Caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic. Being a stimulant, it increases one’s blood pressure and heart rate, both of which is not recommended during pregnancy. It also increases the frequency of urination causing a reduction in your body fluid levels leading to dehydration.
A 2015 meta-analysis reviewing the associations between caffeine consumption and risk of low birth weight concluded that for every additional 100mg of caffeine per day the risk of low birth weight increased by 3%.
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.
A 2018 review of data on maternal coffee intake in 2,552 cases and 4,876 controls suggested that coffee intake over 2 cups per day during pregnancy may increase risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia, although the authors acknowledged that there were limitations in the research. They supported current advice to limit caffeine intake during pregnancy
Due to conflicting conclusions from numerous studies, the March of Dimes states 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.
How much caffeine is in your favorite drinks & 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
- 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?
The lesser consumption, the better. Some experts say more than 150 mg of caffeine a day is too much, while others say more than 300 mg a day is too much.
Avoiding it’s consumption 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.