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Caffeine During Pregnancy

Is it safe to drink coffee during pregnancy?

For years, women have received conflicting information from the media about the relationship between caffeine and pregnancy. Have the negative effects of caffeine on pregnancy been proven, or not? Is it safe to drink caffeinated coffee or tea during pregnancy, or not? Is no caffeine the only safe amount when you're pregnant, or is a daily fix all right? Learn about where this debate seems to have comfortably settled.

Caffeine and Pregnancy Complications

Medical studies on animals have shown a link between high caffeine consumption during pregnancy and possible increased risk of miscarriage, birth defects, premature labor and low birth-weight. And while that link is scary, there have not been similar conclusive studies on humans and, perhaps more significantly, there has been no similar link found between pregnancy complications and small-to-moderate caffeine consumption. In 2010, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a new guideline stating that pregnant women can consume the caffeine equivalent of up to 12 ounces of coffee each day without risk to their baby's health.

On the other hand, there hasn't been any conclusive evidence that caffeine is good for pregnancy either, just that, in moderation, it isn't dangerous. For the average individual person, medical studies have shown that there are considerable health benefits to drinking a cup or two of coffee per day. But for those caffeinating for two, the official stance is that, while a little caffeine during pregnancy is okay, none is still better -- in other words, a little caffeine is safe, but none is safer.

Other Effects of Caffeine on Pregnancy

Here are a few other factors you may want to take into consideration when deciding whether to have that daily cola, tea or coffee during pregnancy:

  • Disrupted sleep. Proper and adequate rest is essential for your and your growing baby's well-being, and caffeine can interfere with the quality of your downtime and leave you feeling irritable and exhausted.
  • Displacement of healthier beverages. When you're drinking a coffee, tea or cola, you're not drinking a glass of vitamin-packed fruit juice or calcium-rich milk.
  • Impaired nutrient absorption. Caffeine interferes with the body's ability to absorb iron and calcium -- two very essential nutrients for both mother's and baby's health -- from supplements and food.
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