Should Pregnant Women Use Energy Drinks?

Written by: Gabriela Alvarado



Time to read 8 min

During pregnancy, you may feel particularly tired and sluggish due to the hormonal and physical changes happening in your body. Sipping an energy drink to get through the day may seem like an attractive option, but it can also be harmful for you and your baby.

Keep reading to learn more about the effects energy drinks can have on pregnancy and alternatives to boost your energy levels.

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Are Energy Drinks Safe for Pregnant Women?

Energy drinks are popular beverages designed to increase energy levels, enhance physical performance and improve mental alertness. However, the safety of energy drink consumption during pregnancy is a topic of concern due to potential risks to both the mother and the developing fetus.

Energy drinks contain from 50 to 500 mg of caffeine per serving. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women limit their caffeine intake to 200 mg or less per day. Exceeding this amount can lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes.

It’s also advised to maintain a low caffeine intake while breastfeeding, as high levels of caffeine can pass through breast milk and potentially affect the baby.

Other Problematic Ingredients in Energy Drinks

Caffeine content is the main reason why the intake of energy drinks before giving birth is potentially dangerous, but there are other ingredients that pregnant people need to be aware of. These are:

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin are often used in energy drinks. Most of these can be used safely during pregnancy, except for saccharin, which should be avoided.


High sugar intake during pregnancy can lead to an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and preterm birth.


Ginseng has anticoagulant properties that can cause birth defects and disrupt normal blood clotting during and after pregnancy.


Taurine is essential for the development of your baby’s central nervous system, but it can affect metabolism and kidney function when consumed in high quantities.


Guarana has a high amount of caffeine and can increase the risk of pregnancy loss and low birth weight. It may also increase blood pressure and heart rate.


Glucuronolactone is a type of carbohydrate that’s found in connective tissues. It’s considered safe in moderate amounts, but there isn’t enough reliable information to know if it’s safe in higher amounts during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Ginkgo Biloba Leaf

Ginkgo Biloba Leaf comes from a tree native to East Asia. It should be used with caution during pregnancy due to its antiplatelet properties, which could prolong bleeding time.


Yohimbe is a derivative from the bark of an African tree. It may cause high blood pressure, chest pain, skin allergies, diarrhea, headaches, and insomnia.


While L-carnitine is naturally produced by the body and plays a role in energy production, its consumption, whether in energy drinks or in supplements, during pregnancy should be discussed with a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology or a primary healthcare provider, since it’s currently unknown whether this substance is harmful during pregnancy.

Risks of Drinking Energy Drinks while Pregnant

Although the full extent of the effects of caffeine in energy drinks on pregnancy isn’t completely understood, it’s believed to cause the blood vessels of theplacenta to become narrower, potentially leading to negative outcomes for both the mother and the baby. These are:

Low Birth Weight

Consumption of energy drinks and other caffeinated drinks has been associated with low birth weight, as the caffeine that passes through the placenta can affect fetal growth.

Preterm Birth

Even though evidence isn’t conclusive yet, it seems that consuming too much caffeine can be related to an increased risk of preterm delivery.


Caffeine consumption during pregnancy, particularly in high amounts, has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriages. The exact reason why this happens isn’t clear.

Cognitive Development Issues

Studies show conflicting results on whether the consumption of energy drinks can increase the risk of behavioral issues later in life.


Preeclampsia is a condition characterized by high blood pressure and high levels of protein in urine after the start of the second trimester. The consumption of energy drinks during pregnancy and in the pre-pregnancy period is associated with a higher risk of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia.

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Other Caffeinated Beverages and Foods That May Affect Your Pregnancy

Even though energy drinks have some of the highest caffeine contents out there, they aren’t the only source of caffeine that expectant mothers should be cautious about. These are some common sources of caffeine:

  • Coffee is a major source of caffeine, and its average amount is going to depend on the type of coffee consumed: 

    a. Brewed coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce cup of coffee. 

    b. Espresso contains 63 mg of caffeine per single shot. 

    c. Decaf coffee contains about 3 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce cup of coffee.

  • Tea is a popular beverage that can contain high amounts of caffeine. Black tea contains around 47 mg of caffeine per cup, while green tea contains approximately 20-45 mg of caffeine per cup. Other types of tea, like kombucha, have lower levels of caffeine.

  • Soft drinks like cola-based sodas usually contain a higher amount of caffeine, with an average of 35 mg of caffeine per 12-ounce can.

  • Dark chocolate can pack 12-25 mg of caffeine per ounce, so you need to be mindful when eating it while pregnant.

