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How many mg of caffeine can you have when pregnant
Caffeine in pregnancy
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We don’t know a lot about the effects of caffeine during pregnancy on you and your baby. So it’s best to limit the amount you get each day.
If you’re pregnant, limit caffeine to 200 milligrams each day. This is about the amount in 1½ 8-ounce cups of coffee or one 12-ounce cup of coffee.
If you’re breastfeeding, limit caffeine to no more than two cups of coffee a day.
Caffeine is a drug found in things like coffee, tea, soda, chocolate and some energy drinks and medicines. It’s a stimulant, which means it can keep you awake.
How does caffeine affect you and your baby during pregnancy?
Caffeine slightly increases your blood pressure and heart rate and the amount of urine your body makes. Caffeine may cause you to feel jittery, have indigestion or have trouble sleeping. During pregnancy, you may be especially sensitive to caffeine because it may take you longer to clear it from your body than if you weren’t pregnant. It may also make you feel nauseous or lightheaded.
When you have caffeine during pregnancy, it passes through the placenta to your baby. The placenta grows in your uterus (womb) and supplies the baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord.
You may have heard that too much caffeine can cause miscarriage (when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy), preterm birth (birth that happens before 37 weeks of pregnancy is completed) or low birth weight (when your baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces). Some studies say this is true, and others don’t.
Until we know more about how caffeine can affect pregnancy, it’s best to limit the amount you get to 200 milligrams each day. This is about the amount in 1½ 8-ounce cups of coffee or one 12-ounce cup of coffee. Be sure to check the size of your cup to know how much caffeine you’re getting.
What foods and drinks contain caffeine?
Caffeine is found in:
Coffee and coffee-flavored products, like yogurt and ice cream
Some soft drinks
Chocolate and chocolate products, like chocolate syrup and hot cocoa
The amount of caffeine in foods and drinks varies a lot. For coffee and tea, the amount of caffeine depends on:
How it’s prepared
The type of beans or leaves used
The way it’s served (for example, as espresso or latte)
The size of the cup. Not all coffee cups are the same size, even though you think of them as a cup. Check to see how many ounces your cup has, especially if you’re buying a cup of coffee or tea. If you’re making coffee or tea at home, measure to check the size of the cup.
Some energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine. For example, a 24-ounce energy drink may have up to 500 milligrams of caffeine. Energy drinks may have a lot of sugar, too, and they may contain ingredients that may be harmful to your baby during pregnancy. Because we don’t know a lot about all the ingredients in energy drinks, it’s best not to have them when you’re pregnant.
The amount of caffeine you get from food and drinks throughout the day adds up. So if you have a cup of coffee in the morning, you may want to limit or give up having other food and drinks during the day that have caffeine.
The list below shows the amount of caffeine in common food and drinks. The caffeine amounts are averages, so they may change depending on the brand or how the food or drink is made. Check the package label on food and drinks to know how much caffeine they contain.
What medicines contain caffeine?
Some medicines used for pain relief, migraine headaches, colds and to help keep you awake contain caffeine. The Food and Drug Administration (also called FDA) requires that labels on medicine list the amount of caffeine in the medicine.
If you’re pregnant, talk to your health care provider before taking any medicine that contains caffeine. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicine. A prescription is an order for medicine given by a health care provider. You can buy over-the-counter medicine, like pain relievers and cold medicine, without a prescription.
Some herbal products contain caffeine. These include guarana, yerba mate, kola nut and green tea extract. Herbal products are made from herbs, which are plants that are used in cooking and for medicine. The FDA does not require that herbal products have a label saying how much caffeine they contain. If you’re pregnant, don’t use herbal products because we don’t know how much caffeine they contain.
Is caffeine safe during breastfeeding?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says it’s safe for breastfeeding moms to have caffeine. A small amount of caffeine does get into breast milk, so limit caffeine if you’re breastfeeding. Breastfed babies of women who drink more than 2 to 3 cups of coffee a day may become fussy or have trouble sleeping. You may want to drink less caffeine if your baby was born preterm or newborn because she may digest caffeine more slowly.
