Caffeine concerns during pregnancy
In a world of double lattes, oversized sodas and energy drinks, you have to make an effort to avoid caffeine. It's everywhere! Before you were pregnant, you probably didn't even think about how much caffeine you get each day. But now, when you should try avoid it, you may find that challenging.
Caffeine and your baby
People can react differently to caffeine. You may notice few or no side effects from your daily cup of joe. But that doesn't mean your baby won't. Caffeine can pass through the placenta and can cause changes in your baby's heart rate. It might also slow fetal growth.
For these reasons, you often hear that you should avoid caffeine completely when pregnant. But if you must have that sip of coffee or soda, check with your health care provider. She may recommend that you limit caffeine to 200 mg a day. That's about the amount you would get in a small (12-ounce) cup of coffee.
What has caffeine?
Coffee, soda and tea probably aren't the only sources of caffeine you run into each day. You'll also find it in some caffeine-fortified juice drinks and smoothies, hot chocolate, chocolate and, of course, energy drinks. Even with decaf coffee and tea, some caffeine can remain after the decaffeinating process. The amount is far less than caffeinated versions but something to keep in mind, especially if you drink large amounts of decaffeinated beverages.
So what can I drink?
Milk and 100% fruit juices are good drink choices when you're pregnant because they offer nutrients without the caffeine. Water is another great beverage option.
Skip the herbal tea
Some women think that herbal tea is a good replacement for coffee but that too should be avoided, even if the tea claims to be for pregnant women. Researchers aren't sure about the effects of herbs on an unborn baby and recommend that pregnant women avoid them, just to be safe. Talk with your health care provider about any questions you may have.
Learn more about foods to avoid during pregnancy.