One of the first things you learn when you get pregnant is what not to do. And everyone seems to want to give their own well-meaning but contradicting opinions. Maybe you’ve been missing your morning coffee ever since your mom told you it’s bad for the baby. What exactly can you drink? Luckily, you don’t have to give up all the good stuff (not even Starbucks). We’re here to give you some good drink options, as well as advice on the bad ones. Here are 5+ healthy drinks for pregnancy that you can enjoy!
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Healthy Drinks for Pregnancy
To start off the list, we have the most obvious healthy drink for pregnancy: water.
Pregnancy aside, one of the most important things you can be drinking daily is water. But if you are pregnant, having enough fluids becomes even more important. Water keeps the amniotic fluid replenished, your cells hydrated, and keeps your health good in general (1).
How much water should you be drinking? According to Healthline, pregnant women should drink about 80 ounces of water every day (1). This is only eight ounces more than is recommended for women who aren’t pregnant (1).
If you are breastfeeding, Healthline says that your water consumption should go up to about 104 ounces (1). Moral of the story: it’s a great idea to drink lots of water! Your body–and the baby–will thank you for it.
But what if water makes you nauseous?
If you’re pregnant in the summertime, chances are you’ve already sat down with a big glass of lemonade. In fact, lemons are beneficial for you in a surprising way.
As stated earlier, water is the best source of hydration. But some women have trouble drinking water without becoming nauseated. Infusing water with lemon juice or making some lemonade can help your daily water intake and fix your nausea (1). The American Pregnancy Association (APA) says that sniffing lemons can help nausea from morning sickness (1). So go ahead: grab that sweet glass of lemonade! (Just make sure there isn’t a ton of added sugar).
Sweet Healthy Drinks
Fresh fruit juices are great, as long as they’re pasteurized. Everyone loves a refreshing glass of orange juice in the morning with their breakfast. And you can still enjoy it too as a sweet pregnancy drink!
Pasteurization is the process that removes harmful bacteria from juices (2). This is why it is important that you only drink pasteurized juices, even if you prefer the “natural stuff.”
Two healthy juices that boost immune system health for pregnant women are orange juice and cranberry juice. OJ contains potassium, which can help lower high blood pressure (1). High blood pressure can be a dangerous condition in pregnant women. And the Vitamin C in the juice will enhance iron absorption (1). Cranberry juice is made up of 90% water (3). This means it will keep you well hydrated! And the high dietary fiber in the drink works against constipation (3).
Just like our bodies need water, pregnant women also have calcium needs. It’s recommended that pregnant women drink about eight ounces of milk per day (5). While there isn’t an issue with drinking whole milk, it is suggested that you drink skim or low-fat milk (5). This is typically healthier whether pregnant or not and can prevent extra weight gain (5).
“But what if I’m lactose intolerant?” Surprisingly, studies have shown that even if you had symptoms of lactose intolerance before getting pregnant, they can disappear! (1). You may find that you can now tolerate cow’s milk. If you still have symptoms after a glass of milk, try non-dairy milk. “Soy milk is a viable alternative. Just be sure to choose brands that have added calcium.” (1).
Similar to juices, it’s important for the milk you drink to be pasteurized to prevent any bacterial infections.
Smoothies are one of the best things you can drink while pregnant. In your first trimester, it can be difficult to keep food down. Smoothies are an easy way to get a lot of essential nutrients without having to eat a full meal (4). Nutritionist Tamara Melton explains, “There's something about the combo of liquid and cold. Women tolerate smoothies better than, say, spinach omelets.” (1).
70% of women surveyed by Parents admitted to making healthier diet choices when they became pregnant (1). But only 37% were meeting the recommended amount of fruit and vegetable servings per day (1).
Smoothies are a great way to get all of those vital nutrients. Just make sure you put some greens in your cart, not just fruit, when shopping at grocery stores.
If you want a reviving hot or cool ice tea, herbal tea may be a good option for you. Herbal tea is a good alternative for leaf teas as these are often fruit or herb-based and caffeine-free (5). Since pregnant women should cut down on caffeine, it’s a good choice for a healthy pregnancy drink.
According to the APA however, you shouldn’t drink just any herbal tea.(1). Herbal teas can be unsafe if they are not commercially made (1). This is because the “amounts of each ingredients are controlled in commercial tea bags,” whereas they might not be in homemade teas (5).
These are three popular teas for pregnant women that can be enjoyed as a hot drink or as iced tea: (5)
- Ginger Tea – Ginger helps with indigestion and can relieve stress.
- Lemon or Lemon Balm Tea – Like we said earlier, lemon is good for nausea, as well as stress relief.
- Peppermint Tea – This can reduce “digestive discomfort, bloating and also prevents nausea.”
