Lemonade is a refreshing drink that can soothe morning sickness during pregnancy and provide lots of vitamin C, but drinking too much sugary lemonade could cause unnecessary weight gain. Fortunately, many artificial sweeteners are approved for use during pregnancy, although unsweetened lemon water might be the best choice.
Lemons and Nausea
Lemon juice alkalizes in water, creating a drink that Encyclopaedia Britannica biomedical sciences editor Kara Rogers said neutralizes stomach acids. Rogers told Livestrong that although the precise causes of morning sickness are unknown, the smell and taste of lemon are well-known for being soothing. She added that in addition to increased stomach acids, pregnant women experience "an enhanced sense of smell" and high hormone levels during their first trimester that "appear to combine to give rise to symptoms of nausea and vomiting."
Calories in Lemonade
Naturally occurring sweeteners, such as table sugar and corn syrup, also are called nutritive sweeteners. They offer few nutritional benefits other than calories and can add up to unneeded weight gain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that a 12 oz. glass of lemonade containing a nutritive sweetener contains about 168 calories. The CDC notes that calories from beverages have a big impact on weight gain and that a consumer can trim about 700 calories a day through careful beverage choices, such as substituting zero-calorie lemon water for lemonade.
Artificial sweeteners approved by the Federal Drug Administration for use in moderation during pregnancy include Stevia (rebaudioside A), Sunett (acesulfame potassium), Equal or Nutrasweet (aspartame) and Splenda (sucralose). Aspartame is common in no-calorie lemonades. The American Pregnancy Association website says aspartame should not be used by pregnant women who have high blood levels of phenylalanine, a component of aspartame. Louisiana State University says that poor dietary control of phenylalanine during pregnancy, particularly for women who suffer from phenylketonuria, also called PKU, can lead to a baby's delayed development and other birth defects. The American Pregnancy Association notes that the FDA bans cancer-linked cyclamate sweeteners for everyone, whereas it warns women that Sweet N' Low (saccharin) should not be used during pregnancy because it crosses the placenta and mig htremain in fetal tissue.
Proper hydration during pregnancy minimizes headaches, nausea, cramps, edema, dizziness and preterm labor during the third trimester, according to the BabyCenter website. Drinking water also helps relieve morning sickness, indigestion, constipation and overheating. BabyCenter says pregnant women need to drink nearly a gallon of fluids daily. Drinking lots of lemon water can help maintain hydration but requires extra toothbrushing to avoid acid damage to tooth enamel.
Lemonade and lemon water are rich in vitamin C, and pregnancy creates an increased need for the vitamin. The MedlinePlus website of the National Institutes of Health says that besides preventing scurvy, vitamin C is "likely effective" for improving iron absorption, which prevents anemia. NIH says it is "possibly effective" for preventing or reducing many medical problems, including decreasing complications of high-risk pregnancy, such as preeclampsia.
- Kara Rogers, PhD. Pharmacology and Toxicology; Biomedical Sciences Editor, Encyclopaedia Brittanica; Chicago, IL
- CDC; Healthy Weight -- It's Not a Diet, It's a Lifestyle! -- Rethink Your Drink; August 2011
- Louisiana State University; Pregnancy and Phenylketonuria (PKU); Gabriella Pridjian, MD
- BabyCenter; Why Is It Important to Drink Water During Pregnancy?; May 2011
- MedlinePlus; Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid); July 2011