The latest suspect in the investigation of premature birth: carbonated, artificially sweetened beverages. In other words, that Diet Coke or Pepsi that may well be sitting on your desk.
The new study was funded by the EU and polled 60,000 women, concluding that risk of premature birth increased with the amount of diet drinks the expecting mom consumed during pregnancy. A single diet soda a day was associated with a 38% increased risk of birth before 37 weeks. Heavy diet soda drinkers upped their risk of premature birth by 78%.
Diet soda has always been a question mark in pregnancy. It was never exactly given a green light, but not totally discouraged, either.Unlike some other questions (ie, alcohol) this one was generally considered to be relatively innocent until proven guilty. Whether or not that changes as a result of this study remains to be seen. The usual disclaimers apply: self-reporting study, lack of specificity about which sweeteners were used, early research, etc.
Carbonated drinks with sugar did not increase risk of preemie births. So moms with soda cravings may want to consider this an encouragement to go Regular instead of Diet. Or cool off with a frosty glass of…water.