Drinks To Avoid When You're Pregnant, According To An Ob/Gyn

Before you're pregnant, what you eat and drink really is only your business, even if your mother may bemoan that you don't get enough fiber, and you've got that friend at the gym who's always trying to get you to buy her pyramid-scheme protein shakes. This all changes the moment you get pregnant, of course. Now, every bite and sip you take is nourishing your developing baby. So, what you choose to put on your plate or in your cup is, in a way, the very first of a series of millions of parenting decisions you will be making.

How do you make sure you choose wisely? In an interview with The List, Dr. Lyndsey Harper, board-certified Ob/Gyn and CEO & founder of the women's health app, Rosy, said there are three types of drinks that pregnant women should think twice about before consuming.

No amount of alcohol is considered safe while pregnant

Of course, you've been told that pregnant women aren't supposed to drink alcohol, but surely, a single glass of wine or beer can't be that big of a deal, can it? According to Harper, it can. "Unfortunately, there is no safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy," she explained. 

"Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can result in a number of serious problems like premature birth, low birth weight of the baby, birth defects, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, miscarriage, and stillbirth," Harper warned. If you miss the taste of wine, there's always grape juice, and a plain or lightly flavored seltzer can satisfy your craving for beer suds.

Limit coffee during pregnancy

If you've been a coffee addict who needs strong java to get through the day, we have bad news. According to Harper, you're going to need to cut back. "Because caffeine can be passed through the placenta to the fetus, experts usually recommend limiting it during pregnancy to about 200 milligrams per day, which is about one and a half 8-ounce servings of coffee," she explained. This means you could keep your morning ritual of a cup of coffee with breakfast going, as long as you avoid caffeine the rest of the day. Of course, morning sickness might change your palate, anyway and you may find you no longer crave that cup of joe.

If you're dragging your feet about this sacrifice, know that it's the right choice for your baby. "Although the data is limited, there is some evidence that very high levels of caffeine — more than 500 milligrams per day — can increase the risk of infertility and miscarriage," Harper added.

Be really careful about which fruit juices you drink when pregnant

Maybe you're fine skipping wine and coffee. After all, pregnancy, you've decided, is a time to embrace the many colorful fruits and vegetables that offer a variety of vitamins for your baby.  In the grocery store, you might find yourself especially drawn to that case containing gleaming glass bottles of juice. Before you toss a whole case in your cart, though, Harper urges you to ensure they are pasteurized. "Women should avoid drinking unpasteurized juices that have been bottled — think Whole Foods fruit juices in the fruit section — during pregnancy," she said. "When stored for more than a few hours, harmful bacteria can proliferate and cause food poisoning, which could lead to serious consequences for both the mother and fetus."

So...no booze, no brew, no unpasteurized juice. What can a pregnant woman drink? "Fruit juices that are freshly juiced on-demand, like at a juice bar, and served, or pasteurized and bottled, are safe to drink," Harper explained. Plus, there's always water.