Steer clear of alcohol when pregnant and try these summer drink swaps

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Remember that what you drink, your baby drinks too

Glass of lemonade

© Getty - Handbag

Now that the weather is finally looking a bit brighter, we all like to relax and spend in the sunshine with family and friends.

Whereas this time last year you might have had an alcoholic drink or two, if you're pregnant this summer you'll need to think of some alternative soft drinks to enjoy.

It's important to remember that what you drink, your baby drinks too. Your baby's liver doesn't develop until the last month of your pregnancy. This means that even a very small amount of alcohol can be damaging.

Drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects and problems with your baby's intellectual and emotional development. You're also putting yourself at higher risk of having a miscarriage.

But steering clear of alcohol doesn't mean that you have to give up having fun with your friends this summer.

Try out some of these booze-free alternatives and encourage your friends and family to join you.

- Alcohol-free beer - You can find these at your local supermarket and some restaurants and bars. Just make sure you check the label.

- Virgin cocktails - Try mixing up fruit juices with sugar free lemonade and tonic water

- Herbal tea - There are so many different flavours available and some have other benefits too, such as camomile tea which can help you relax and get to sleep. If you don't fancy a hot drink, try making your own iced tea instead either using a fruit tea or decaf with ice cubes and lemon.

- Smoothies - If you have a blender at home, try making your own smoothies using frozen fruits and a few spoonfuls of low fat yoghurt. A smoothie can count towards your 5 a day too.

- Water - Try sugar-free flavoured or fizzy mineral waters or squeeze some lemon or lime into regular water. Some women find that this helps with the nausea and sickness common in early pregnancy.

- Sugar free soft drinks - Remember that you need to limit the amount of caffeine that you drink while you are pregnant to no more than 200mg per day, and this includes cola and energy drinks -a can of energy drink contains 80mg and a can of cola 40mg.

For more information on pregnancy health and advice go to www.nhs.uk/Start4Life
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