Caffeine is one of the most loved stimulants in America. But Because caffeine can raise blood pressure, pregnant women should limit caffeine during pregnancy.
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 a 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 doesn’t have the enzymes needed to metabolize 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.
Caffeine Facts or Myths?
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; however, it is still better to play it safe when it comes to inconclusive studies.
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.
According to a 2015 meta-analysis, the risk of miscarriage rose by 19% for every increase of 150 mg per day of caffeine and by 8% for every increase of two cups of coffee per day.
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 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the March of Dimes recommend 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.
How much caffeine is in your favorite drinks & snacks?
- Coffee, average (check the specific blend & café that you purchase from for specific levels):
- Brewed, 8 oz. | 95 – 165 mg
- Brewed, decaf, 8 oz. | 2 – 5 mg
- Espresso, 1 oz. | 47 – 64 mg
- Latte, 8 oz. | 63 – 126 mg
- Dr. Pepper (12 oz) 37 mg
- 7 Eleven Big Gulp Diet Coke (32 oz) 124 mg
- 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
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 healthcare provider to make the healthiest choice for you and your baby.
Want to Know More?
Compiled using information from the following sources:
1. Organization of Teratology Information Services Mother To Baby
2. Williams Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Cunningham, F. Gary, et al, Ch. 8.
4. Maternal caffeine consumption during pregnancy and the risk of miscarriage: A prospective cohort study. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 198, e1-8.. Weng, X., Odouli, R. & Li, D.K. (2008).
5. Caffeine and miscarriage risk. Epidemiology, 19 (1), 55-62. Savitz, D.A., Chan, R.L., Herring, A.H. & Hartmann, K.E. (2008).
6. The Mayo Clinic: Caffeine content in coffee, tea, soda, and more.