  • Herbal supplements : Their caffeine content will depend greatly on the specific blend. Some may contain caffeine-rich ingredients like yerba mate or guarana, while others may be caffeine-free.

  • Cocoa or hot chocolate can contain between 5-25 mg of caffeine per cup.

  • Pre-workout powders are often used to boost energy levels before exercise, and they typically contain 150-300 mg of caffeine per serving.

  • Over-the-counter medicines, such as cough syrups and pain relievers, can contain caffeine. Your healthcare provider will be able to tell you if a specific medication has been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used by pregnant women.

What Are the Alternatives to Energy Drinks for a Safe Energy Boost During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, but it can also be a time when women experience increased fatigue due to the significant changes their bodies undergo. It’s not unusual for pregnant women to need a pick-me-up during the day, but it’s important that it’s safe for them and their babies. 

Some safe alternatives to energy drinks you can try to keep your energy levels up during pregnancy are:

Perform Light Exercises

Engaging in light exercises can be a wonderful way to elevate energy levels. Activities such as prenatal yoga, walking or swimming not only boost your mood and energy but also support overall health and prepare your body for childbirth. The ACOG recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.

Pregnancy Stretches

Eat a Healthy Diet

A balanced diet rich in iron, protein and complex carbohydrates can provide sustained energy throughout the day. Foods like lean meats, whole grains and leafy greens are excellent sources of nutrients.

Get Proper Rest

Adequate rest is crucial for managing energy levels. The Nurture& Glider is one of the most comfortable seating alternatives for pregnant and nursing women; it supports the body in the right places and helps you to take breaks throughout the day by sitting and relaxing.

Take Power Naps

Short naps of 20-30 minutes can effectively combat fatigue without affecting nighttime sleep patterns. They can provide a quick energy boost and improve cognitive function, mood and alertness.

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Stay Hydrated

Hydration is key to maintaining energy. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water per day to prevent dehydration, which can lead to fatigue. Keeping a water bottle handy can serve as a constant reminder to drink water throughout the day.

Mother drinking water

Try Alternative Beverages

There are several beverages that allow you to elevate your energy levels without consuming caffeine. These are:

  • Herbal teas: Certain herbal teas, like ginger and peppermint, offer a caffeine-free energy boost. Always consult with your healthcare provider before adding herbal teas to your diet during pregnancy.

  • Fresh fruit juices: Juices from fruits like oranges and mangoes provide vitamins and hydration. Opt for freshly squeezed juices without added sugars to avoid excess calorie intake.

  • Smoothies: Nutritious smoothies made with fruits, vegetables, Greek yogurt and nut butter can be a delicious snack that packs energy and essential nutrients.

By incorporating these alternatives into your daily routine, you can enjoy a healthy pregnancy with the energy you and your baby need to thrive.


How Does Caffeine Affect a Fetus?

Caffeine crosses the placenta and reaches the fetus, who isn’t yet equipped to metabolize caffeine effectively. High levels of caffeine during pregnancy can lead to various adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as low birth weight, as the effect of caffeine in the placenta’s blood vessels can affect fetal growth. Additionally, it can increase heart and breathing rates, as well as the time spent awake after birth.

Is There an Energy Drink for Pregnant Women ?

While traditional energy drinks aren’t recommended during pregnancy due to high levels of caffeine and other stimulants, there are safer alternatives. You can opt for natural energy boosters like lemon juice, which is rich in vitamin C and can be made at home without caffeine and excessive sugar.

Other options include homemade smoothies and juices that provide essential nutrients and energy without the risks associated with commercial energy drinks. Remember to consult with your healthcare provider before trying new beverages during pregnancy.

What Are the Effects of Caffeine during Pregnancy?

Caffeine is a stimulant, which is why it can increase blood pressure and heart rate during pregnancy. It also increases the frequency of urination, leading to a reduction in body fluid levels and potential dehydration. Moreover, consuming more than 200 mg of caffeine per day may raise the risk of miscarriage and has been associated with low birth weight.

Pregnant women metabolize caffeine much more slowly, and it can take 1.5-3.5 times longer to eliminate caffeine from the body during pregnancy.

While moderate caffeine intake is generally considered safe during pregnancy, energy drinks usually have much more caffeine than the recommended amount, as well as other potentially dangerous ingredients, so they should be avoided during pregnancy.

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L. Elizabeth Forry

Medically reviewed: Gabriela Alvarado

Medical surgeon with certifications from Imperial College London and Johns Hopkins University. Committed to medical excellence, she has conducted several academic research projects that have contributed to the advancement of the field.

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