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Alcohol is bad during pregnancy. We know this, and that's why some pregnant women replace liquor with lemonade and diet soda at celebrations and parties. The idea behind this is that soda contains simpler ingredients like carbonated water, sugar or artificial sweeteners and flavors that appear harmless. But sodas are more complicated than they seem, and their additives can be detrimental to you and your unborn baby.
Is Soda And Diet Soda Safe During Pregnancy?
Drinking diet soda and soda while pregnant is safe when these beverages are consumed in moderation. If you take them occasionally and in limited quantities, then soda or diet soda should not affect the growing fetus.
How Much Soda Can You Drink When You Are Pregnant?
It is safe to consume no more than one serving (330 ml) of carbonated or diet carbonated water per day. Studies have shown that women who drink more soda and diet soda during pregnancy have a higher risk of preterm birth. The risk is the same whether carbonated water contains sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Caffeine in carbonated water is the second most important supplement after sugar. It may make you feel refreshed, but it has a dim reputation for being slightly harmful. Despite this, little is known about how it affects the developing fetus.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that a pregnant woman consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine per day. The average 330 ml can of soda water contains 32-42 mg of caffeine. One jar is about one serving, so if you limit your consumption to one jar a day, you are safe.
Ingredients Of Soda And Diet Soda And Their Effect On Pregnancy
Soda is a concoction made from a mix of several ingredients. The ingredients are listed below and how they affect your body during pregnancy:
1. Carbonated water
It acts as a base for dissolving other ingredients. Carbonated water contains carbon dioxide as the main ingredient, which adds effervescent bubbles to the drink. Simple carbonated water should include only gas, but most manufacturers add other minerals such as sodium and potassium. Sodium can increase your blood pressure, and constant high blood pressure can be dangerous for your baby.
There are varying amounts of caffeine in different soda beverages. The recommended quantity of caffeine during pregnancy is no more than 200mg a day. It is a compound that stimulates the central nervous system and glands like the adrenal gland. More caffeine than this can have long term effects on the health of the growing fetus.
Research has shown that the consumption of more than 300mg of caffeine a day can lead to a miscarriage. Women who consume more than 500mg per day may give birth to babies with chronic high breathing and heartbeat. Also, caffeine stays in a woman’s body for 11 hours but can be up to 100 hours in the fetus as the baby’s growing organs have a tough time processing this substance.
Sugars provide sweetness, but they also give you surplus calories. It is, per se, not bad for the health of a pregnant woman but when consumed in high quantities can cause the mother to become overweight or obese. On an average, there is about 35g of sugar in 330ml of sweetened soda. High consumption of sweetened soda can even lead to obesity, which in turn can affect the health of the fetus through problems ranging from congenital disabilities to miscarriage.
4. Artificial sweetener (in diet soda):
Many women resort to ‘diet’ version of their favourite soda since it replaces sugar with little or zero calorie artificial sweetener. Artificial sweeteners bind with the taste receptors for sweetness on the tongue thus giving the sweet taste but without the calorific value of real sugar. But not all artificial sweeteners are safe, and their effects on pregnant women are debatable. The US Food and Drug Administration considers most artificial sweeteners safe for pregnant women
Some carbonated foods may not contain caffeine, but they do have a flavoring that gives the drink its flavor and color. The exact nature of the substance is usually a closely guarded trade secret. However, phosphoric acid is an openly recognized flavoring in carbonated beverages. It adds astringency to a carbonated drink, but on the other hand can leach calcium from the bones due to the ability of phosphorus to bind to calcium, which is present in large quantities in the bones. They can make the bones brittle, which is not a good circumstance for a woman who is carrying a child.
Carbonated drinks are one of the common triggers of heartburn, so their use during pregnancy can aggravate this condition. You may notice this especially during the third trimester. Drinking carbonated beverages that contain caffeine can aggravate heartburn. If you notice a burning sensation in your chest and throat soon after drinking soda, a reduction in your back may ease your discomfort.