Drinking diet soda during pregnancy is potentially refreshing and not necessarily something to totally ban from your lifestyle, according to the American Pregnancy Association and the Baby Center. However, drinking too much artificial sweetener and caffeine while expecting places you and your future son or daughter at risk for health problems. Staying cool during pregnancy is essential, but down those diet sodas mindfully to reduce the risk of potential birth defects in your growing baby.
Diet sodas come in many flavors and use different kinds of artificial sweetener ranging from saccharin to aspartame. Some diet drinks include caffeine, while others don’t.
Drinking too much caffeine while expecting a child is just not a good idea, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Keep in mind that this rule of thumb applies to diet sodas as well as regular drinks, such as cola or tea, that consist of caffeine. If you must drink caffeine during pregnancy, limit yourself to 300 mg per day. Women who drink excessive amounts of caffeine during pregnancy increase their risk of miscarriage.
Expectant moms should avoid diet drinks and other foods sweetened with saccharin, warns obstetrician Russell Turk. Large amounts of this sweetener, usually marketed as Sweet‘n Low, were scientifically proven to cause birth defects in lab rats, Turk says on the Baby Center website. Because the potential safety of smaller amounts has not been studied, Turk advises pregnant women to skip drinks sweetened with saccharin and to not add those pink packets to beverages.
Potential Problems With Other Sweeteners
Other sweeteners used in diet drinks, including aspartame (NutraSweet) and sucralose (Splenda), are probably safe in small amounts during pregnancy, Turk says. Because sucralose is so new to the diet drink market, expectant moms are probably best served using that in moderation. However, pregnant women can usually safely consume one or two 12-oz. diet drinks sweetened with aspartame each day.
Drinking a lot of diet cola or similar beverages during pregnancy is not ideal for your health or that of your future child’s, says dietitian Melinda Johnson on the Baby Center website. Expectant moms need plenty of 100 percent fruit juice, water and low-fat milk products.
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