Should You Try a Juice Cleanse to Drop Baby Weight?

Stars like Fergie and Jenna Dewan Tatum drank green smoothies to slim down post baby, and Jessica Simpson did a five-day cleanse with smoothies and snacks to jumpstart a 60-pound postpartum weight loss. And now, non-celebs are getting in on the act, too, thanks to specialty juice cleanses catering specifically to new moms.

OnJuice creator Candy Tree said she got the idea for the detox when she kept getting requests from new mothers who wanted to go on a cleanse. So she created Heartbeet Juicery’s Mother’s Pack, which has brown rice, cashew milk, and smoothies packed with vegetables, like spinach, that contain phytoestrogens that are supposed to promote lactation and last from one to five days. But, given the controversy surrounding the safety of regular juice cleanses, should pregnant women (and new moms) drink up? We talked to Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., a Chicago-based nutritionist, to learn more.

“I love juicing, but not in a detox sort of way,” she says. “Juices are a concentrated source of nutrition, like a multivitamin.” And just like you wouldn’t pop a multivitamin and call it breakfast, she doesn’t think women—pregnant or not—should replace meals with juices. “During pregnancy, I would make sure never to consider fruit and vegetable juices as a meal–they are not,” she says. “A balanced meal has produce, protein, healthy fat and a grain.” In fact, Bundle Organic sells Pre-Natal Juices, which come in three flavors with nutrients like folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, iron and calcium that are said to help your growing baby.

In terms of after giving birth, your body has gone through a marathon of stress and changes, says Blatner. When you add a cleanse to the mix, you may aggravate your blood sugar and electrolyte levels, leading to irritability, dizziness or even an irregular heartbeat. But you can incorporate juices safely into your diet, she says, as long as you make sure the rest of your meal or snack has protein and healthy fat.

For example, you might have a cup of oatmeal with walnuts and a green juice for breakfast. To keep your sugar load down, make sure your juice is at least a 50:50 ratio of fruit to vegetable. And if you’re looking for an energy boost—and who isn’t?—order a juice with beets and kale. They contain nitrates that open up your blood vessels, delivering more oxygen to your brain, says Blatner. Sounds like we can get our juice—and some snacks, too.