Thanks for an awesome site! I’ve got a quick question. I’ve heard a lot of different opinions but thought I’d go straight to you for your thoughts. I’m pregnant right now and am wondering if I should be drinking coffee and coke and other things with caffeine in them while I’m pregnant. Is it dangerous for my baby? Thanks!
Great question! Here’s some information about caffeine & pregnancy:
As soon as a woman finds out she is pregnant, she will begin to think of the many ways that her life is going to change. One major change is going to be in her nutrition. She can no longer drink alcohol, smoke, or eat certain foods. She may need to consider her daily caffeine intake.
Some women will immediately quit drinking coffee or sodas that have caffeine in them. Other women will decide to drink only one glass rather than an entire 2 liter. Opinions regarding caffeine consumption vary from person to person. Your mother may insist that she drank 6 cups of Folgers every day with you and look how you turned out. Your aunt may insist that she never touched caffeine and her babies slept more peacefully after birth.
However, expectant mothers should look to research findings to determine how much caffeine is too much. Doctors are aware that caffeine can cross into the placenta. They also are advising that anything under 300 milligrams a day will not do any harm. That is equal to about one cup of coffee. They are warning that anything over this amount and complications can begin to occur.
Common complications that may arise out of an overuse of caffeine include:
* Low birth weights/Preterm labor
* Miscarriage in the 1st trimester
* Increased heart rate
* Increased risk of dehydration
Doctors have found that expectant mothers who are drinking more than 300 mgs of caffeine a day may experience preterm or early birth which means their babies usually weigh less and may not be fully developed. They have also found a connection between a slightly increased risk of miscarriage in the first trimester and high caffeine consumption.
Caffeine has also been associated with heartburn. For most women, getting heartburn throughout their pregnancy can occur even without caffeine. Rather than worsen heartburn, just avoid consuming too much caffeine.
In mothers, caffeine can cause an increased heart rate, headaches, and insomnia. It acts as a stimulant to produce these effects. Combined, all of these symptoms can put more stress on the mother’s body and the baby.
After birth, most babies tend to sleep for several days. Sleeping and resting after they are born is very important to a baby. Doctors have found that mothers who consumed high levels of caffeine during pregnancy have babies that are more awake, with an increased chance of fast breathing or increased heart rates.
Since caffeine is considered a diuretic, it can cause you to lose fluids. Drinking plenty of hydrating fluids during pregnancy can help eliminate nausea, headaches, and also keep you overall healthier. Choose to drink water over caffeine to stay hydrated.
Caffeine, soda, coffee, etc. basically provide no nutritional value for anyone, including an expectant mother. When you become pregnant, you must learn to consume it in moderation. If this isn’t possible for you, then you may just choose to eliminate it all together. You can also choose to drink decaf coffee and caffeine free soda drinks. Note that even the decaf versions can still contain small amounts of caffeine. Keep that in mind when you think you can consume 10 cups of decaf coffee.
Giving up or lowering your intake of caffeine while pregnant is a small price to pay to increase your chances of having a healthy, happy baby.