Around the world, many people grab a cup of coffee as a regular part of their morning routine. Similarly, reaching for a soft drink when the afternoon doldrums hit is commonplace. When you learn you a pregnant, do you have to give up caffeine?
"Caffeine can make your unborn baby more active, can raise your baby's heart rate and may affect blood flow in your placenta," said Dr. Eugene Louie-Ng, an obstetrician at Novant Health Lake Manassas OB/GYN in Gainesville, Virginia. "But the quality of studies available are poor when it comes to the exact effects on your baby."
Dr. Ng said at typical levels of caffeine consumption, "there does not appear to be any adverse effect on babies in terms of birth defects, miscarriage or preterm labor. However, since there is not 100 percent certainty on this, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends limiting caffeine intake during pregnancy to less than 200 milligrams per day."
A 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola contains about 34 milligrams of caffeine, A 16-ounce Starbucks Grande coffee contains more than 300 milligrams.
Dr. Ng reminds patients that caffeinated drinks are not the only sources of caffeine in a typical diet. "While coffee, tea and sodas account for most caffeine intake, other foods such as chocolate contain caffeine as well," he said. "When considering your caffeine intake, it's import to account for all the sources."
So, in short, Dr. Ng says pregnant women do not need to completely give up caffeine, but watching and limiting the amount in a woman's diet is key to a healthy pregnancy.