You may have pondered if it’s okay to consume soda when you’re pregnant if you’ve spent the night trying to find a position that feels comfortable for your expanding belly or if you just have a hankering for an ice-cold Coke.
After all, there is a lengthy list of foods and beverages that you should avoid when expecting.
Also frequently found in sodas are sugar, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners.
So before you pop up a can, let’s review what is known regarding the safety of soda consumption during pregnancy.
✅ It’s generally accepted that drinking soda occasionally is acceptable during pregnancy.
✅ But because they contain sweets, caffeine, or artificial sweeteners, you should be careful not to drink sodas too frequently.
✅ Such as making dental hygiene easier, they aren’t necessarily superior to conventional braces.
✅ Additionally, sodas have little nutritional value, and can unnecessarily expose you and your developing child to toxins, and there is still continuing research on artificial sweeteners.
✅ Due to this, many women choose water, seltzer, tea, milk, or smoothies in place of sodas during pregnancy.
Is caffeine in soda safe to consume when pregnant?
What the studies reveal
Most studies indicate that modest caffeine consumption (less than 200 mg per day) won’t impair your pregnancy, although the evidence isn’t conclusive. That’s because although caffeine crosses the placenta, which is something doctors have known for a very long time, its effects on your pregnancy and the developing baby are less well understood.
There have been a lot of small-scale investigations on the relationship between caffeine and hazards like a miscarriage. There were several with tiny sample numbers and others with data that were prone to recollection bias: Numerous respondents were questioned about their routines (rather than observed).
Other studies did not account for other elements (in addition to coffee) that can increase the chance of miscarriage. Remember that “miscarriage” doesn’t have a conventional definition in terms of how far along you are, even though it’s typically seen as a first-trimester pregnancy loss. The data has occasionally also been inconclusive.
For instance, no matter how much caffeine was ingested, a rather sizable 2008 study found no link between caffeine use and miscarriage. However, a different study from the same year did discover an increased risk of miscarriage when pregnant women consumed 200 mg or more of coffee per day.
However, research results published in 2007 that looked at the connection between caffeine consumption and premature delivery did not discover that moderate caffeine use increased the risk of preterm birth.
Additionally, caffeine’s effects on uterine blood flow, fetal oxygen levels, or birth weight have not been definitively shown, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Because of this, the ACOG’s current recommendations for expectant women specify that they are able to have a moderate amount of caffeine, as long as it is 200 mg or less per day. For comparison, a 12-ounce can of Mountain Dew contains roughly 54 mg of caffeine while a 12-ounce can of Coke contains about 35 mg. Recognizing that research is continuing and that the ACOG recommendations could change is crucial.
For instance, several experts demanded a change in August 2020 after a fresh analysis of prior data revealed that caffeine consumption could increase the chance of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, or childhood acute leukemia.
However, remember that literature reviews aren’t the best sources of information from which to draw conclusions. So whether you choose to consume caffeinated cola while pregnant is ultimately up to you. Some folks would rather be extra cautious and avoid drinking coffee and soda. However, it’s unlikely to affect your pregnancy if you wish to indulge occasionally in small amounts.
Just be sure to limit your daily intake of caffeine to no more than 200 mg, and remember to include all sources, including coffee, green tea, and chocolate.
Think about the effects of caffeine on your own body.
Since caffeine is a stimulant, while it could keep you awake on a day when you’re particularly weary, it might also make you feel more energized and increase your heart rate and blood pressure.
Caffeine may cause difficulty sleeping, heartburn, or jitteriness as your pregnancy advances because your body may not be able to process it as rapidly.
You may want to think about eliminating coffee if you discover that it is making you feel uneasy and impacting you differently than it did before your pregnancy.
Is soda’s sugar safe for pregnant women?
What the studies reveal
Full-sugar sodas are not recommended in general: They essentially have no nutritional value and are only chemicals and calories. As a result, they can make you feel full without doing anything to help you or your developing kid.
If you have gestational diabetes or may be at a higher risk of getting it, sugary drinks, particularly soda, should also be avoided. Because gestational diabetes can lead to difficulties for both you and your unborn child, this is. The likelihood of a challenging birth could increase if your baby grows too big. Additionally, larger newborns may struggle to control their blood sugar after delivery.
