Drinking Gatorade during pregnancy is something a lot of women consider in their attempt to stay hydrated and with good electrolyte levels. Why could Gatorade be beneficial or possibly detrimental to their pregnancy?
Hi, I’m Hilary — many people know me as The Pregnancy Nurse 👩⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of OB nursing experience, I am also the curly head behind this website Pulling Curls and The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. 🩺 Please remember this article is just for educational purposes only, and you should only make choices in conjunction with your healthcare provider.
If you’re looking to stay healthy and confident in yourself during your pregnancy, look no further than The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. We talk about third trimester testing, well into the first few months home with baby. Hydration is important, but information is power. 🙂 Also, you don’t have to take my word for it. 🙂
I’ll be the first to say that Gatorade is great — It’s nice to have something that can be so beneficial so easy to get, like a convenience stores.
Benefits of Sports Drinks in Pregnancy
Original gatorade, sport drink or electrolyte drinks can be very helpful during pregnancy. There are a few times that they can be particularly helpful — and of course, because every pregnancy is different — some women should not drink them.
Times When Gatorade Would Be Helpful
Please keep in mind that I will use the words Gatorade, Sports Drinks or Electrolyte Replacement Drinks interchangeably in this post as most are very similar, but be sure to talk with you provider for their medical advice.
If you have a high temperature
If you have a temperature it is extra important to stay hydrated. High temperatures can be very dangerous, especially early in pregnancy (including birth defects and other serious complications) and hydration can mitigate some of those risks, as well as help your body heal faster.
Since food poisoning (or other foodborne illnesses) often makes you have vomiting and diarrhea, that can have some serious consequences, and Gatorade can help with those
- Keeping you hydrated
- Replacing any lost electrolytes
- Sometimes water can be harder to “keep down” than gatorade.
Morning Sickness/First Trimester
The first trimester can often make it hard for pregnant people to keep fluids down. Because nausea is often one of the early symptoms, sometimes women find it easier to keep down flavored fluids over water. Also, if you are vomiting a lot, you may need electrolyte replacement, which sports drinks can make a significant difference with.
It can actually also help the symptoms of morning sickness (because dehydration can make those worse — which is a viscous cycle).
Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) goes far beyond the routine morning sickness that many women experience in pregnancy. These women are unable to keep almost anything down, and this several morning sickness can often extend even past the first trimester (and into the entire day, instead of just mornings). It is a very severe morning sickness that can also cause severe dehydration.
Gatorade can really help these women avoid problems. As these women aren’t able to keep much down — you should talk with your provider about the beverages you’re choosing to try if you suffer from this issue, but the sugar and electrolytes that something like Gatorade would provide if you had HG it could be a good choice.
A lot of women have muscle cramps — like leg cramps or charlie horses at night.
If you’re having muscle cramps, sports drinks can be a good choice for that. It contains both sodium and potassium which can help with your muscle’s electrical conduction. If you don’t have any of the other issues mentioned in this article and after talking with your healthcare provider, try some gatorade to see if it helps.
Make sure that you are also taking your prenatal vitamin. It can also provide helpful minerals in muscle contractions.
Times When Sports Drinks Aren’t a Good Choice
There are times when Gatorade is NOT a good choice for pregnant women, so let’s talk about those:
Diabetic moms would know that sports drinks aren’t a great choice for them as they don’t have a good balance of carbohydrates and proteins — they have a lot of sugar. Since this would have been their lifestyle prior to pregnancy, it is not a big change.
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed during pregnancy and causes a difficulty balancing sugar and your insulin levels. Most women take a test around the end of their second trimester (28 weeks) to see if they have it, but it can be diagnosed earlier if there was a prior large baby or other previous issues.
Hopefully, those women get some time with a registered dietician and understand how their blood sugar levels could be problematic after drinking something like gatorade. They will learn to balance their blood sugars and what types of beverages (and meals) are best for them.
Not controlling your diabetes can have serious consequence for both you and your unborn baby. Women who suffer from both HG and diabetes should be sure to stay in close contact with a healthcare professional.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure could be a reason to not to drink electrolyte drinks.
Some people with high blood pressure are affected by sodium. That is called sodium sensitive hypertension. Talk with your doctor about your beverage choices if this is something you have.