Last reviewed: April 2020
Nutrition, weight & fitness
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Caffeine and Pregnancy - American Pregnancy Association
Caffeine is one of the most popular stimulants in America, which makes caffeine and pregnancy-related concerns common too. If you are pregnant, you might need to reduce your daily intake of your favorite drinks and treats containing caffeine.
Caffeine is a Stimulant and a Diuretic
As a stimulant, caffeine tends to increases a person’s blood pressure and heart rate. Both of these effects should generally be avoided during pregnancy. Caffeine also tends to increase the frequency of urination, thus causing a decrease in body fluid levels and resulting in possible dehydration.
Caffeine Crosses the Placenta to the Baby
Although you might be able to safely process your own intake of caffeine, your baby does not have the same ability because its metabolism is still maturing. Even a small amount of caffeine can cause changes in your baby’s sleep pattern or normal movement pattern in the later stages of pregnancy. Remember, because caffeine is a stimulant, it can keep both you and your baby awake.
Caffeine is in More Than Coffee
Caffeine is not only found in coffee but also in tea, soda, chocolate, energy drinks, and some over-the-counter medications (many migraine medicines contain caffeine). So, it is important to be aware of what is in your food and the beverages that you consume.
Fact or Myth?
You have a love affair with coffee or some other caffeinated beverage and you want to know if you need to give it up while you are pregnant. There are some health care providers who will encourage you to give it up altogether while others will give you an OK for limited consumption. It is always best to consult your doctor before making a decision on your own.
Caffeine causes birth defects in humans
Facts: Numerous studies on animals have shown that caffeine can cause birth defects, preterm delivery, reduced fertility, and increase the risk of low birth weight and other reproductive disorders. Although studies on humans are inconclusive at this time, it is better to play it safe when it comes to the health of your baby. Usually, these are brought on by high intake over an extended period of time.
Caffeine causes infertility
Facts: Some studies have shown a link between high levels of caffeine consumption and delayed conception. This is why we suggest that women and their partners abstain from caffeine while trying to conceive.
Caffeine causes miscarriages
Facts: In 2008, two studies on the effects of caffeine related to miscarriage showed significantly different outcomes. One study released by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 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. Another study released by Epidemiology showed no increased risk in women who drank a minimal amount of coffee daily ( between 200-350mg per day.) 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.
A pregnant woman should not consume ANY caffeine
Facts: Experts have stated that moderate levels of caffeine have not been found to have a negative effect on pregnancy. The definition of moderate can vary from 150 mg – 300 mg a day.
Caffeine levels in common drinks and snacks
Coffee, average (check the specific blend & café that you purchase from for specific levels):
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
Dr. 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
Baker’s chocolate (1 oz) 26 mg
Green tea (6 oz) 40 mg
Black tea (6 oz) 45 mg
Excedrin (per capsule) 65mg
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 can’t resist caffeine, it is best to discuss details with your healthcare provider.
Want to Know More?
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Nutrients and Vitamins for Pregnancy
Compiled using information from the following sources:
1. Organization of Teratology Information Services
2. Williams Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Cunningham, F. Gary, et al, Ch. 8. March of Dimes
3. Maternal caffeine consumption during pregnancy and the risk of miscarriage: A prospective cohort study. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 198 (3), e1-8. Weng, X., Odouli, R. & Li, D.K. (2008).
How Much Coffee Can You Really Drink While Pregnant?
A new study indicates that caffeine is dangerous for pregnant women, even at low doses. But experts are sure that the complete elimination of caffeine from the diet is not required.
doctor-therapist Ukrainian Andrey
Moderate consumption of coffee and other caffeinated foods is now considered safe during pregnancy. A major new study published in the prestigious journal BMJ Evidence Based Medicine states that there are no safe doses of coffee for pregnant women. This statement caused a resonance in scientific circles and in the media. We understand whether it is really necessary to completely refuse coffee during pregnancy.
