Can you drink Red Bull when pregnant?
In a (pea)nut shell, no.
The truth is that it’s not really recommended.
Thanks to sky-high sugar content and lots of caffeine, energy drinks like Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, and G Fuel aren’t the best things to be drinking while pregnant.
In fact, many of them actually put a warning on their labels that advises against drinking them during pregnancy.
Let’s find out why.
In this article: 📝
- Why can you not drink Red Bull when pregnant?
- How much Red Bull can I drink while pregnant?
- Can you drink sugar-free Red Bull while pregnant?
- “I drank Red Bull while pregnant”, what will happen?
- Do energy drinks cause birth defects?
- What energy drinks are safe during pregnancy?
Why can you not drink Red Bull when pregnant?
We know that cracking open a nice cold can of Red Bull while pregnant might sound like a good idea to give you that extra boost, but you’ve got to stay away from it if you can.
First off, significant caffeine intake is a big no-no during pregnancy, and Red Bull is packed with it.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), you should limit your caffeine intake to 200mg a day during pregnancy.
And do you know how much caffeine is in one 8.4oz can of Red Bull?
A whopping 80mg!
That’s almost half of your daily limit right there.
But it’s not just the caffeine that’s the problem.
Red Bull also contains taurine and other stimulants that can affect your baby’s development.
In fact, a study by Tommy’s Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre at the University of Manchester found that drinking energy drinks regularly during pregnancy could lead to an increase in stillbirth risk by 1.85 times ‒ more than other caffeinated drinks.
And let’s not forget about the sugar content.
Red Bull is loaded with sugar and ideally, you want to avoid overconsumption of empty calories.
Ultimately, it’s worth having a balanced pregnancy diet ‒ focusing on foods that are high in fiber and high in nutrients.
Red Bull isn’t exactly a beacon of nutrition, though, so it might be a habit to kick, at least for now.
So put down that can of Red Bull and grab a glass of water instead.
Your baby will thank you for it!
How much Red Bull can I drink while pregnant?
Short answer? Not much.
Here’s the deal: according to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to 200mg per day.
And one 8.4oz can of Red Bull has 80mg of caffeine, which means you’re already almost halfway to your daily limit with just one can.
But the caffeine and other stimulants in energy drinks can also potentially cause abnormal heart rhythms ‒ arrhythmia ‒ which “can be life-threatening”, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
So we probably shouldn’t drink energy drinks even when we’re not pregnant.
Can you drink 1 Red Bull when pregnant?
While the ACOG might say that up to 200 mg of caffeine should be fine to consume during pregnancy, there are more breakout studies suggesting that no amount of caffeine is safe while pregnant.
And Red Bull is high in sugar, high in taurine, and low in nutrients, so it’s not really got any nutritional benefit to your or baby, apart from a bit of a buzz.
Very generally speaking, it can be fine to have one can of Red Bull while pregnant, every now and then.
But it’s certainly not recommended.
If you’re unsure, it’s worth having a chat with your doctor about it.
Ultimately, every pregnancy and every body is different, so what works for you and your baby might not work for everyone else.
Can you drink sugar-free Red Bull while pregnant?
Okay, so Sugarfree Red Bull seems to tackle the high sugar issue, but there’s still lots of caffeine, so you might want to avoid it for now.
Just as with the full-sugar version, Sugarfree Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine ‒ which is within the ACOG’s recommended less than 200 mg per day for pregnant people.
So while you can drink Sugarfree Red Bull while pregnant, it’s best to think of it as a treat rather than a daily essential.
But again, every pregnancy diet is different, so check in with your healthcare provider first.
“I drank Red Bull while pregnant”, what will happen?
Truthfully, we don’t really know what happens if you drink energy drinks like Red Bull while pregnant.
That’s because every energy drink has a different list of ingredients.
And the serious concern here is whether regulated by the FDA.
If not, they might even contain ingredients that aren’t mentioned on the label.
But, if you’ve just got to the bottom of a can, don’t panic.
It’s best to avoid any more for now, but it’s unlikely that one drink will cause you or your baby any harm.
Here’s what we do know about what energy drinks (like Red Bull) contain:
High caffeine levels
Part of the “energy” that energy drinks claim to give you comes from caffeine.
Too much caffeine can raise your blood pressure, make you irritable and nervous, and affect your sleep.
There’s also a small chance that it may increase the risk of pregnancy loss.
Doctors recommend limiting caffeine to 200mg per day during pregnancy.
In real terms, an 8oz cup of coffee has 80 to 100mg of caffeine.
A standard energy drink can have as much as 250mg of caffeine.
Even more concerning?
Energy drinks in the U.S. don’t generally have the amount of caffeine they contain printed on the can.
But Red Bull is pretty good at showing how much caffeine is in their cans ‒ a standard 8.4 oz can contains 80 mg of caffeine.
Sugar is the other main source of energy in energy drinks.
And there’s lots of it.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the average energy drink has more sugar than a 12oz cola.
Meanwhile, the American Heart Association estimates that one 8oz energy drink has more sugar than your entire recommended daily intake.
The bottom line is that a diet high in sugar isn’t great either for you or your baby.
A standard 8.4 oz can of Red Bull contains 27.5 g of sugar, which is quite a lot.
According to OB-GYN and director of the Women’s Health Institute at Rutgers University, Dr. Gloria Bachmann, a pregnant person’s added sugar intake should be less than 30 grams.
So after one can of Red Bull, you’ve only got 2.5 grams of added sugar left for the day.
Some energy drinks contain B vitamins and herbs like ginseng and guarana, which are often sold as health supplements.
These herbs should be used “with caution” during pregnancy, according to medical studies.
While B vitamins can be beneficial, it’s possible that a high dose could cause side effects.
A standard 8.4 oz can of Red Bull contains “the water-soluble B-group vitamins niacinamide (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), vitamin B6 and vitamin B12”, according to their website.
Do energy drinks cause birth defects?
We’ll say it again: if you’ve already had an energy drink or Red Bull during pregnancy, don’t worry.
A single energy drink is unlikely to cause any problems.
However, the evidence does suggest that too much caffeine can increase the chances of birth differences and other complications.
One recent study found that pregnant women who regularly drank energy drinks were almost twice as likely to experience a stillbirth.
It’s difficult to conduct thorough medical studies on the effects of any substances during pregnancy, and the risk is still very small.
All the same, you might still choose to avoid the risk by leaving energy drinks off your pregnancy menu.
What energy drinks are safe during pregnancy?
Unfortunately, the answer is really none.
No energy drinks have been proven safe during pregnancy.
So can you drink Red Bull while pregnant?
Well, it’s certainly not recommended.
Thanks to the high caffeine and sugar levels in energy drinks, they’re best avoided during pregnancy.
For the moment, a glass of orange juice or a mug of herbal tea is a safer way to rehydrate and get a natural energy boost.