Why You May Want To Avoid Diet Soda During Pregnancy

I'm not much of a soda drinker, but when I'm pregnant I crave it constantly. Something about the combination of the smooth carbonation, the sugar, and the cold, crisp taste never fails to help my nausea. 

But of course, being the super professional nurse and mother that I am, I would always try to avoid soda–except when I couldn't. Especially when I was on night shift, that 3 AM Cherry Pepsi just seemed to give me the extra kick I needed to get through my shift. The only problem? A lot of the time, either because it was all they had or I was trying not to drink any extra calories, I would choose a diet soda. 

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And I may have thought that because the soda was technically “sugar-free,” that it meant it was a better choice to drink while I was pregnant, but a new study shows that I was very, very wrong. 

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Image via Flickr/ Tony Webster

You should really try to avoid soda all together, even when you're not pregnant, but this study has found that diet soda may be especially dangerous to pregnant women because it has been linked to obesity in toddlers. 

A report out of Canada found that mothers who drank diet sodas (or drinks with other artificial sweeteners) during their pregnancies were more likely to have babies who were overweight by one-years-old. 

The study was a pretty in-depth one, meaning that the researchers were careful to rule out any other contributing factors that could have caused the weight problems in the babies. Which means that all that diet soda = bad news for babies. 

Interestingly enough, the weight problems in the kids didn't show up until later in life, around their first birthday. The babies who were under one-year-old weren't overweight but showed problems later, which leads us to assume that somehow the artificial sweeteners messed with the baby's development in a way that would cause them to have problems later. In general, the study's researchers were careful to point out that they can't say with 100% certainty that artificial sweeteners = overweight kids, but it is a fact that soda, diet or otherwise, has absolutely zero nutritional value, so it's best to avoid it, especially during pregnancy. 

Do you drink diet soda?

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Why You May Want To Avoid Diet Soda During Pregnancy

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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2 comments

  1. FRANKIE says:

    everything you do while pregnant has an impact on your child when it comes out of the womb. if you dont eat a healthy diet while pregnant you are more likely to have a bigger baby. once the baby is out if you feed it junk like potato chips, processed meats, soda, sugar, etc you are going to have a fat child. they cant make the food decisions themselves which means that parents are the ones setting them up for failure for the rest of their life when it comes to weight..just because your family is obese doesnt mean that you have to be or that your child has to be…you should want better for them

  2. Theresa says:

    I am not buying it. There are so many factors that contribute to obesity. And for one lets define obesity because it certainly isn’t those insurance charts that have been around forever. But here is a thought…more than likely the mothers that were drinking diet soda did so because they themselves had a weight problem. See where this is going? Those children were likely not overweight from anything she ate or drank during her pregnancy any more than those kids are overweight from the food or drink that they consume. It is called heredity. Those kids were going to be overweight whether their mother drank ice water, coffee, milk, diet soda , regular soda, juice or lemonade. Just like all of the programs we have today and forcing our kids to eat whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread (what a joke because they both convert 100% to sugar), and turkey burgers, or any of the other things that the kids just throw away anyway. Instead of getting healthier kids we are getting kids who come home from school starving because the food at school wasn’t fit to eat. Studies like this for one have far too many variables to come to any conclusions. The fact is that is you look through history our bodies have changed over time. In this day and age the children are bigger. Well so is everyone. Accept it, live with it and in fifty years things will change and we will see something else.

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