How Much Caffeine Can You Safely Drink During Pregnancy
Your know you need to limit coffee during pregnancy, but what about other caffeinated drinks? Get the facts on what’s safe for you and your baby.
Whether your beverage of choice is coffee, an energy drink, tea, or diet cola, odds are you need a cup of something caffeinated to keep you energized throughout the day. But now that you’re eating and drinking for two, the decision to ingest stimulants such as caffeine can be a bit trickier.
“Caffeine in pregnancy can be an issue if large amounts are consumed,” says Michele Hakakha, M.D., a board certified OB-GYN in Beverly Hills, California, and author of Expecting 411. “We know from many of our studies that caffeine crosses the placenta, and a baby’s developing metabolism can’t quite handle the caffeine jolt.”
But although experts agree that caffeine should be limited, they can’t come to a consensus on exactly how much. An August 2020 review published in the journal BMJ concluded that no amount of caffeine is safe. The observational study found “maternal caffeine consumption to be associated with increased risk for the four outcome categories of miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight and/or small for gestational age, and childhood acute leukaemia.”
The Best Tea For Pregnancy
If you’re looking for a pregnancy-safe tea, herbal options may be your best bet. “Herbal teas can help hydrate the body when women don’t want to drink plain water,” says Amelia Hirota, D.Ac., an herbalist and acupuncturist at Phoenix Fertility Center in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Plus, some herbal teas provide important pregnancy nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and iron.
Rooibos tea, in particular, has beneficial antioxidant properties it’s also caffeine-free. Other herbal teas may help alleviate morning sickness , prevent insomnia , and shorten labor while promoting more effective contractions . “Many midwives believe that drinking red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy tones the uterine muscle, which may help make contractions more efficient,” says Hirota.
No Safe Level Of Caffeine Consumption For Pregnant Women And Would
Women who are pregnant or trying for a baby should consider avoiding caffeine, researchers say
Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should be advised to avoid caffeine because the evidence suggests that maternal caffeine consumption is associated with negative pregnancy outcomes and that there is no safe level of consumption, finds an analysis of observational studies published in BMJ Evidence Based Medicine.
Caffeine is probably the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in history, and many people, including pregnant women consume it on a daily basis.Pregnant women have been advised that consuming a small amount of caffeine daily will not harm their baby. The UK NHS, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the European Food Safety Authority set this level at 200 mg caffeine, which approximates to roughly two cups of moderate-strength coffee per day.
This study undertook a review of current evidence on caffeine-related pregnancy outcomes, to determine whether the recommended safe level of consumption for pregnant women is soundly based.
Through database searches, Professor Jack James, of Reykjavik University, Iceland, identified 1,261 English language peer-reviewed articles linking caffeine and caffeinated beverages to pregnancy outcomes.
As a result, he adds, current health recommendations concerning caffeine consumption during pregnancy are in need of radical revision.”
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Your Guide To Drinking Tea During Pregnancy
What teas are safe to drink while pregnant? From green tea to black, peppermint tea to chamomile, here’s what to steep when you’re expecting.
The ritual of making and drinking tea has been practiced for thousands of years, and for good reason. Tea contains polyphenols to protect your heart, antioxidants that may lower your risk of cancer, and nutrients that boost your immune system. When you’re expecting, the benefits get even better: A comforting cup may ease morning sickness and help you through labor. But while many teas are safe for pregnancy, some are potentially dangerous for moms-to-be and should be avoided. Read on for a guide to drinking tea while pregnant.
Is There A Safe Amount
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists caps the caffeine limit for pregnant people at 200 milligrams per day . Any more than that is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.
That said, it’s relevant to note a 2021 study, which found that pregnant participants who consumed the caffeine equivalent of just half a cup of coffee a day 50 mg had slightly smaller babies than those who didn’t have any caffeine.
These findings are important because babies with low birthweight may have a harder time fighting off infections and an increased risk of complications like neurologic disorders and breathing problems.
It’s important to note that the study didn’t conclude that low doses of caffeine are directly harmful to the baby just that caffeine intake may result in a slightly smaller size at birth.
So what’s the overall consensus?
“Drinking below 200 milligrams is safe if a pregnant woman is able to tolerate coffee, meaning it’s not causing onset nausea or sickness,” says Jessica Shepherd, MD, an OB-GYN and Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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Having Some Caffeine In Pregnancy ‘is Fine’
While mums-to-be and women trying for a baby should limit their caffeine intake, a couple of cups of tea or coffee a day is fine, say experts.
Their comments come as a new research paper in a medical journal suggests there is no safe level in pregnancy.
But the experts say that is alarmist.
The NHS and many other organisations say consuming 200mg or less a day should not pose any significant risk in terms of miscarriage or growth of the baby while in the womb.