What are the current caffeine intake guidelines for pregnant women?
Caffeine restriction recommendations for pregnant women first appeared in the US in 1980 following reports of teratogenicity in rodents. Since then, fears about caffeine have subsided. Its use is no longer associated with the risk of severe anomalies. But in large quantities, it can lead to low birth weight in newborns, and in extreme cases, to miscarriage.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that pregnant women consume up to 200 milligrams of caffeine per day without fear of harm to their fetus or their own health. A similar figure is indicated by the UK National Health System (NHS) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
How do we know how much caffeine we get?
The following data on approximate caffeine content in products can be used to control the amount of caffeine.
1 cup instant coffee - 100 mg caffeine;
1 cup of coffee from a coffee maker - 140 mg;
1 cup tea - 75 mg;
1 can of cola - 40 mg;
1 can (250 ml) energy drink - up to 80 mg;
1 dark chocolate bar (50 g) - up to 25 mg;
1 milk chocolate bar - up to 10 mg.
Thus, the caffeine limit can be reached by drinking, for example, 2 cups of tea and one can of cola.
No more pouring: what's wrong with coffee
It is not advisable to drink coffee in the morning and not safe in the evening. We tell you why coffee does not really give energy, and how to deal with caffeine “side effects”.
What the New Study Finds
Professor Jack E. James of Reykjavik University reviewed 48 studies on the effects of various forms of caffeine in pregnancy. The reviewer found that most studies show an association of caffeine use during pregnancy with the risk of prematurity (low birth weight, low gestational age), acute childhood leukemia, and childhood obesity. Caffeine has not been associated with an increased chance of preterm birth.
Many of the studies James reviewed showed that there was no safe level of coffee consumption for pregnant women.
Observational studies were included in the review. They usually do not allow to judge a causal relationship: that is, it is not known whether coffee is the cause of the listed problems. However, the author points out that some studies have shown a dose-dependent effect: the more caffeine, the higher the risk of disorders. This testifies in favor of the fact that substance is really dangerous in small quantities .
If this scientific work is heeded by professional medical associations, there may be a recommendation to exclude caffeine from the diet of pregnant women.
What the experts say
Many experts were skeptical about the quality of the evidence for caffeine harm. Specialists, whose opinion is given in the media, believe that the new study cannot lead to a change in the current recommendations.
King's College London Professor Andrew Shennan noted that Jack James has done a good review of the research, but there is room for questions. "The evidence for harm may be partly related to other factors that often accompany caffeine use, such as smoking," he said.
Shennan noted that in observational studies, information about the amount of caffeine consumed is obtained from the words of pregnant women themselves, and the figures may be underestimated. Therefore, the data of such scientific works can be distorted.
Dr. Daghni Rajasingham, spokesperson for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, indicated that current caffeine recommendations are based on high-quality evidence. In her opinion, the data presented in the new study is less convincing.
Adam Jacobs, director of the biotech company Premier Research, noted that the author of the new study had previously written two books about the dangers of coffee, that is, it is necessary to take into account his tendentious attitude to the issue.
Comments Cackl e
Coffee during pregnancy: a complete guide to do's and don'ts
When a woman sees "two lines" on her test, her life begins to change that same day. In this life, there are more good habits (timely sleep, proper nutrition, moderate exercise) and less bad habits (alcohol, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy food). Coffee as a potentially dangerous product, around which there is a lot of controversy, often falls under the barrier of prohibitions.
Even without any pregnancy, coffee often raises a number of questions and concerns in people, so the debate around this drink is quite understandable and justified. But our task is to separate myth from reality and figure out when restrictions make sense and when they are a pointless obstacle to a fulfilling joyful lifestyle.
How does coffee affect the body of a pregnant woman?
Before talking about some special effect of coffee on a pregnant woman, let's refresh our memory of what actually happens to us when we drink coffee:
After caffeine enters the blood, dopamine is released, which, as we remember, is responsible for a good mood. This hormone of joy very willingly “jumps out” in response to a shot of espresso or cappuccino and makes us feel good.
