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How Much Caffeine Can You Drink While Pregnant?

How Much Caffeine Can You Drink While Pregnant?

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Many women wonder... just how much caffeine can I safely consume if I'm expecting. How much is dangerous? What happens if I drink too much? 

 

Below is a breakdown about how much caffeine you can drink while pregnant.

 

 In this article:

 

How much caffeine can you drink while pregnant?

If you are curious about this issue, you probably are a caffeine drinker yourself. The truth is that caffeine can be found in more than just your favorite Starbucks’ drinks. Caffeine is a stimulant found most commonly in coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, and some medications. Typically, people drink caffeine for a boost in their energy levels (amongst other benefits).

 

Be that as it may, pregnant women must be conscientious and cautious about their caffeine intake. Caffeine enters the bloodstream and crosses the placenta to the fetus, thus becoming a risk to the baby. 

 

Even if you normally can drink 5 cups a day, when you’re pregnant, your little one’s nervous system cannot handle that much stimulation. 

 

It is recommended by the March of Dimes, to keep your caffeine limit to 200 mg a day during pregnancy.

 

 

How much is 200 mg of caffeine?

  • Coffee 8 oz cup contains 95 mg of caffeine 
  • Decaf Coffee 8 oz cup contains 6 mg of caffeine 
  • Espresso 1 oz (1 shot) contains 75 mg of caffeine 
  • Black Tea 8 oz cup contains 47 mg of caffeine 
  • Green Tea 8 oz cup contains 35 mg of caffeine 
  • Southern Sweet Tea 12 oz cup contains 31 mg of caffeine 
  • Red Bull Energy Drink 12 oz can contains 111 mg of caffeine 
  • Monster Energy Drink 24 oz can contains 240 mg of caffeine 
  • Coca Cola 12 oz can contains 34 mg of caffeine 
  • Pepsi 12 oz can contains 38 mg of caffeine 
  • Mountain Dew 12 oz can contains 55 mg of caffeine 
  • Hot Chocolate 8 oz cup contains 5 mg of caffeine 
  • Chocolate Milk 8 oz cup contains 5 mg of caffeine 
  • Excedrin 2 caplets contain 130 mg of caffeine 

     

     

    Always keep in mind portion sizes. A small latte typically has one shot of espresso, whereas, medium and large size lattes have two. A small hot coffee at Dunkin' Donuts is 10 oz, and most bottles of soda are at least 16 oz.

     pregnant drinking coffee

     

    What happens when you drink too much caffeine while pregnant?

    What happens if you lose track of your caffeine intake for the day, or you accidentally drink regular coffee instead of decaf?

     

    Well, when caffeine enters the bloodstream, you’ll undergo a surge of energy. It’s not a huge deal if you go over the limit a little bit one time accidentally...

     

    However, don’t make a habit of it. If you drink too much caffeine while pregnant, you will increase your blood pressure and heart rate (which is not safe for baby).

     

    Additional short-term side effects are dehydration, sleeplessness, and anxiety. 

     

    According to the American Pregnancy Association, long-term effects of caffeine consumption during pregnancy include birth defects, premature labor, preterm delivery, and some studies even showed an increased chance of miscarriage.

     

     

    Is decaf coffee safe during pregnancy?

    Decaf, or decaffeinated coffee, is rendered safe for most women during pregnancy, granted you are not drinking twenty cups in one day. Women enjoy the pleasure of decaf, not only because it satisfies their taste buds or the fondness of their routine, but it helps combat constipation. 

     

    Unless you suffer from kidney disease, anxiety disorders, or have a high sensitivity to caffeine, you should be fine to drink decaf coffee. Always check with your doctor or midwife if you're unsure.

     

    It’s not just decaf coffee that you can have. Soda and tea offer decaffeinated options as well!

     pregnant woman drinking hot drink

    So, you don’t have to give up caffeine completely while pregnant… which is great because withdrawal symptoms are real! And there are some really cute and funny preggo mugs out there that you should be using.

     

    Just don’t overdo it. If you must, stick to one or two caffeinated drinks a day. If you are consuming more than one beverage, don’t drink them back-to-back. For example, have a coffee in the morning and possibly a soda in the afternoon. 

     

    National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, Caffeine, April 2019.

    American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Nutrition During Pregnancy, February 2018.

    Food & Drug Administration, Spilling the Beans: How Much Caffeine is Too Much? December 2018.

    March of Dimes, Caffeine in Pregnancy, October 2015.

    National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, Is caffeine consumption safe during pregnancy?, April 2013.

    American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Committee Opinion, Number 462, Moderate Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy, August 2010.

    American Pregnancy Association, Caffeine During Pregnancy

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    • Samantha Colandrea
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