Caffeine intake during Pregnancy

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

any caffeine.

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.

Last Updated: 03/2011


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,


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).