The stillbirth charity Tommy’s has a caffeine intake calculator to help women keep track of their consumption.
The controversial research paper, published in BMJ Evidence Based Medicine, looked at 48 studies on the topic.
The author of that paper, Prof Jack James, a psychologist at Reykjavik University in Iceland, acknowledges that the work is observational, so can’t prove definitively that any caffeine in pregnancy is harmful.
But he says his analysis, which links caffeine with harm, suggests avoiding drinks like tea and coffee entirely would be the best advice for mums-to-be and women trying to get pregnant.
Other experts strongly disagree, saying this is overkill.
Just as the NHS does, the European Food Safety Authority and the American and UK Colleges of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommend limiting, but not eliminating, caffeine consumption during pregnancy.
He said: “Caffeine has been in human diets for a long time.
Caffeine Amount For Those With Health Concerns
Adults, as well as children, with diagnosed or undiagnosed medical conditions, can have adverse health implications with even small amounts of caffeine. For those with certain health conditions, giving up caffeine may be recommended.
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How Much Caffeine Is In Coffee
- One 8-ounce cola contains about 22 mg of caffeine.
Keep in mind: The amount of caffeine in tea can vary significantly depending on the variety, origin, and even how long you steep it.
Herbal teas like chamomile, peppermint, and lemon ginger have no caffeine at all. However, and tea can still have small amounts of caffeine usually less than 12 mg per 8-ounce serving.
Statement: Caffeine Causes Miscarriages
Facts: In 2008, two studies on the effects of caffeine related to miscarriage showed significantly different outcomes. In one study released by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, it was found that women who consume 200mg or more of caffeine daily are twice as likely to have a miscarriage as those who do not consume any caffeine.
According to a 2015 meta-analysis, the risk of miscarriage rose by 19% for every increase of 150 mg per day of caffeine and by 8% for every increase of two cups of coffee per day.
In another study released by Epidemiology, there was no increased risk in women who drank a minimal amount of coffee daily
Due to conflicting conclusions from numerous studies, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the March of Dimes recommend that until more conclusive studies are done, pregnant women should limit caffeine intake to less than 200 mg per day. This is equal to about one 12 oz cup of coffee.
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The Amount Of Caffeine In Popular Foods And Drinks
There are some products such as regular coffee that you know have caffeine. But caffeine is also a common ingredient in many other foods and beverages. Foods that dont list caffeine as an ingredient arent necessarily caffeine-free. Even decaffeinated items can still have a small amount.
Here are some of the drinks and snacks that you may enjoy and how much caffeine they contain. The amount of caffeine in each item listed below is a general average. These amounts can vary, because the actual amount of caffeine in each product depends on the brand and the way it’s made:
|12 fl. oz.||34 mg|
Four Out Of Five Experts Said Yes
But they all had a pretty big caveat. Its safe provided its consumed in moderation.
Its also important to remember things like tea, chocolate and energy drinks also contain caffeine, so youll need to take that into account when estimating your daily intake.
Here are the experts detailed responses:
If you have a yes or no health question youd like posed to Five Experts, email your suggestion to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Benefits Of Coffee During Pregnancy
There are no specific health benefits to drinking coffee during pregnancy, but that caffeine boost can be helpful if you are used to it. One thing to keep an eye on is if you find yourself feeling like you need a caffeine boost in order to have the energy to do day-to-day activities.
While feeling more tired can be a normal part of pregnancy, it may also indicate that you need more sleep, are experiencing increased stress, or may not be getting enough iron. Let your healthcare provider know if you find yourself feeling like you “need” a cup of coffee just to make it through the day. While it’s important to keep tabs on how much caffeine you consume while pregnant, you likely don’t have to deprive yourself either.
If you are used to having a cup of coffee in the morning, cutting it out completely is likely unnecessary and, in some cases, can leave you feeling groggy and with a headache. Continuing to drink a small amount of coffee, or drinking less than you usually do rather than dropping coffee cold turkey, may help you feel the positive effects of the caffeine without any risk to the baby or you.
How Much Caffeine Is Too Much
Many experts say that the less caffeine you consume, the better. Others say more than 150 mg of caffeine a day is too much, while others say more than 300 mg a day is excessive. Avoiding caffeine as much as possible is your safest course of action. If you cant resist caffeine, it is best to discuss details with your healthcare provider.
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Can I Have 2 Cups Of Coffee While Pregnant
Most experts agree that caffeine is safe during pregnancy if limited to 200 mg or less per day. This equals about 12 cups of coffee or 24 cups of caffeinated tea.
Also know, how does caffeine affect a fetus?
Caffeine during pregnancy. While drinking large amounts of caffeine does not appear to cause birth defects, it may make it more difficult to become pregnant. It may also increase the risk of miscarriage or having a baby with low birth weight. Most evidence on the risk of caffeine use and pregnancy is not conclusive.
