Can I Drink Apple Cider Vinegar During Pregnancy?

Alongside green smoothies and kombucha, apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular drinks among wellness enthusiasts these days.

Some experts can’t stop talking about its benefits. Many claim drinking apple cider vinegar prevents indigestion and leg cramps. They also say it boosts energy and prevents serious health issues like diabetes. (source).

Do leg cramps, indigestion, and low energy sound all-too-familiar in your life? They very well may, because these complaints are common concerns during pregnancy.

Are you an “ACV” newbie, just trying to cure common pregnancy woes or a believer who drinks ACV regularly? Either way, you may wonder “Is it safe to drink apple cider vinegar now that I’m expecting?”

Here’s what you need to know to decide whether or not to drink this ancient health remedy.


What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

It is essentially apple juice or cider mixed with yeast, which ferments the naturally occurring sugars in the fruit, forming alcohol.

After the initial fermentation, more bacteria is mixed with the alcohol, turning it to acetic acid. (source)

Types Of Apple Cider Vinegar

There are two basic kinds – unfiltered/unpasteurized and pasteurized.

Processing removes sediment and bacteria to make pasteurized apple cider vinegar. The product is a clear, amber-toned liquid.

Unfiltered or unpasteurized apple cider vinegar does not undergo additional filtration or pasteurization. So, it may be cloudy due to the sediment, and “the mother.”

“The mother” is a mixture of acetic acids and beneficial bacteria which occurs naturally in the fermentation process. It’s a strand-like residue in the vinegar and contains most of the health benefits. (source)

One of the most well-known brands of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is Braggs. It is widely available in health stores and on Amazon.

What To Know About ACV

Health and wellness enthusiasts believe apple cider vinegar is beneficial for a variety of ailments.

Take Note

However some of these claims are more stories than anything else, as they haven’t been proven in scientific studies. So take them with a grain of salt.
  • Diabetes: Studies have shown ACV can lower blood sugar responses and insulin sensitivities when consuming certain foods. Still, only use it for blood sugar control under the guidance and supervision of your doctor. This is especially important if you already take blood sugar-lowering medications. (source)
  • Digestion: When consumed regularly, apple cider vinegar can also help to detoxify your body. It contains probiotics which support gut health, improve bowel function, and balance your body’s pH levels. Optimal pH balance and gut health can relieve conditions such as constipation and acid reflux (source).
  • Weight Loss: When consumed before meals, ACV helps you feel full, so you eat fewer calories. However, pregnancy isn’t the time to diet or try to lose weight. Instead, focus on eating a diet of well-balanced, nutritionally dense foods to nourish yourself and your growing baby.
  • Common Cold: Many pregnant women are uncomfortable taking over-the-counter medications for cold and sore throat symptoms. Since ACV has antibacterial properties, it could be an option to fight these symptoms.
  • Leg Cramps: Sleep disruption due to leg cramping is common in pregnancy. This may be caused by low potassium levels and pressure on the circulatory system from the growing uterus. ACV is high in potassium and can alleviate this discomfort.

In addition to consuming apple cider vinegar, many people also use the substance topically – everything from dandruff treatment to foot deodorizers!

Thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, these common pregnancy skin concerns might benefit from a small amount applied topically:

A Word Of Caution

As discussed earlier, there are two types of apple cider vinegar – pasteurized and unpasteurized.

Healthcare professionals recommend pregnant women not consume unpasteurized foods, due to the risk of food poisoning.

Pasteurization is a process of treating dairy products, raw juices, and other foods to remove pathogens. Unpasteurized, unfiltered apple cider vinegar has not undergone this process. So, the “mother” and other potentially beneficial organisms and bacteria are still present.

Remember

Pregnant women are at a higher risk for foodborne illnesses due to hormonal changes and lowered immune function. This is one reason to avoid unpasteurized foods.

Symptoms of food poisoning are mildly flulike, including fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, there are also foodborne illnesses such as listeriosis or salmonella which not only affect mom but can cause complications for the unborn baby. (source)

The bacteria causing listeriosis or salmonella might not be in all unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, but the risk is present.

That’s why it is important for mom-to-be to consult her doctor or midwife to decide whether the benefits would outweigh the risks of consuming it.

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ACV Use In Pregnancy

Apple cider vinegar may be a hot wellness trend, but might not be right for you, especially during pregnancy.

Claims that apple cider vinegar can cure a wide variety of ailments are promising. However, many have yet to be scientifically proven. We need more research to confirm all of its risks and benefits.

Until then, rest, try to enjoy your pregnancy despite the discomforts and take the miracle apple cider vinegar claims with a grain of salt. Speaking of salt & vinegar… maybe some chips would make you feel better?

Have you used apple cider vinegar during pregnancy with any success? Comment below with your favorite uses and experiences.

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31 Reader Comments

  1. CARMELA Trujillo

    Hello, I am 13 weeks pregnant and Drinking Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar. I’m hoping it will help to cure a painful yeast infection that never seems to go away. Is this going to be okay, or is it a risk to my baby?

    Suppositories do not work, but I do not want to harm my baby. Do you have any advice?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar brings with it the risk of food born illnesses, such as listeria, which could harm your baby. I do understand that you want to get rid of this infection though, but if over the counter medications aren’t helping I would seek medical help. Have you spoken to your doctor?

  2. Shahin

    I have been drinking a small amount of apple cider vinegar during my pregnancy and i mix it with water. No ill effects has been noted since then. Hope all goes well.

