capsule or pill form is not a good idea most of the time – regardless of whether you’re doing so during pregnancy or not.

Why? Well, the majority these supplement capsules today do not contain real, actual apple cider vinegar.

If you’re adamant about taking apple cider vinegar supplement capsules, carefully read the ingredients list first and that you know and understand what’s on there.

Even if you do that, though, you should know that many studies have been conducted on a wide variety of different apple cider vinegar supplements throughout the years and have concluded that only a few of these actually contained what was written on the label.

Not all of these supplements contain the same pH levels as well, which could open up a whole world of stomach problems for you during your pregnancy.

References:

  1. Is It Safe to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar While Pregnant? https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/apple-cider-vinegar. Accessed June 17, 2019.
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar. https://www.rxlist.com/apple_cider_vinegar/supplements.htm. Accessed June 17, 2019.
  3. Natural ways to manage morning sickness. https://fertilitypregnancyacupunctureclinic.com.au/natural-ways-to-manage-morning-sickness/. Accessed June 17, 2019.
  4. Is Apple Cider Vinegar a Probiotic? https://www.livestrong.com/article/508833-is-apple-cider-vinegar-a-probiotic/. Accessed June 17, 2019.
  5. Debunking the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/health-and-wellness-articles/2018/august/debunking-the-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar. Accessed June 17, 2019.
  6. Urinary Tract Infection During Pregnancy. https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/urinary-tract-infections-during-pregnancy/. Accessed June 17, 2019.

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Medically Reviewed By: Christine Traxler M.D.

Medically Reviewed By: Christine Traxler M.D.

Christine Traxler MD is a retired family practice physician and graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Medicine in 1986. She has worked with patients in rural Minnesota for two decades.

She has written several books on medical topics, and has extensive experience caring for women of childbearing age, women in pregnancy, and menopausal women.

As a writer and editor, she specializes in writing coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers, with a predominance of writing on general medical topics and premedical scientific topics.

She has more than a decade of experience in the writing field, having written books on dermatology, medical assisting, nursing, and pregnancy.

She has written thousands of articles for laypeople and professionals alike on a variety of medical subjects.

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