Bitter Leaf Juice In Pregnancy: Is It Safe?


Bitter leaf is a household green vegetable known for its bitter taste. Also known as vernonia amygdalina, its broad leaves make it an excellent choice for soups and other delicacies. Bitter leaf is grown mostly in several West African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asian countries. 


Its juice is extracted from the leaves and it's known for its anti-diabetic properties and relieving constipation. However, is it safe for consumption by pregnant women? This article will explain the benefits and potential side effects of bitter leaf juice in pregnancy.



Health benefits of bitter leaf juice in pregnancy 

Bitter leaf possesses several properties beneficial to pregnant women. Below are five amazing benefits of bitter juice in pregnancy:


  • Relieves constipation: Due to the constant consumption of supplements and hormonal imbalance in pregnancy, bitter leaf juice helps to soften stool and adds bulk due to its high folate content. Drinking bitter leaves improves bowel movement which prevents constipation.


  • Anti-diabetic properties: Pregnant women are more susceptible to gestational diabetes due to the hormone surge. Bitter juice contains an insulin-like compound which helps to reduce blood sugar levels. Bitter leaf juice also contains polypeptides which work to prevent gestational diabetes in pregnancy.


  • Rich in folate: Bitter leaf juice has a considerable amount of folate, a potent vitamin for pregnant women to prevent neural tube defects in the developing foetus. Folate also helps create new cellular materials such as DNA and RNA. It protects the foetus from spinal and brain congenital anomalies. 


  • Boost the immune system: Bitter leaf juice is high in vitamin C and other essential nutrients that safeguard the immune system against infections during pregnancy. It also aids in better iron consumption. 


  • Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties: Bitter leaf juice has antimicrobial properties that help to fight and prevent bacterial invasion. Its anti-inflammatory properties prevent cellular damage during pregnancy.


How to make bitter leaf juice 


  • Bitter leaf 
  • Water 


  • Wash leaves with salt and clean water thoroughly to remove dirt 
  • Pound or blend leaves
  • Add water and squeeze out the juice
  • Sieve and your bitter leaf juice is ready


Potential side effects of bitter leaf juice in pregnancy 

  • Diarrhoea 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bitter aftertaste 
  • Loss of appetite 


Bitter leaf is widely available in most parts of Nigeria and supermarkets. You can add this to your soups if drinking it doesn't appeal to you. If you've never drank bitter leaf juice before pregnancy, consult your doctor before drinking it during pregnancy to prevent abdominal cramps and other side effects. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


  1. Can I eat bitter leaves during pregnancy?

Bitter leaf is safe in pregnancy in moderation. You can add it to your soups for added taste. Do not eat bitter leaf raw during pregnancy.


  1. Is it safe to take bitter-leaf soup during pregnancy?

Bitter-leaf soup is safe to take in pregnancy. It has a lot of vitamins and nutrients to protect you and your baby.


  1. Can I add malt or milk to bitter leaf juice?

Taking it without malt and milk is best to prevent a rise in blood sugar. 


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