Under the influence of dopamine, it is easier for us to play sports, we become more enduring and notice less pain in the muscles. It also improves overall performance.
If there is too much caffeine (read - dopamine), the suppression of serotonin production begins. This leads to increased anxiety and can provoke depression.
In parallel, under the influence of caffeine, adrenaline is released, another hormone that is responsible for our good mood and cheerfulness.
In most cases, coffee stimulates our heart to beat faster. The rhythm of the heartbeat accelerates and at the same time the pressure rises.
The theophylline contained in coffee acts on the intercostal muscles and muscles of the diaphragm, as a result of which our breathing becomes more relaxed and easy.
The excretory systems (diuretic and intestines) are stimulated – under the influence of caffeine, we feel the desire to visit the restroom faster.
Caffeine also stimulates the nervous system. The peak of this action occurs in the first hour or two after drinking coffee, then for an average of 3-4 hours the breakdown of caffeine in the blood occurs, at which time many people have difficulty falling asleep.
What changes when a pregnant woman drinks coffee? In addition to the above phenomena, the following important parameters should be additionally indicated:
the process of removing caffeine from a woman's body slows down;
increased fetal heart rate;
increased fetal activity;
Excessive use creates possible risks for the child.
It is the last item on this list that is cause for concern and doubt about the admissibility of coffee in the diet of a pregnant woman. Below we describe in detail what these risks are and in what cases concerns can be justified.
Can pregnant women drink coffee?
Let's start with a high-profile peer-reviewed study published in the BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine. Professor Jack James from Reykjavik University in Iceland conducted a series of studies in 2020 and concluded that there is no safe level of caffeine intake for pregnant women: even the smallest amount can negatively affect the development of the fetus. However, Mr. James' colleagues from other countries categorically disagree with him. The National Health Service, the European Food Safety Authority, and the American and British Colleges of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend limit but not eliminate caffeine intake during pregnancy . The research paper was deemed "too panicky" and inconsistent with the accepted evidence.
“There are so many do's and don'ts associated with pregnancy, and the last thing we want to do is cause unnecessary worry. After all, women need to be sure that caffeine can be consumed in moderation during pregnancy,” says Dr. Luc Grzeskowiak, a pharmacist at the University of Adelaide in Australia.
Most doctors around the world agree that drinking up to 200 mg of caffeine per day (1-2 cups of coffee) is an acceptable limit that will not harm either mother or child.
When thinking about the amount of caffeine consumed per day, it is very important to remember that it is added not only from your cups of cappuccino, but also from other products (energy drinks, tea, cola, chocolate, cocoa).
The World Health Organization confirms that excess caffeine intake may be associated with problems (fetal growth restriction, low birth weight, preterm birth or stillbirth).
Is coffee allowed in early pregnancy (first trimester)?
The first trimester is the time when the foundation of the future life is laid, the most exciting and unpredictable. It is during this period that most miscarriages occur. And if we talk about coffee, then, according to studies, such miscarriages in the early stages are indeed more common in women who drink this drink often and a lot. However no one can say for sure whether high caffeine intake is a threat to the fetus or whether constant coffee consumption is a marker of a failed pregnancy (increased aversion to coffee, along with nausea and vomiting, is a feature of a healthy pregnancy).
Thus, we conclude that for a healthy woman with a healthy pregnancy, moderate coffee consumption is quite acceptable .
Can I drink coffee during the second trimester?
The second trimester is the quietest time for a future mother: by this moment the most dangerous milestones have been passed and there is no need to be afraid for the child's viability. Often it is during this period that all those strange and unexpected taste preferences of pregnant women fall, and coffee often becomes such an object of desire. If you do not have strict medical contraindications, you can continue to drink your favorite drink without any worries. The main thing is not to get carried away (remember about 200 mg of caffeine per day). To be completely calm, dilute coffee with milk. To minimize risks, doctors recommend drinking your coffee in the morning.
Is coffee allowed in late pregnancy (3rd trimester)?
