By Idries Abdur-Rahman, M.D., FACOG
Author, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Pregnancy

 

Expecting your own bundle of joy? Check out our book is available on Amazon in both digital RIGHT HERE and print formats RIGHT HERE

 

Does being pregnant mean that you have to completely kick your caffeine habit or is it okay to have a little bit of caffeine during pregnancy? If you can have caffeine, are you limited in how much you can have, or are you limited to having caffeine only during certain parts of your pregnancy? As a caffeine lover and self-confessed caffeine addict, I can feel your pain. So let’s break this one down, what’s the real deal with caffeine during pregnancy?

 

Can I Drink it or Not?

I see pregnant patients in the office every day and one of the most common questions I get deals with coffee and other forms of caffeine during pregnancy. The question usually goes something like this… I just want to have a little bit of coffee in the morning but my significant other is absolutely freaking out. Can’t I have just a little bit? The simple answer is yes, you can in fact have caffeine during pregnancy. The real question really is how much caffeine is safe during pregnancy?

 

 

How Much Can I Drink?

While caffeine is considered safe during pregnancy, it does cross the placenta. This means that your baby will be exposed to some of the caffeine you ingest. So, while you can have caffeine, we don’t recommend drinking it to your heart’s (or stomach’s) content. Generally, you want to limit your caffeine intake to no more than 200mg per day. This is the rough equivalent of 12oz total per day, so we are talking one cup of coffee or one can of soda.

 

Why Do I Have to Limit Caffeine?

So, why do we recommend limiting coffee to 200mg or 12 ounces per day? Well, coffee is a stimulant (that’s why we like it, right?), that means that it causes a bit of vasoconstriction (when your blood vessels narrow) and elevated blood pressure. When you take in a small amount of caffeine, the effect is minimal and it passes quickly. If you take in large amounts of caffeine however, the effect can be longer-lasting and more severe. This can lead to high blood pressures, decreased blood flow through the umbilical cord and placenta to the baby, and reduced fetal growth.

 

Can Every Pregnant Woman Drink Caffeine?

If you are already considered a high-risk pregnancy, or if you have high blood pressure or Pre-Eclampsia, we recommend that you talk to your doctor or midwife first.

 

Don’t Forget Other Sources of Caffeine!

And don’t forget, coffee and soda are not the only forms of caffeine. Tea and chocolate also contain caffeine so be sure to include these when you are calculating how much caffeine you have had for the day.

 

Expecting your own bundle of joy? Check out our book is available on Amazon in both digital RIGHT HERE and print formats RIGHT HERE

 

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