Can I Drink Non-Alcoholic Beer While Pregnant? It's Not As Obvious As It Sounds

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There are more alleged rules about eating and drinking during pregnancy than a woman can even keep up with these days, but one that should be taken seriously is alcohol consumption. Recommendations vary; while some professionals urge women to abstain completely, others allow a little more leeway, but the whole topic can feel a bit like playing with fire. But beer aficionados may be wondering, "What about nonalcoholic beer? Can I drink non-alcoholic beer while pregnant?"

Brace yourself for an unsettling truth: non-alcoholic beer actually does contain some alcohol, Beer Advocate noted. Popular non-alcoholic beers such as O'Doul's are brewed in the same way as traditional beers — the alcohol is removed after fermentation and aging through distillation, without heating or cooking. So while the Alcohol By Volume (ABV) level of a serving of non-alcoholic beer is drastically lower than that of a regular beer, there are still trace amounts of alcohol that remain.

It comes as no surprise that medical opinions about the safety of a pregnant woman sipping non-alcoholic beer vary just as widely as those about her drinking traditionally prepared alcohol. Most practitioners who maintain a staunch "never" on moderate alcohol consumption during pregnancy will carry that advice over to include non-alcoholic beers as well. At least they're consistent.

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However, many medical professionals disagree. According to OB-GYN Joanne Stone of Mount Sinai, pregnant women can safely drink non-alcoholic beer because the ABV level is so low (5 percent or less). In an exclusive interview with Romper, Stone balances that advice by saying non-alcoholic beers should still not be consumed in large quantities or on a regular basis.

This is an issue for moms-to-be to discuss with you own care provider and to listen to your gut. Ultimately it's your pregnancy. Once you've educated yourself, it's up to you to make the decision and make the right choice for you. You'll likely find cheerleaders and haters on both sides of the fence.