When you find out that you’re pregnant, what’s one of the first things your doctor tells you to do? I’m willing to bet most of you have heard that it’s imperative to stay hydrated during pregnancy. Pregnant or not, drinking enough water is crucial to a healthy lifestyle.
The average adult should consume 11.5-15.5 cups of fluid per day, but this amount varies depending on your age, weight, and height. A pregnant woman will lean towards the higher recommended amount. It’s not a secret that most of us would struggle with drinking this amount of water daily. But the recommended amount doesn’t necessarily have to come from water. Although nutritious, calorie-free, and easily accessible, water can get a bit dull sometimes.
Therefore it’s important to note that water can come from food sources and fluids. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of water. Many healthy beverage options may help you work towards your daily goals. Smoothies, fruit juice, and even coffee can help contribute towards that goal. Whichever way you choose to do it, you must keep that daily intake goal in mind.
We shall highlight the different ways pregnant women can get healthy and nutritious liquids into their bodies. These liquids can be fun, delicious, and exciting enough to look forward to, all while staying healthy.
The dos and don’ts of consuming drinks for pregnant mothers
There are crucial factors to take into consideration when choosing a drink that’s safe for pregnancy. Unfortunately, there are a lot of “don’ts” tied to pregnancy. But these rules are set in place for the health of you and your unborn baby.
Just remember, it’s a relatively short time to worry about the things that you can’t have. Instead, focus on what you can do, like maintain a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle. But it is important to dive into these questions.
Why can’t pregnant women consume particular things? You may have questions like, “Can I have a glass of wine while pregnant?” or “How many cups of coffee can I have while pregnant?” Let’s touch base on a few of them.
Is it safe for pregnant women to drink wine?
It’s never advisable to drink alcohol at any point during pregnancy, according to the USDA. The new US dietary guidelines state that while everyone seems to be aware that drinking while pregnant is bad for you, a percentage of pregnant women consume alcohol regularly.
The 2020-2025 edition reports that 1 in 10 women in the US recently consumed alcohol while pregnant. The women admitted to drinking 2 or more drinks on those days they consumed alcohol. It’s incredibly alarming because alcohol is harmful to a growing fetus at all pregnancy stages, including those 1st few weeks that you might not be aware you’re pregnant. As soon as you confirm you’re pregnant, it would help if you stopped drinking alcohol immediately.
There exist non-alcoholic versions of many different alcoholic drinks with fun “mocktail” recipes to try (we’ll share some of those later). I have seen non-alcoholic India pale ales (IPA), red wines, and even prosecco. You can often find these non-alcoholic options at your local supermarket or liquor store.
Keep caffeine consumption to a minimum
We’re often told that drinking coffee for pregnant women is prohibited. Don’t worry, you won’t have to cut off caffeine completely. If you consume low to moderate amounts, it doesn’t adversely affect the infant. The caffeine content in a drink can range widely, so you should consider this while choosing a caffeinated beverage.
The recommended limit is 300 milligrams of caffeine per day. That’s about 2-3 cups of coffee (one coffee cup has about 95 milligrams of caffeine). In comparison, one cup of green tea has about 40 milligrams of caffeine. But what about other sources of caffeine?
Are energy drinks safe to drink during pregnancy? The easy answer is no, and there are a few reasons for this.
Firstly, the caffeine range on energy drinks can go from 70 mg to over 110 mg. While that amount is safe, it’s vital to review what each drink has before consuming it. Secondly, there’s usually a high amount of sugar in energy drinks and you should avoid such levels of added sugars. Finally, energy drinks tend to have other supplements that may not be safe during pregnancy. Energy drinks are also not regulated by the FDA hence may contain ingredients not listed on the label.
Avoid drinks that are high in sugar
Drinks with a lot of sugar should be avoided in general, not just when you’re pregnant. You want to be sure the calories you’re consuming are nutrient-dense and not full of sugar or unhealthy carbs.
The most common drinks to avoid are drinks with added sugar such as soda, sports drinks, fruit drinks, and energy drinks. Sweetened coffee and teas are also among this group. They contribute to over 40% of an adult’s daily intake of added sugar.
When you add too many of these drinks to your diet, you’re adding a significant amount of unhealthy empty calories. It’s best to limit consuming these drinks or avoid them altogether. These calories shouldn’t add to the daily recommended amount for a pregnant woman. It doesn’t mean that you abandon the flavors you happen to love in these drinks because some options don’t have added sugar.
Here are some ideas:
- Coffee can be a safe choice when you limit the amount you drink or if you stick to decaffeinated coffee. You also should omit added sugar, syrups, and creamers high in fat (heavy cream, half and half, or whole milk). Skip the sugar and choose a low-fat creamer option instead (low-fat dairy or dairy-free options). Also, make sure that any flavored creamers are low in sugar or sugar-free.