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Drinks to Avoid While Pregnant
While it is exciting to hear that many of the drinks we love are safe to consume while pregnant, there are bad pregnancy drinks you should still avoid. But don’t worry! They’re easy to steer clear of. And we’ve even offered some alternatives! Read on to see what kinds of drinks to avoid while pregnant.
Most people know that alcohol is the one drink you should avoid completely if you are growing a baby. But maybe you don’t know exactly why. Let us explain.
The liver is one of the last organs to develop. Because of this, fetuses are not able to process alcohol in the same way adults can (2). In the first trimester, drinking can increase the risk of miscarriage, early birth, and low birth weight (2). In the second and third trimesters, drinking could affect your child’s behavior and learning ability (2).
Consuming alcoholic beverages while pregnant can cause a wide range of complications. Not only is the mother affected, but the child as well. It is best to stay away completely from the substance.
What about after the child is born?
If you are breastfeeding, it is best to continue avoiding alcohol. Excessive drinking can lead to problems in infant growth and development (2). However, according to the CDC, you can drink one drink per day and it not be detrimental to your baby's health. But you must wait two to three hours before breastfeeding (2). In conclusion, if you want to drink while breastfeeding, it is recommended to do it in moderation.
Unpasteurized Milk and Juice
Up at the top of the healthy drink list is pasteurized milk and juice. It’s no surprise that the unpasteurized versions of said drinks are on the bad list.
Raw milk is “milk from cows, sheep, and goats–or any other animal–that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria.” (1). Without pasteurization, dangerous bacteria can be present in the milk. Bacteria can cause food poisoning (1). One of these harmful bacteria, Listeria, can cause an infection called listeriosis (1).
According to genetic counselor Sara Roirdan, pregnant women are “particularly susceptible” to this disease (1). It can be devastating and “even deadly for unborn babies.” (1). Although raw milk has seen a bit of movement in the United States, the FDA advises everyone to avoid it (1).
Drinking unpasteurized juice is just as harmful. Mothers can contract E. coli, which puts you at risk for “premature rupture of the amniotic sac, low birth weight, or stillbirth.” (2). Overall, skip the “natural stuff” and stick to pasteurized drinks.
This may be one of the hardest types of drink to avoid on this list. Coffee, soda, sports drinks, energy drinks and tea (except most herbal teas) all have caffeine in them.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnant women should to limit their caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams per day (6). While this may seem easy, lots of things have caffeine. One cup of coffee, a couple bites of a chocolate bar, and you may already be over your caffeine limit for the day. For that reason, it’s best to steer clear of too much caffeine for the most part.
The issue with caffeine is similar to alcohol. Caffeine is absorbed very quickly and passes into the placenta (6). Babies can’t metabolize caffeine, so high levels can build up quickly (6). These high levels can lead to restricted fetal growth and an increase in the risk of low birth weight (6).
We know how much coffee means to a stressed and frazzled mom, however! There is some silver lining. According to this website, there are a number of Starbucks drinks that–in limited amounts–are still safe to drink! Feel free to check it out.
Are There Other Healthy Drinks for Pregnancy?
There are plenty of homemade drinks you can create that are safe to drink while pregnant. Check out this website for 17 healthy drink recipes for pregnancy that you can make in your kitchen. One of those is apple cider vinegar drinks–yum! Or if you want something simple but energy-boosting, coconut water has been found to be a beneficial and tasty drink for a healthy pregnancy.
And as always, talk to your doctor about what is best for you. If you don’t have a personal physician, you can sign up for a consultation at Catherine Foundation and we can get you set in the right direction.
- Schumacker, L. (2022, January 12). 11 beverages you should drink while pregnant and 11 beverages you should avoid. TheList.com. Retrieved July 13, 2022, from https://www.thelist.com/77249/7-beverages-drink-pregnant-7-beverages-avoid/
- Brighten, J. (2021, March 5). 12 foods to avoid during pregnancy. Dr. Jolene Brighten. Retrieved July 13, 2022, from https://drbrighten.com/12-foods-to-avoid-during-pregnancy/
- Benjamin, J. (2022, April 5). 9 healthy juices you should drink during pregnancy. MomJunction. Retrieved July 13, 2022, from https://www.momjunction.com/articles/healthy-juices-you-should-drink-during-pregnancy_00121738/
- G, L. (2022, July 5). Best healthy pregnancy drinks (besides water!). Birth Eat Love. Retrieved July 13, 2022, from https://www.birtheatlove.com/pregnancy-drinks/
- Waggott, G. (2021, September 27). 10 drinks pregnant women can enjoy besides water. Pregnancy Food Checker. Retrieved July 13, 2022, from https://www.pregnancyfoodchecker.com/10-drinks-pregnant-women-can-enjoy-besides-water/
- Bjarnadottir, A. (2020, August 13). 11 foods and beverages to avoid during pregnancy. Healthline. Retrieved July 13, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-foods-to-avoid-during-pregnancy