Caffeine during Pregnancy

Caffeine is the most widely used xenobiotic with the potential effects to develop complications including low birth weight if taken in large quantities.

Concerns About Caffeine Consumption

It crosses the placenta into the bloodstream and the amniotic fluid while the body metabolizes and take a long time to process affecting the baby’s development. Nevertheless, researches are trying to identify the effects and stated that mild caffeine intake (less than 200 mg) isn’t risky.

Myth or Fact?

Caffeine Causes Congenital Disabilities

According to the studies, it can induce premature labor, congenital disabilities, reduced fertility and preterm delivery along with other reproductive problems. However, there are not many conclusive studies done on humans.

Causes Infertility

Some studies have proven a link between the high levels of caffeine consumption and delayed conception.

Causes Miscarriages

In 2008, two studies showed different outcomes on miscarriage and according to the one released by the AJOG a woman who consumed 200 mg or more caffeine daily were more likely to have a miscarriage in comparison to those who were in limits. In another study released by epidemiology, the chances were very low in women who drank a minimal amount daily (between 200-350 mg daily).

Due to these unproven conclusions, the March of Dimes suggested that women should limit the intake to less than 200 mg per day which is equal to one 12 oz cup of coffee.

Risks

  • Fast heart rates
  • Increased breathing rates
  • Disturbed sleeping patterns

It can also over-stimulate the production of stomach aid causing diarrhea and cramps which is often risky to the both.

Foods & Beverages Containing Caffeine

The amount of the caffeine in coffee varies as per the type of bean, roasting, brewing and the size of the cup. The expresso and brewed coffee contain more caffeine per ounce. Tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate, and ice cream contain caffeine which should be within limits. It also shows up in herbal products and some OTC drugs commonly used for easing symptoms related to headaches, cold and allergy remedies.

In Common Foods & Beverages

  • Brewed, 8 oz:  95 to 165 mg
  • Brewed, Decaf, 8 oz: 2 to 5 mg
  • Espresso, 1 oz: 47 to 64 mg
  • Latte, 8 oz: 63 to 126 mg
  • Pepper (12 oz): 37 mg
  • 7 Eleven Big Gulp Diet Coke (32 oz): 124 mg
  • 7 Eleven Big Gulp Coca-Cola (32 oz): 92 mg
  • Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Buzz Ice Cream (8 oz): 72 mg
  • Green tea (6 oz): 40 mg
  • Black tea (6 oz): 45 mg
  • Excedrin (per capsule): 65mg
  • Black tea (8 oz): 47 mg
  • Green tea, brewed (8 oz): 25 mg
  • Black tea, decaffeinated (8 oz): 2 mg
  • Starbucks Tazo Chai tea latte (16 oz): 95 mg
  • Instant tea, unsweetened (1 tsp powder): 26 mg
  • Baker’s chocolate (1 oz): 26 mg
  • Snapple (16 oz): 42 mg
  • Lipton brisk iced tea (12 oz): 5 mg
  • Coke (12 oz): 35 mg
  • Diet coke (12 oz): 47 mg
  • Pepsi (12 oz): 38 mg
  • Diet Pepsi (12 oz): 36 mg
  • Jolt Cola (12 oz): 72 mg
  • Mountain dew (12 oz): 54 mg
  • 7-Up (12 oz): 0 mg
  • Sierra Mist (12 oz): 0 mg
  • Sprite (12 oz): 0 mg
  • Red Bull (8.3 oz): 77 mg
  • Sobe essential energy (8 oz): 48 mg
  • 5-hour energy (2 oz): 138 mg
  • Dark chocolate: 23 mg
  • Milk Chocolate: 9 mg
  • Coffee ice cream or frozen yogurt: 2 mg
  • Hot Cocoa: 8-12 mg
  • Chocolate chips: 53 mg
  • Chocolate milk: 5-8 mg

OTC Medications

Talk to the doctor before taking any over-the-counter medicines however the two most used are:

  • Excedrin: Contains 65 mg of caffeine including Excedrin extra strength, Excedrin a migraine, and Excedrin tension
  • Midol: Has 60 mg of the stimulant

Alternatives

  • Ginger Tea: Soothes nausea and vomiting
  • Rooibos Tea: Contains antioxidants and calcium helping with the development
  • Peppermint Tea: Eases digestive issues and heartburn
  • Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Supports the uterus while preparing it for labor

Facts About Caffeine

  • Caffeine is a Stimulant and a Diuretic: Increases the BP, heart rate and the frequency of urination which reduces the body fluid levels often leading to dehydration.
  • It Crosses the Placenta: Affects the metabolism of the fetus.
  • Disturbs the Sleep: Changes the sleep patterns in later stages
  • Found in more than just Coffee: Not just coffee, it is also found in soda, tea, chocolate and even in some OTC medications relieving headaches.

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