In the magical months of pregnancy, your body undergoes so many changes as it grows a whole new person within. This process is not without consequence, of course, and one of the most common complaints pregnant women have is, “I am just so tired!” Whether it is caused by hormones, or the difficulty in finding a comfortable sleeping position becomes quite irrelevant when pregnant women discover the gravity of their predicament. So how bad is caffeine for your baby, anyway? And how much is ok? Fortunately, you can perk up a little, because it is not all bad news.
Most experts agree that small or moderate amounts of caffeine during pregnancy will not do your baby serious harm.
- Studies suggest that around 200 mg of caffeine per day is safe, which equates to about two cups of instant coffee or four bars of plain chocolate.
- Filter coffee clocks in at around 140 mg per cup, so women choosing this beverage may want to consider tea (75 mg) or green tea (50 mg) for their second drink of the day.
Consuming too far in excess of these guidelines could, unfortunately, have far-reaching consequences for your baby. As caffeine easily crosses the placenta, it is thought that excess caffeine will effect a baby in utero the same as a mother, so it can cause your baby’s heart to beat faster, potentially putting their growing body under stress.
Very high levels of caffeine have been linked to increased possibility of miscarriage, and babies whose mothers consistently have high levels of caffeine may also be a lower birth weight. In the days after birth, a baby getting too much caffeine will also breathe more rapidly, and is likely to sleep less.
There is little to indicate that a zero caffeine diet is necessary during pregnancy, though. As mentioned, under 200 mg per day is generally thought to be safe.
Keep in mind that caffeine is found in some over the counter medicines, and a range of energy drinks and foods.
Also, decaf coffee is not completely devoid of caffeine, although it has been greatly reduced.
Espresso coffee can be a tricky one too, as cafe made drinks can range from between 50 mg of caffeine to 300 mg. Because of these factors, it may be slightly more complicated to keep track of than simply sticking to that one latte of a morning. But keep in mind the sacrifice will be well worth it, and before you know it, you’ll be lining up to order a babychino too!