The main concern with additives and artificial sweeteners is for women who suffer from phenylketonuria. Phenylketonuria is a genetic metabolic disorder in which a person has a sensitivity to phenylalanine, an essential amino acid.

Aspartame, for example, is a commonly used artificial sweetener that is composed of phenylalanine and aspartic acid. Women with this condition must follow a low-phenylalanine diet or risk giving birth to a baby that is mentally retarded.

Studies have shown no adverse effects are reported from aspartame in healthy pregnant women. Women who do not have adverse reactions to artificial sweeteners can continue to use them during pregnancy, in moderation, but it may be best not to. Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are commonly contained in processed foods and drinks that have no caloric value.

Some women use artificially flavored foods and drinks as an appetite suppressant if they are concerned about weight gain prior to becoming pregnant. Some may continue this practice once they become pregnant, which can compromise the health of a woman’s diet. During pregnancy it is critical to supply the fetus with a well-balanced nutritious daily diet. You should not restrict calories or miss meals; your growing baby can’t thrive on your fat reserves alone.

If possible, when you want a non-sugared beverage or snack buy fruit juice-sweetened substitutes. Health food stores have a wide range of alternatives. Or better yet, increase your intake of nutritious fruits and high-protein, low-fat foods to maintain stable blood glucose levels and curb sugar cravings altogether.