Chewing gum during pregnancy: yes or no?

Can you chew gum while pregnant? Is it true that it can prevent premature birth? Can the presence of sweeteners harm the baby? Here’s everything you need to know about chewing gum for pregnant women.

When it comes to nutrition , the doubts of expectant mothers are always many. In this article, we will talk about chewing gum in pregnancy , often used as a remedy to combat first trimester nausea . Can they be eaten? Do they hurt the baby?

Chewing gum in pregnancy

Let’s start with some reassuring news: an occasional or moderate consumption of chewing gum during pregnancy does not put the health of mother and child at risk . However, it is important not to overdo the quantities, to avoid possible negative consequences.

In particular, remember that chewing gum containing sugar can increase the risk of gestational diabetes and favor the appearance of dental caries . Their consumption is therefore not recommended.

Sugar-free gum during pregnancy

Sugar-free chewing gum also needs some attention, especially regarding the sweeteners used.

In particular, the consumption of saccharin and sorbitol is not recommended during pregnancy , while stevia, sucralose and xylitol are considered safe , without exceeding the quantities and always within a healthy and balanced diet.

As far as aspartame and acesulfame K (E950) are concerned , they must be taken in moderation.

Warning: even if aspartame in pregnancy is considered safe in moderate quantities, it is contraindicated in women with phenylketonuria , a disease that causes the accumulation of a particular amino acid (phenylalanine).

Chewing gums: do they really prevent premature birth?

A 2022 study found that chewing sugarless gum during pregnancy reduced premature births and low birth weight . The conclusions of this research, however, require some consideration.

The study was conducted in Malawi, the country with the highest preterm birth rate in the world, and showed that chewing xylitol gum twice a day every day reduced the number of preterm births by almost 25% and around 31% the number of children with low birth weight.

Xylitol is a natural sweetener with a prebiotic action, which can help improve gum health. On the other hand, as has been amply demonstrated in many studies, poor oral hygiene increases the risk of premature birth .

At the presentation of the results of this study, therefore, one of the researchers underlined how the consumption of xylitol chewing gum could be an advisable strategy in populations with high percentages of gum problems or other risk factors for premature birth.

In conclusion, in our country, the most sensible recommendation to reduce the risk of premature birth and low birth weight would be to take care of your oral hygiene and undergo regular check-ups by your dentist during pregnancy , rather than chewing sugar-free gum xylitol base.

Chewing gum for nausea in pregnancy

At the pharmacy or on the internet, you can buy ginger-based chewing gum (ginger) specially designed to combat nausea in pregnancy .

In fact, ginger has proven to be effective in relieving this symptom and can be used fresh (for example a slice in a glass of water), as an herbal tea or in the form of candies and chewing gum .

However, the studies carried out on the safety of ginger in pregnancy are not numerous and do not allow definitive conclusions to be drawn: it is therefore recommended to use it in very moderate doses.

For these reasons, always ask your gynecologist or midwife for advice before taking ginger chewing gum while pregnant.

Travelgum ® during pregnancy

Travelgum ® is a medicine based on dimenhydrinate , an antihistamine used to prevent nausea and vomiting (antiemetic), available in the form of chewing gum.

The intake of Travelgum ® during pregnancy is not recommended during the entire first trimester , as well as for other medicines containing this active ingredient.

Furthermore, in the second and third trimester of pregnancy , this medicine can only be used after the go-ahead from the gynecologist or trusted midwife .

Chewing gum with nicotine in pregnancy

Nicotine chewing gum is generally not recommended during pregnancy , as are any other products containing it.

If you stopped smoking after finding out you were pregnant but are having trouble managing withdrawal, see a smoking cessation center . They can recommend suitable replacement therapies (including the use of nicotine chewing gum) in doses that are as safe as possible for your situation.

In conclusion

An occasional consumption of chewing gum is not prohibited during pregnancy . However , it is recommended to use them in moderation and to prefer sugar – free and xylitol – based gums .

The continued intake of chewing gum to combat nausea is inadvisable instead . Better to rely on other natural remedies or seek advice from a trusted professional .

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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