- Unsweetened tea is another good choice. Try to choose teas without caffeine or limit the amount you drink. If you must sweeten your tea, do it yourself. You can use natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.
- Fruit juice is ok for pregnant women when you chose the right product. 100% juice with no added sugar is going to be your best option. For example, pasteurized orange juice or 100% cranberry juice are great options. Vegetable juice would also be a fantastic choice. Pregnant women should avoid fresh-squeezed juice since most juices labeled “fresh-squeezed” haven’t been pasteurized. Therefore it could contain harmful bacteria.
- Try seltzer water instead of soda. It’s entirely safe for pregnant women to drink seltzer water. It’s a great alternative if you’re craving a bubbly beverage. There are so many flavors available that you certainly won’t get bored with the different seltzer options. You can get pretty creative with seltzer, as you’ll see in the recipes we’ve provided below. You can even dilute some of your favorite juices by adding seltzer, which will automatically decrease the drink’s sugar level.
Can you drink sports drinks while pregnant?
It’s clear by now that a significant number of beverages aren’t recommended, and you may even wonder what can you drink while pregnant besides water? When in doubt, consult with your doctor. Your doctor may give the green light on some drinks that he typically wouldn’t recommend or those that may seem unsafe. Sports drinks and kombucha are good examples.
Is Gatorade or Powerade good for you during pregnancy? Ordinarily, you shouldn’t consume sports drinks as they’re often loaded with high levels of sugar. However in some circumstances, such as when you’re dehydrated, sick, or have a strenuous exercise routine, these drinks may be safe to consume in moderation. The presence of beneficial electrolytes in beverages could help you feel better during these unique circumstances in your pregnancy.
Kombucha is another questionable drink that pregnant women often wonder about. Kombucha can contain trace amounts of alcohol and caffeine. Most commercial brands have the alcohol wholly removed from the beverage, while homemade kombucha will be harder to gauge. Always consult with your doctor before drinking kombucha. In most cases, if you safely consumed kombucha before pregnancy, it will still be safe to do so in moderate amounts. Kombucha has even been known to help relieve pregnancy heartburn.
Healthy beverages for pregnant women
Here are some recipes for homemade pregnancy drinks to suit just about any craving. You might often find that making drinks yourself is just as fun (and more nutritious) during pregnancy.
Mocktails and refreshing drinks
Other tips and tricks for a healthy drink during pregnancy
With pregnancy comes some pretty unique cravings. The recipes and drinks above may seem refreshing one minute and completely repulsive the next. Regardless, you still need to stay hydrated.
For example, I loved most of these drinks during the 1st two trimesters, then once I hit the third trimester, heartburn set in, and anything sparkly or fruity would completely turn me off.
Here are some different ideas for when everything else doesn’t sound appealing, but you still need to get your liquid intake.
- Broths and essence – Chicken essence for pregnant ladies and beef bone broths have become very popular over the past few years. Served warm and drank like hot tea, they are known to help soothe cold symptoms and build your immune system. While you should make them at home to control the flavor and ingredients, other options are available for purchase at your local supermarket. Try to find an organic, low-sodium option, if possible.
- Milk – For some reason, it seems pretty strange to have a large glass of milk as an adult. I recall it being something our parents would make us drink against our will. Surprisingly enough, it was also one of my biggest pregnancy cravings. Pasteurized low-fat milk is a great drink option during pregnancy. It’s high in calcium and vitamin B12, which are both fantastic for your unborn baby.
- Soups – Soup is similar to the broth and essence in that it’s a hot savory liquid. Choosing broth-based soups (not cream-based) is the healthiest option. Try to make your own soups or find low-sodium options at the supermarket. Some good soups to try would be vegetable soup, chicken noodle soup, or Asian soups like Pho.
- Cucumbers and watermelon – Cucumbers and watermelon have high water content. They are great for helping you stay hydrated and also incredibly nutritious.
- Buy a fun water bottle – This may seem like a silly trick but I think it honestly helps. Sometimes, simple water intake is all that you need and are craving. Keep it fun by treating yourself to a water bottle that helps track your water intake like the Elvira motivational water bottle, which has a time marker. Besides, you can also find apps on your phone to help you keep track of your intake for the day. Most smartwatches have this function. Staying motivated is half the battle. You can do it with the right support.
Hopefully we’ve provided you with some fun, unique ways and drink recipes to help you stay hydrated during pregnancy. As a pregnant woman, you can tell almost immediately if you aren’t keeping up with your water intake. Fortunately this can be resolved at home and quickly when you take just a few steps towards rehydration.
Remember to always select drinks low in sugar or sugar-free. Stick to all-natural drinks made without any added sugar or supplements. And avoid alcohol. The risk isn’t worth affecting this special time in your life and that of your developing baby. If you’re struggling to find ways to stay hydrated, call your doctor. They will tell if you are becoming dehydrated and provide additional tips on keeping your hydration levels up.