If you are a Diet Coke drinker, giving it up might feel like sacrificing your right arm. As the exhaustion of pregnancy sets in and the stress of pregnancy weighs you down, your Diet Coke cravings may grow stronger. If the sugar, acids and caffeine in Diet Coke concern you, talk with your doctor. You may be able to indulge that craving just enough to take the edge off.
What the Risks Are
Despite the good feelings it brings you, diet soda can have some unfortunate side effects. The caffeine in the Diet Coke can move through your system, as well as your fetus. High amounts of caffeine can overwhelm a young infant’s system, causing potential development problems or miscarriage. A University of Rochester Medical Center article cites a study that showed women who consumed 200 mg of caffeine or more per day doubled their risk of a miscarriage. The article says that the caffeine may affect cell development or prohibit blood flow, causing miscarriage.
What Makes It Worse
Caffeine is not the only problem with diet soda. The carbonation can aggravate heartburn. A University of Washington article on pregnancy and arthritis advises those with ongoing or pregnancy-triggered arthritis to avoid carbonated drinks, such as Diet Coke. Check your diet soda for its sweetener ingredients. According to the New York City Department of Health, sodas with sugar can be problematic for those with gestational diabetes. If your diet soda is sweetened with an artificial sweetener, it may be safe for diabetics. Check with your doctor to be sure.
How It Can Help
Diet soda is not all bad. Some diet sodas can actually improve some pregnancy symptoms. Some sodas can calm an upset stomach during morning sickness. Drinking a little Diet Coke, with very few calories and low sugar, may be a worthwhile treat, if it keeps you from eating something more caloric or unhealthy. Denying your craving could drive you to a large piece of chocolate cake.
How Much Is Enough
The University of Rochester Medical Center says that five 12-oz. containers of soda contain 200 mg of caffeine. Having more than this per day puts you at risk of a miscarriage. The American Pregnancy Association says that some doctors advise their patients not to have more than 150 mg per day, which allows you only three cans.
What Are Some Alternatives
Talk with your doctor about his recommendations. If he advises no caffeine at all, look for alternatives. Ginger ale or flavored carbonated water lets you enjoy the carbonation without the caffeine. If you are allowed some caffeine, you may want to save your caffeine allowance for a piece of dark chocolate, full of antioxidants.
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