CRANBERRY JUICE CAN HELP
Q| I have a bladder infection and as I am seven months pregnant, I am not allowed to take any medication. Can diet help?
A It’s not uncommon for cystitis (infection of the bladder) symptoms to intensify during pregnancy and you may find them to be even worse in the third trimester. Cystitis in pregnancy needs to be treated because of the risk of kidney infection and pre-term delivery. While some bladder-infection medication may still be safe in your third trimester, it’s vital to follow certain dietary recommendations, which can go a long way in reducing symptoms and clearing up the infection.
A great remedy for cystitis is cranberry juice. Ensure that you buy pure cranberry juice or concentrate from a health shop and not commercial juice containing only a small percentage of cranberry with mostly apple or grape juice. Take about
250 to 750ml pure cranberry juice per day until your symptoms subside. Keep your water intake high and eat naturally diuretic foods like anise, celery, onion, parsley, eggplant, cucumber, asparagus, garlic and peppermint.
Probiotic supplements are safe during pregnancy and can also help. Boost the good bacteria in your gut by eating plain natural yoghurt. Certain foods can irritate the bladder. As this sensitivity differs from person to person, try to identify these and eliminate them or keep your consumption low. Keep your intake of sugar, fried foods and processed foods low and follow a wholesome, balanced diet. Caffeine should be avoided. Eat as little citrus fruit as possible as these foods can exacerbate your symptoms. Bear in mind that some vitamins, particularly vitamins B and C, can pose problems for cystitis suffers. Antenatal vitamins can be potent, so should be used with caution and only under the supervision of your doctor. Ashleigh Caradas, dietician