Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Safe When Pregnant?

Written By Desere D

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Is it safe to consume non-alcoholic beer when pregnant, or should it be avoided like other alcoholic drinks? Let's look at both sides of the story.

Non-alcoholic beer is rising in popularity, with many people prefer alcohol-free beer to standard beers and other drinks. There are many reasons why non-alcoholic beer is no longer looked down upon, with its great taste being the main motivator.

There are several health benefits associated with drinking alcohol-free beer as well. But can pregnant women drink non-alcoholic beer? Is it safe to consume nonalcoholic beer when pregnant, or should it be avoided like other alcoholic drinks?

If you’re curious about that, stick around because we’ll be diving into this topic so you (and anyone else interested in knowing) can make an informed choice if you’re pregnant but still love the taste of beer.

Quick Answer

It’s not a good idea for pregnant women to drink non-alcoholic beer unless it’s definitely a 0.0%abv. 

Even the smallest amount of alcohol could have negative effects on an unborn baby and, as a mother, it’s essential that no alcohol is consumed on purpose.

Can You Drink Non-Alcoholic Beer While Pregnant?

Since there is alcohol in everyday common food and drinks, many believe it’s okay for women to drink non-alcoholic beer. Non-alcoholic beers tend to contain up to 0.5% alcohol, which really isn’t a lot, especially when compared to normal beer.

In fact, some food may contain more than a non-alcoholic beer. Many vegetables and fruits contain traces of alcohol, and other common kitchen items like vinegar, vanilla essence and soy sauce have alcohol as part of their ingredients.

According to this study from the University of Kaiserslautern, orange juice, apple juice, and grape juice can have up to 0.77g of alcohol per liter. That’s double the amount found in alcohol-free beer.

Does this mean pregnant women can consume alcohol-free beer? Not at all. Although the amounts found in food are minimal and won’t cause any negative effects, the same cannot be said for non-alcoholic beer.

Sure, you may get away with drinking just one, but it’s a risk that you shouldn’t be taking. You will have to eat a lot of the food that contains alcohol for it to become a problem (which is highly unlikely even if you were starving and stuffed your face), but just one or two non-alcoholic beers can be very detrimental to an unborn baby.

Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Safe During Pregnancy?

There is no “safe” level of alcohol consumption for pregnant women, which is why the NHS & the CDC recommend that pregnant women abstain from drinking any alcohol. 

Even though the risk of harm from drinking beer with an ABV of less than 0.5% is very low, there is still no guarantee that it is completely safe for pregnant women to drink.

Let’s take a look at the risks involved of drinking alcohol when pregnant:

Non-alcoholic beer is not safe for consumption during pregnancy because it doesn’t take a lot to have an effect on your unborn child.

There is no ‘safe’ amount of alcohol that you can take in during pregnancy, so completely staying away from beverages, non-alcoholic or not, is the only option.

Even women who have already given birth and are breastfeeding should avoid drinking alcoholic (and non-alcoholic) drinks. Cases of hypoglycemia, impaired motor development, and changes in sleep patterns have been reported as a result of alcohol intake during breastfeeding.

When a woman consumes alcohol, no matter how little of it, it can pass through the blood and placenta and have adverse effects on the fetus.

Rather than taking a chance, a pregnant woman should stay away from all alcoholic beverages, even if they contain as little as 0.05% alcohol.

Even Heineken’s 0.0 beer can contain up to 0.03% per 330 ml, so staying away from these drinks is the safest option.

The Official Guidelines

Many may argue that since there isn’t a lot of research that shows light drinking can have negative effects on unborn babies, it should be okay to drink only occasionally. But on the other hand, there isn’t research that shows light drinking won’t have any adverse effects.

All we really know is that all types of alcohol are bad for a baby, and avoiding it altogether is highly recommended.

So, what do official guidelines say about light drinking, or drinking non-alcoholic beer?

Basically, as we know, it comes down to ‘there isn’t a safe level of drinking’ during pregnancy. As such, pregnant women should use their own judgment and rather avoid consuming anything that could contain the kind of alcohol levels you find in beer, wine, cider, and cocktails.

Another factor that pregnant women need to consider is fetal alcohol syndrome, which is a condition that happens when too much alcohol is consumed during pregnancy. Since there isn’t a ‘safe’ amount of alcohol to recommend, women would be better off not drinking at all.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, along with its most visible presentation, fetal alcohol syndrome, is a serious and permanent health concern and should not be taken lightly.

Any alcohol consumption during pregnancy can interfere with the unborn child’s development. This can result in mental and physical defects that affect the child for the rest of his or her life.

Is Non-alcoholic Beer Safe When Breastfeeding?

Many women think that once they’ve given birth, they can once again relax with a drink, but even a non-alcoholic beer should be avoided if they’re going to breastfeed. Though very low in alcohol, these alcohol-free drinks still contain small amounts of it, and many doctors assert that they should not be consumed by breastfeeding mothers.

For the longest time, beer has been recommended to women who breastfeed because it was believed to promote milk production. However, it has been found that the opposite is true.

This, coupled with the fact that babies cannot eliminate alcohol as efficiently as adults can, makes even the smallest amount of alcohol unsafe for babies. Because babies cannot metabolize alcohol, they will have higher concentrations in their bodies for longer, which results in negative health effects.

However, a study has found that women who breastfeed and drink non-alcoholic beer won’t be exposing their babies to these risks. At least, as long as they don’t breastfeed while they drink or immediately after.

Another study has found that women who drank non-alcoholic beer had no ethanol in their breast milk one hour later. As such, it was deduced that drinking alcohol-free beer and waiting before breastfeeding will result in no harm to the breastfed infant.

But as is the case with all matters concerning babies, it is up to the parents to decide whether or not it is okay for the mother to drink non-alcoholic beer while breastfeeding.

Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Safe When Pregnant?

Although non-alcoholic beer seems safe, it’s not a good idea for pregnant women unless it’s definitely a 0.0%abv. 

Even the smallest amount of alcohol could have negative effects on an unborn baby and, as a mother, it’s essential that no alcohol is consumed on purpose.

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