Your health and that of your baby largely depend on the food and drinks you take when pregnant. Besides being mindful of the food you eat, you should also know what to drink and what not to drink when pregnant. Doing so allows you to make healthy dietary choices for the proper development of your baby.
While water is the healthiest drink for pregnant women, drinking plain water may be difficult and uninspiring. Luckily, there are numerous healthy drinks besides water that you can add to your pregnancy diet. Read on for more information about healthy drinks you can take when pregnant.
Why Drinking Fluids is So Important During Pregnancy
Drinking water during pregnancy is essential for excellent health for both the mother and baby. While everyone should drink eight glasses of water daily, the fluid requirements go up to 12 glasses for pregnant women. Note that your water requirements include all your fluids as healthy drinks add to your body’s water requirements. Here are a few reasons you should drink your fluids during pregnancy.
1. Transportation of Nutrients to the Baby
H2O is responsible for the absorption and transportation of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in the body. It also facilitates the transportation of nutrients to the baby for your child’s developmental needs.
By drinking your fluids, you ensure that your child gets all the nutrients it needs for proper development. Proper fluid intake also supports amniotic fluid by making sure it is adequate for healthy fetal circulation.
2. Prevents Constipation and Hemorrhoids
Constipation during pregnancy occurs for reasons such as hormonal changes and inadequate intake of fluids. By maintaining a healthy fluid intake, you experience smooth bowel movements as water keeps the food moving along your digestive system. Since hemorrhoids occur due to passing hard stool and constipation, a healthy water intake also keeps hemorrhoids at bay.
3. Flushes Out Toxins and Reduces the Risk of UTI
Most women suffer from UTIs during pregnancy. Drinking your fluids can help prevent UTIs and other infections as water flushes out toxins and pathogens in the urinary tract. It, therefore, keeps your kidneys healthy and reduces your risks of kidney and bladder infections. Lastly, water dilutes your urine and gets rid of excess sodium that may lead to water retention.
Dehydration during pregnancy can lead to dizziness, cramps, swollen feet, nausea, and headaches. In severe cases, dehydration during the third trimester may cause preterm birth by triggering contractions.
By drinking water, you keep away the aches and pains that come with pregnancy. The fluids also keep you cool during hot seasons and prevent overheating. You also avoid water retention and lessen the severity of morning sickness.
When drinking your fluids, it is best to sip them instead of gulping them down to avoid triggering nausea.
What Expectant Mothers Should Drink Besides Water
While water is the healthiest drink during pregnancy, there are numerous beverage options you should consider to help you meet your fluid intake requirements. What’s more, most women find it hard to keep anything down in the early weeks of pregnancy, which may make plain water difficult to take. Fortunately, you don’t have to limit yourself to water as the only healthy drink. Here are examples of what to drink when pregnant besides water.
(i) Carbonated and Infused Water
If you are looking for what to drink besides water, carbonated water is a great option. It is naturally flavored and does not contain artificial sweeteners present in sodas and other fizzy drinks. Carbonated water can also ease nausea while keeping you hydrated.
You can also infuse your water with fruits and vegetables to create refreshing and nutritious. The longer you let your fruits and vegetables sit in the water, the more nutrients it contains.
(ii) Fresh Juices
Minerals and nutrients are necessary for your growing baby, and you can get them by drinking fresh fruit and vegetable juices. It is not advisable to buy commercially-made juices as they may contain lots of sugar and flavorings that are bad for you and your baby.
While fresh fruit juice is a healthy drink, drinking too much may increase your calorie intake as it contains sugars. Vegetable juices, on the other hand, are low in sugar. Consider carrots, beetroots, and kale that are sweet without having high levels of fructose.
(iii) Low-Fat Milk
If you are wondering what to drink when pregnant, low-fat milk is your ideal option besides water. It is an excellent source of protein and calcium for you and your baby. You require at least 1000mg of calcium daily to meet your unborn baby’s calcium needs for bone and teeth development.
It also promotes healthy nervous, circulatory, and muscular systems. When choosing what to drink during pregnancy, ensure that your low-fat milk is pasteurized to avoid bacteria and other contaminants. Besides dairy milk, your milk options include fortified soy milk, almond milk, and buttermilk.