Secondly, can I have one cup of coffee a day while pregnant? Current guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other experts say that it’s safe for pregnant women to consume up to 200 milligrams of caffeine a day, or around one daily 12-ounce cup of coffee.
Considering this, how much coffee can you drink pregnant?
Due to conflicting conclusions from numerous studies, the March of Dimes states that until the results of more conclusive studies are available, pregnant women should limit caffeine intake to less than 200 mg per day. This is the equivalent of about one 12 oz cup of coffee.
Is it OK to drink decaf coffee when pregnant?
“It’s OK to drink decaf coffee and tea during pregnancy, but to not overdo it,” says Elisa Zied, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., a dietitian in New York City and author of Feed Your Family Right. Even small amounts of caffeine in so-called products can add up if you’re having multiple servings.
Caffeine Can Cause Miscarriage And Infertility
Some studies point out that a high level of caffeine can delay conception. Therefore, couples are often asked to not consume caffeine when trying to conceive. On the other hand, two studies were made on the causes of miscarriages in the year 2008.
The first study found that chances of having a miscarriage doubled in women who consumed caffeine in high quantity a day.
The second study revealed that high dosage of caffeine did not cause any risk in pregnant women.
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How Much Caffeine Can You Have During Pregnancy
Caffeine is widely loved in America. So much that an American adult on average has around 190 mg of caffeine per day. But caffeine and pregnancy do not seem like best friends. Caffeine and pregnancy-related concerns are quite common in America too. If you are pregnant, you must pay more attention to the quantity of caffeine you are having every day.
We dont realize but we actually drink a lot of caffeinated drinks. For instance, an 8-ounce cup of coffee contains 95-200 mg of caffeine, a 12-ounce can of cola contains 25-45 mg, and an 8-ounce cup of tea contains 14-60 mg of caffeine.
While tea and coffee are regular drinks amongst the adults, few distinctive health authorities ask us not to consume them when you are pregnant.
Caffeine occurs naturally in more than 60 plants but primarily in tea leaves, coffee, kola nuts , and cocoa pods . Synthetically formed caffeine is also available, which mg in foods, drinks, and certain medicines.
How Caffeine Affects An Unborn Baby
When you’re pregnant, caffeine does cross the placenta and make its way to the fetus. Since your babys body is still developing, the liver, brain, and nervous system are immature and cannot handle caffeine the same way that a full-grown adult can.
While experts arent exactly sure how too much caffeine could affect fetal development, there are a few things they do know:
- Caffeine stimulates the baby, so you may feel the baby is more active not long after you consume caffeine.
- It may increase the babys heart rate and cause an irregular heartbeat or sleep disturbances.
- It is also difficult for the developing baby to clear too much caffeine from their body. With continued consumption of high amounts of caffeine, the drug can build up in the babys body. After birth, a newborn may show symptoms of withdrawal including irritability, tremors, and disrupted sleep patterns.
With these impacts in mind, it is safer for your baby if you can limit your caffeine intake to below 200 milligrams a day.
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Caffeine Safe Limits: Calculate Your Safe Daily Dose
Use the caffeine safe dose calculator to determine your safe daily dose of caffeine based on your body weight.
A safe caffeine limit is the amount of caffeine a person can consume without experiencing any negative caffeine overdose symptoms.
Its difficult to assign an exact amount for everyone because people can have different sensitivities or reactions to caffeine based on age, medical history, and tolerance.
However, there is enough research available to make a recommendation based on an individuals weight.
How Much Caffeine Is In Your Favorite Drinks & Snacks
- Coffee, average :
- Brewed, 8 oz. | 95 165 mg
- Brewed, decaf, 8 oz. | 2 5 mg
- Espresso, 1 oz. | 47 64 mg
- Latte, 8 oz. | 63 126 mg
Avoiding caffeine as much as possible is your safest course of action. If you must get your fix, it is best to discuss this with your healthcare provider to make the healthiest choice for you and your baby.
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Can Caffeine Withdrawals Hurt My Baby
Quitting caffeine can have unpleasant effects, but they arent dangerous. Common caffeine withdrawal symptoms include :
- Brain fog.
The worst symptoms usually subside within the first 48 hours after quitting caffeine, but other bothersome symptoms may stick around for up to a week .
If you quit caffeine while pregnant, your baby will not be harmed due to the withdrawal process. If you consume large amounts of caffeine throughout your pregnancy, its possible for your baby to be born addicted and suffer withdrawal symptoms after birth.
Again, these arent harmful just unpleasant.
If youd like to cut down on your caffeine while minimizing the withdrawal symptoms, dont go cold-turkey. Instead, gradually reduce the amount of coffee you drink, the number of cups per day, or switch to half-caf.