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What to Drink While Pregnant & Beverages to Avoid

written by: Darlene Zagata • edited by: Rhonda Callow • updated: 6/25/2009

It is important to maintain a healthy, balanced diet during pregnancy. People often give a lot of thought to the foods they eat but the beverages they consume are just as important. Some beverages should be avoided during pregnancy.

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    Stay Hydrated

    Expectant mothers should drink plenty of water since it is important to stay hydrated during pregnancy. Water flushes waste products from body cells and aids in the function of the liver and kidneys. It is typical to drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water daily. Some people find this difficult to do. It is easier to drink more water daily if you just substitute water for other beverages. Drink small amounts of water frequently throughout the day.

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    Cut Back on Caffeine

    Some beverages, such as those that are caffeinated, can actually cause dehydration. Consuming alcoholic beverages also causes dehydration. Alcohol consumption should be completely avoided during pregnancy. Although there is no concrete evidence that caffeine causes birth defects, some studies indicate an increased risk of miscarriage. It is best to be cautious and limit consumption of coffee and caffeinated beverages. If you must drink coffee, drink decaf.

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    Soda

    Pregnant women often wonder if it is safe to drink soda or diet soda during pregnancy. The biggest problem with soda is that it's high in sugar. Some sodas, especially diet sodas, may contain the artificial sweetener, saccharin. It is also found in Sweet N Low, an artificial sweetener used as a sugar substitute. Saccharin has been found to produce birth defects and abnormal fetal development in rats. It is best to avoid beverages containing saccharin while pregnant.

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    Sports Drinks

    Sports drinks are another questionable beverage. While there is no evidence that sports drinks can be harmful to consume during pregnancy, it is important to remember that they also contain artificial sweetners and preservatives. It may be best to avoid them while pregnant.

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    Non-Alcoholic Beverages

    Women who are pregnant on their 21st birthday may want to have a drink to celebrate. Of course, they know they shouldn’t drink alcohol so they may consider having a non-alcoholic beverage instead. However, they may not realize that the so-called non-alcoholic beverages do contain alcohol in small amounts. It is best to avoid them while pregnant.

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    Herbal Teas

    Women who enjoy tea, whether hot or cold, may want to limit their intake due to caffeine content. Bottled or canned tea may also contain artificial sweeteners that are best avoided. It may be preferable to make your own tea at home. Some herbal teas should be avoided during pregnancy. According to Cancer.org, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not drink green tea in large amounts since caffeine can cross the placenta and affect the fetus. It can also be passed through breast milk. Certain herbs, in tea or otherwise, should not be consumed while pregnant since they may stimulate the uterus and could possibly induce a miscarriage. These herbs include anise, chamomile, raspberry leaf, rosemary, sassafras, yarrow, vetiver, stinging nettle, hibiscus, horehound, comfrey, ephedra, lemongrass, licorice root, mugwort and pennyroyal.

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    Safe Choices

    It may seem that your choices of beverages are pretty much limited to milk, water, fruit and vegetable juices. You can drink other beverages such as chocolate milk, hot chocolate, coffee, tea and kool aid as long as you do so in moderation. It is best not to drink beverages that contain high amounts of sugar and caffeine in large quantities. If you are uncertain whether you can safely consume any herb or beverage during pregnancy, consult your physician.