The last trimester again increases the risk that the baby will leave the mother's body earlier than necessary, so if you are not sure about your health and the health of the fetus, at this time it is better to reduce coffee consumption to a minimum. Many studies indicate that in the third trimester of pregnancy, coffee had a negative effect on the condition of the child (premature birth, miscarriage). On the other hand, scientists tend to assume that mothers who drink a lot of coffee in late pregnancy also allow themselves other questionable products (alcohol, tobacco), and this greatly distorts the picture of research.
Benefits and harms of coffee for pregnant women
As we have already found out, many studies have shown that it is unwise to drink coffee (or in general any caffeinated drink) during pregnancy in large quantities. Unfortunately, the publication of this information at one time gave rise to a lot of rewritten materials in which it was no longer possible to trace the connection with the original and see the important mention of the amount of caffeine. Meanwhile, in the case of coffee and pregnancy, the most important thing is not to overdo it (as, indeed, in many other areas of our lives).
Benefits of coffee during pregnancy
Coffee has many pleasant and beneficial effects that do not disappear when a pregnant woman drinks it. So, for example, coffee for pregnant women with low blood pressure might be a good idea. Thanks to the effect of caffeine, the pressure rises and the well-being of the expectant mother improves.
Coffee with milk will also benefit pregnant women: it is a good source of calcium, which is so necessary for the harmonious development of the child and maintaining the health of the mother. Latte is an ideal coffee drink during pregnancy: milk takes up more cup volume, which simultaneously reduces the effect of caffeine and replenishes calcium stores.
Coffee is an effective remedy against edema characteristic of pregnant women (diuretic effect).
Do not forget that it is useful for pregnant women to be in a good mood, and coffee certainly helps to lift it.
Harm of coffee during pregnancy
As we remember, there is a version that caffeine consumption during pregnancy can increase the likelihood of infertility, birth defects, miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and fetal growth retardation. However, this version is not sufficiently proven.
But we know for sure that coffee will be harmful to pregnant women who are prone to hypertension (high blood pressure) and tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), as well as to those who have a lack of calcium, potassium and phosphorus (caffeine does little to flush out these elements). Also, coffee is contraindicated in women with hypertonicity (additional stimulation with caffeine can really cause a miscarriage).
Another unpleasant consequence of taking coffee by pregnant women is additional stimulation of the excretory systems. Not a very pleasant thing, given that a woman in position already wants to go to the toilet more often than usual. However, any drink stimulates our kidneys to work more actively, so this is a controversial argument "against".
Which coffee is safer during pregnancy?
If you are not ready to give up coffee, but want to minimize the possible risks, it is worthwhile to figure out in advance which type of coffee is best for you.
Natural bean coffee
Classic coffee made from beans has the highest caffeine content, especially if the coffee is made in Turkish and the blend includes a high percentage of Robusta (this type of coffee has almost twice as much caffeine as Arabica). It is worth drinking no more than one cup a day, and also pay attention to the content of the blend (the ratio of robusta to arabica).
A standard cup of Americano (70 ml. ), Espresso (30 ml.) or Cappuccino (180 ml.) contains about 50-70 mg of caffeine (they use the same amount of coffee - 1 shot).
Instant coffee contains less caffeine in most cases than coffee beans. Doctors believe that a pregnant woman can afford up to two servings of such a drink. 1 teaspoon (without a slide) of instant coffee contains 30–50 mg of caffeine.
Perhaps the safest option for those who value fragrance and ritual more than effect. In decafe, caffeine is removed by 97-99%, which means that any risks are reduced to almost zero. One serving of decaffeinated coffee contains 3 to 6 mg of caffeine.
If for some reason coffee is contraindicated for you (even decaffeinated), but you want to keep your favorite ritual, you can always try to make a replacement and try drinks made from chicory or barley grain. They do not contain caffeine at all.
If the pregnant woman and her unborn child have no health problems, it is acceptable to drink 1-2 cups of coffee per day with a total caffeine content of no more than 200 mg*.