The Real Reason You Shouldn't Drink Diet Coke During Pregnancy

There was once an assumption that when you were pregnant, you could "let loose" and eat whatever you wanted. And while it's true you are still allowed to satisfy those intense midnight ice cream cravings, it appears the list of what pregnant women should cut down on, is growing longer and longer. Diet Coke is currently in the hot seat. Here's why this bubbly soft drink isn't the most ideal refreshment for those who are expecting.

One study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in 2017, found that drinking diet soda such as Diet Coke daily during pregnancy increased the chances of delivering an above average sized baby. Cuilin Zhang, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D, a senior investigator in the epidemiology branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, believes artificial sweeteners are to blame. "The high-intensity artificial sweeteners may exacerbate glucose intolerance, compared to regular sugar," she explains in a Global News article. She also adds, "This increases intestinal absorption of glucose, and promotes excessive intake and weight gain by altering the sweet taste and caloric reward."

Cut back on soda to lower the risk of obesity and premature birth

In addition to the likelihood of an overweight newborn, consuming Diet Coke and other artificially flavored sodas while pregnant has shown to double the risk of a child being overweight on their first birthday, states Healthline. Yes, chunky babies and their chunky cheeks are adorable, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that growing childhood obesity rates are  a major health concern in the U.S.. So it may be safest to avoid the weight worries caused by drinking diet soda from the earliest stages of your baby's life.

In addition to the weight concerns, drinks like Diet Coke may also increase the risk of delivering prematurely. One large study of Danish women, published in 2010 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found women who drank diet soda daily while pregnant increased their risk of delivering before their due date.

So if you are expecting, consider grabbing a refreshing glass of water or tea instead. We know that the "don't eat or drink" list is hardly the most enjoyable part of pregnancy, but getting the proper nutrients and avoiding potentially harmful additives is one of the best — and most important—things you can do for your little one.