I understand that I'm not supposed to drink or smoke while pregnant, but how bad is caffeine? I really enjoy coffee and sometimes drink pop. So, it's really hard to stay away from those as third trimester fatigue sets in. Do most of you drop caffeine completely or allow yourselves small portions? So far, I've tried to limit myself to either a cup of coffee or a pop.

asked 27 Oct '09, 03:21

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Artemis
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For my first pregnancy I cut out most caffeine other than a few drinks here or there. For my second pregnancy, I didn't worry about it at all. I probably had 3 cups of tea/day or the odd coffee.

You can find lists of approximate caffeine intake in coffee/tea at various places on the internet, like here. A cup or two of coffee a day (or pop) should be fine, but it's a matter of your personal comfort level. Also, take note of the portion sizes - something like a grande whatever from Starbucks is probably closer to 2 portion sizes than 1.

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answered 27 Oct '09, 04:05

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You might be interested to know how much caffeine is in various beverages: Energy Fiend Caffeine Database

12 oz of the aforementioned Mountain Dew has 55mg of caffeine. So you could actually drink three cans and still not approach the caffeine content of a single cup of coffee.

Also, be careful with the decaf. Decaf does not mean "no caffeine". It means "reduced caffeine", and depending on the coffee, you could be getting more than you think. A cup of decaf could have anywhere from 10% to 25% the caffeine of a normal cup of coffee, maybe more.

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answered 28 Oct '09, 03:00

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Good point about the decaf. As side note, did you know that they actually make decaf espresso? We served it in shots at the restaurant where I used to work. I always thought it was rather pointless.

(28 Oct '09, 03:21) Artemis

The March of Dimes has a good article discussing current research of the topic of pregnancy and caffeine.

There have been many studies on caffeine consumption and miscarriage, but the results have been conflicting. For example, two studies came out in January 2008.

  • One found that women who consume 200 mg or more of caffeine daily are twice as likely to have a miscarriage as women who consume no caffeine (25 percent vs. 12.5 percent) (1).

  • The other found no increased risk among women who drank modest amounts of coffee daily (between about 200 mg/day and 350 mg/day) (4).

Earlier studies found that only women who consume large amounts of caffeine (500 mg a day or more) are more likely to miscarry (5, 6). Until more is known about the risks of caffeine consumption in pregnancy, the March of Dimes recommends a cautious approach: Pregnant women should limit caffeine consumption to less than 200 mg a day.  

A 2003 Danish study suggested that women who drink four or more cups of coffee a day may be at increased risk of having a stillborn baby (7). Women who drank eight or more cups a day had a 3 times higher risk of stillbirth than women who drank no coffee.

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answered 27 Oct '09, 14:19

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I'd also heard more than 6 cups a day of coffee can increase your chances of miscarriage slightly

(27 Oct '09, 21:52) Lin

My doctor told me that the only study their office had seen showed increased risk of miscarriage at 5 cups per day, but I don't think I've ever had that many cups in a single day.

(28 Oct '09, 03:00) Artemis

If you go to the full article linked above, they have their list of references at the end. Unfortunately, most of these journals are pretty hard to get a hold of unless you have access to a medical or university library so it's hard to peruse them to make your own opinions about their research methods. For the really ambitious, you might be able to get a copy via interlibrary loan.

(28 Oct '09, 03:53) Kiesa ♦

I think that you can have some caffeine but definitely limit yourself! I would occasionally have a pop and I don't like coffee so I would go for the pop! My cousins doctor said that she could have three cans of Mountain Dew a day and still be fine! That seems like a lot to me but I thought it was funny that her doctor told her that . . . I think she at least had one can a day and her babies turned out good!!

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answered 27 Oct '09, 03:38

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I'm glad to see that. I hate feeling like I need to live up to ridiculous, over-cautious expectations.

(27 Oct '09, 03:58) Artemis

I remember Tammy had one cup a day.

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answered 27 Oct '09, 03:38

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A remember reading (probably from What to Expect when you're Expecting, or their newsletter) that a pregnant woman is allowed 400 mg of caffein per day, which is approximately 2 cups (regular sized mug) per day.

(27 Oct '09, 20:10) Tammy ♦♦

that's not too bad, but sometimes it's tough to forgo a second cup.

(28 Oct '09, 03:01) Artemis

Caffeine is a diuertic which flushes incoming nutrients out of your system before your body has time to process them and when you're pregnant or breastfeeding, you need all the nutrients you can get for your baby.

From the time I got pregnant till now as I'm breastfeeding, I've switched from coke to lift and I'm on decaf tea and coffee now - if you get the good stuff, decaf tastes the same!

But it's like anything - it's fine in moderation... Experts recommend limiting your caffeine intake when pregnant or breastfeeding to no more than 2 cups a day and to have then straight after a feed (if you're breastfeeding) so your body has time to process the caffeine before the next feed.

I find that caffeine goes straight through me anyway and my frequent wee visits when I was pregnant didn't need any extra encouragement!!

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answered 27 Oct '09, 11:50

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edited 27 Oct '09, 22:02

That's probably the most reasonable explanation I've heard for why to avoid caffeine. Thank you! :)

(27 Oct '09, 13:41) Artemis

I added a link to caffein as a diuretic. However, a diuretic flushes water from our system, can you explain the nutrient reference? I have also found this link that suggests that studies show that caffein is not a diuretic (although that doesn't mean it's good for you)? http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_caffeine_a_diuretic I found the latter link by accident as I also believed caffein to be a diuretic.

(27 Oct '09, 20:01) Tammy ♦♦
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@Tammy: mainly the absorption of calcium - http://www.fitandhealthypregnancy.com/articles_nutrition.asp says that caffeine "leaches calcium and reduces iron absorption"

(27 Oct '09, 21:57) Lin

I did not drink any coffee during the pregnancy, and I avoided drinking soda/pop as well. I was a high risk pregnancy due to my age, so I just wanted to avoid it as much as possible. I did have an occasional chocolate or soda when we would go out to dinner.

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answered 28 Oct '09, 05:38

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Asked: 27 Oct '09, 03:21

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Last updated: 28 Oct '09, 05:38