Can You Drink Caffeine While Pregnant?
As many working moms (SAHM moms working moms i’m talking to you too, cause lord knows!) can attest to #coffeeislife.
But what are the limits when we are expecting and even after if we are nursing, has seem to be quite the controversial subject.
As far as the limit? We have all heard the number 200mg (which equates to 12oz of coffee), but what does they really mean? And how does caffeine really affect our little growing babies? For me, I wanted to find out the reason for that number and why. And my findings were actually quite shocking.
According to Dr. Sears on his blog for parenting.com; “Excessive caffeine consumption (defined as drinking three or more cups of coffee or tea daily during the first trimester) has been also associated with a higher incidence of miscarriage and low birth weight” and ”Not only does it also raise their Little heart rate, but because a fetus’ immature liver can’t rid itself of the caffeine as quickly as an adult liver, the caffeine may remain in the fetus’ bloodstream longer, and at higher levels. A further caution is that caffeine has similar metabolic effects as the stress hormone adrenaline; both can theoretically reduce blood flow to the uterus.”
Additionally Dr. Sears notes; “Besides being harmful for your developing baby, caffeine—at least in high doses—could be harmful to you. Research suggests that pregnant women detoxify caffeine at a slower rate while pregnant, allowing the caffeine to build up to higher levels in the bloodstream and remain in the system longer, compounding its effects. Caffeine also has a diuretic effect, which can increase the frequency of urination (increasing your already—frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom) and can possibly lead to dehydration. Also, it can lessen the absorption of iron from foods in your diet during pregnancy.”
Americanpregnancy.org also notates the danger that “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.” They also state, “Any amount of caffeine can also cause changes in your baby’s sleep pattern or normal movement pattern in the later stages of pregnancy. Caffeine is a stimulant and can keep both you and your baby awake.”
That’s some pretty serious stuff. And it makes me think back to when my pediatrician told me about the 200mg limit. It didn’t sound serious at all. But like a good first time expecting momma I followed that guideline ridgidley and looked it as a way to drink more tea (decaf) and to detox. But had I known or been explained how serious the side effects to both me and my growing baby were, I may have even decided to go without my liquid gold (the first kind of liquid gold) just to play it safe, at least in the first trimester all together.
But coffee is not all that bad according to the Huffington Posts 10 things you might not know about Caffeine; moderate doses of caffeine can actually offer health benefits, including boosts to memory, concentration and mental health. And coffee in particular, a major source of caffeine for Americans, has been associated with a host of body perks, including a possible decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers. (whew!)
Now you may ask, ”but what about after baby?” As a nursing mother, I slowly incorporated my coffee back into my diet by first starting with decaf (and grew to rather like it). But I will say that I went without the first 3 months, solely because my baby already had a hard time sleeping and I didn’t want to disturb that anymore. Now that he is almost 8 months, I will admit I do indulge in a fully loaded Toffee Nut Almond Milk Latte from Starbucks here and there, but mostly stick to my decafs (which surprisingly I also learned still contain about 9-14mg of caffeine) in the morning unless I know I need that extra pick me up to get through a busy day.
Worried about how much caffeine you are consuming? Always check first! In an average Starbucks cup up Joe there can be upwards of up to 400mg in just 12 ounces!
Here are some other places your caffeine may be hiding and approximate caffeine counts:
- Headache medicine-65mg
- Herbal Teas-40mg
- Sodas-(12 ounce) 37mg
- Energy Drinks-(12 ounce)111mg
- Chocolate-(1 ounce) 26mg
- Candy Bars-11-60mg
- Decaf Coffee- 9-14mg
- Energy Bars-50mg
Tags: breastfeeding, caffeine, is caffeine safe, new mother support, pregnancy questions, Why Vegan