As soon as you find out you are pregnant, first thing that comes to mind is what you should eat and what you shouldn’t. Caffeine needs some special restrictions if you are used to drinking lot of coffee, tea or soft drinks.
Although, back in late 1900′s the FDA published a warning that advised pregnant women to restrict or eliminate their intake of caffeine because of its effects causing birth defects.
But currently, the advice on caffeine intake during pregnancy nutrition is moderation. That means less than 300mg. Recent studies show that caffeine intake of less than 300mg does not harm the baby.
How Does Caffeine Effect Pregnancy?
Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, leaches calcium, reduces iron absorption, has a diuretic effect and crosses the placenta into your baby. This means it has the following results in your body:
- Raises your heart rate
- Decreases the amount of calcium in your body
- Dehydrates you
- Increases your blood pressure
- And the same things occur for your baby (except baby will steal from your bones to get needed calcium)
- It can also interfere with a normal fetal growth
- Can be associated with lower birth weight and weaken adrenal glands, that can affect your blood sugar regulation and stress coping abilities.
So, how much caffeine is ok during pregnancy?
It is best to avoid or at least reduce your caffeine intake to no more than 300mg per day. Some experts say no more than 150mg per day. You may be able to handle the caffeine, but baby’s liver is immature and not able to get rid of it like you. Imagine if that 1 cup of morning coffee lasted you 40-130 hours as it does for your baby.
Some common caffeine sources
- Coffee (100-200 mg per 8 ounce)
- Tea (black 60mg, green 40mg)
- Soda (40-75mg per can)
- Dark Chocolate (5-35mg per 1 ounce)
- Milk Chocolate (1-15mg per 1 ounce)
- Headache medicine (65-130mg)
If you are a caffeine user, I recommend reducing to less than 300mg per day (some studies show increase miscarriages with more than 300mg). Then gradually reducing to as close to zero as possible, which will not only benefit your baby, but also your ability to handle stress.