Coca-Cola and sugar during pregnancy

Coca-Cola and sugar during pregnancy
October 01 13:04 2016

Coca-Cola, Pepsi and sugar during pregnancy

Let’s be honest for a minute, we all love our Soda and sugary drinks. Be it Coca-Cola or Pepsi it is really hard to give up on these beverages. Now given the composition of some of these fizzy drinks, many health concerns have been raised leading to a big question among pregnant women: Is Coca-Cola, Pepsi and sugar safe for pregnancy? All expecting mothers who want to know if they should give up their beloved beverages when they are with child there is an answer for you, YES it is safe to some extent to drink beverages like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Read on to find out why and how much you should take in per day.

So you are probably smiling now because you’ve learnt that you will not harm your baby by drinking Coca-Cola and its related beverages, but it’s important that you know how much is too much and why you should keep a close eye on the quantities you take in. To do this we need to find out what is in these drinks that could be deemed harmful to you and your precious unborn kid.

What is in Coca-Cola?

Cola as a carbonic beverage that constitutes mainly of Caffeine, flavoring vanilla, sweeteners, and carbon dioxide. The actual formula for making Cola is kept secret so heaven knows what else they put in there but we all know the end product is very tasty.

In terms of ingredient quantities, Cola is made of 11.1g of sugar per 100ml and 34mg of caffeine for each 300ml. Pepsi, another soda that’s closely related to Cola is made of 11.4g of sugar per 100ml and 37.5mg of caffeine for each 300ml. Now those quantities can easily accumulate in your blood stream if not closely regulated and can eventually lead to harmful tendencies to your unborn baby.

How much is too much Cola while pregnant?

Physicians say you should restrict your uptake of caffeine to a maximum of 300mg per day. However, they go on to say limiting the uptake of caffeine does not necessarily mean zero chances of experiencing the side effects brought on by this compound. Since each body has its own unique physiological process, it’s important to just watch your caffeine levels with the guide of your physician during pregnancy.

According to physiologists, caffeine (which is available in abundance in cola and Pepsi) takes much longer to be broken down in the bloodstream, and as pregnancy progresses, the breaking down slows much further, thereby exposing the unborn baby to ill effects of caffeine.

So since these drinks do not offer any nutritional value at all, it is best to limit doses of drinking coke during pregnancy so any possible side effects of caffeine might be avoided.

Possible side effects of excessive Coca-Cola

We have established just how much caffeine is present in the Coke and Pepsi, this caffeine which is present in a pregnant woman’s body in the unbroken down form, reaches the unborn baby through the placenta, and the little kid absorbs it all completely. According to studies, caffeine lasts up to 11 hours in the body of a pregnant woman. The baby though can retain this compound for up to 100 hours since it does not have the necessary enzymes require to breakdown caffeine yet. Imagine how much caffeine can easily accumulate in your body and possibly that of your baby?

So if you are pregnant and exceed the advised Cola limit the following side effects can manifest in your body:

  • Dilated pupils with a possibility of the pupils fixing in this state
  • Opening of bronchial tubes in your lungs
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Discharge of excess insulin into the blood stream which could affect your blood glucose levels
  • Over tightened muscles
  • Problems with Fertility
  • Loss of body water due to caffeine diuretic properties
  • Sleep disorders

With these possible side effects on the pregnant mum, it’s only logical that the unborn baby also faces some kind of repercussions and these include:

  • Birth Defects
  • Pre-Term Delivery
  • Low Birth Weight

According to studies by scientists, people who drink one serving per day of fizzy drinks are 38% more likely to give birth before 37 weeks and those that have four or more servings a day are 78% more likely to give birth prematurely.

What should you do?

So you are probably wondering what you should do now, should you drink coke or not? Well If you are able to watch how much coke you drink then its ok go ahead and have you some of that soda, but always try to drink some water and milk too! You can switch to fruit juice from time to time. This will ensure that you maintain your caffeine levels well below the limit thereby reducing any chances of affecting yourself or your unborn baby.

Here are some of the drinks that you can effectively use to replace the caffeinated beverages

  • Fresh fruit juice
  • Lassi
  • Aam pani
  • Coconut water


What about Sugar and pregnancy?


