The lowdown on what drinks to avoid in pregnancy

Understanding what drinks are best avoided in pregnancy

Drinks to avoid in pregnancy

Alcohol is the obvious one, but what other drinks are best avoided in pregnancy?

drinks to avoid

It’s pretty common knowledge that drinking alcohol is a no-no in pregnancy. But the good news is you can still drink tea and coffee – you just need to watch your daily caffeine intake. Here’s a quick guide to what’s OK.

Ditch the booze

The jury’s out on booze, so the Department of Health recommends you avoid it altogether. If you do decide that you feel you want to have a drink, it recommends you stick to 1-2 of alcohol once or twice a week to minimise the risk to your baby.

Cut down on caffeine

Although high caffeine levels can cause an increased risk of miscarriage in pregnancy and low birth weight in babies, you can safely have up to 200mg of caffeine a day – phew! Before you start brewing up… hold fire! You’d be surprised just how many things contain caffeine – it’s in chocolate - milk and dark chocolate, coffee, tea, soft drinks energy drinks, and even some cold and flu remedies, so check the label. Here’s a rough guide to the most common sources:

  • mug of filter coffee: 140mg
  • cup of tea: 75mg
  • can of cola: 40mg
  • regular bar of milk chocolate: around 25mg ( and surprisingly often double the amount in dark chocolate at 50mg of cafffeine).

If you can’t get through the day without regularly sticking the kettle on, decaffeinated tea and coffee will prove a lifeline - and you can always sip on fruit juice or water too. Water not only gets nutrients to the baby, but it’s also great for easing water retention and warding off constipation and bladder infections.

Need help?

Drinking alcohol in pregnancy has been linked to miscarriage, premature birth, low birthweight, birth abnormalities, learning difficulties and behavioural problems, so it’s important to cut down or stop. If you’re finding it hard, talk to your midwife or doctor. Confidential help is also available from local counselling services – search online or contact Drinkline on 0300 123 1110.

The lowdown on what drinks to avoid in pregnancy