Can Drinking Vinegar Harm Your Unborn Child?

By Rosenya Faith
Pregnant woman drinking a glass of tea.

Since the stick turned blue, you’ve questioned the benefits of the food in every jar, can, box and package in your cupboards. It can be a bit scary wading through a sea of food additives and preservatives to determine which foods will give your unborn baby the healthiest start. When it comes to vinegar, you and your unborn baby are safe. Sometimes, vinegar may even impart health benefits that support a healthy pregnancy.

Benefits of Vinegar

Vinegar also carries the potential of several nutritive benefits. Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar acts as a prebiotic, a substance that supports healthy bacterial growth in the digestive tract, according to the University of North Dakota. When used in moderation, vinegar can also help to prevent iron deficiency anemia without any negative side effects, explains Sanford Medical Center's article "Nutrition Support of Iron Deficiency." It has also been purported to help ease morning sickness and heartburn, although no conclusive evidence exists to support these pregnancy claims. Before using vinegar for any of these purposes, however, consult your obstetrician.

Vinegar Cravings

Vinegar can enhance the flavor of a salad, add a little tart flavor to drinking water and turn a drab dinner into a savory culinary delight. If you’re using vinegar to dress up your food, you can reap the gastronomical and health benefits it can provide. However, if you find yourself craving vinegar or other non-nutritive substances such as starch, sand, chalk or clay, it could be a sign of an eating disorder called pica. There is a possible correlation between pica and iron deficiency, according to the "Journal of Medical Case Reports." Speak with your health care practitioner right away if you find yourself with non-nutritive cravings because these substances can interfere with normal nutrient absorption, creating a potential health risk to you and your unborn baby.

Diet Plans

While predominantly considered a fad in dieting tactics, apple cider vinegar has become a popular method to try to encourage weight loss by slowing the rate of carbohydrate absorption. However, whether you’re calorie-counting or drinking apple cider vinegar, dieting during pregnancy is often not recommended. Before using any type of vinegar as a diet aid, talk to your health care practitioner who will be able to provide nutrition recommendations during your pregnancy.

Extra Bonus

Eating certain foods can create potential irritation problems for the mother-to-be. Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy contribute to acid reflux by slowing digestion and causing the flap of the esophagus to become too relaxed. Apple cider vinegar may help soothe the heartburn that results, says the Health Foundations Birth Center. When mixed with a bit of water, drinking this kind of vinegar is perfectly safe for baby and can have an alkalizing effect that helps soothe that burning feeling in your throat and chest. Call your obstetrician if heartburn becomes severe or prolonged.

About the Author

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.