When it comes to consuming caffeine during pregnancy, I succumb to the proverb: it is indeed better to be safe than sorry. Unfortunately, studies have proven controversial and conflicting on the matter - leading to no real consensus about how much caffeine is safe during pregnancy (if at all) - but a general understanding that erring on the side of safety when it comes to the health of your baby is obviously your best recourse.
The "maybes" associated with drinking caffeine as a mommy-to-be prove scary enough to warrant staving off the stimulant. One study in the March 2008 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded that pregnant women who consumed more than 200 mg of caffeine per day doubled their risk of miscarriage compared to women who consumed none, that's about one 12 oz cup of coffee.
Caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic that increases blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are not recommended during pregnancy, or really in life at all! Caffeine also ups the time one spends on the toilet which can lead to dehydration. And, caffeine will cross the placenta to your baby's still developing metabolism. You know how you feel if you drink too much caffeine; think of how tiny a baby is and the amount of caffeine that is going to give mom a pick-me up could have your fetus dangerously wired. Consider an herbal tea switch; you mind find it's the ritual that you're really attached too.
Since caffeine is not particularly good for your health anyhow (it can be chemically related to drugs like morphine, nicotine and cocaine), we're recommending an altogether forego, or keeping it under 150 mg of caffeine per day if you simply must, during pregnancy. Due to its bitter taste and toxic effect, biologists believe caffeine's purpose in plants is to act as a natural pesticide. So, giving up your cup o' joe is good for all parties involved, and hopefully you'll be able to keep it up postpartum... I said hopefully.
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image: Apes Abroad