The experience of having a child is very miraculous, but at the same time, it can be very exhausting for moms. No wonder she considers drinking energy drinks in order to get that instant boost of energy. Energy drinks indeed help in relieving fatigue. The question is, is it a safe option during pregnancy? In this article, we talk about the safety of energy drinks during pregnancy.
Several marketing campaigns succeed in persuading people, especially young people, to buy energy drinks for improved physical performance and concentration. Nevertheless, pregnant women should be aware of the risks associated with taking energy drinks during pregnancy. There is no doubt that what she eats and drinks directly or indirectly affects the baby she carries in her womb.
What Are Energy Drinks?
Energy drinks are usually caffeine-containing beverages with a high percentage of sugar. In terms of energy, sugar and caffeine act as stimulants. Vitamins and carnitine are commonly added to energy drinks. Such drinks are claimed to boost energy, improve concentration, and enhance mental clarity. Some energy drinks are marketed as beverages, while others are marketed as supplements.
Because energy drinks vary widely in their caffeine content, it can be difficult to determine how much caffeine is in them. In addition, supplement regulations are laxer than those governing food. Therefore, the type of product does not need to list caffeine content1.
Can You Have Energy Drinks During Pregnancy?
It is well known that energy drinks contain very high levels of sugar and caffeine content. Due to their high caffeine content and other ingredients, experts recommend avoiding energy drinks while pregnant. Thus, all aerated beverages are on our list of drinks to avoid during pregnancy. In fact, many of these energy drink companies put a warning on their labels that states that pregnant women should not consume them.
Pregnant women are reporting some unpleasant side effects of energy drinks. In the same way, too much sodium can cause swelling in the hands and feet, and too much caffeine can also cause complications during pregnancy. The consumption of energy drinks during pregnancy can result in growth restriction and a possible increase in certain conditions such as ADD or ADHD in fetuses later in life.
Plus, too much sugar can lead to the feeling of being sick when it drops suddenly after digestion. Energy drinks can also contribute to complications due to excessive weight gain while pregnant.
What Are The Potential Risks Of Energy Drinks During Pregnancy?
Every energy drink has a different list of ingredients. They are not regulated by the FDA. There’s a chance some of the ingredients are not listed on the label. There are several potential side effects of energy drinks during pregnancy. These include:
1. Caffeine levels are high
It is caffeine that contributes to the significant portion of energy that energy drinks claim to provide. The findings showed that maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of delivering low birth weight babies2. Extreme caffeine intake can lead to the loss of a pregnancy3.
Sleep can be affected by too much caffeine. According to source, caffeine inhibits the production of adenosine, a chemical that promotes sleep. When caffeine is consumed close to bedtime, it delays the onset of sleep by interfering with circadian melatonin rhythms.
Getting enough quality sleep is important during pregnancy for the development of the baby. The caffeine content of 8 ounces of energy drinks is usually between 80 and 150 mg. In other words, it has the same amount of caffeine as five ounces of coffee or two 12-ounce cans of caffeinated soda4.
Related Reading: 8 Causes Of Sleep Deprivation During Pregnancy
2. Effect of caffeine in energy drinks on the unborn baby
Caffeine in energy drinks can pass through the placenta into your unborn child’s system. Even though the mother may tolerate the amount of caffeine she consumes, the unborn child does not have the enzymes needed to break down caffeine. Caffeine may affect the unborn child’s sleep and movement patterns during the latter stages of pregnancy. The odds of a baby developing ADHD may be slightly increased by maternal caffeine consumption, even though this is extremely rare5.
3. High in sugar content
Despite their name, these beverages are loaded with sugar. Sugar is the most important constituent of an energy drink, in addition to caffeine, which contributes significantly to its energy effect. In many cases, energy drinks pose the same health risks as other sugar-sweetened beverages because they contain an excessive amount of sugars.
Considering that most energy drinks do not specify their sugar content, it is very difficult for consumers to know exactly how much sugar they are consuming every single day and this heightens the risk. Preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension are associated with excessive sugar consumption6.
When excessive sugar is consumed during pregnancy, it can lead to excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) as well as other pregnancy complications including gestational diabetes and preterm birth7.
Related Reading: Everything About Artificial Sweeteners During Pregnancy
4. Other considerations
In addition to caffeine and sugar energy drinks may contain other unhealthy substances, such as additives and coloring agents, which are not recommended for consumption during pregnancy.
B vitamins can be found in several energy drinks. Some energy drinks come with the essence of many herbs and plants that are marketed as health-promoting nutritional supplements, such as ginseng and guarana. Nonetheless, it is best to consume these plants “with a great deal of caution” to avoid complications during pregnancy.
For instance, taking ginseng during the early pregnancy period can lead to complications for the unborn child8. In addition, some branded energy drinks contain vitamins and could contribute to the overconsumption of vitamins. B vitamins, for example, can be beneficial, but a high dose might cause problems.
