How Much Sugar During Pregnancy Is Too Much?

How Much Sugar During Pregnancy Is Too Much?

6 Apr 2023 | 6 min Read

Sudeshna Chakravarti

Author | 799 Articles

Food cravings are a normal part of pregnancy, and sugar cravings constitute a big part of them. But can eating too much sugar during pregnancy harm your baby? In this post, we help answer this question and also discuss possible side effects of excess sugar intake during this crucial time.

Can You Have Sugar During Pregnancy?

Sugar During Pregnancy

You should consume sugar in limited amounts as it just adds to your calories and does not offer any nutritional benefits / Image credit: Freepik

Yes, you can safely consume sugar and sugary foods during pregnancy in moderation. However, if you have gestational diabetes, then you have to be extra careful about your sugar intake.

But keep in mind that sugary foods like candies, cakes, chocolates, and soft drinks contain large amounts of refined sugar and offer zero nutritional value. So, if you have been eating them frequently, it’s a good idea to switch to healthier options, such as fruits, which have natural sugars and are filled with essential vitamins and minerals.

How Much Sugar Can You Consume During Pregnancy?

There is no standard recommendation for sugar consumption during pregnancy. The ideal sugar intake during pregnancy depends on your blood sugar levels, metabolic rate, and body weight.

In any case, it’s good to limit your sugar consumption to 25 grams or less per day. If you have gestational diabetes, then this amount may vary, depending on your condition. Make sure to consult your healthcare provider before to understand how much sugar can you consume on a daily basis.

Can Eating Too Much Sugar In Pregnancy Harm Your Baby?

Overeating foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates may have an impact on your growing baby. Also, excess sugar in your blood due to underlying health conditions like uncontrolled type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes can harm your baby.

Extra sugar can cross the placenta and increase your baby’s blood sugar levels in the womb. This may lead to increased insulin production in your baby’s body, and make them grow larger, a condition that is known as macrosomia.

Delivering a large baby can lead to pregnancy complications, and require caesarean section. This condition is also associated with premature birth and life-threatening infections.

Possible Side Effects Of Consuming Excess Sugar During Pregnancy

Sugar During Pregnancy

Excess sugar intake can cause unhealthy weight gain and increase the risk of gestational diabetes / Image credit: Freepik

Excess sugar consumption only adds empty calories and deprives you of essential nutrients during pregnancy. Some of its other side effects include

  • It aggravates your pregnancy symptoms: Symptoms such as heartburn, mood swings, and vomiting might get worse with excess sugar consumption.
  • It may cause fatigue: As discussed, sugary foods lack nutrition. They contain sucrose, which may cause a temporary spike in your blood sugar levels, leaving you tired and lethargic.
  • It may cause excessive weight gain: Too much sugar intake might make you gain unhealthy weight during pregnancy.
  • It may lead to nutritional deficiencies: Overindulgence in sugary foods may deprive you of other essential nutrients that are crucial for your baby’s proper growth and development.
  • It may cause acute fatty liver (AFL): A diet heavy in fructose-containing sugars can lead to the fatty liver syndrome. It might also affect your baby’s metabolic rate in the womb, and lead to diabetes or obesity later in their life.
  • It increases the risk of preeclampsia: High sugar consumption may increase the risk of preeclampsia in expecting women. The best way to avoid these possible risks is to cut down on your sugar intake during pregnancy.

Tips To Reduce Consumption Of Sugar During Pregnancy

  • Limit sugar-containing snacks and foods: You can also avoid consuming refined sugar altogether. If that is not possible, cut down on ice creams, cakes, and other snacks with added sugar.
  • Include fruits in your diet: If you are craving sugar, eat sweet fruits such as mango, strawberries, and pineapple. You can also make fresh fruit juices without artificial sweeteners.
  • Avoid artificial sugars: Artificial sweeteners may have harmful effects on your body, which may last even after your pregnancy. Hence, include healthier sweet alternatives, such as honey or coconut sugar.
  • Keep an eye on the ingredients in packaged foods: Pay attention to the ingredients and know the amount of sugar present in foods, such as peanut butter, breakfast cereal, biscuits, sauces, dips, and more. Consider only those food items with low sugar content.

Healthy Foods To Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels During Pregnancy

Sugar During Pregnancy

Include fibre and protein-rich foods in your pregnancy diet to maintain your blood sugar levels and curb sweet cravings / Image credit: Freepik

Regular exercise and an improved diet can help lower your blood sugar levels naturally. We have discussed a few healthy food items that you can consider including in your pregnancy diet.

Low Glycemic Foods

Include foods that have a low glycemic index, such as beans, whole grains, barley, fruits, oatmeal, and vegetables. These foods take longer to digest and prevent fluctuations in your blood sugar levels.


Probiotics are stomach-friendly bacteria that encourage healthy digestion. They regulate your metabolism and maintain normal blood sugar levels. Yogurt is one of the best probiotics that you can take during pregnancy.

Fibre-Rich Foods

Insoluble fibre helps maintain your digestive health, and soluble fibre improves your sugar levels. Legumes and oats have the highest level of soluble fibres, and you can find soluble fibre in whole wheat foods. Vegetables and fruits also contain both kinds of fibre.

Proteins And Healthy Fats

Protein-rich foods help control your blood sugar levels, keep you full for longer, and boost your energy levels. Eggs, poultry, and nuts are great sources of lean proteins. Healthy fats found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados also keep you satiated and prevent cravings for sugar-rich foods.


Sugar is addictive, and its craving might increase during pregnancy. Excessive consumption of sugar during pregnancy can additionally increase the risk of gestational diabetes and other pregnancy complications, such as nutritional deficiencies. 

To avoid these risks, replace refined sugars and include more fruits and natural sweeteners in your diet to curb your sweet cravings. Also, make sure to scan through the ingredients list of packaged foods, and avoid the ones that contain high levels of sugar. 

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Also Read:

Acupuncture during pregnancy: What are the benefits of getting acupuncture during pregnancy? Tap this post to find out.

Benefits of high-fibre foods during pregnancy: Learn how fibrous foods can enhance your overall health during pregnancy.

Spicy foods during pregnancy: Can you eat spicy foods during pregnancy? Check out this post to know the answer. 

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