Is Lucozade good for morning sickness?

Anecdotal evidence from pregnant women suggests drinking Lucozade is just the thing for pregnancy nausea and morning sickness. Is this true? We look at the facts, with expert advice from Dr Philippa Kaye

glass of lucozade by a bottle of lucozade

In a nutshell: There is no scientific evidence that drinking Lucozade – either Lucozade Original, which is fizzy, or Lucozade Sport, which is flat – can help morning sickness. Plenty of mums-to-be swear that it does make pregnancy nausea better but, if that’s the case for you, it’s probably simply because it’s rehydrating you and its high sugar and caffeine content is giving you a much-needed energy boost.

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What the expert says

Our expert GP Dr Philippa Kaye confirms that there are no scientific studies proving that Lucozade can alleviate the symptoms of morning sickness. In fact, she says it’s possible that drinking Lucozade may make you feel worse. She tells us:

There is no evidence that Lucozade works as a preventer for morning sickness or indeed as a cure. In fact, the fizzy kind may make you feel bloated and gassy which may make everything worse
Dr Philippa Kaye

Saying that, Dr Philippa does acknowledge that it’s also possible to feel better after drinking Lucozade in the early stages of pregnancy. “If that’s the case,” she says, “it will be the combination of the fluid itself treating any dehydration, and sugar and caffeine giving you an energy boost. But. most likely, it is the treatment of any dehydration which helps the most.

“And, if you are using it as a rehydration fluid, it’s worth noting that water would also work and water doesn’t contain sugar. “

If you find it helps, Dr Philippa agrees that it’s fine go ahead and drink it – in moderation. Lucozade is perfectly safe to drink in pregnancy, although, as Dr Philippa urges, “don’t forget to brush your teeth as Lucozade contains a LOT of sugar. It also contains caffeine, so watch how much you drink, as you shouldn’t have more than 200mg a day when you’re pregnant.”

What’s in Lucozade:

  • carbonated water
  • glucose syrup (26%)
  • citric acid
  • lactic acid
  • flavourings (including caffeine)
  • preservatives (sodium benzonate, sodium bisulphate)
  • antioxidant (ascorbic acid)
  • colour (sunset yellow).

Is Lucozade good for morning sickness? The anecdotal evidence

We know from our MadeForMums Chat forum that there are plenty of pregnant women who say their morning sickness is made better by drinking Lucozade – especially if they’re struggling to find another drink they can tolerate.

For example,_Minnie09_  on our forum says: “I’m really struggling with drinks at the moment. I used to drink squash but the last few weeks, it’s started making me really nauseous – even the smell of it. I tried some Lucozade yesterday and it’s great and actually seems to help my nausea.”

And Sharmy agrees: “When I had morning sickness, the only thing that helped was Lucozade.”

Interestingly, some pregnant women, like Novemberbaby, even say they had cravings for Lucozade. This could be to do with the energy it provides. As one 2015 study of pregnancy cravings1 notes: “Food cravings [in pregnancy] have been reported as being associated with weight and eating-related pathology and are generally reported for foods that provide energy.”

Lucozade and morning sickness: the scientific evidence

We haven’t found any studies that look at how Lucozade specifically affects morning sickness; everything we’ve heard about it helping has come from anecdotal sources.

However, we did find a 2016 study of nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy among 2,270 pregnant women2 that suggests women who have severe pregnancy nausea do increase their intake of soft drinks: “Increasing severity of nausea is associated with reduced consumption of vegetables, tea and coffee, rice and pasta, breakfast cereals, beans and pulses, citrus fruit and fruit juices, and increased consumption of white bread, and soft drinks in early pregnancy.”

Although this study doesn’t cite Lucozade specifically as a soft drink consumed by the pregnant women, it does tie in with Dr Philippa’s view that pregnant women with nausea may often feel dehydrated and therefore find drinking something soft and sweet helpful.

About our expert GP Philippa Kaye

Dr Philippa Kaye works as a GP in both NHS and private practice. She attended Downing College, Cambridge, then took medical studies at Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’s medical schools in London, training in paediatrics, gynaecology, care of the elderly, acute medicine, psychiatry and general practice. Dr Philippa has also written a number of books, including ones on child health, diabetes in childhood and adolescence. She is a mum of 3.

Pic: Getty

References

1. Nutritional and clinical associations of food cravings in pregnancy. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. A. J Hill et al. DOI: 10.1111/jhn.12333
2. Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: Effects on food intake and diet quality. Maternal and child Nutrition Sarah R Crozier et al. DOI: 10.1111/mcn.12389

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