I'm 4 months pregnant and sometimes enjoy food and drinks that are artificially sweetened. But could I be causing harm to my baby?
There has been some controversy and debate about the safety of artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame and saccharin, but most health care professionals believe they're safe when used in moderation.
One thing that is clear is that you should avoid aspartame if you have the hereditary disease phenylketonuria, or PKU, in which the body can't break down the compound phenylalanine, found in aspartame. The jury is still out on whether saccharin is safe to use during pregnancy. Although it crosses the placenta and can accumulate in fetal tissue, there's not enough evidence to prove that it is harmful to an unborn baby.
The bottom line is it's OK to have an occasional diet soda or sugar-free food. Still, it's wise to check product labels and try to limit anything with artificial sweeteners (especially saccharin), just to be on the safe side. And check with your doctor about the safety of specific sweeteners, including any that are new on the market.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2012
|Maternal and Child Health Bureau This U.S. government agency is charged with promoting and improving the health of mothers and children.|
|American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) This site offers information on numerous health issues. The women's health section includes readings on pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care, breast health, menopause, contraception, and more.|
|MyPlate for Moms MyPlate for Moms tailors the USDA's food guide to suit the individual needs of pregnant and nursing women.|
|Pregnancy & Newborn Center Advice and information for expectant and new parents.|
|Pregnancy Precautions: FAQs Questions regarding what you can and can't do during pregnancy abound. Knowing what could truly be harmful to your baby versus what's no real cause for concern is key to keeping your sanity throughout the 40 weeks.|
|Eating During Pregnancy To eat well during pregnancy, your extra calories should come from nutritious foods that contribute to your baby's growth and development.|
|Figuring Out Food Labels Find out how to make healthy food choices for your family by reading food labels.|
|Pregnancy Myths and Tales Even in these times, pregnancy continues to inspire its own set of myths and tales. Which are true and which aren't?|
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