pregnant woman drinking coffee

The best beverage for a pregnant woman and fetus is clean water, but drinking water constantly can get boring leaving many expecting women wondering just what is safe to drink during pregnancy and what should be left until after the baby is born.

Water is a pregnant person's best choice

Clean and optimally filtered water is the #1 choice to drink for pregnant persons. The quality of water in public water-supply systems is usually regulated by specific state agencies, but filtering it may improve the quality. 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.

Is it safe for pregnant persons to drink water from plastic bottles?

Most water bought in stores comes in plastic bottles, but if you have a choice, you should consider buying water from glass bottles.  Some plastics contain bisphenol A (BPA). BPA (Bisphenol A) is a chemical used to make a kind of plastic called polycarbonate. BPA is also used to make the linings in almost all canned food and drinks, including cans of liquid infant formula.

There are data showing that even low levels of BPA may be harmful to the normal development of babies and fetuses during pregnancy. Many manufacturers of smaller water bottle claim that their plastic bottles do not contain BPA, and you should always read labels as this may be different from one to the other manufacturer. When possible, choose water in glass or plastic bottles that don't contain this chemical.

Is tea safe to drink in pregnancy?

It's safe to drink tea in pregnancy as long as you choose the right kind with a low caffeine content. Choose commercially-made teas rather than any homemade remedies as the amounts of each ingredient are controlled in commercial tea bags while in homemade or loose-leaf teas mixed yourself may accidentally contain too much of one ingredient.

Double-check for caffeine content – many but not all herbal teas are caffeine-free, but they’ll usually state this on the label. Many people enjoy herbal tea with a slice of fruit in it, such as lemon, but ensure this is thoroughly washed first, especially the skin.

Peppermint and lemon tea, for example, seems safe in pregnancy.

Is it safe for pregnant people to drink green tea?

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.

Milk is a good alternative for a pregnant person

As long as cow’s milk is pasteurized it is safe for pregnant women. You may want to choos milk that's not to high in fat. Some pregnant women are concerned about consuming cow’s milk if the cow has been injected with bovine somatotropin (BST). BST is a protein given to cows to increase milk production. This protein is naturally found in cow’s milk even if the cow is not injected with additional BST.

Is coffee safe for a pregnant person?

Coffee is safe as long as you do not drink more than 1-2 small cups a day. The overall consensus among medical professionals is that one or two cups of coffee is safe as long as caffeine intake, throughout the entire day, is kept below 200 mg. Remember, sodas and some foods contain caffeine so your intake may be higher than you think.

Most sodas are not recommended in pregnancy

Diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners; most with very little testing on pregnant women. Animal studies have shown birth defects with high consumption of saccharin, but few diet sodas use saccharin as the primary sweetener. Aspartame and sucralose are more commonly used and both are considered safe in moderation. Both sugared sodas and diet sodas may contain caffeine. Caffeine intake should be limited to less than 200 mg per day.

What to skip during pregnancy

There are plenty of good fluids to drink during pregnancy, but some beverages should be skipped until after you have given birth. 

  • Alcohol: If there is one consensus in the pregnancy community it is that alcohol is not safe to drink during pregnancy. Alcohol intake during pregnancy has been linked to fetal alcohol syndrome. There are also links to increased stillbirth and miscarriage risk associated with alcohol intake during pregnancy. 
  • Energy Drinks: That Red Bull may hit the spot when you are suffering from pregnancy fatigue, but energy drinks are not considered safe for pregnant women. Excessive amounts of caffeine, sugar and other supplemental ingredients are packed into energy supplements; few being tested on pregnant women.