Drinks in Pregnancy
Not that I’m an alcoholic but it was a little difficult to adjust initially to the sober lifestyle. My midwife advised me that current guidelines state that 1-2 units of alcohol per week is OK but then I had read other information that told me that it is best to abstain from alcohol altogether – advice on NHS Choices website. To be honest I felt so sick initially I didn’t fancy any alcohol anyway! But for me it was not the lack of alcohol but the lack of variety of alcohol-free drinks when I went out and about.
Surely it would be better and healthier to promote different drinks especially in this day and age when people may not be able to drink as they are driving andso on. I like going out and about and I still went to concerts, gigs and other events whilst pregnant. However there is only so much diet coke you can drink. It did make me a cheap date though!
As well as the well-known lack of alcohol in pregnancy, one thing I hadn’t realised was that in pregnancy you should also cut down the amount of caffeine you drink (200mg a day – the equivalent of two mugs of instant coffee). This meant that I had to cut down on my beloved tea. However this has meant I have widened the variety of drinks I consume. You should be aware that caffeine can also be in items such as Cola and chocolate – I found good advice at NHS Choices website.
Alternatives to Alcohol and Caffeine Drinks
At home and at family’s houses I was able to experiment a bit with drinks and some pubs also had a good selection. Some restuarants and pubs also do mockails which can be a good alternative and something a bit more fancy. Some of my favourite drinks have been:
- Crabbie’s Ginger (Non-alcoholic) Beer – this is the original John Crabbie’s ginger beer which is not alcoholic. I found this in the non-drinks aisle near other glass bottled drinks such as appletizer. This is a lovely refreshing drink and in my opinion extremely close in taste to the alcoholic version. It is lovely, refreshing and the ‘kick’ of ginger make you feel a bit perky.
- Soda water and lime cordial – this is something you can get in most pubs and restaurants. It’s cheap, tastes nice and I can almost pretend I have vodka in there too (good when you’re keeping schtum in the early weeks and you don’t want people to notice you’re not drinking.). I bought loads of soda water at home and experimented with different cordials – cherry and lime were my favourite choices (not together I may add). I used this soda water and found it kept fizzy for quite a few days and tasted nice.
- Elderflower Cordial – refreshing and a nice alternative which I found as a nice replacement to drink at dinner instead of wine
- Tea/Herbal teas – I found Yorkshire decaf tea the best substitute for real tea. I have always enjoyed herbal teas, but if you haven’t drank them before they can taste a little bland initially. I keep the teabag in my cup to ensure the flavour is strong, and you do need to leave your cup to brew for a few good minutes. Herbal teas are much more delicate flavour than regular tea so beware of this, brew well and give it a go! My favourite herbal teas are peppermint, raspberry and elderflower, lemon and ginger (nice if you feel a bit sickly), camomile (good if you feel a little stressed) and Liptons Moroccan mint but there are loads out there so experiment.
- Water – sounds silly but drinking loads of water in pregnancy is a must! Keeping hydrated will help keep nausea at bay, help keep you alert when you feel tired, and generally make you feel healthy and glowing!
- Lemonade/Sprite/7up – great substitutes for cola and Sprite and 7Up are both caffeine free which is good to know!
- J20 – I don’t particularly like J20 as they have a lot of sugar in them but at Christmas they do a lovely glitter drink which does make you feel like you’re having a special drink at this festive time of year!
- Alcohol free wines and beers– Now I didn’t really drink many varieties of alcohol-free wine or beer but I do think you have to check the labels carefully as it does state some alcohol content – many alcohol-free wines and beers have 0.05% alcohol or similar. I tried Becks Blue at my work’s Christmas Party and found it to be a decent replica of a bottle of beer. I have also tried Sainsbury’s Non alcoholic sparkling wine – this was OK if you like the taste of what I can only describe as flat lambrini! (took me back to my university days! except with no hangover)
Anyway there are a few ideas that have worked for me throughout my pregnancy. What alternatives have you found worked for you? I really have enjoyed having different drinks, and I can honestly say that most of the time I haven’t really missed alcohol. This is good of course as I am intending on breastfeeding so I will mostly be continuing in the same style I have got accustomed to! But I shall look forward to grasping a great big mug of steaming tea after the birth knowing I can have as many as I like!