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Side effects of Sugarcane during Pregnancy

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A pregnant woman is usually overwhelmed with abnormal food cravings. Owing to the various hormonal changes and bowel movements, weird food cravings during pregnancy are extremely common. 

Sometimes, you may want to eat or drink something you disliked before. Or dislike having something you loved earlier. However, pregnant women need to be more cautious about eating while maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy

With many misconceptions about what to eat and not to eat during pregnancy, raw papaya, pineapple, frozen berries, and grapes are better to avoid. However, if you are in love with sugar cane juice, this article gives you information on whether sugarcane juice can be taken during pregnancy or not. You will also get insights into the innumerable health benefits and side effects of sugarcane juice in pregnancy. 

Sugarcane juice: What does it contain?

Sugarcane juice is a healthy drink made from the stem of sugarcane. Mint, lemon juice, ginger, and ice, added to the sugarcane extract enhance its flavour and taste. Sugarcane belongs to the family Poaceae or Gramineae. It is a tall perennial grass grown majorly in the warm regions of Southeast Asia and South America.

Sugar is mainly obtained from sugarcane. However, the juicy stems of the sugarcane can be squeezed and strained to give a healthy, refreshing sugarcane juice. Sugarcane juice is filled with Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and Vitamin C. It has loaded micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and iron, along with plenty of vitamins. 

This nutrient-rich drink is high in fibre, protein, and energy. It can combat constipation issues and improves digestion. It is high in fast-acting sugars and boosts energy levels instantly. It contains all the essential elements of our bodies and strengthens bones while reducing stress. Sugarcane juice keeps us hydrated and helps maintain the electrolyte equilibrium of our bodies. 

It is regarded as the perfect summer beverage and can satiate sweet cravings and boost nutrient levels. However, is it safe and healthy to be consumed during pregnancy?

Sugarcane juice for pregnancy: Is it safe?

Sugarcane juice is a hydrating and nutritious drink, making it healthy to consume even during pregnancy. Freshly-made sugarcane juice is better and safer during pregnancy than packaged juice. However, if considering packaged juice, check the nutrient content, preservatives, ingredients, and shelf life before use. 

 But women with gestational diabetes or sugar during pregnancy need to be watchful of their blood glucose levels while having sugarcane juice. Sugarcane juice has loaded sugar, and for women with gestational diabetes, it can pose huge risks associated with glucose tolerance levels- stillbirth, preterm delivery, preeclampsia, and many others. 

 Hence, you should check with your doctor about consuming sugarcane juice if you have gestational diabetes. 

Health Benefits of Sugarcane in Pregnancy

Sugarcane is a powerhouse of macro and micronutrients and is highly beneficial for a healthy pregnancy. Here are some of the benefits of sugarcane juice during pregnancy. 

Alleviates Constipation

Most pregnant women experience constipation, and drinking sugarcane juice can help relieve constipation. Sugarcane is highly fibrous that can tackle constipation issues and aid smooth bowel movements. It also helps keep the stomach infection at bay. 

Wards off Infections

Sugarcane juice is full of antioxidants that help fight infections during pregnancy. It also helps prevent and heal possible infections and cellular and tissue damage.    

For pregnant women having a cold and cough, sugarcane juice can help as a remedy. It can also help treat urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney stones, and jaundice. 

Natural Immunity booster

Pregnant mothers can feel sick and tired. Sugarcane juice can help strengthen immunity and take you through a healthy pregnancy. It also helps maintain the right amount of bilirubin levels essential for better liver functioning. 

Helps maintain a healthy weight

Sugarcane juice has polyphenols that help propagate metabolism and maintain a healthy weight. The glycemic index of sugarcane is also low, which makes it ideal for drinking during pregnancy. However, it is not advised to drink too much as it can reversibly affect weight during pregnancy. 

Relieves Morning Sickness

Sugarcane juice with ginger and lemon can help overcome early pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness- nausea, and vomiting. 

