Ladies, pour yourself a glass of cranberry juice: this vitamin C-rich beverage is safe during pregnancy. Learn what benefits it offers to expectant mothers.
As a longtime sufferer of chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs), cranberry juice is a regular part of my diet. When I got pregnant, I was concerned that maybe I was drinking too much and that the high amount of sugar would put my health at risk.
My doctor soon put my concerns to rest. He explained that like with any food or beverage, it’s important to consume it in moderation. Cranberry juice is safe to drink during pregnancy and is an easy way for pregnant women to stay hydrated while reducing the risk of common health problems like UTIs.
“In addition to water, which is the best beverage, two of the next best beverages during pregnancy are green tea and cranberry juice,” says Brenda Lane and Ilana Kirsch, authors of Knack Pregnancy Guide. “Cranberry juice (not the cocktail or juice drink variety) is perfect for good urinary tract health. Try diluting the juice with seltzer or water to reduce the high sugar content.”
UTIs are the most common type of bacterial infection in adult women and the most common medical complication of pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Cranberry juice is a delicious way to increase your odds of a healthy pregnancy while adding an extra source of nutrients to your diet.
What the Experts Say
“Women experience UTIs with greater frequency during pregnancy. A systemic review of the literature for evidence on the use, safety, and pharmacology of cranberry, focusing on issues pertaining to lactation found that there is no direct evidence of safety or harm to the mother or fetus as a result of consuming cranberry during pregnancy.”
Herbs and Natural Supplements, Lesley Braun, Marc Cohen
“Cranberries contain several substances that are thought to be clinically effective in the treatment of urinary tract infections. Unfortunately, most commercial cranberry juices contain a large amount of sugar, and you have to drink quite a bit for it to be effective. I instruct my patients to drink unsweetened cranberry juice if they can tolerate it.”
The Definitive Guide to Natural Pregnancy Health, Tamyra Comeaux
“Consumption of cranberry juice has been offered as an intervention to prevent UTI. The effectiveness of cranberry juice in the prevention of UTIs is dependent on long-term adherence to daily consumption of about 10 ounces of juice. The value of recommending cranberry juice to prevent UTI must include consideration of cost, sugar content, and additional calories.”
Maternity and Women’s Health Care, Deitra Leonard Lowdermilk, Shannon E. Perry
“You’ve probably heard that cranberry juice is an effective treatment for UTIs. While that’s partially true, the research is shaky. Studies indicate that you have to drink lots and lots of cranberry juice to get an effective dose of D-mannose (the “active ingredient” in cranberries). D-mannose supplements, however, are far more potent.”
The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth, Genevieve Howland
“Although drinking cranberry juice is often recommended, there is conflicting evidence regarding its effectiveness and the effective dose needed to prevent urinary tract infections.”
Maternal Child Nursing in Canada, Shannon E. Perry
Nutrients in Cranberry Juice
Cranberries are considered a super food. They also contain one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of any fruit. Cranberries not only contain substances that prevent infection but are also an excellent source of many essential nutrients, such as fiber, manganese, and vitamin C.
Cranberry juice is the juice of cranberries and contains nutrients found in the fruit. However, most commercial cranberry drinks also contain high amounts of sugar. It’s important to read the label carefully so that you’re buying a healthy cranberry juice instead of an imposter like cranberry juice cocktail or “cranberry drink.”
Juice cocktails contain added sugars like high fructose corn syrup, according to Healthline Media. Most contain only a small amount of actual cranberry juice. Opt for a juice that is made with 100 percent real juice instead.
A pregnant woman needs approximately 10 cups of fluid per day, according to health nutritionist Ellen Desjardins, M.H.SC., RD. While the bulk of your fluid intake should be water, it’s safe to enjoy a glass of cranberry juice on occasion. If you’re worried about your diet or fluid consumption, talk to your doctor about your concerns.