Will Caffeine Guidelines Change for Pregnant Women?

pregnat belly

I’m kind of a naysayer when it comes to pregnancy diet restrictions. A cold-cut sandwich? I’ll risk it. Chocolate? Bring it on.

But the one thing that does concern me a little is the dreaded caffeine recommendations.

Although I’m not a crazy caffeine drinker by any means (more than a cup of day usually gets me all jittery) I do love a good cup of joe, and I’ve never thought twice about having caffeine during my pregnancies. In fact, for a good portion of two of my pregnancies, I worked the night shift and nothing helped to keep me awake better than an ice-cold Diet Cherry Pepsi (although I do realize how bad that is for you on both counts, it was a matter of survival!)

EverydayFamily blogger Christina described the current American Pregnancy Association caffeine recommendations of 150-300 mg of caffeine daily last month; to put those restrictions into perspective, one Grande Coffee at Starbucks contains 400 mg of caffeine—well over the daily limit.

In Britain, women are encouraged to consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine a day—half of that Grande Starbucks coffee—and yet, a new Norwegian study found that even that low daily dose might lead to complications with their babies.

Women who stuck to the recommended limit of 200 mg, which is about a small cup of strong coffee, were 18% more likely to have babies with low birth weights and consequentially, more complications like breathing problems. Regular coffee drinkers were also linked to having marginally longer pregnancies, although researchers claimed it was not a direct association of the caffeine. “Caffeine intake from coffee was associated with a longer pregnancy, equating to eight hours extra for every 100mg caffeine per day,” according to The Telegraph. If you have ever had the joy of experiencing pregnancy in the last few miserable weeks, this fact alone may be enough to convince you to kick the coffee habit!

Before you go throwing away all your coffee mugs just yet, keep in mind that the pregnancy caffeine recommendations won’t change based on one study—there could be different factors that researches haven’t discovered yet. If you are concerned about your caffeine intake, however, try this helpful guide from the Mayo Clinic to determine how much caffeine is in your favorite drinks.

Do you drink caffeine when you’re pregnant?

Photo credit: Flickr/nanny snowflake

What do you think?

Will Caffeine Guidelines Change for Pregnant Women?

Chaunie Brusie is a coffee mug addict, a labor and delivery nurse turned freelance writer, and a young(ish) mom of four. She is the author of "Tiny Blue Lines: Preparing For Your Baby, Moving Forward In Faith, & Reclaiming Your Life In An Unplanned Pregnancy" and "The Moments That Made You A Mother". She also runs Passion Meets Practicality, a community of tips + inspiration for work-at-home mothers. ... More

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8 comments

  1. Profile photo of Mariah Adams Mariah Adams says:

    I’ve mostly had caffeine free sodas (including a little bit of caffeine free Coke, Mountain Dew, and Pepsi) or decaffeinated tea and coffee when I don’t drink water. I’ve had a lot more trouble with chocolate than I’ve had with drinks. However, I do keep my caffeine intake to a minimum (not as much in these last couple weeks when I’ve been slacking off–we’re full term now) and especially haven’t had any regular coffee. I’ve had some regular Coke, tea, etc., but that’s only once in a while.

  2. i used to drink green tea too but i read it can cause spinal problems in the baby and my aunts doc told her the same thing :-/.

  3. what i would be more concerned about is the DIET pop.. that fake sugar is terrible for u so it can’t be great for a developing baby

  4. Profile photo of Grace Grace says:

    i kept my limit to one cup of caffeine drink a day

  5. Profile photo of Megan Megan says:

    I treat soda like the plague, but I’ve loved coffee since the age of 2. (<— not a typo) I don’t actually think it’s related… but I did have to have a c-section with my daughter. She refused to drop, and was late, 8 pounds 2 ounces. Super healthy! I never drank more than one and a half cups of brewed coffee a day while pregnant, though. Usually much less, seeing as I knew it was not the best choice.

  6. Profile photo of LizZin LizZin says:

    I’ve never been one for soda, I enjoy both hot and iced tea on occasion (a lot of people forget there is caffeine in tea AND chocolate), but was a coffee-aholic before we got pregnant – I drank at least a pint (16oz) every morning. When we found out we were pregnant I cut back to one small 6oz cup a day, which was a lot harder to do than to quit smoking (which I did a month prior to trying to conceive). The whole pregnancy went off without a hitch, even avoided morning sickness. Our little man was born 6 months ago, he was a week late and labor lasted 22 hours before they realized he wasn’t going to be coming naturally – my pubic bone was too small for our 8 lbs 4 oz son to fit though. We’re still breastfeeding and I’m still drinking my morning cup of coffee (8oz serving now), our little man is perfectly healthy and is now at 16 lbs 8 oz.

  7. Profile photo of Stacey Stacey says:

    I enjoy my coffee a little too much, i nursed my first for the first year and am still nursing my 14month old. i didnt really watch caffiene as much as protien intake ( it never dawned on me that it may be an issue). Both were born on their due dates without any complication. They both came home coliky, after dealing with the first one screaming unconsolably for the first three months, i knew someone had to have done another study and came up with something that we hadnt tried. CAFFIENE! I cut down to a cup a day and sure enough the fits stopped. In addition, when i signed up to donate my excess supply of milk to premies, it turns out they were concerned about caffiene as well…hmmm it is technically a drug after all

  8. Profile photo of PrettyBoogs PrettyBoogs says:

    I have a green tea a couple times a week. If i must have Soda I drink sprite or Root beer ( no caffeine) and its only on rare occasion. Also on rare occasion I will treat myself to an iced coffee. I do love them very much and have about 1 a month.

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