Can I Drink Diet Soda During Pregnancy?

Looking forward to a good diet soda fix in the afternoon is motivation enough to help you make it through the morning. Whether out of the can or straight from the fountain, a cold diet soda can hit the spot as your special treat each day. At least that's how it was for me back in the day (which means before I had kids). I still remember the day my OB-GYN broke the sad news when I asked, "Can I drink diet soda during pregnancy?" But I'm super glad I learned the facts before continuing on with my daily habit.

Although that fizzy goodness tastes incredible going down, that's where anything good about diet soda ends. As Healthline reported, diet soda has no nutritional value and adds nothing positive to your diet. When eating (and drinking) for two, you want to increase the nutrients and vitamins in your diet, not move in the opposite direction. Also, the more diet soda you drink, the less likely you are to pick up a glass of water, which is one of the best things to consume when pregnant. According to Babble, drinking lots of water is necessary during pregnancy because it's needed to balance your extra blood supply, help the baby's amniotic fluid, and keep away contractions linked to dehydration at bay.

But let's not forget exactly what it is that makes those diet drinks calorie-free: artificial sweeteners. On the website for What To Expect, it's reported that artificial sweeteners found in diet soda can cause harm to your unborn baby, and are believed to cause some birth defects after research was done with lab rats. Aside from artificial sweeteners, diet sodas contain caffeine, which pose a different set of risks. "Caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic," according to the American Pregnancy Association. "Because caffeine is a stimulant, it increases your blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are not recommended during pregnancy."

With so many ingredients that present potential dangers, drinking diet soda when pregnant does not come without risks. As Parenting magazine reported, in a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found a link between mothers who drank diet soda when pregnant and premature births. The same results were found with women who chose drinks other than soda, but still contained artificial sweetener, suggesting that this ingredient is a potential threat to fetuses.

Ending your diet soda habit may sound tough, but the results are going to work wonders for you and your baby. As Prevention pointed out, the benefits to quitting diet soda all point you in the direction of better health. Getting off the diet drinks can improve your kidney function, lower your risk for diabetes, strengthen your bones, and help decrease headaches.

Changing a habit isn't always easy, but in the case of ditching the diet soda, it's certainly worth the struggle. For me, I transitioned out with carbonated flavored water drinks, which still gave my senses the same sensation that I was drinking soda. Making the switch wasn't as difficult as I thought, and keeping the health of my baby in mind was the best motivation I could have.