Gives Instant Energy

Pregnancy can be draining, making one feel tired and requiring a quick energy supplement. Sugarcane juice has fast-acting sugars- sucrose that supplies instant energy and helps overcome exhaustion during pregnancy. It rehydrates the body, satiates lost sugar levels, and quenches thirst.  

Cures Skin Woes

Excess pregnancy hormones can cause occasional bouts of acne and make the skin highly sensitive. Vitamin B2 or riboflavin in sugarcane juice improves skin tone and radiance. Glycolic acid in sugarcane also helps cure acne and other skin concerns.

Promotes dental health

Pregnancy and dental health go hand in hand. Dental issues in pregnancy are linked to pregnancy complications and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Calcium and magnesium in sugarcane will help relieve major dental concerns while preventing adverse pregnancy outcomes. 

Supports foetal health

Sugarcane juice is pumped with proteins, vitamin B9 (folic acid), magnesium, calcium, and iron that are quintessential for foetal growth. These essential nutrients reduce the risk of congenital deformities like spina bifida, developmental delays, and many others in the unborn. 

Possible Side Effects of Sugarcane juice in Pregnancy

While sugarcane juice is safe to drink during pregnancy, provided you do not have gestational diabetes. However, it is required to have sugarcane juice in moderation and follow a healthy diet with exercise during pregnancy. Here are some of the possible side effects of sugarcane juice in pregnancy. 

  • Stomach infections and food poisoning: Hygiene is a prerequisite at all times, especially during pregnancy. Have sugarcane juice from a hygienic place to avoid possible stomach infections or food poisoning. 
  • Pregnancy complications and risks: Limit consumption of sugarcane juice in pregnancy. Once or twice a month is safe. Sugarcane has high sugar content and must be taken in moderation for healthy pregnancy weight and to prevent gestational diabetes risks such as preeclampsia or high blood pressure, stillbirth, or preterm delivery. 
  • Gestational Diabetes: Also, it must be taken only during the day as post-evening consumption can increase blood sugar levels in pregnant women and cause diabetes in pregnancy. Refrain from consuming sugarcane juice if you have diabetes or gestational diabetes.

Sugarcane has numerous health benefits. But pregnant women need to be careful while incorporating sugarcane juice into their pregnancy diet. Hence, it is always advised to consult your obstetrician before including this refreshing, healthy beverage in your daily diet during pregnancy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does sugarcane juice cause miscarriage?

No. Sugarcane juice does not cause pregnancy loss or miscarriage. But, women with gestational diabetes must refrain from having sugarcane juice as it can shoot up blood glucose levels, causing pregnancy complications such as preterm delivery, high blood pressure (preeclampsia), and stillbirth.   

Is sugarcane harmful during pregnancy?

Daily consumption of sugarcane juice must be avoided for a healthy pregnancy. Sugarcane juice can be taken once or twice a month during pregnancy, as it is not harmful if the pregnant woman is non-diabetic. However, women with diabetes in pregnancy must avoid sugarcane juice consumption to avert possible pregnancy risks or complications. 

How does sugarcane help during pregnancy?

Sugarcane juice contains essential nutrients- Vitamin B9, folic acid, magnesium, iron, and calcium that can help prevent the risk of congenital disabilities. Studies have also shown that sugarcane juice helps women with ovulatory disorders and increases the chances of safe conception.  

Conclusion

Sugarcane is a delicious summer drink that revitalises energy and hydrates the body. It has immense health benefits as it is nutrient-fortified and saturated with fibre and electrolytes. The high nutrient value in sugarcane juice makes it safe and healthy to drink even during pregnancy. 

However, one needs to moderate the consumption of this nutrient-packed drink as it is high in sugar, causes excess weight gain and gestational diabetes, and may increase pregnancy complications. 

Connect with your doctor on ways to maintain a healthy pregnancy diet and incorporate this nutritious drink or its alternatives into your diet. 

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Srujana Mohanty
She is the Managing Editor of Cogito137, one of India’s leading student-run science communication magazines. She's been working in scientific and medical writing and editing since 2018, also associated with the quality assurance team of scientific journal editing. Majored in Chemistry with a minor in Biology at IISER Kolkata, Srujana loves doodling and watching series.

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