Pregnancy is a beautiful journey but it also means staying away from some of your favorite foods and drinks for a while, including your favorite wine to wind down with. But can you drink non-alcoholic wine instead?
Non-alcoholic drinks, including non-alcoholic wines, are allowed to have less than 0.5% alcohol by volume, according to the FDA. Current medical advice claims no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy, so some (but not all) non-alcoholic wine should be safe to drink according to these standards.
That being said, 0.5% ABV can be a smaller amount of alcohol than the natural alcohol present in everyday foods you may already be consuming.
*I am not a medical professional nor do I claim to be. The information I’ve laid before you comes from the research and information readily available to all of us. After reading some of the facts, set up a consultation with your healthcare provider to discuss what is right for your health and the health of your baby.
Can You Drink Non-Alcoholic Wine While Pregnant?
So you’re pregnant. Congratulations! As someone who’s pregnant, you’re doing everything you can to keep yourself and your baby safe and healthy.
During your pregnancy, especially during your early stages, there are tons of people who warn you to stay away from certain activities, foods, and drinks as they’re widely believed to cause harm during your pregnancy.
One of these things that almost everyone warns you about is alcohol, beer, and wine.
As a smart mom-to-be, you’re determined to stay away from alcohol during the entire duration of your pregnancy up until you finish breastfeeding. But what if you crave your favorite end-of-the-day wine?
Lucky for us, non-alcoholic alternatives to alcoholic beverages are more widely available than ever. So, can you drink non-alcoholic wine and beverages while pregnant?
The short answer is, “that depends.” Just because something is called non-alcoholic by the FDA doesn’t mean it has zero alcohol in it.
Most beverages branded as “non-alcoholic” have less than 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV). 0.5 ABV is the maximum limit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set for something to be considered “non-alcoholic”.
These traces of alcohol in non-alcoholic beverages are very small compared to the amount of alcohol found in actual alcoholic drinks, but they have alcohol nonetheless.
Let’s put this into perspective…
Now, you might be wondering whether or not this small trace amount of alcohol could be acceptable to consume while you’re pregnant when time and time again you are told to stay away from any alcohol.
This half percent of alcohol traces in non-alcoholic wines and beverages is likely less than what is naturally present in many ripe fruits and juices that pregnant women consume without a second thought.
Take ripe bananas for example, they typically have about 0.2% to 0.4% ABV. Various fruits and natural fruit juices can have about 0.04% to 0.5% while some types of bread can have about anywhere between 1.18% and 1.28% (more info).
Common condiments like soy sauce have about 1.5% to 2% ABV and some soft drinks can have alcohol traces of about 0.5% ABV.
This particular study dives deep into various daily food items and their alcohol content. These amounts of alcohol content go unnoticed and we don’t really know if these trace amounts of alcohol affect a fetus, but are you going to stop eating fruit too?
The good news is there are alcohol free non-alcoholic wines and wine alternatives.
Know Your Alcohol Content Labels
When you’re looking for non-alcoholic wines and beverages, it’s important that you pay attention to labels. Always check the label for the drink’s alcohol content.
Under the Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act (ABLA) of 1988, all alcoholic beverages, including those marketed as non-alcoholic, must list the ABV of their products.
Additionally, there are three common labels associated with alcohol content and their lack thereof:
Non-alcoholic beverages must have 0.5% ABV or lower. Most consider this a negligible amount, comparable to a ripe piece of fruit like a banana. Others prefer to drink beverages that are completely alcohol free to be safe.
There is no trace of alcohol in alcohol-free or “0.0%” beverages but this doesn’t mean that there is zero amount of alcohol in them, it’s just that the amount is so small it doesn’t show up in lab tests.
Drinks with the label “Alcohol-Removed” mean they underwent the typical manufacturing process of alcoholic drinks but at some point during the process, all alcohol content is removed from the drink. This could involve filtration, distillation, or another chemical process. These can also have up to 0.5% ABV, but you’ll have to check the labels.
Nootropics and Adaptogens
Some non-alcoholic beverages are considered “functional beverages,” meaning they have added vitamins, adaptogenic herbs and nootropic compounds. These are not safe to drink during pregnancy, so look out for them on the label.
Of course, whether or not something is safe to consume during pregnancy doesn’t just come down to alcohol content. Check the labels for all ingredients, and understand what you’re consuming. If it’s unclear what’s in it, don’t drink it.
Alcohol Free Wine and Wine Alternatives
If you’ve read all the facts, and prefer to avoid all alcohol, there are some 0.0% non-alcoholic wine options, and one of my favorites is Noughty Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Chardonnay. When it comes to non-alcoholic wine, sparkling tastes the best and mimics wine the most of what I have tasted.
Another cool alternative to wine is NON. These beverages are made with verjus, the unfermented juice of grapes that haven’t ripened yet. Since they don’t undergo fermentation, they are completely alcohol free. They are made with unpasteurized juices, tea, and coffee, so consider whether or not those ingredients fit into your pregnancy plan.
Can You Drink Alcohol While Pregnant?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no amount of alcohol is safe to be consumed during pregnancy. Additionally, there is no known safe amount of alcohol consumption while you’re pregnant.
No one can exactly tell you the amount of alcohol that’s safe to consume during pregnancy because experiments on giving alcohol to pregnant women are not being done and simply unethical.
Effects of Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy
If you’re still not convinced about staying away from alcohol during your pregnancy, you should think about how it could affect you and your unborn child.
Alcohol consumption during your pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a whole lot of other complications while giving birth.
Drinking alcohol in huge amounts can also cause Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) like Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) as well as other physical, intellectual, and behavioral disabilities. These are usually lifelong conditions that will stay with your child all through their life.
Some of the symptoms associated with FASDs include low IQ, speech and language issues and delays, hyperactivity, difficulty and issues with learning and memory, and difficulty with attention. FASDs can also cause low body weight, poor coordination, a small head size, a shorter-than-average height, issues with vision or hearing, and problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones.
If You’re Still Concerned…
Remember, if you’re not sure and are highly concerned about the effects of food intake on your and your child’s health, always consult with your healthcare provider first. Ask them the necessary questions about the possible risks so you can put your mind at ease.
When you’re pregnant, you are told to avoid tons of activities, foods, and drinks, including alcoholic beverages. Pregnancy can also cause cravings but what if what you’re craving is your favorite wine? Can you drink non-alcoholic wine while pregnant instead?
Because of the minute amount of alcohol in non-alcoholic wine (0.5% ABV), many consider non-alcoholic wine safe to drink. However, current guidelines suggest avoiding all alcohol. Luckily, there are some 0.0% non-alcoholic wines and wine alternatives that will allow you to have an occasional festive beverage during your pregnancy.
Of course, always discuss unfamiliar beverages and ingredients with your doctor.