Caffeine During Pregnancy

As a general rule, women that are attempting to conceive should avoid consuming large amounts of caffeine. However, there is a great deal of conflicting evidence which has limited the ability of medical professionals to determine how much caffeine is safe to consume while pregnant. March of Dimes opts to err on the side of caution, advising women to limit their intake of caffeine to 200mg or less each day. This is the equivalent of about one 12-ounce cup of coffee.

What are the Effects of Consuming Caffeine During Pregnancy?

1. Miscarriage

Those that consume over 200mg of caffeine per day while pregnant have twice the risk of miscarrying compared to those that did not consume caffeine. However, not all studies confirm these results.

2. Stillbirth

A Denmark study noted that the risk of stillbirth is also nearly double in women that consume eight cups of coffee or more per day compared to those that do not consume coffee.

3. Faster Heart Rate

Caffeine is a stimulant which can cause the heart rate to increase. This may in turn lead to jitteriness and insomnia and may increase the increase of stomach acid secretion which can increase heartburn.

4. Reduction in Baby Weight

Some studies have noted that there is a slight correlation between consuming caffeine during pregnancy and a baby having a lower body weight when born. Additional study did not confirm these results.

5. Effects on Baby

Caffeine is capable of crossing the placenta which can increase the baby’s heart rate and metabolism. This means your child may start to feel unsettled after you have consumed caffeine. Some reports note that consuming 500mg or more of caffeine can cause a baby to have more time awake, an increased breathing rate and faster heart rate.

6. Effects on Mother

Those that regularly drink tea or coffee may come to depend on this as an energy source. This can increase your need to use the bathroom, increases stomach acid secretion and cause diarrhea or upset stomach. Consuming too much caffeine can lead to insomnia or headaches as the caffeine leaves the body. Caffeine intake can also interfere absorption of iron form non-meant sources.

How Much Caffeine per Day during Pregnancy?

You do not need to completely eliminate your caffeine intake during pregnancy, but you should strive to have no more than 200mg per day. Eliminate energy drinks from your diet as these are very high in caffeine. You can also switch to decaffeinated coffee and tea or replace these beverages with water or fruit juice.

Common Sources of Caffeine

Coffee is an obvious source of caffeine, though the amount of caffeine in different types of coffee can vary greatly based on how the bean is roasted and brewed. Espresso contains more caffeine per ounce, but it is often served in much smaller servings than a standard cup of coffee which can also have an impact on how much caffeine you intake.

There are a variety of other sources of caffeine such as coffee flavored desserts, soft drinks, tea, chocolate or energy drinks. Some over the counter medications and herbal products such as those for colds, allergies or headaches may also contain caffeine. Read the product labels to determine how much caffeine you are taking in before using these products.

Amount of Caffeine in Common Sources

 
 
 
 

Coffee

 

Serving Size

Caffeine Amount

Generic brewed

8 oz.

95-200mg

Starbucks brewed

16 oz. (Grande)

330mg

Dunkin’ Donuts brewed

16 oz.

211mg

Starbucks cappuccino, latte or misto

16 oz. (Grande)

150mg

Starbucks cappuccino, latte or misto

12 oz. (tall)

75mg

Starbucks espresso

1 oz. (one shot)

75mg

Generic espresso

1 oz. (one shot)

64mg

Generic instant coffee

1 tsp. granules

31mg

Generic decaffeinated coffee

8 oz.

2mg

Tea

 

Serving Size

Caffeine Amount

Brewed black tea

8 oz.

47mg

Brewed green tea

8 oz.

25mg

Brewed decaffeinated black tea

8 oz.

2mg

Starbucks Tazo Chai Tea Latte

16 oz.

95mg

Instant unsweetened tea

1 tsp. powder

26mg

Snapple

16 oz.

42mg

Lipton Brisk iced tea

12oz.

5mg.

Soft Drinks

 

Serving Size

Caffeine Amount

Coke

12 oz.

35mg

Diet Coke

12 oz.

47mg

Pepsi

12 oz.

38mg

Diet Pepsi

12 oz.

36mg

Jolt Cola

12 oz.

72mg

Mountain Dew

12 oz.

54mg

7-Up

12 oz.

0mg

Sprite

12 oz.

0mg

Energy Drinks

 

Serving Size

Caffeine Amount

Red Bull

8.3 oz.

77mg

SoBe Essential Energy (berry or orange)

8 oz.

48mg

5 Hour Energy

2 oz.

138mg

Desserts

 

Serving Size

Caffeine Amount

Dark chocolate (70-85 percent cacao solids)

1 oz.

23mg

Milk chocolate

1.55 oz.

9mg

Coffee ice cream or frozen yogurt

8 oz.

2mg

Hot cocoa

8 oz.

8-12mg

Semisweet chocolate chips

4 oz.

53mg

Chocolate milk

8 oz.

5-8mg

 

 
 
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