(iv) Herbal Tea
Herbal teas are infused with fruit or herbs and are free of caffeine, making them among the healthiest drinks to drink when pregnant. Besides helping you meet your fluid requirements, herbal teas can help relieve morning sickness and aid digestion.
Some of the best herbal teas include ginger tea, peppermint tea, lemon tea, dandelion, and red raspberry tea. When making your tea, avoid adding too much sugar, especially if you drink it often. If you must, only put a spoonful of sugar.
Vegetable and fruit smoothies are healthy and safe to drink when you are pregnant. They are a great source of vitamins and minerals, and you can explore a wide variety of recipes. When making your smoothies, wash your veggies and fruits thoroughly and only use plain yogurt or pasteurized milk.
You can also add protein shakes to your smoothies to boost your protein consumption and support your baby’s development. For a healthy drink, take your smoothies without added sweeteners.
(vi) Coconut Water
You can avoid dehydration during pregnancy while reaping additional nutrients by drinking coconut water. If you can’t drink it on its own, incorporate coconut water in your smoothies, or mix it with ginger or lemon to create a flavorful, refreshing drink.
The water contains electrolytes that help you fight dehydration and is also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, antioxidants, and magnesium. It also stabilizes your blood sugar levels and can reduce high blood pressure.
(vii) Soups and Bone Broth
Soups make the best healthy drinks besides water for pregnant women as they hydrate and relieve hunger pangs. They are also easy to digest and contain numerous nutrients and minerals. Thinner soups like miso soup and bone broth are excellent for hydration purposes.
Do remember that commercially-made soups may have high amounts of sodium. Therefore, consider making your soup as you can control the ingredients. Some of the soup ideas you can incorporate into your diet include mutton and chicken soup, bone broth, and tomato soup.
The Worst Drinks for Pregnant Mothers
Although drinking fluids is necessary for pregnant mothers, not all drinks are safe. Here’s a list of what not to drink when pregnant.
Coffee, Tea, Energy Drinks
While some caffeine (200mg per day) is not bad for your pregnancy, drinking too much tea, coffee, and energy drinks is unhealthy. Caffeine is a diuretic and will make you lose more water as it makes you urinate more.
The high caffeine content can also pass to the fetus and impair growth, leading to overweight. Besides containing high levels of caffeine, energy drinks have stimulants and sugars that are unsafe for pregnant mothers.
Sodas are full of empty calories and lots of sugar that do nothing for you or your unborn baby. In fact, drinking diet soda during pregnancy also increases your baby’s risk of being overweight, according to research conducted by Cleveland Clinic. Sodas and other fizzy drinks can also cause acidity and aggravate heartburn.
Alcohol increases your chances of stillbirth and miscarriage. It is among what not to drink during pregnancy as it causes fetal alcohol syndrome, a condition that comes with deformities, intellectual disability, and heart defects. Note that there are no acceptable alcohol levels during pregnancy as even small amounts can interfere with brain development.
Unpasteurized milk and juice may contain bacteria and other pathogens that can affect your health and that of your unborn baby. Before buying milk or juice, check the label and ensure it is pasteurized. On the same note, avoid unpasteurized eggnog as the eggs can contain salmonella, which puts you at risk of sepsis and blood infections.
Wheat Grass Juice
While wheatgrass may seem like a healthy drink as it contains vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and essential amino acids, it should go on your list of what not to drink when pregnant. Wheatgrass usually grows on soil or water and is harvested under moist conditions.
It, therefore, has a high risk of contamination from mold and bacteria. Too much wheatgrass causes vomiting and diarrhea, which may lead to electrolyte imbalance. Research has also shown a connection between wheatgrass juice and miscarriages and deformities.
As a mother-to-be, you should be extra careful about what you eat and drink during your pregnancy. The above information can help you make healthy beverage choices so you can meet your body’s fluid needs while boosting your health and that of your unborn baby.
Sources: Cleveland Clinic, Could Diet Soda during Pregnancy Mean an Overweight Child Later? Aug 2017, College of William and Mary, Drinks, Soft-Drinks and Juices During Pregnancy, Dec 2012, Health University of Utah, Is Drinking Coffee During Pregnancy Bad For My Baby? May 2018 and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, How Much Water Should I Drink During Pregnancy? Oct 2020.