Caffeine and Pregnancy

Caffeine and Pregnancy - How much is too much?

As always, please consult with your doctor and follow his/her directions regarding your pregnancy. This article is not meant to give medical advice.

Coffee Cup One of the first things most women prepare to say goodbye to is caffeine, once there is a positive pregnancy test. Many women will stop their caffeine habit cold turkey out of fear of doing damage to the new life growing inside. Staying away from anything that has caffeine in it; coffee, soda and chocolate, isn't a bad idea, but not totally necessary. Instead of drinking five cups of coffee a day, cutting back to one cup of coffee a day is reasonable.

Caffeine and Pregnancy

Our mothers and grandmothers will probably tell us that they drank the same amount of caffeine pregnant as they did when they were not pregnant and their children turned out fine. However a lot more research has been done since their time and studies are showing that too much caffeine can cause some complications such as preterm labor and/or low birth weight.

So how much caffeine is too much? Doctors are telling their patients that a moderate amount of caffeine will not harm their babies. Even though caffeine does cross the placenta, not more than 200 milligrams a day (about an 8 ounce cup of coffee) is usually alright, but check with your doctor and follow the recommendations.

Caffeine and Pregnancy

Anything over 300 milligrams puts your baby at risk, and studies have shown that women who drink more than 300 milligrams of caffeine a day during their first trimester have a slightly higher risk of a miscarriage.

Studies have also shown that women who had over 500 milligrams of caffeine a day had babies who had faster heart rates and faster breathing rates. These babies also spent more time awake in their first few days of life rather than peacefully sleeping after their long journey.

There are a number of other reasons why women might want to cut back on the amount of caffeine during pregnancy.

Caffeine and Pregnancy

For starters, it has no nutritional value. If there is ever a time to be aware of nutritional needs, it is during pregnancy.

Second, caffeine is a stimulant which will increase your heart rate and can cause insomnia and headaches which can put some stress on your growing little one.

Third, caffeine can cause heartburn. If you have been pregnant before, you know that heartburn can be a burden to begin with, and caffeine just makes it worse.

Lastly, caffeine is a diuretic, which means it can cause you to lose fluids which can put you at a risk of becoming dehydrated.

While it is not necessary for you to give up all caffeine throughout the duration of your pregnancy, you should keep it to a minimum. If you cannot handle having only one cup of coffee a day, then you might be better off drinking no coffee at all.

Stick with purified water, caffeine free teas or decaf coffee. Remember, though, that decaf coffee still contains small traces of caffeine, so make sure you take that into consideration.

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COFFEE MUG FULL OF BEANS © Ingrid Perlstrom |

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