Is It Safe To Chew Gum During Your Pregnancy?

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Chewing gum is made with a gum base, sweetening, and flavoring agents. It has a broad fanbase and is loved by one and all. But is it safe to chew gum during your pregnancy? Pregnant women may wonder if the otherwise harmless chewing gum ingredients, such as artificial sweeteners, coloring, and flavoring agents, would harm their baby. Read this post to learn more about the safety of consuming chewing gums in pregnancy.

Is Chewing Gum Safe During Pregnancy?

When you are pregnant, it is important to take into consideration the safety angle of everything you eat and drink, and that includes chewing gums too.

Most food items that you eat after checking the sugar-free label are full of artificial sweeteners. While you may consciously be cutting down your intake of sugar while you are pregnant, you may unknowingly fall into the trap of gaining empty calories in the form of artificial sweeteners.

Before you consume anything while you are pregnant, it is important to seek a nod of approval from your doctor. She will be the best person to guide you whether or not it is safe for you to chew gum while you are pregnant. She may even suggest the best chewing gum for you and the ones you should avoid.

What Are Artificial Sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners are ingredients added to food items to make them sweet, without the use of sugar. Foods that come with the ‘sugar-free’ label like candies, colas, desserts and chewing gums, are replete with artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are of two types:

1. Nutritive Artificial Sweeteners:

The nutritive form of artificial sweeteners contains calories.

2. Non-Nutritive Artificial Sweeteners:

The non-nutritive form of artificial sweeteners does not contain any calorie.

Nutritive Artificial Sweeteners In Chewing Gums

Most brands of chewing gums that claim to be sugar-free contain some or the other form of nutritive artificial sweeteners.

Nutritive artificial sweeteners are full of empty calories. Therefore, even sugar-free chewing gums are high in calories and low in vitamin or mineral content. It is safe to consume nutritive artificial sweeteners during your pregnancy in moderate quantity. However, it is important first to take your doctor’s advice on the same.

When To Avoid Nutritive Artificial Sweeteners During Pregnancy?

If you have any of the following medical conditions during your pregnancy, make sure you avoid taking nutritive artificial sweeteners:

  • Gestational Diabetes: It is a condition in which you will have very high levels of blood sugar during your pregnancy.
  • Insulin Resistance: It is a condition in which your body becomes resistant to the insulin hormone. It puts you at a higher risk of suffering from a heart disease and is usually a precedent to Type 2 diabetes.
  • Diabetes Mellitus: It is one of the most common types of diabetes. In most cases, it remains a life-long condition and affects your body’s ability to make use of the energy it gains from foods.

Non-Nutritive Sweeteners That Are Safe During Pregnancy

Most non-nutritive artificial sweeteners are safe for consumption. The amount added is also usually small, only enough to give the food a little sweet flavor.

Here are some types of non-nutritive sweeteners added in chewing gums that you can safely consume while you are pregnant:

1. Aspartame:

Most chewing gums contain a form of non-nutritive sweetener called aspartame. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deems it safe for use in chewing gums. It is still advisable that you check with your doctor before using it while expecting. Ensure you only have it in moderate quantities (1).

Do not use chewing gums that contain aspartame if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Phenylketonuria or PKU – it is a rare metabolic disorder
  • Any form of liver disorder
  • If your doctor confirms high levels of phenylalanine in your blood

2. Sucralose:

It is a non-caloric sweetener approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a flavor in chewing gums. You and can have it in moderate amounts while you are pregnant. It will not have any effect on your blood sugar, and does not contain any calorie that can harm you or your unborn baby.

Artificial Sweeteners That Are Unsafe During Pregnancy

Make sure you label to check the ingredients, before eating chewing gum during pregnancy. The following types of artificial sweeteners are not safe for consumption during pregnancy:

1. Saccharin:

Even though it is not as popular as it was earlier, it is still a common ingredient in some food products, including chewing gums. You should strictly avoid its intake during these critical nine months as it can cross your placenta, reach your fetus and cause health complications.

2. Cyclamate:

It is a banned ingredient in the US. However, many chewing gum brands from other countries may still be using it to add the sweet flavor. Its safety for consumption during pregnancy is uncertain as yet hence it is best to avoid its intake to safeguard your unborn baby.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does chewing gum help with pregnancy nausea?

Yes. Some studies suggest that chewing gum can help with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (2).

2. Can I chew gum while in labor?

A few reports state that chewing gums or mints during labor can help manage the anxiety and stress in the first stage of labor (3). However, it is recommended to consult with your OB-GYN before doing so.

You may use chewing gum during your pregnancy, considering the nutritional value and calories. Sometimes, the sugar-free labeled gums can also give you some extra calories. There are also non-nutritive chewing gums available that do not contain calories. You may avoid chewing gums with nutritive artificial sweeteners or normal sugar if you risk diabetes or insulin resistance in pregnancy. Some artificial sweeteners, including saccharin and cyclamate, are unsafe in pregnancy. Always read labels before purchasing and seek doctors’ opinions on the use of chewing gums in pregnancy.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for Use in Food in the United States.
    https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/additional-information-about-high-intensity-sweeteners-permitted-use-food-united-states#Aspartame
  2. Chewing Gum Containing Vitamin-c to Treat Emesis Gravidarum.
    https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04284696
  3. Atefeh Ebrahimian et al.; (2022); Comparison of the effectiveness of virtual reality and chewing mint gum on labor pain and anxiety: a randomized controlled trial.
    https://bmcpregnancychildbirth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12884-021-04359-3
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Kay Lakka

(MSc )
Kay Lakka is the founder of Londontherapy, a busy psychological practise in the center of London. She holds a BSc (hons) in psychology and MSc in the psychodynamics of human development and has numerous post graduate diplomas including advanced psychotherapy, guidance through dreams and psychosexual relationship counselling.  Also a doula and hypnobirthing teacher, Kay is a registered member of UKCP,... more

Ria Saha

Ria is a techie-turned-writer and writes articles on health, with special emphasis on nutrition. She did her B.Tech from West Bengal University of Technology and was previously associated with IBM as SAP ABAP technical consultant. She moved into freelance content writing in 2013 and worked for various websites including MomJunction, Brainpulse Technologies, and Emarketz India.

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