Pregnancy-related high blood pressure is another risk factor made worse by gestational diabetes. Developing type 2 diabetes after delivery is common according to some studies.
Research has also shown that consuming too much sugar, particularly from sugary beverages, might affect both your pregnancy and your unborn child’s development:
- A 2012 study indicated that consuming more than one drink per day that is sweetened with sugar or artificial sweetener increases the chance of premature birth.
- According to research published in 2018, people who consume a lot of sugar, especially from sugar-sweetened beverages, have babies who have weaker verbal memory and nonverbal problem-solving skills as they become older.
According to this 2017 study’s findings, pregnant women who drink sugary beverages may increase their children’s risk of acquiring asthma by the age of eight.
- A third study found that consuming sugary beverages during the second trimester may have an impact on the body fat of children by the middle of childhood.
It is advised that you monitor your sugar intake while pregnant and refrain from consuming sweetened beverages like soda.
Artificial sweeteners in diet soda are they safe to consume while pregnant?
Because saccharin penetrates the placenta and there isn’t enough data to determine how it affects a developing infant, it isn’t advised to consume it.
Aspartame, acesulfame-K, and sucralose (Splenda), among the majority of artificial sweeteners that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source has approved, are generally thought to be safe when used in moderation during pregnancy.
The only exclusion is if you suffer from phenylketonuria, a rare genetic disorder that impairs your capacity to process the aspartame constituent phenylalanine.
It may increase the chance of birth abnormalities in expectant women who have this condition. Of course, not much research has been done to determine whether or not all artificial sweeteners pass the placenta or have an impact on a baby’s development. They might, however, have long-term impacts, according to some previous studies.
In early childhood and in middle childhood, diet soda consumption may have an impact on children’s motor, visual, and spatial abilities, according to a 2018 study. Just to let you know, the participants in this study were not ethnically or economically representative of the population of the United States and provided self-reported data.
A youngster may have a twice as high probability of becoming overweight by the age of one if they use artificial sweeteners, according to another study. Yet again, there could be issues with this study. The authors employed an infant BMI, which isn’t always the best measure of an infant’s size and well-being.
Is diet soda superior to caffeine-free soda?
Perhaps, but they are still not advised.
It’s recommended to stay away from chemicals when you’re pregnant whenever feasible, especially because research is always being conducted. Diet and caffeine-free sodas include a lot of chemicals.
For instance, some carbonated drinks may contain trace amounts of the carcinogen benzene, according to the FDATrusted Source.
Some of them contain phosphoric and citric acids, which are known to damage dental enamel. People who are pregnant already have a higher chance of developing cavities and gingivitis due to raised hormone levels, so they may want to avoid them.
Alternative beverages to consider
It’s crucial to drink enough water throughout your pregnancy. What you can drink in place of soda is as follows:
Pure water. The standard recommendation is that you drink 8 to 12 glasses of water per day, though this number will rise each trimester as you eat more calories. Avoid consuming too many mineral liquids, though. Many of them are high in sodium salts, which may induce edema, thus they shouldn’t be ingested every day.
Seltzer or sparkling water. Both are risk-free during pregnancy, and the bubbles may even reduce nausea, particularly in the first trimester.
Sweetened water. Waters with artificial flavors are preferable to soda even if they contain sugar and or artificial sweeteners. They should be limited though.
The addition of a slice of lemon, cucumber, ginger, or mint to a glass of water will allow you to make your own flavor-infused drinks. You may make your own berry-flavored water by purchasing a water pitcher or bottle with a fruit infuser.
Smoothies can be both refreshing and a fantastic method to increase your dietary intake, especially if you make them from scratch every morning. They could also aid in reducing heartburn symptoms if you add Greek yogurt. Observe how much sugar you are consuming.
Vitamins and calcium are both abundant in milk.
You can also drink soy milk or other substitutes if you’re lactose intolerant (or vegan). If you want to get the most out of them, opt for ones with calcium added.
Just be sure to read the contents. Teas might be safe during pregnancy. Herbal teas are not always safe, and some teas include caffeine (so be sure to drink in moderation).
But generally speaking, these teas are regarded as secure:
- Ginger tea
- Citrus tea
- Mint flavored tea