Safe Alternatives To Caffeine-Laden Energy Drinks
During pregnancy, it’s understandable that women are in a constant state of fatigue, and might not even have a good night’s rest at night. Despite all the best diets they follow, they still run low on their energy levels at some point in the day. “What can I drink for energy while pregnant” appears to be one of the most frequently asked questions on many forums.
Here are some homemade energy drinks you can consume during pregnancy that helps not only helps to boost your energy but also provide you with essential nutrients time:
1. Traditional energy drinks
There are a variety of traditional herbal drinks to choose from during your pregnancy. Jal-Jeera and Aam Panna are the bestenergy drinks during pregnancy. These drinks have a unique taste and are easy to consume. The natural coolants keep your body hydrated.
2. Fruit juices
Instead of energy drinks, we recommend you these healthy & refreshing juices to drink during pregnancy. Fresh fruit juices are rich in vitamin C, potassium, and immune-boosting antioxidants. Juices are often high in folate, an essential micronutrient. Fresh juice contains minerals that assist in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in the body.
Fresh fruit juices like pomegranate help you avoid pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia9. The packaged juices, however, are not a good alternative to energy drinks due to their artificial flavors, preservatives, and high sugar content. When it comes to drinking juice during pregnancy and preparing juice at home, you need to consider certain factors.
- Make sure you wash your hands and the utensils before preparing fruit juice
- Juices and smoothies should be made with thoroughly washed fruits
- Fresh and organic ingredients should be used when preparing juice during pregnancy
- After preparing the fresh fruit juices, consume them immediately to reap the benefits
- Creating a mixed fruit juice by blending seasonal fruits will give you all the benefits of the fruits, as well as more energy
- Fresh juice should never be sweetened or salted
Note** Fruit is always a healthier choice than fruit juice.
3. Coconut water
Coconut water is high in minerals, electrolytes, and antioxidants, which provide instant energy during pregnancy. Coconut water is lower in calories and carbs than energy drinks that can be loaded with sugar and flavorings. Coconut water is a natural energy drink for pregnancy with many health benefits. Electrolytes, magnesium, potassium, and chloride are abundant in it. Furthermore, coconut water contains dietary fiber, calcium, manganese, riboflavin, and vitamin C. In addition to preventing dehydration and restoring the body’s salt levels, it helps lower blood pressure.
Buttermilk contains riboflavin, a B vitamin that is an essential part of our body’s energy production system. If consumed with a healthy diet, buttermilk during pregnancy is an excellent beverage. It acts as a natural coolant and is high in calcium. This energy drink is a great hydration drink in the hot summer months. Moreover, it contains probiotic bacteria that aid in the overall well-being of the digestive system. This contributes to reducing the risk of gastric problems that can occur during pregnancy.
5. Vegetable juices
Pregnant women can get their daily nutrient intake from fresh vegetable juices. Vegetable juices like beetroot juice are packed with natural sugar and provide instant energy. You can mix vegetable juices with fruit juices to enhance their flavor and nutritional value. ABC juice (Apple- Beetroot- Carrot- Juice) is one of the best energy drinks during pregnancy.
6. Chia fresca
It is a fantastic alternative to caffeinated energy drinks. It is nothing but water infused with chia seeds. A squeeze of lime makes it taste even better. Omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, and antioxidants are abundant in this energy drink. Chia Fresca is a popular energy drink for pregnant women.
The problem with energy drinks during pregnancy is not the drinks themselves; it’s what goes into them. Also, it is important to know when you should stop drinking energy drinks during pregnancy. After drinking energy drinks, if you feel any discomfort at all, stop drinking them immediately.
Some natural drinks may be considered safe during pregnancy. On the other hand, many of the ingredients in the most popular energy drinks on the market aren’t considered safe for pregnant women. For a better understanding of what the energy drink contains, read the ingredients carefully. And remember that no energy drinks that come in cans can beat natural drinks.
Pregnant women are more likely to experience the adverse effects of caffeine as pregnancy progresses. As the pregnancy progresses, her body’s ability to break down caffeine diminishes. Therefore, she ends up having a higher blood caffeine concentration.
During a pregnancy’s second trimester, caffeine is eliminated nearly twice as slow as it is when compared to non-pregnancy days. The elimination of caffeine from the system takes approximately three times longer during the third trimester of pregnancy.
As a result, greater amounts of caffeine are passed through the placenta and reach the unborn baby. So it is better to refrain from energy drinks during the third trimester.
It is unlikely that a single energy drink will cause any problems to the fetus. Yet, too much caffeine can contribute to birth defects and other complications.
Energy drinks should not be consumed during pregnancy. Take healthy energy drinks such as buttermilk, fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, and shakes instead. With these drinks, you’ll get energy, stay hydrated, and get essential nutrients.