Pregnant? Maybe hold the soft drinks

Pregnant women who drink artificially sweetened beverages may be more likely to have overweight infants than women who do not, a study suggested on Monday.

Researchers found that daily consumption of artificially sweetened beverages was linked to a two-fold higher risk of having an infant who was overweight at age one.

This is compared to women who drank no artificially sweetened beverages at all.

The report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, surveyed more than 3,000 mothers who logged their dietary habits. Their infants' body-mass index was later measured at one year of age.

Nearly 30 per cent of women reported taking artificially sweetened drinks while pregnant. Factors that could play a role in the baby's weight were taken into account, such as the infant's sex and whether the mother was overweight.