You know how important hydration is during pregnancy. To keep your growing baby in good health, you need to keep your own body healthy by drinking plenty of fluids. Though, you need to be picky about what you’re drinking. Water is the best option, but when you get bored of it and want to try something with a more interesting flavor, you might be tempted to reach for the fruit juice. Orange juice, cranberry juice, and any other sweet juices are fine in moderation but many pregnant women don’t realize how much sugar they are actually consuming when they reach for these beverages.

By consuming too much sugar during your pregnancy, you are putting yourself at risk for gestational diabetes. Women that have gestational diabetes need to keep their glucose levels constantly leveled out. What’s more, their babies are more at risk for complications during birth such as preterm delivery. You should try your hardest to avoid getting gestational diabetes because it could even lead to permanent diabetes later in life.

Aside from the complications associated with gestational diabetes, too much sugar during pregnancy can also make your baby grow larger than he or she should. Studies show that sugar consumption during pregnancy is directly associated with the size of the baby. This can result in lifelong problems and it will require a Cesarean delivery, which is a problem for the many women who are excited to have a natural childbirth. Cesareans are medically riskier than vaginal deliveries.

Clearly, consuming too much sugar from juices during your pregnancy can lead to a range of problems. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to do, but you could cut out a lot of your daily consumption by avoiding sugary juices. If you really want to drink juice for the heath benefits, try finding unsweetened juices. “Healthy” juices usually have more sugar than you think, so get used to checking the labels first. The USDA recommends that adults don’t eat more than ten teaspoons of added sugar daily, which can be consumed in a single sugary drink. Many processed foods contain sugar so you could easily consume more than the recommended amount before it’s even time for lunch. So, try sticking to water during your pregnancy when you get thirsty. Fruit juices are okay in moderation, but they shouldn’t be your main source of hydration or nutrition. Water and fruit separately are the best alternative.

Source: Linda Englund-Ogge et al: Association between intake of artificially sweetened and sugar-sweetened beverages and preterm delivery: a large prospective cohort study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Volume 96 Issue 3 September 2012