The dietary decisions you make during pregnancy have a direct impact on how healthy you are while expecting, as well as influencing your baby's growth and development. Although certain foods aren't safe to eat during pregnancy, sauerkraut isn't one of them. In fact, sauerkraut can have a place in your pregnancy diet because it supplies several key nutrients you and your unborn baby should have. The one consideration is the sodium content of the food, but even that isn't a huge concern in most situations.
Baby-Growing Vitamins and Minerals
A cup of sauerkraut supplies about 2 milligrams of iron, which is 7 percent of the 27 milligrams of iron you need each day during pregnancy. Iron is necessary because it can reduce your risk of premature delivery and a low birth weight baby, according to the American Pregnancy Association. That cup of sauerkraut also delivers folate, which prevents birth defects, and vitamin C, which helps you absorb iron and promotes healthy tissue development.
The Roughage is a Plus
The 4.1 grams of fiber in a cup of sauerkraut is another plus in terms of your pregnancy. Many pregnant women develop constipation, but eating plenty of fiber is one way to prevent that from happening. The American Pregnancy Association recommends that you eat between 25 and 30 grams of fiber per day throughout the duration of our pregnancy to help reduce your risk of constipation.
Sodium ... Worrisome or Not?
There are 939 milligrams of sodium in a cup of sauerkraut, which is about 41 percent of the 2,300 milligrams healthy adults should limit themselves to each day. Though you probably shouldn't consume that much sodium on a regular basis, your body actually needs plenty of sodium during pregnancy to maintain healthy fluid levels, the BabyCenter website notes. Of course, you can't go crazy eating as much sodium as you want, but you don't necessarily need to worry about eating a cup of sauerkraut from time to time either.
Because of the high sodium content, sauerkraut shouldn't be a daily part of your diet. You can safely consume it from time to time, but ask your doctor what a safe upper limit of sodium is for you. Sauerkraut also contains probiotics, which are good bacteria that live in your stomach. According to a 2005 article in "Canadian Family Physician," pregnant women who take probiotics are at a reduced risk of bacterial vaginosis, a condition that might increase your risk of preterm labor. Eating sauerkraut is safe, but ask your doctor before taking probiotic supplements.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Sauerkraut, Canned, Solids and Liquids
- American Pregnancy Association: Nutrients and Vitamins For Pregnancy
- BabyCenter: Is It Safe to Eat A Lot of Salty Foods During Pregnancy?
- American Pregnancy Association: Pregnancy and Constipation
- Canadian Family Physician; Taking Probiotics During Pregnancy