I recently wrote an in-depth guide to energy drinks, so if it’s the caffeine-based type drink you’re looking for, then check out the pregnancy guide to energy drinks here.
Otherwise, this article deals with something slightly different, and that’s “sports” drinks, including electrolyte water and similar products. These are typically used during or after exercise, or to hydrate. Common brands include Lucozade, Gatorade, Powerade, and BodyArmor. They might also be labeled “isotonic”.
If you want a ‘boost’ when you’re pregnant, you may think that sports drinks provide you with some additional health benefits during pregnancy, but is that true?
Can Pregnant Women Drink Gatorade?
Gatorade is one of the best-selling brands of sports drinks, so I’ll address it first here.
Gatorade is safe during pregnancy, but be aware that depending on the flavor and recipe, some Gatorade versions can be very high in sugar and/or sodium.
If you want to drink Gatorade when pregnant, then choose the low-sugar, low-calorie options (source: University of Iowa Health Care). This is especially important if you’re at risk of diabetes, or have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
On the plus side, Gatorade doesn’t contain caffeine like other similarly marketed drinks.
Bear in mind that there are also different food dyes in many sports drinks. These are fine in moderation too, but all in all, additives like artificial sweeteners, colorings, or flavorings aren’t ideal to keep having during pregnancy.
If you’re drinking Gatorade only to hydrate, it’s better to choose something else to drink, like milk, plenty of water, or lower-sugar juice.
What’s the Best Gatorade for Pregnancy?
If you want to drink Gatorade whilst pregnant, then your best bet is to opt for their G2 series, as these are lower in calories and carbs compared to the original recipe.
This isn’t a recommendation, since you should only drink Gatorade if you either can’t stomach or don’t want other drinks – but of all the flavors, the G2 ones are a better option.
Gatorade for Nausea and Dehydration During Pregnancy
Some women find that when they’re suffering from morning sickness or nausea during pregnancy, and can’t keep anything else down (including water), Gatorade and similar drinks can help.
There haven’t been any scientific studies on whether Gatorade and other sports drinks help with nausea, but anecdotally, there are lots of women who turn to Gatorade when they’re feeling really sick, and it seems to help.
Since it’s important to stay hydrated during a healthy pregnancy, drinking Gatorade is fine for nausea and sickness (source: OGA). If you’ve been vomiting or had diarrhea, it can also help you hydrate after losing fluids.
However, it’s not absolutely necessary to get extra electrolytes from Gatorade, because glasses of water can usually hydrate you sufficiently (source: UIHC Health). Water is usually the best option, but if you can’t or don’t want to drink it, turning to Gatorade is fine.
Can I Drink Powerade During Pregnancy?
For the purposes of pregnancy safety and for combating nausea and morning sickness, you can treat Powerade the same way as Gatorade – including all the queries answered above.
Powerade is safe during pregnancy and may help with morning sickness or nausea, similar to Gatorade.
Scientifically, the differences between the two beverages are minimal. The carb and sugar contents are similar, though different sweeteners are used.
Powerade has some added B vitamins, but these aren’t in amounts that are significant enough to be of benefit during pregnancy (source: Powerade Official Site).
Gatorade may be slightly better at replacing sodium (source: Washington University Faculty), but this is usually only of concern to people who are hydrating after intense exercise, rather than pregnant women.
As with choosing a lower sugar and calorie Gatorade flavor, the same applies to Powerade. The “best” Powerade to drink during pregnancy is Powerade Zero, as it doesn’t contain sugar, and has fewer calories.
However, it still contains sweeteners like sucralose, so as with Gatorade, it should only be an option if you can’t stomach other options like water.
Is Drinking Lucozade Safe When Pregnant?
The third drink investigated here in detail is Lucozade, which is a sports drink mostly available in the UK and Australia.
Lucozade is sometimes used to perform an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), which is part of the process to check for gestational diabetes (source: Cambridge University Hospital). Sometimes it even gets nicknamed ‘the Lucozade Test’.
Lucozade is used because it quickly increases the blood sugar, and it allows medical staff to test how fast your body has processed the glucose. Since it’s used as part of this medical test for pregnant women, Lucozade is safe during pregnancy, and not harmful to your baby (source: Tommys).
However, just because Lucozade is used during a medical test doesn’t mean it’s “good”. The fact Lucozade spikes your blood sugar is something to avoid during pregnancy, as high blood sugar during pregnancy may increase your risk of diabetes and your child’s risk of obesity (source: NIH).
The approach to Lucozade should be the same as other ‘sports’ drinks covered in this article. Lucozade can be useful if you can’t keep anything else down, have pregnancy nausea, or to help with morning sickness, but for general hydration, it’s better to avoid such high-sugar drinks.
This applies no matter what kind of Lucozade – including Lucozade Original and Lucozade Sport. You can drink it in moderation during pregnancy, but stick to the lower sugar options where you can, such as Lucozade Zero.
It’s worth mentioning that Lucozade Energy Tablets have the same effect on your blood sugar (they’re largely made of glucose) (source: Lucozade). Glucose tablets aren’t recommended in pregnancy unless you need them, for the same reasons that they will spike your blood sugar.
If you don’t have diabetes and don’t need glucose tablets to control your blood sugar at short notice, then it’s better to get energy from other sources.
Can I Drink Electrolyte Water During Pregnancy?
Electrolyte Water has been a popular marketing term, but it’s a bit misleading because even regular tap water in the US contains minerals that can be classed as electrolytes (source: Journal of Food Composition).
“Electrolyte water”, like sports drinks, is aimed at athletes or those who have exercised hard or are prone to sweating heavily, either through exertion or heat. In this way, electrolyte water is useful in replacing lost sodium and minerals quickly (source: Springer).
Electrolyte water is safe during pregnancy, but you should only need to use electrolyte water or similar rehydration solutions if you’ve been sweating profusely (e.e. during a heatwave) or have had severe morning sickness, diarrhea or nausea, so that you need to rehydrate quickly.
If you have severe sickness, nausea or any other common symptom where you think your dehydration is severe, it’s much better to speak to your healthcare provider straight away, as they can administer the right treatment.
Dehydration in pregnancy can lead to serious problems (source: APA), so if you’re anywhere near the stage of feeling you need electrolytes, then speak to a medical professional first, rather than self-administering electrolyte drinks.
Overall, if you simply want to hydrate, then other drinks are better options. Water is the most obvious choice, but I get that this can become very boring after a while. For this reason, I put together a list of ten drinks pregnant women can enjoy, besides water – so you can take a look at your options.
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