Caffeine is one of the most loved stimulants in America! But now
that you are pregnant, you may need to lighten up on the daily intake
of your favorite drinks and treats.
Facts About Caffeine:
Caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic. Because caffeine
is a stimulant, it increases your blood pressure and heart rate, both
of which are not recommended during pregnancy. Caffeine also increases
the frequency of urination. This causes reduction in your body fluid
levels and can lead to dehydration.
Caffeine crosses the placenta to your baby. Although you
may be able to handle the amounts of caffeine you feed your body,
your baby cannot. Your baby’s metabolism is still maturing and cannot
fully metabolize the caffeine. Any amount of caffeine can also cause
changes in your baby’s sleep pattern or normal movement pattern in
the later stages of pregnancy. Remember, caffeine is a stimulant and
can keep both you and your baby awake.
Caffeine is found in more than just coffee. Caffeine is
not only found in coffee but also in tea, soda, chocolate, and even
some over-the-counter medications that relieve headaches. Be aware
of what you consume.
Fact or Myth?
Statement: Caffeine causes birth defects in humans.
Facts: Numerous studies on animals have shown that
caffeine can cause birth defects, premature labor, preterm delivery, reduced fertility,
and increase the risk of low-birth weight offspring and other reproductive
problems. There have not been any conclusive studies done on humans
though. It is still better to play it safe when it comes to inconclusive
Statement: Caffeine causes infertility.
Facts: Some studies have shown a link between high
levels of caffeine consumption and delayed conception.
Statement: Caffeine causes miscarriages.
Facts: In 2008, two studies on the effects of caffeine
related to miscarriage showed significantly different outcomes. In
one study released by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology,
it was found that women who consume 200mg or more of caffeine daily,
are twice as likely to have a miscarriage as those who do not consume
In another study released by Epidemiology, there was no increased
risk in women who drank a minimal amount of coffee daily ( between
200-350mg per day.)
Due to conflicting conclusions from numerous studies, the March of
Dimes states that until more conclusive studies are done, pregnant
women should limit caffeine intake to less than 200 mg per day. This
is equal to about one 12 oz cup of coffee.
Statement: A pregnant woman should not consume ANY caffeine.
Facts: Experts have stated that moderate levels
of caffeine have not been found to have a negative effect on pregnancy.
The definition of moderate varies anywhere from 150 mg – 300 mg a
How much caffeine is in your favorite drinks & snacks?
- Starbucks Grande Coffee (16 oz) 400 mg
- Starbucks House Blend Coffee (16 oz) 259mg
- Dr. Pepper (12 oz) 37 mg
- 7 Eleven Big Gulp Diet Coke (32 oz) 124mg
- 7 Eleven Big Gulp Coca-Cola (32 oz) 92 mg
- Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Buzz Ice Cream(8 oz) 72 mg
- Baker’s chocolate (1 oz) 26 mg
- Green tea (6 oz) 40 mg
- Black tea (6 oz) 45 mg
- Excedrin (per capsule) 65mg
How much caffeine is too much?
The less caffeine you consume, the better. Some experts say more
than 150 mg of caffeine a day is too much, while others say more than
300 mg a day is too much. Avoiding caffeine as much as possible is
your safest course of action. If you must get your fix, it is best
to discuss this with your health care provider to make the healthiest
choice for you and your baby.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Organization of Teratology Information Services,
Williams Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Cunningham,
F. Gary, et al, Ch. 8.
March of Dimes, http://www.marchofdimes.com/
Maternal caffeine consumption during pregnancy and the risk of miscarriage: A prospective cohort study. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 198 (3), e1-8.. Weng, X., Odouli, R. & Li, D.K. (2008).
Caffeine and miscarriage risk. Epidemiology, 19 (1), 55-62. Savitz, D.A., Chan, R.L., Herring, A.H. & Hartmann, K.E. (2008).