Most electrolyte drinks have sodium (because it is an important mineral to replace in extreme exercise conditions).
During drug administration you might not want to use a sugary fluid like gatorade. Water is most often the best fluid to use when taking pills or something like that.
Other Beverages in Pregnancy
There are lots of other beverage choices, let’s talk about what other things you can consider drinking during pregnancy:
Energy drinks normally have caffeine, and can have LARGE amounts with caffeine. In general most providers don’t recommend this type of beverage for pregnant woman. Check with your provider if you’re wanting to drink them.
Talk with your doctor about your coffee habits and how much caffeine intake is OK.
Fruit juice can have a lot of good qualities. However, most juices, especially orange juice has a lot of fruit sugars in it. It can quickly spike the blood sugar, but also make it fall quickly (leading to some women having a large drop in blood sugar).
Some amounts of juice can be OK, and can often give you good amounts of vitamins like Vitamin C, but talk with your provider about how much or when you should drink it or perhaps choose something different.
Soda or Soft Drinks
Soda and or diet soda is the beverage of choice for many people, but they can have a high sugar content, as well as carbonation, and sometimes caffeine as well — so talk with your provider.
These are most often included in diet soda in the United States and some people prefer not to have them in their system. Talk with your provider about artificial sweeteners during this time in your life. While these drinks will have less sugar, the artificial sweetener may not be great for you or the baby.
A lot of women like ginger ale during the first part of their pregnancy. Many find it helps with their morning sickness. It can be a good option as long as you can tolerate the sugar alright. It can also be helpful during food poisoning. Some people find that ginger tea is helpful as well — since sometimes the carbonation bothers them (and ginger has some anti-nausea/vomiting properties).
Many people enjoy herbal teas, but as they can come in many varieties talk with your provider before drinking anything in particular. Some can cause problems with you or the baby (but many are fine).
Often Green Tea can have caffeine in it. So talk with your provider on that one.
This beverage is all the rage right now, but it can have extra sugars — so be mindful of that as well.
Most providers recommend pregnant women stay away from alcoholic beverages during pregnancy. Some do say it is OK in small amounts. Be sure to talk to them about it.
Dairy Products or Milk are most often fine during pregnancy as long as they don’t bother you. Just because you liked a particular beverage before pregnancy doesn’t mean that you’ll love it when you’re pregnant.
These beverages can have a good amount of calcium which can help not only the baby’s bones, but your own as well.
How much Fluid Intake Should You Have During Pregnancy?
The recommend dating is 8 large glasses of water per day — but it can be hard to know what a “glass of water is”. Many health providers say to drink ½ of your body weight in water ounces day. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should drink 100 oz of water/day. Which means as you approach your due date (with a growing belly), your fluid intake should increase as well.
Things like illness, physical activity or exercise and more can mean you might need even more fluids than that, so talk with your provider about how much fluid you and your lifestyle would require.
Best Beverage During Pregnancy
The best beverage during pregnancy, and frankly — all the time is water.
Water is the best Drink in Pregnancy
Water doesn’t come with any of the concerns mentioned about the other beverages. No excess carbs, caffeine or herbs that could hurt the baby. Drinking water during pregnancy is super important.
Ways to get more water during pregnancy
Since a lot of people don’t like water, I often tell people to at least alternate other fluids with water. So, you should have a glass of water, and then perhaps a glass of lemonade or tea (doctor-approved of course) before having another glass of water. This is a way to still get lots of fluid.
Another thing you can do is find a good water bottle. Some women prefer water in a plastic water bottle or out of a stainless steel cup. You might try a few different ways to drink water — to find one that you like.
Signs of Dehydration in a Pregnant Woman
Hydration is really important in pregnancy. Water helps you build the baby, as well as create the amniotic fluid levels good around the baby in the amniotic sac. Your blood volume also significantly increases in pregnancy, which requires a lot of extra fluids. It helps you sustain a healthy pregnancy.
Signs of dehydration can include false labor or even nausea. So, talk with your health care provider if you are not feeling well.
The reality is that a lot of pregnant women drink gatorade. Just make sure that you do it with the OK of your healthcare provider.
If you’re looking for more information a safe and healthy pregnancy, be sure to check out The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. We aim to prepare you from bump to bassinette to have the confident collaborative hospital birth you’re hoping for.