Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for all women, but takes on added significance during pregnancy. The foods and beverages you consume provide nourishment for both you and your growing baby. Juices can be a tasty way to hydrate while also providing key vitamins and minerals. However, it’s important to be mindful of what juices are safe to drink while pregnant.
Benefits of Juice During Pregnancy
Fruit and vegetable juices can pack in nutrients and antioxidants. Some of the key vitamins and minerals found in common juices include:
- Vitamin C – Boosts immunity and aids collagen production. Found in citrus juices like orange and grapefruit.
- Folate – Important for red blood cell production and preventing neural tube defects. Found in juices like orange, tomato and carrot.
- Potassium – Helps maintain fluid balance. Found in many fruit and vegetable juices.
- Magnesium – Supports bone health. Found in beet, spinach, carrot and orange juice.
Juices also provide hydration, which is crucial during pregnancy to support increased blood volume. The high water content in most juices can help meet the recommendation to drink at least 10 cups of fluids daily while expecting.
Juices to Avoid During Pregnancy
While juices can be healthy additions to your pregnancy diet, there are some types that should be limited or avoided entirely:
Unpasteurized or fresh-squeezed juices that are not heat treated carry a risk of foodborne illnesses like Salmonella and E. coli. These pathogens can lead to sickness and complications during pregnancy. Only drink pasteurized juices to minimize risks.
Green Juices with Wheatgrass or Alfalfa
Wheatgrass and alfalfa sprouts used in some fresh green juices may be contaminated with bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli. They have also been linked to food poisoning outbreaks. It’s best to avoid green juices containing these ingredients.
Cold Pressed Juices
Cold pressed or unpasteurized juices are more likely to harbor harmful bacteria compared to heated, pasteurized juices. Minimize your risk by opting for pasteurized juices when possible.
Juices High in Sugar
Fruit juices like apple, grape and cranberry can pack a large amount of naturally occurring sugars. While the sugars are from fruit, consuming too much may spike blood sugar. Opt for low sugar juices like tomato, cucumber and carrot instead.
Fruit and Vegetable Juice Blends
Many store-bought fruit and vegetable juice blends actually contain very little vegetable juice. They are often made with cheap fruit juices and added sugars. Check the label and opt for 100% juice without added sweeteners.
Juice Made from Moldy Produce
Juices made from spoiled, moldy fruits or vegetables can contain mycotoxins that may be harmful during pregnancy. Inspect produce carefully and avoid using moldy items for juicing.
7 Safest Juices to Drink When Pregnant
Focusing on safe, fresh juices made from quality ingredients can help you meet nutrition needs for a healthy pregnancy. Here are 7 of the best juice options:
1. Orange Juice
Freshly squeezed orange juice is a tasty way to get vitamin C, potassium and folate. Opt for pasteurized or flash pasteurized varieties when possible.
2. Carrot Juice
Carrot juice is an excellent source of vitamin A to support vision and cell growth. It also provides vitamin K, potassium and antioxidants.
3. Tomato Juice
In addition to vitamin C and potassium, tomato juice offers lycopene, an antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color. Look for low sodium options.
4. Beet Juice
Beet juice has nitrates that may help improve blood flow. It also contains folate, manganese and potassium. Opt for pasteurized varieties.
5. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice contains vitamin C and may help prevent urinary tract infections, which are common during pregnancy. Choose juices with no added sugar.
6. Prune Juice
Prune juice can help relieve constipation, a common complaint during pregnancy. It provides potassium, vitamin K and sorbitol, a natural laxative.
7. Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate juice contains antioxidants called polyphenols. It may help lower blood pressure and reduce oxidative stress. Opt for 100% pure or diluted juices to minimize added sugar.
Tips for Choosing the Safest Juices
Here are some tips to help you choose safe, healthy juices during pregnancy:
- Read labels – Select pasteurized 100% juices with no added sugars or preservatives. Avoid raw, unpasteurized juices.
- Wash produce – Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before juicing to remove dirt and bacteria.
- Avoid moldy produce – Inspect produce and do not juice anything that is spoiled or moldy.
- Homemade is best – Make your own fresh juices at home so you can control ingredients and cleanliness.
- Store properly – Keep juices refrigerated and consume within a couple days. Discard any spoiled juice.
- Limit intake – Stick to 4-6 ounces of juice per day and avoid excessive consumption, which can spike blood sugar.
- Pair with protein – Have juice along with protein foods like yogurt, eggs or nut butter to blunt blood sugar response.
Sample 1-Day Juice Plan for Pregnancy
Here is a sample 1-day juice plan with pregnancy-safe options:
|Morning||8 oz. orange juice blended with 1 cup Greek yogurt and 1/2 banana|
|Mid-morning Snack||4 oz. carrot, beet, apple juice|
|Lunch||4 oz. tomato juice with turkey sandwich|
|Afternoon Snack||4 oz. cranberry juice diluted with water|
|Dinner||4 oz. prune juice with roasted chicken and quinoa|
Juices can be a healthy beverage choice during pregnancy as long as you select the right varieties. Focus on pasteurized 100% fruit and vegetable juices without added sugars or preservatives. Avoid unpasteurized, moldy or potentially contaminated juices that could cause illness. Drink juices in moderation paired with protein-rich foods. With attention to safety and quality, juices can be safely enjoyed as part of balanced nutrition during pregnancy.