Caffeine During Pregnancy

If you are like many women in the world, caffeine plays a large role in your life. It acts as a wake-up-call in the morning, provides a little lift at work and can even serve as an afternoon treat. When you are pregnant, though, some of your usual diet needs to be modified or avoided altogether in order to protect your baby’s health. Although many people are under the impression that caffeine should be removed from the diet while pregnant, recent studies have shown that controlled amounts of it are actually okay.

Caffeine And Your Baby

Many studies of the effects of caffeine on babies offer varying conclusions, but a common consensus is that drinking large amounts of caffeine while pregnant can have negative effects on your baby. When you consume caffeine, whether in the shape of your daily coffee, a soda, an energy drink or even certain foods, your blood vessels become constricted and can cut off blood flow to your baby. This can translate into developmental problems or birth defects.

You know that jittery feeling you get when you drink a large cup of coffee or can of soda? That is your heart rate increasing and your blood pressure rising. Neither of these are recommended during a pregnancy and can also affect your baby’s (as well as your) health negatively.

How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?

So, just how much caffeine can you have? For years, this discussion has continued between doctors and mothers. The truth is that there is no real answer. There have been studies that show more miscarriages and birth defects in babies whose mothers consumed great amounts of caffeine during pregnancy than those that didn’t. But generally, consuming a modest amount of caffeine on a daily basis during pregnancy has not been shown to have a negative impact on the child. 

What is a modest amount? Doctors have suggested that a pregnant woman can consume about 200 mg of caffeine each day and still produce a very healthy baby. But even if you cut out your coffee, you still need to be aware of other sources of caffeine that you may consume.

Where Is Caffeine?

Caffeine is in a lot of different products, not just coffee, soda and energy drinks. Chocolate, teas, candies, and other foods also contain some traces of caffeine. Surprisingly, even some over-the-counter medicines have caffeine in them, including common cold and headache medicines. Some foods that come in packages will have caffeine listed as an ingredient, so keep your eyes peeled for food labels.

Although your pregnancy will change the way you eat, sleep and think, it doesn’t have to entirely cramp your caffeine cravings. Keeping your eyes and ears open to products that contain caffeine will help you understand what you should avoid and what you can enjoy. Even switching to 50/50 coffee (half regular, half decaf) can help you curb your caffeine crunches while getting that little jolt you desire. Keeping your caffeine intake under 200 mg each day can allow you to have your caffeine and enjoy it too!

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