How Much Caffeine Is Too Much During Pregnancy?
By Pierre Mouchette | Bits-n-Pieces
If you are like most people, you probably need a cup of coffee or two or three to get through the day. Caffeine can increase your alertness and improve focus. And caffeine drinkers are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson’s disease, and strokes. You will also find it in drinks like tea, sodas, and energy drinks.
Like all things, there is too much of a good thing when it comes to caffeine. Most experts agree that 200 mg of caffeine daily is a safe amount. But if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, those rules do not apply. The debate around caffeine and pregnancy has been going on for decades, and guidelines change as new research becomes available. The following is what the latest research says about caffeine intake during pregnancy.
Is caffeine harmful during pregnancy?
Research shows that caffeine intake during pregnancy will not harm you or your baby if you take less than 200 mg of caffeine per day. At this cut-off, most research shows that drinking caffeine does not increase your risk of miscarriage or premature delivery. There is also no evidence that 200 mg of caffeine daily leads to congenital disabilities. This caffeine intake may even lower your risk of developing gestational diabetes.
But the bad news:
How much caffeine can you drink while pregnant?
It depends on whom you ask.
The American Pregnancy Association recommends avoiding caffeine altogether during pregnancy. But the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that up to 200 mg of caffeine daily (about 2 cups of coffee) is likely okay.
Yet other experts point out that no research proves 200 mg of caffeine daily is safe. And others argue back that the reason there is no definitive answer because studies like this cannot accomplished while women are pregnant. One to limit caffeine intake is to drink decaffeinated beverages. But decaffeinated coffee still contains some caffeine. So keep tabs on your intake, even if you drink decaffeinated coffee.
If you want to avoid caffeine, stick to beverages you know do not have caffeine. And if you are drinking much caffeine before pregnancy and need to cut back, make sure you do this slowly. That way, you can avoid symptoms of caffeine withdrawal, like:
How much caffeine is in coffee?
There is 100 mg to 150 mg of caffeine in an 8 oz cup of coffee. But this can vary depending on how the coffee is brewed and the manufacturer. Many coffee houses like Starbucks and Dunkin’ post full nutrition facts on their websites, including caffeine content.
Tracking how much caffeine you consume
Hitting that 200 mg limit can happen faster than you expect. In addition to coffee, many other drinks and foods contain caffeine, like:
If you exceed that 200 mg limit one day, do not panic.
Just try to take in less caffeine the next day.
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