Recently, celery juice has been touted as a healthy, powerful way of getting many nutrients during pregnancy.
You probably already know that you ought to increase both your hydration and nutrient-dense foods when you’re pregnant. Is drinking celery juice a safe way to do this? I decided to investigate.
Can I drink celery juice during pregnancy? Celery juice is safe in pregnancy if it’s pasteurized, or made fresh with thoroughly washed celery. There are different benefits depending on whether you drink celery juice or eat whole celery when you’re pregnant.
There are certainly quite a few myths surrounding celery juice and its benefits, so I’ve broken down the most common questions relevant to pregnant women in this article.
Drinking Celery Juice During Pregnancy: What To Look For
The first thing to look out for is to make sure that your celery juice is safe to drink during pregnancy, and that means:
- If you’re buying celery juice from a store, choose a pasteurized version. Most commercially-made juices are pasteurized and have to state on the label if they’re not (source: FDA).
- If buying celery juice fresh from a juice bar, or making it yourself at home, it’s unlikely to be pasteurized. In this case, the celery must be thoroughly washed beforehand and made fresh.
- Many unpasteurized juices are found in the refrigerated section of stores, or on ice. If the juice has been pre-made and is in a carton or plastic to-go container, see if you can see a production date/time on it – the fresher the better. If you have no way of knowing how long it’s been sitting there, or how it’s been stored, then skip it.
- The type of fresh juice sold by the glass at farmer’s markets, at road stand stalls, and at some juice bars does not have to carry the same warning label about pasteurization (source: FDA).
As with eating at restaurants, only buy fresh celery juice from a store where you can see they’re using clean, hygeinic practises with their fresh produce.
If you’ve not seen the juice made in front of you, then ask whether it’s pasteurized and ask when it was made. Anything more than a couple of hours old is probably best switched for a freshly made juice.
If making your own celery juice at home, there are some tips on washing produce during pregnancy here.
Is Celery Juice Good During Pregnancy? What Are the Benefits?
First, let’s talk about the benefits of celery juice in pregnancy.
Celery is a low-calorie, nutrititous vegetable that is pretty easy to juice – you just need 2-3 large stems (thoroughly cleaned), and that should yeild about a glass of celery juice.
Depending on the size of the celery stalk, a glass of juice is around 30-40 calories, and is a good source of Vitamins A and K, plus it contains some folate, Riboflavin and vitamin C (source: Nutrition Data).
Since pregnant women need to both hydrate well and increase their nutrient intake, celery juice can be a good option. It’s also lower in sugar than most juices.
Juice and other drinks are featured in my guide to what to drink besides water, when you’re pregnant.
However, the main drawback to drinking celery juice during pregnancy instead of eating it as a raw, whole stick is that you’re going to lose the benefits of eating fiber.
Constipation is common in pregnancy, due to hormonal changes and other factors (source: APA). It can happen surprisingly early in pregnancy, too, so it’s best to start taking preventative steps through your diet as early as you can.
Increasing your fiber intake to 25-30g per day is one of the best ways to help with constipation in pregnancy (source: Cochrane Library).
Celery can have up to 1g fiber per stalk, but only if eaten ‘as is’, and not juiced, where the fiber is discarded as part of the pulp.
Therefore if you want ALL the benefits that celery offers, you’re better off eating it whole, rather than juiced.
By all means, if you enjoy celery juice then there’s no need to avoid it – but you could also try adding whole celery sticks to your diet, too, as they make a convenient, and satisfyingly crunchy snack.
This leads me to the next question – and that’s which part of the celery plant you can eat, and how to incorporate it into your meals during pregnancy.
Which Parts of the Celery Plant are Best in Pregnancy?
Almost all parts of the celery plant can be eaten. When you buy ‘pre prepared’ celery stalks in a store, they’re often bundled together with the leaves cut off.
If you happen to buy celery with the leaves still attached, you can also eat the leaves, too – many people throw them away, unecessarily.
So long as they’re properly washed, they can act as an attractive garnish to soups, salads and more.
Are Celery Seeds Safe For Pregnant Women to Eat?
Celery seeds are commonly used in dishes as a seasoning, and to add flavor. They are safe to eat when you’re pregnant, if you stick to small culinary/food amounts.
Examples of ‘normal’ food amounts where you might find celery seeds are:
- Dips and dressings
- Scattered on or inside bread rolls
- Coleslaw and similar salads
- Sprinkled as a garnish
- In soups, stocks, casseroles and stews
Celery seed should be avoided in high amounts, usually found in supplements, extracts, and oils. In other words, higher medicinal doses.
This is because celery seed may cause early labor, miscarriage, or uterine contractions in very high, medicinal amounts (source: International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, also the Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology).
For this reason, you should avoid tablets, supplements, capsules or oils/extracts of celery seed during pregnancy.
If eating it in food amounts, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be eating enough celery seed to have any negative effect, however, it’s good to be mindful of how often you eat food containing celery seed and minimize it where appropriate.
It’s probably also wise to avoid celery seed if it appears in a herbal tea, too, as this contains more celery seed than is commonly found in food.
Can I Eat Celeriac (Celery Root) When Pregnant?
Despite its name, celeriac isn’t actually a root of what’s commonly called celery, though it’s a member of the same plant family. It’s a separate root vegetable closely related to carrots and parsley (source: ScienceDirect).
Celeriac is usually safe during pregnancy if eaten in regular food amounts, and can be cooked or eaten raw (if thoroughly washed – see this guide here).
The only caution concerning celeriac is that it’s very high in vitamin K, which can affect the way blood clots (source: WebMD). If you’re on medication due to a blood clotting disorder, then you should limit the amount of celeriac you eat.
Celeriac is also high in phosphorous and potassium, so if you’ve been medically advised to avoid high amounts of either, you may want to avoid eating celeriac.
It also has a slight diuretic effect (it makes you pee more), which can affect some medications.
Other than the cautions above, celeriac is otherwise a very nutritious vegetable, which is a good source of many vitamins such as K, B6, vitamin C, and minerals such as magnesium, manganese, potassium, and folate (source: NutritionData).
Overall, celery juice, sticks, leaves or celeriac are all good options as part of a nutritous pregnancy diet, providing you don’t have an existing condition that could be exacerbated by the nutrients found in celery, and celeriac in particular.
You can safely add regular food amounts of celery to salads, soups, stews, and more to pep up your food and increase your nutrient intake, too.
If you’re eating more veggies during pregnancy, you may also be interested in:
- The benefits of beets (beetroot) during pregnancy
- Whether or not fennel is safe when you’re pregnant
- The advantages of bell peppers for pregnant women
- How to wash and prep produce during pregnancy
- A complete guide to mushrooms
- What the benefits of cucumbers are when you’re pregnant
This article has been reviewed and approved for publication in line with our editorial policy.