Most will agree that alcohol consumption during pregnancy is detrimental to a growing baby and strongly advise against it. There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy. It can negatively impact pregnancy and potentially lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that if a woman is pregnant or may become pregnant, she should avoid drinking any amount of alcohol, including wine, beer, liquor, or other alcoholic drinks. Most standard alcoholic drinks contain about 0.6 ounces or 14 grams of pure alcohol. With non-alcoholic “alcoholic” drinks gaining popularity in recent years, many pregnant women wonder if they can safely consume them during pregnancy.
In this post, I aim to help expecting mothers make informed decisions about drinking non-alcoholic beer. We will be discussing what non-alcoholic beer is, how much alcohol content remains after brewing, and whether drinking non-alcoholic beer is considered safe during pregnancy or not.
Can Pregnant Women Drink Non-Alcoholic Beer?
It’s not exactly a straightforward yes or no answer. First off, not all non-alcoholic beers are created equal. Unfortunately, some may contain higher levels of alcohol than what is indicated on the labels.
Most non-alcoholic beers contain trace amounts of alcohol, typically less than 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV). The process of making non-alcoholic beer involves removing or reducing the alcohol content, but it’s challenging to eliminate it entirely. As we’ve already mentioned, the Centers for Disease Control recommends avoiding all alcoholic drinks during pregnancy.
We will dive into more details below, but remember, it’s always recommended that you speak with your healthcare provider or dietitian. This allows you to get personalized medical advice for your situation and health needs during this critical time. I also recommend keeping updated with the latest information in the prenatal world through The Prenatal Nutrition Library and avoiding all those conflicting Google answers.
What Is Non-Alcoholic Beer?
Non-alcoholic beer, also called alcohol-free beer, goes through brewing and fermentation like regular beer but uses techniques to reduce or eliminate the alcohol content. Brewers may use various methods, such as removing alcohol from fully fermented beer through a procedure known as vacuum distillation. Other techniques involve preventing full fermentation from occurring so less alcohol is produced.
Regardless of the method, the goal is to remove as much alcohol as technologically possible to reach legal non-alcoholic levels. In many countries, like the United States, this would be below 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV). The goal is to create a non-alcoholic beer that retains the taste and characteristics of traditional beer. Of course, while also complying with regulatory standards for non-alcoholic beverages.
Can Pregnant Women Have Non-Alcoholic Beer?
As mentioned above, trace amounts of alcohol do remain in non-alcoholic beers. Additionally, there are hardly any studies evaluating the effect of non-alcoholic beer and wine on fetal development. For these reasons, typically, the consensus is that the safest option is to skip these drinks. However minimal, avoiding alcohol altogether will eliminate any risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).
If you decide to forgo this best practice recommendation, getting to know the company you’re buying from is important. Be sure to read the labels. As mentioned above, there have been instances where the residual amount of alcohol left was higher than what was listed on the label. We will discuss and review some brands below.
Instead of non-alcoholic beer, you could also always try tasty pregnancy mocktails. Mocktails are regarded as safe and approved for use during pregnancy.
Non-Alcoholic Beer For Pregnant Women
Keep in mind no amount of alcohol has been proven safe for pregnancy. While there may only be a trace amount left over in non-alcoholic beer, the safest option is to avoid alcohol altogether. If you choose to partake in a non-alcoholic beverage from time to time, consider one of the following options.
Heineken 0.0 uses a unique new brewing process and multiple alcohol removal techniques. The outcome is a non-alcoholic pilsner with 0.03% alcohol by volume. This pale lager has a light body and subtle malt flavors enhanced by hints of citrus. A single 12 oz bottle contains 0.24 grams of ethanol. This makes it an option some healthcare practitioners may say is safest if a pregnant woman chooses to drink non-alcoholic beer.
This one is brewed from the same ingredients as regular Beck’s beer. Beck’s Blue pilsners are made using a cold-filtered process to remove alcohol post-fermentation. This leaves 0.05% ABV. This is similar to the amount of alcohol in a choice like kombucha. At 0.01 ounces of alcohol per 12 oz bottle, this may be considered by some as an acceptable non-alcoholic beer option consumed during pregnancy. Though again, total avoidance is still recommended.
Neuschwa brews their non-alcoholic wheat beer in Germany. It uses a cold-filtered process without artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors to remove over 99% of alcohol from fully fermented beer. Their wheat beer is marked as 0.00% ABV. Only traces of residual alcohol are left.
This American golden ale-style non-alcoholic beer from Athletic Brewing Company uses a unique brewing process. It involves increased yeast activity and low-temperature evaporation to achieve 0.0% alcohol by volume per 12 oz can. With crisp flavors of citrus, honey, and malt, it tastes more like a craft brew than a regular alcohol-free choice. Consuming it in moderation of up to one 12 oz can or less per week may be acceptable by some practitioners.
The safest option is to avoid any amount of alcohol during pregnancy, including the trace amounts left in a non-alcoholic beer.
In conclusion, while some non-alcoholic beers have very minimal alcohol left after brewing processes, health organizations advise completely avoiding even small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy. You can read more about alcohol and pregnancy HERE.
There is no data on the impact of non-alcoholic beer on fetal development at the time this article was published. Unfortunately, the label isn’t always 100% accurate with the amount of alcohol left. The safest choice will be not to drink non-alcoholic beer while pregnant. It’s ultimately a personal decision weighing the possible risk to benefit for yourself. Either way, moderation would be important. You can also drink non-alcoholic substitutes. Sparkling water in a champagne glass or pregnancy mocktails would be great choices for your enjoyment and peace of mind.
Check out The Prenatal Nutrition Library for more preconception and pregnancy nutrition education to help you have a happy and healthy pregnancy. It is the first app and searchable database for food during pregnancy so that you will have answers within seconds. Try it FREE here!
Our entire library and blog will help you feel 100% confident in your food choices for two this season. We’ve covered multiple inquiries, such as “Can You Drink Kombucha While Pregnant?” and “Does Root Beer Have Caffeine In It?”