Why I Won’t Give Up Caffeine During Pregnancy
There are people in the world who like coffee. They can pour a cup, savor the taste, and make it last all morning. That kind of person is my husband, who sometimes can't finish a Venti at Starbucks.
Then, there are people who need coffee to function; who would just as soon hook up a coffee IV-drip than face the day without it. You know these people by the glassy-eyed look and short tempers as they crawl out of bed. That kind of person is me.
There has only been one stretch of time during each pregnancy where I've been unable to stomach coffee — the first trimester when nothing tasted very good. The next two trimesters I ramped back up to my pre-pregnancy coffee habits, but with a small change from hot coffee to iced coffee (I couldn't and still can't bear drinking anything hot!) Before pregnancy, I limited my caffeine intake only because of my sleep habits — I made a point to stop drinking caffeinated beverages after lunch, or I wouldn't be able to sleep (unless it was the weekend when I didn't have to work in the morning.) Before lunch? It was fair game.
It's really tough to break a habit like caffeine, especially when you're a mother. Late nights, early mornings and the constant movement from little ones can leave moms feeling worn down, and sometimes coffee is the only thing that can help. The American Pregnancy Association says pregnant women should consume only 150 to 300 mg per day — at the high end that's about two 32 oz cups of of Diet Coke, 3/4 of a Grande coffee from Starbucks, or seven cups of Green tea. Caffeine intake has been linked to low birth weight and shorter pregnancies. Researchers have also found women who drink five or more cups of coffee a day doubled their risk of having a miscarriage.
While I knew all these facts, I just couldn't give up my sweet, sweet cup o' Joe every morning. Nobody wants to see me with that glassy-eyed look for 40-plus weeks. Although each woman is different, and you should discuss your own personal health risks with your OB before you decide if drinking coffee or soda during pregnancy is right for you, I made the decision to keep caffeinated. Check out some other moms who did the same and had healthy babies.
“I need caffeine to function. I cut BACK to a couple cans of Coke/Cherry Coke a week my first pregnancy – just to force myself to drink more water … my second time around I still cut back to no more than one can a day – but it varied week to week whether I had 2 cans or 5 that week .” – Rusti Sidel, Michigan mom of two
“After my first pregnancy, I had two miscarriages. When I got pregnant with my second child, I stopped caffeine completely. I knew that technically a cup a day should be fine, but I just didn't want to risk anything. Once I passed the viability mark (around 24 weeks) I started back having one cup of coffee a day. Because I love it. ” – Laura O'Rourke, mom of two
” I kept it to one cup of coffee a day, after the first trimester. I didn't get enough sleep as it was, so I needed something!” – Greta Funk, mom of four
“I gave it up the first 12 weeks, it was really only because around 5 weeks I went to take a drink of a steamy delicious cup of coffee one morning and all of a sudden I wanted to vomit. After 12 weeks I slowly eased back into drinking caffeine, maybe a cup of coffee here and there. From around 20 weeks on I would have coffee and UNsweetened tea just to make it through my 12 hour work shifts. I worked full-time, 11 hour days until 37 weeks. I drank about a gallon or more of water a day and would make trade offs — I want this Cherry Coke so I won't have any tea later. That kind of thing. My doctor never gave me a limitation, just said that caffeine can make you feel light headed because your blood volume is higher.” – Jess Woods, West Virginia mom of one
“I had a soda when I was really craving it. Had no issues. Dr. said a cup was fine. I didn't overdo it but I also didn't stop cold turkey. Munchkin was fine!” – Krystal Butherus, mom of one
I drink one cup of coffee every morning. I LOVE coffee, so it's hard to stop at one, but I do for the little peanut's sake. Once in awhile I'll have a little something in the afternoon, but stop at 2 servings. And I drink coffee (not so limited) while breastfeeding too … #addict.” – Lauren Weber, mom of two (and one on the way!)
Did you continue to drink soda and coffee during pregnancy?