What’s the Deal With Non-Alcoholic Drinks for Pregnancy?
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Cheers to your pregnancy—and to the plethora of non-alcoholic beer, wine, and mocktail options out there to help you toast your baby-to-be in style! But before you slurp down a frosty alcohol-free beer or crack open a non-alcoholic cocktail can, you should know: Not all non-alcoholic drinks are pregnancy-safe. Here, everything you ever wanted to know about the best non-alcoholic drinks for pregnancy.
How to Read a Non-Alcoholic Drink Label
Surprise! The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not consider the terms “non-alcoholic” and “alcohol-free” to be synonymous. That means there’s likely a lot of confusion swirling around the beverage aisle as pregnant folks attempt to shop for wine, beer, and cocktail alternatives to imbibe while expecting. To help clear things up, these types of without-alcohol beverages can be divided into the following categories:
Alcohol-free: These drinks have zero detectable alcohol. They’re generally made with fruit juice or soda water to mimic the flavor profiles of their alcoholic cousins.
Non-alcoholic beverages: Nonalcoholic beer, wine, and cocktails contain less than 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) and are legally considered non-alcoholic even though they contain trace amounts of alcohol. In other countries, like Japan, Italy, and Norway, non-alcoholic beverages can contain more alcohol than that.
Alcohol-removed: The terms de-alcoholized and alcohol-removed are most often slapped on wine or beer products. These beverages are made using the same process as conventional wine or beer, but once fermentation is complete, the alcohol is removed through distillation, filtration, or evaporation. Many alcohol-removed beverages still have a smidge of alcohol left over, often no higher than 0.5% ABV.
Are non-alcoholic drinks safe during pregnancy?
While research has shown that beverages with 0.5% ABV or less have no physiological effects on the body and can’t cause intoxication, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) still agree that zero alcohol should be consumed during pregnancy, which includes “alcohol-free” beer, wine, and mocktails that contain 0.5% alcohol or less. Another reason to proceed with caution: A report in the Canadian Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that nearly 30% of the 45 “no or low alcohol” drinks they examined contained more alcohol than labeled—and six had more than 1% ABV. Translation: There’s a chance you’re drinking more alcohol than you think!
Again, always read labels before drinking any non-alcoholic or alcohol-free beverages during pregnancy. You may be surprised by what you find! Some may contain extracts, herbs, or other ingredients that aren't considered safe to consume during pregnancy. For example, the popular non-alcoholic beverage Jas Paloma Libre contains ashwagandha (aka “Indian ginseng”), which pregnant and breastfeeding individuals are advised to avoid. Non-alcoholic beverage brands like Kin Euphorics and Recess also state that pregnant and breastfeeding folks should not consume their beverages.
In the end, drinking non-alcoholic beer, wine, or packaged mocktails during pregnancy is your choice, just make sure it’s an informed one! That means, in addition to checking labels, it’s also a good idea to check in with your healthcare provider before imbibing a new drink during pregnancy.
Are non-alcoholic drinks safe while breastfeeding?
A report in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine found that when breastfeeding parents drank 1.5 liters of a non-alcoholic beer, roughly 13% had trace amounts of alcohol in their breastmilk afterward. Even with that, researchers concluded that drinking non-alcoholic beer is “likely innocuous for the breastfed infant.” Plus, the CDC notes that moderate alcohol consumption (up to one drink a day) by a breastfeeding parent is not known to be harmful to the baby—especially if you wait at least two hours after a drink before nursing. (Dr. Harvey Karp on the Do’s and Don’ts of Pumping and Dumping.)
Best Homemade Non-Alcoholic Drinks for Pregnancy
Who says celebratory drinks need to be alcoholic? Here are the best pregnancy-safe non-alcoholic options you’ll totally want to cheers to (and since you’re making them yourself, you know that you don’t have to sweat about what’s in them!)
Mocktails for Pregnancy
Alcohol-Free Mimosa: Combine 4 ounces of orange juice with 4 ounces sparkling cider for a festive brunch drink.
Alcohol-Free Lemon Lavender Martini: Combine 1 ounce of lemon juice with 1.5 ounces of lavender simple syrup. Shake with ice. Next, rim a festive martini glass with sugar and pour the mixture in. Top with Sprite and a lemon wedge garnish.
Alcohol-Free Blueberry Basil Fizz: Mull 6 blueberries and 6 basil leaves in 1 ounce simple syrup, adding 2 ounces of pomegranate juice and a half ounce lemon juice. Shake with ice and pour into a rocks-filled glass. Top with a splash of Sprite.
Alcohol-Free Peach Bellini: Using a blender, mix a quarter cup of frozen peaches, 5 ounces of sparkling apple cider, and a half ounce simple syrup until pureed. Serve in a toast-worthy champagne glass.
Alcohol-Free Cucumber Gimlet: Muddle 6 slices of cucumber in 1 ounce simple syrup. Add 1 ounce fresh lime juice and shake with ice. Serve on the rocks, topped with club soda and a mint leaf garnish.
Alcohol-Free Mule for Mama: Combine 1.5 ounces each of simple syrup and lime juice with 1 teaspoon of ginger puree. Shake with ice, pour into a copper mug filled with ice and top with ginger ale.
For even more pregnancy-safe non-alcoholic drink ideas, check out our collection of 24 festive homemade mocktails, perfect for every celebration!
What to Drink at Bars When Pregnant
If you’re at a bar or restaurant where you fear mocktails and non-alcoholic versions of your favorite wine, beer, and spirits are unavailable, you still have options!
Non-Alcoholic Drinks to Order During Pregnancy
Soda water with a splash of pineapple juice
Lemonade with a splash of soda water
Half cranberry juice and half ginger ale
Cranberry juice and soda water
Half Sprite and half orange juice
Non-alcoholic ginger beer, like Reeds (Also, great for morning sickness relief!)
Non-alcoholic ginger beer and lemonade
Non-alcoholic ginger beer and apple juice
Club soda and lime
These are also great non-alcoholic drinks to surreptitiously order when you aren’t quite ready to share that you’re expecting with your imbibing crew! (Don’t forget to ask for a garnish to really throw people off the scent!)
More on Eating and Drinking During Pregnancy:
- 10 Smoothie Add-Ins for a Healthier Pregnancy
- Can I Have Caffeine During Pregnancy?
- All About Drinking Wine While Pregnant
- Is It Safe to Use Marijuana or CBD During Pregnancy?
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.