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Coffee and Pregnancy In-Depth

SUDDEN WITHDRAWAL OF CAFFEINE FROM DIET

If you have decided to go without caffeine for your pregnancy, going cold turkey might actually not be the healthiest way to go.  Like with other substances that your body is accustomed to running on, it becomes very jarring and difficult for your body to accommodate a sudden withdrawal of a "necessary" substance.  It is best to wean off.  Mommee Coffee is designed so that you can step up, or down, a caffeine scale safely.  You can move towards a decaf consumption or even to no coffee at all (remember decaf does have slight traces of caffeine).  And remember, coffee isn't the only thing in your diet that has caffeine. Caffeine hides in places like chocolate and teas.

200 MILLIGRAMS PER DAY

200 mg comes down to about one cup of full caffeinated coffee per day.  But where did this number come from?  The number focuses on studies looking at the possibility of miscarriage in conjunction with caffeine consumption.  Initial caution about drinking caffeine during pregnancy began in the 1980s when the FDA published recommendations for pregnant women to limit caffeine based on results from a study where pregnant rats exposed to caffeine saw harmful side effects in their fetuses. Nonetheless, the amount of caffeine consumed in the rat study was excessive at best, equivalent to 50 to 70 cups of coffee a day for a 130 pound adult.

In 2008, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology released a study stating that women who drank 200 mg or more of caffeine a day doubled their risk of miscarriage as opposed to those who abstained from caffeine. However, the same year, a study released by Epidemiology stated there was no increased risk in women who drank a minimal amount of coffee daily ( between 200-350mg per day.) 

Due to conflicting conclusions from numerous studies:

  • March of Dimes - recommends that until more conclusive studies are done, pregnant women should limit caffeine intake to less than 200 mg per day. 
  • Motherisk - states "Although it is difficult to assess the risk of spontaneous abortion with caffeine consumption, most of the data do not suggest an increased risk of adverse pregnancy, fertility, or neurodevelopmental outcomes with caffeine consumption of 300 mg/d or less from all sources."
  • OTISstates "Most reports suggest that low to moderate consumption of caffeine does not increase the risk for miscarriage. A few studies have shown that there may be an increased risk for miscarriage or fetal death with high caffeine consumption (more than 200-300 mg/day), particularly in combination with smoking or alcohol, or with very high levels of caffeine consumption (more than 800 mg/day)."
  • IFIC - "Daily consumption of up to 300 mg/day (approximately two to three cups of coffee) has been shown to have no adverse effects on pregnancy. A 2010 review of epidemiologic literature on caffeine and reproductive health published between January 2000 and December 2009 found that the weight of evidence does not suport a cause-and-effect relationship between caffeine consumption and adverse reproductive or perinatal outcomes."
  • Public Health Agency of Canada - "recommends that women of reproductive age consume no more than 300mg of caffeine per day."

PHYSICAL AFFECTS OF CAFFEINE

Caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it increases your blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are not recommended during pregnancy. Caffeine also increases the frequency of urination. This causes reduction in your body fluid levels and can lead to dehydration.

Caffeine crosses the placenta to your baby. Although you may be able to handle the amounts of caffeine you feed your body, your baby cannot. Your baby’s metabolism is still maturing and cannot fully metabolize the caffeine. Any amount of caffeine can also cause changes in your baby’s sleep pattern or normal movement pattern in the later stages of pregnancy. Remember, caffeine is a stimulant and can keep both you and your baby awake.

Caffeine’s main effect is increased alertness. Within 1 hour of coffee consumption, caffeine usually reaches its peak level in the bloodstream and remains there for 4-6 hours. Caffeine also stimulates the release of acid in the stomach,

OTIS states that some reports have stated that children born to mothers who consumed more than 500mg/day were more likely to have faster heart rates, tremors, increased breathing rate, and spend more time awake in the days following birth.

 

RESOURCES

https://www.mothertobaby.org/files/caffeine.pdf

http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/caffeine-in-pregnancy.aspx

http://www.foodinsight.org/Content/3147/Caffeine_v8-2.pdf

http://www.foodinsight.org/Fact_Sheet_Caffeine_and_Women_s_Health

http://www.motherisk.org/prof/updatesDetail.jsp?content_id=998

http://ineedcoffee.com/can-pregnant-and-nursing-mothers-drink-coffee/

http://www.fda.gov/ucm/groups/fdagov-public/@fdagov-foods-gen/documents/document/ucm269548.pdf

Maternal caffeine consumption during pregnancy and the risk of miscarriage: A prospective cohort study. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 198 (3), e1-8.. Weng, X., Odouli, R. & Li, D.K. (2008).

Caffeine and miscarriage risk. Epidemiology, 19 (1), 55-62. Savitz, D.A., Chan, R.L., Herring, A.H. & Hartmann, K.E. (2008).