Sugar and pregnancy


Another frequent question that comes up with pregnant women is that of sugar during pregnancy. Already we have explored different effects of drinking fizzy drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, which by their own right already contain a massive amount of sugar. How about adding more sugar to that, is it safe for your unborn baby?

In order to answer this question properly, you need to understand what sugar does to your pregnant body. Do not worry, it’s not going to be very sciency, it’s quite simple really.

When you have too much sugar in your bloodstream during pregnancy, like more sugar than your normal insulin can handle, a condition called Gestational diabetes is provoked, what favors this condition is that when you are pregnant, the hormones from the placenta make your body less sensitive to insulin thereby requiring high dosages of insulin to combat any increases in blood glucose levels. Most of the time your body can meet these natural demands but excessive uptake of sugary foods can be too much for your body to handle. The good news is that this condition goes away after giving birth but it can have some effects on your baby.

So to answer the question, having sugar when you are pregnant is not a problem but having too much sugar in your blood could very well cause problems for you and your baby, so you’ll have to take extra care during your pregnancy.

What are the effects of having excess sugar during pregnancy?

Having excess sugar in your bloodstream during pregnancy can increase your chances of delivering a high weighing baby and this could lead to the need for a cesarean section during giving birth. In addition, hypertension and preeclampsia are favored by gestational diabetes. However, effectively managing your sugar intake can significantly reduce chances of these complications. So in general, excess uptake of sugar during pregnancy can lead to:

  • Exaggerated expression of Pregnancy Symptoms:

Pregnancy symptoms like nausea and vomiting, heartburn, and mood swings are very common in pregnant women. However, excessive consumption of sugar can exaggerate these symptoms and make them unbearable.

  • Nutritional Deficit:

Too much sugar uptake during pregnancy has a direct link to nutritional deficit. The mechanism of this effect is rather complicated but can be reduced or countered by controlling blood glucose levels and eating healthy.

  • Fatigue

Pregnant women tend to feel lethargic and less energetic, it is a normal and common phenomenon. However, eating too much sugar increases the expression of these feelings. Sugary drinks and foods generally provoke a spike in glucose levels which causes your body to release excess insulin. When blood glucose lowers, it takes time for the insulin levels to lower too, which leads to a sharp decrease in blood glucose hence the fall in energy levels.

  • Gain in Weight

Eating excessive sugar during pregnancy leads to an extra gain in weight than usual. Women who gain weight during pregnancy due to excessive sugar uptake generally find it hard to shed the extra weight after giving birth.

How to tell when you have too much sugar in your body

Generally, there are no specific symptoms that can confirm if you have high blood glucose or not. The most dependent way to confirm is by taking a small blood test. However, there are some signs that can lead you to believe you have developed gestational diabetes:

  • Feeling very tired
  • having a dry mouth
  • being very thirsty
  • frequent visits to the loo
  • recurring infections
  • blurred vision

If you have any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor, probably you would have to limit your sugar uptake for the duration of the pregnancy.

How to manage sugar consumption during pregnancy

We have explored the different effects brought about by excessive sugar uptake during pregnancy, so it is important that you keep your sugar intake in check. Doing so is very easy in theory but much harder in practice, the trick is in eating healthy and substituting the sugar with other foods that satisfy your craving without increasing your blood glucose.

You do not have to stop taking sugar when you are pregnant, you just have to be smart about it. Here are some ways to help you manage your sugar consumption during pregnancy:


  1. Restricted Sugary Snacks and Foods

Let’s face it, you will have unbearable cravings for sweet stuff, you do not have to cancel out these foods altogether but you can restrict how much you take each day.

  1. Replace with sweet fruits

When the sugar craving is at its peak, eat some sweet fruits instead. Fruits like mangos and pineapples contain natural sugar and have better nutritional content than snacks. They are of great benefit to both you and the unborn baby. If you feel like a Cola or Pepsi, try to make homemade fruit juice from such fruits instead.

  1. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners:

Artificial sweeteners can be replaced with natural substances like honey and coconut sugar.


The Bottom Line

In conclusion, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and sugar during pregnancy can have some effects on both you and the baby but that is only if you over do it and abuse the intake. It is safe to occasionally indulge in some of these foods, as long as you know the limits and when to stop.


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