Research Group in Social Pharmacy

Cranberry safe in pregnancy

Use of cranberry during pregnancy is not associated with negative pregnancy outcomes, Ph.D. candidate Kristine Heitmann concludes in her new paper. Simultaneously, she emphasizes the importance of treating detected urinary tract infections (UTIs) with antibiotics, as cranberry has not shown to be effective as treatment for UTIs.

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The paper Pregnancy outcome after use of cranberry in pregnancy – the Norwegian mother and child cohort study was published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine December 7th 2013.

Data from the Norwegian mother and child cohort study together with data from the Medical Birth Registry have been analysed and included a total of 68 522 pregnant women. Of the 919 women who had used cranberry during pregnancy, the authors could not find increased risk of malformations, stillbirth/neonatal death, preterm birth, low birth weight, small for gestational age, low Apgar score (<7), neonatal infections or maternal vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy, compared with the women who had not used cranberry.

Another important finding was that 60% of the women with a history of cranberry use had experienced UTI, but less than half of these had used antibiotics to treat the infection. Untreated UTIs are associated with risk of negative outcomes for both mother and child. As cranberry has failed to prove efficient in treatment of UTIs it is important to treat with antibiotics to get rid of the infection, emphasizes Heitmann.

Kristine Heitmann is supervised by Associate Professor Lone Holst from the University of Bergen and Professor Hedvig Nordeng from the University of Oslo and The Norwegian Institute of Public Health.