Morning sickness can hit like a ton of stones, especially during the first trimester. Dehydration is often associated with nausea and is a concern for many expectant mothers. Pedialyte has long been touted as a cure for dehydration, but since it's usually intended for children, is Pedialyte safe to drink as an adult?
Overall, Pedialyte is perfectly safe to drink even during pregnancy. Although dehydration effectively rehydrates the balance of carbohydrates, electrolytes, and water, Pedialyte is not necessary to stay hydrated and have a healthy pregnancy.
While Pedialyte drinks are safe, what's the difference between their different styles — and how does Pedialyte compare to Gatorade? I'll break down the differences below.
All of Pedialyte's offerings have ingredients that are fairly simple, and since Pedialyte is marketed as food, they're all safe to drink as well.
For the sake of simplicity, I am comparing all the different versions to the Classic Pedialyte as it is their most basic style.
Classic Pedialyte contains water, sugar, electrolytes, zinc, non-nutritive sweetener, flavor and color.
The organic version is nutritionally identical but uses all USDA-certified organic ingredients and replaces some of the sugar and sucralose with fruit juice and stevia.
AdvancedCare and AdvancedCare Plus contain galactooligosaccharides, which are a prebiotic. Prebiotics feed intestinal bacteria and thus support healthy digestion. The galactooligosaccharides are derived from dairy products, so these versions of Pedialyte are not suitable for women with dairy allergies or vegans.
In addition to the milk-derived prebiotics, another allergen used in some Pedialytes is red dye, to which some people are allergic. Not all red or orange drinks use this dye. So if you have an allergy, it's best to read the label when choosing a flavor.
Pedialyte also offers a handy pen option called powder packs that can be emptied into a water bottle on the go. These packs are nearly identical to their liquid counterparts, however the zinc is omitted. The same goes for the Freeze Pops, but I'll cover those in more detail below.
Interestingly, adding zinc to oral rehydration solutions has been shown to reduce episodes of diarrhea. So if you need to rehydrate due to bathroom issues, sticking with the liquid Pedialyte may be more helpful than the powder packs.
Along with morning sickness and needing more fluids to support circulation between mother and baby, dehydration is a major concern for some expectant mothers.
When dehydrated, the body loses not only water but also electrolytes. This is where Pedialyte comes in.
Although originally designed for children, Pedialyte works for adults too! The official Pedialyte website even recommends their drinks for pregnant women suffering from dehydration.
All Pedialyte drinks combine water, sugar and electrolytes in the optimal concentration to maximize rehydration power.
Sugar may seem like a strange ingredient at first, but it is actually necessary for the water to enter your body as quickly as possible. The sugar, called dextrose in the case of Pedialyte, activates the intestinal mechanism responsible for the absorption of water, sodium and potassium.
More recently, “adult” electrolyte solutions have entered the market. These work in the same way as Pedialyte, but tend to be a bit more expensive.
Is Pedialyte Good For You During Pregnancy?
Pedialyte is designed to treat disease-related dehydration. And while none of the ingredients are harmful, neither are they necessary if you're able to maintain hydration by drinking other fluids like water.
Swallowing liter after liter of Pedialyte can inadvertently cause your body to hold on to too much water, leading to a slight feeling of fullness.
Because Pedialyte is also sweetened with sugar, which is necessary for the drink to be effective as well as for rehydration purposes, it is considered a sugar-sweetened drink (SSB). Routinely drinking more than 5 servings of SSBs per week has been linked to some negative pregnancy outcomes.
While drinking Pedialyte to fix occasional dehydration is unlikely to have any ill effects, it's best to use it as intended and get your electrolytes through your diet when you can.
The main electrolytes that Pedialyte replenishes are sodium, potassium and chloride. Most people don't need to look for food sources of sodium (hello, salty chip/crisp cravings).
Potassium is also widely found in food. ½ cup white or lima beans, ½ cup beets, 3 ounces ground beef, one nectarine, 6 ounces yogurt, and ½ cup vegetable juice all have a similar amount of potassium as a serving of Pedialyte.
Chloride is the only electrolyte not typically listed on food labels. Fortunately, table salt is one part sodium and one part chloride, making salty foods a good source of chloride as well.
Neither option is really better than the other. Rather, it depends on the needs of your body. If you're not eating much due to nausea or have had a tough workout, the extra carbs in Gatorade can give you a boost of energy.
Overall, Pedialyte is a great choice for rehydrating after bouts of morning sickness or other illnesses, and all styles of Pedialyte are perfectly safe during pregnancy. Some versions contain milk ingredients and/or red dye, so check if you're allergic.
While it's hard to overdo it with Pedialyte, remember that the drink isn't necessary to stay hydrated and have a safe and healthy pregnancy either.