In the United States, there are three main types of artificial sweetener that have been approved by the FDA and are used in everyday recipes. These three types of sweetener include aspartame, sucralose, and saccharine. Aspartame is probably the most popular, as it is the main ingredient for both NutraSweet and Equal. Women use NutraSweet and Equal everyday to save on calories and make their coffee and tea healthier. If you’re pregnant, you’ve probably wondered whether or not such products are safe for your growing baby.

According to recent studies, the consumption of aspartame has no negative effect on babies that are growing in the womb. Of course, if you consume a lot more than the recommended amount, there is a chance that the aspartame will have a negative effect on you and your baby during pregnancy. However, consuming a normal amount based on a usual diet in the United States will not have any negative side effects.

Aspartame is made up of two amino acids, which have a lot of jobs in the human body. The two acids present in Aspartame are phenylanaline and aspartic acid. These acids are harmless to most women, pregnant or not. However, women who have a genetic disease called phenylketonuria should be extremely careful about their Aspartame consumption.

Women who have phenylketonuria should be cautious about their Aspartame consumption whether or not they are pregnant, and studies show that birth defects may result when they consume any of the otherwise harmless artificial sweeteners in their daily lives.

If you find out you are pregnant, you do not have to eliminate Aspartame from your diet. However, you should try minimizing the amount of Aspartame you consume, not because the sweetener itself if harmful, but because the consumption of diet drinks and sodas might leave you missing out on important nutrients. Instead of drinking diet soda, try increasing your intake of water, as dehydration could leave your baby with serious developmental problems. Similarly, make sure you don’t fill yourself with the empty calories of diet sodas when you could be getting valuable nutrients from milk or fruit juice.

All in all, Aspartame will have no negative effect on women who are healthy and they can expect a normal birth. However, the products that contain Aspartame are naturally low in nutritional value, so be wary about what you are consuming and what you are not when you become pregnant.

Source: HH Butchko et al: Aspartame: Review for Safety. Medical and Scientific Affairs Volume 35 Issue 2 pt. 2 2008

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