1. Pregnancy
  2. Pregnancy lifestyle
  3. Diet

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What You Can and Can't Drink During Pregnancy: 10 Pressing Questions

Can you drink sparkling water while pregnant? Is sterilized milk recommended during pregnancy? Today, we're answering both popular and somewhat confusing questions about consuming fluids during pregnancy.

Getting enough fluids supports a healthy pregnancy. The current recommendation advises drinking 8–12 cups of water each day during pregnancy.

It’s important to drink throughout the day, not just when you are thirsty.

The quality of water in public water-supply systems is regulated by specific state agencies.

In most cases, tap water is safe to consume when pregnant. However, if the water is cloudy or has an unusual taste or smell, consider switching to bottled water or installing a water filtration system.

Today, it can be hard to avoid food and beverages with plastic packaging.

Some plastics contain bisphenol A (BPA), and the scientific data on how it affects infants is limited and controversial. When possible, choose water in glass or plastic bottles that don't contain this chemical.

Mineral water is a suitable alternative to purified water during pregnancy, as it doesn't contain sugar, colorants, or preservatives.

However, it shouldn't replace regular water in your diet. Mineral water is high in sodium salts, which can induce swelling if consumed regularly.

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Yes, coffee is safe during pregnancy.

However, daily caffeine intake should not exceed 200 milligrams, which is about two standard cappuccinos. 

Since caffeine is also found in tea, cocoa, and hot chocolate, these drinks should be limited too.

Most studies show that moderate green tea consumption during pregnancy doesn't have a harmful effect on the baby.

However, this drink contains caffeine, so it's worth limiting when possible.

Alcohol and pregnancy are incompatible.

Heavy drinking can cause birth defects, and the potential effects of small amounts of alcohol are not well understood. 

Therefore, all alcoholic beverages should be avoided during the entire pregnancy.

During pregnancy, make sure to only drink milk that’s been pasteurized or ultra-heat-treated (UHT). These preparations use heat to kill bacteria and prevent food poisoning, which can harm a pregnancy and the future baby's health.

Cows' milk that's sold in shops is pasteurized, but you can still find unpasteurized or "raw" milk for sale from some farms and farmers' markets. The label will state what kind of preparation you’re purchasing.

Freshly squeezed juices and smoothies are safe during pregnancy, but making these drinks at home is preferred instead of buying them at a restaurant or juice bar. That way, you can wash the fruits thoroughly.

Some 100-percent fruit juice is fine, but juices should be consumed in moderation when pregnant; too much can exceed the calories or sugar needed for a healthy pregnancy.

Health care providers recommend that pregnant women exclude carbonated and energy drinks if possible, as they may contain large amounts of sugar, caffeine, colorants, and preservatives.

Some energy drinks are high in both sugar and caffeine. Checking the nutrition labels on soft drinks such as fruit juices and fizzy drinks can help you make healthier choices. Flavored waters can also contain a surprisingly large amount of sugar. Cutting down on these drinks will reduce the calories you consume without compromising on any nutrients.

Clean drinking water is considered the perfect beverage during pregnancy.

“Nutrition During Pregnancy.” ACOG, June 2020, www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/pregnancy/nutrition-during-pregnancy.

“Should I Limit Caffeine during Pregnancy?” NHS Choices, NHS, May 2018, www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/pregnancy/should-i-limit-caffeine-during-pregnancy/.

Montgomery, Kristen S. “Nutrition Column An Update on Water Needs during Pregnancy and Beyond.” The Journal of Perinatal Education, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2002, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595116/.

“Dairy and Alternatives in Your Diet.” NHS Choices, NHS, Jan. 2018, www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/milk-and-dairy-nutrition/.

“Water, Drinks and Your Health.” NHS Choices, NHS, June 2018, www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/water-drinks-nutrition/.

NHS Choices, NHS, www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/foods-to-avoid-pregnant/.

Montgomery, Kristen S. “Nutrition Column An Update on Water Needs during Pregnancy and Beyond.” The Journal of Perinatal Education, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2002, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595116/.

“How Much Water Do You Need to Stay Healthy?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 14 Oct. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256.

“Nutrition During Pregnancy.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/nutrition-during-pregnancy.

“Alcohol Use in Pregnancy.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 Oct. 2020, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/alcohol-use.html.

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