    • Geraldine

      The one your drinking is unpasteurized? Im worried i take 1tsp with a glass of water and im 5weeks pregnant

      • Jenny Silverstone

        I would not recommend consuming unpasteurized ACV during pregnancy Geraldine. As I pointed out in the article: “Healthcare professionals generally suggest that pregnant women should not consume unpasteurized foods, due to the risk of food poisoning.”

  3. Kelsey

    I bathe in it at least once a week. I mix 1 cup ACV into my bath water and just soak in it. I started doing this due to the extra hormones from being pregnant. Just to be safe, I get pasturized ACV. I have only had positive results: clearer skin, less redness, and shinier hair, less split ends. I wished I had started taking ACV baths sooner!

    • Jenny Silverstone

      That sounds like magic Kelsey! Going to have to try my first ACV bath tonight 🙂

  4. Kerryn

    It has really helped with the terrible acid re flux I am experiencing chronically, 2 tablespoons in 240 ml of water

    • Me too! I take very little at night and it seriously works after about five seconds 🙂

    • Hi, which brand are you using?

  5. Elcana Elic

    Im taking acv with honey diluted on warm water before meals.. I hope everything’s fine.

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Just be sure to avoid raw honey Elcana. It is not considered safe during pregnancy.

  6. Angela

    I bought local unpasteurized honey at farmer’s market to help with allergies. I am 18 weeks pregnant ? This is not safe?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Angela, thanks for stopping by! I’ve found a lot of conflicting advice on this. Some resources say unpasteurized honey is ok for mom (just don’t feed it to a baby), others say you should avoid it. In my opinion, I would avoid it just to be safe. But you might want to check with your doctor and see what they say. xx

  7. Amber

    After suffering with eczema on my hands for nearly a decade, I came across apple cider vinegar as a cure. I put my whole hand in a large mason jar half filled with vinegar. The results have been astounding. My skin’s condition has improved immensely. After a minute of soaking, rinse off and put on some OTC hydrocortisone cream. I’m so excited to have clear skin for when my baby arrives!!

  8. I use it in a bath to get rid of Yeast infections. It works miracles and my doctor loves it!

  9. Is it okay to bathe or apply topically the unpasteurized raw apple cider vinegar ? I’ve been doing that for a couple days and very worried that I could’ve harmed my baby .

  10. I just took 1tbsp of ACV unpasteurized and mixed it to half glass of lukewarm water for 2 nights before sleeping. Will it cause harm immediately to my baby? I just came across your site and found out about it. I was looking for other alternatives to lower my blood sugar.

  11. I have poison ivy at 23 weeks pregnant. I soaked it into a muslin cotton cloth and put it in the fridge used it ever 20 minutes for 20mintues for four hours and it completely dried up the oozing. (helped immensely with the itch and inflammation as well. Will use it once a day now that I have it under control.

  12. I drank a capful of ACV every morning while I was pregnant. It freed me of my heartburn. I now have a healthy nine-month-old. I currently drink organic Wonder Drink Kombucha (non-alcoholic), and my baby and I are happy and healthy.

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Thanks for sharing your story. Congratulations on your baby! Did you talk to your doctor before taking ACV?

  13. I’ve been taking the unfiltered/unpasteurized ACV through my entire pregnancy until now, so about ten weeks. I wasn’t aware that it could be harmful as there are no warnings on the bottle for pregnant women.
    I have felt great and have not been sick until I stopped taking it. Now I feel sick, I’m having headaches every day and feel like I have the flu.

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Suzie, not every mom who takes ACV will get sick but the risk is still there. I would talk to your doctor to see what they say.

  14. I have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, hope using ACV would help reduce the blood glucose level?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Lydia, I would talk to your doctor before taking ACV to help with your diabetes. That’s because it has been shown that ACV can react to certain medications used to treat the condition.

  15. I had come down with a bad sinus infection and was looking for a natural remedy to ease my horrible head congestion without having to take over the counter medications. I came across a recipe that called for ACV, honey, cayenne, and lemon in water. The taste was ok, it’s not the best but I was desperate for something to help the pain and pressure. It has been six hours now and I feel better than I have for the last two days. The head pressure has improved but, my throat still hurts. Hopefully, with another cup, I will feel even better. Cheers to ACV it’s natural healing ways.

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Amy,

      Thank you for your comment, I’m glad you’re starting to feel better! Do you have any other tips for mama’s who are fighting colds during pregnancy?

      Best,
      Jenny

  16. Can ACV interact with certain medications? I’m guessing the answer is yes. Thank you!

  17. Lucy

    I am just coming out of my first trimester and I have never before had any problems ‘down there’ despite being 31. All of the horror stories that come along with pregnancy were freaking me out a bit, to say the least. All I have experienced so far though was some itchiness for a couple of days, which was very annoying, but I had a bath with ACV including the mother and it cured it straight away.

    I am now worried that I may have a mild UTI, and literally hate taking antibiotics, but am now considering the risks involved in drinking ACV as a remedy. All the stigma around the fragility of the immune system during pregnancy is driving a little mad, to be honest, and I feeling it might be possibly a little overkill. At the same time though, I’d hate to do something that would harm my baby. I’m all for baths since I have search more I am now unsure of drinking ACV if it is not pasteurized. Yet unpasteurized is just plain vinegar, all the good stuff is gone since the mother is present.

    What would you do?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Lucy, I’m sorry that you are struggling with this. And I do understand the pull to drink ACV to see if it would cure your problem. Have you spoken to your doctor? I recommend giving them a call and seeing what they think. They know your medical history and can tell you whether or not it would be a safe option for you to consider.

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