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.

How much to drink up?

In addition to clean drinking water, the following is a list of alternatives that pregnant women can consume during pregnancy. Note that some on this list should be consumed in moderation. 

  • Coffee: The topic of caffeine consumption during pregnancy has caused a heated debate in the medical community. The overall consensus among medical professionals is that one or two cups of coffee each morning 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.
  • Soda: Both diet and sugared sodas are considered safe for consumption during pregnancy, though neither is the ideal choice. 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.
  • Cow’s Milk: As long as cow’s milk is pasteurized it is safe for pregnant women. 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.

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. 

  • Herbal Teas: There is very little regulation in the supplement market and while some herbal teas are considered food products others fall within the realm of supplements. It is best to stay away from herbal teas during pregnancy as there could be undeclared ingredients (herbs, stimulants and other supplemental ingredients) that may be unsafe for the fetus.
  • 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.