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?
Myth:Caffeine causes birth defects
Fact: Numerous studies on animals have shown that caffeine can cause birth defects, 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 studies.
Myth: Caffeine causes infertility.
Fact: Some studies have shown a link between high levels of caffeine consumption and delayed conception.
Myth: Caffeine causes miscarriages.
Fact: A few studies have shown that there may be an increase in miscarriages among women who consume more than 300 mg (three 5 oz cups of coffee) a day. Other outcomes include preterm labor and low-birth weight babies. Again, it is safer to avoid caffeine as much as possible.
Myth: A pregnant woman should not consume ANY caffeine.
Fact: Experts and studies 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 day.
How much caffeine is in your favorite drinks & snacks?
- Starbucks Grande Coffee (16 oz) 400 mg
- Starbucks House Blend Coffee (16 oz) 259 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 (8oz) 60 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.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Organization of Teratology Information Services, http://www.otispregnancy.org/
Williams Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Cunningham, F. Gary, et al, Ch. 8.
March of Dimes, http://www.marchofdimes.com/
American Pregnancy Association, http://www.americanpregnancy.org