Pregnancy is nine months of excitement, planning, self-care, and, yes, a little stress. When a woman’s got a “bun in the oven,” she’s got a lot on her plate, too. Not only is she caring for herself to care for her unborn child but she may also have to field unsolicited advice and stories from others about their not-so-pleasant experiences. When a woman is pregnant, well-meaning friends and family may make statements about dietary habits and all other matters one may never think to consider otherwise. For example, before a woman is pregnant, her best friend may look forward to weekly coffee dates. After the pregnancy announcement, coffee – and a host of other normal aspects of life – may feel off-limits. But are they all? Is that coffee date now off-limits, really? We’ll discuss that here.
What Does Science Say about Caffeine During Pregnancy?
A 2019 study presented at the annual congress of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has been used as clinical data to measure the potential dangers of caffeine for pregnant women. The study analyzed data from medical records of 1,200 pregnant women and concluded that there was an association between caffeine consumption and pregnancy loss. This could sound like conclusive evidence, but we must look more closely. How much caffeine is associated with the elevated risk of miscarriage? Some points to consider:
- The 2019 study that triggered numerous articles warning of the dangers of caffeine during pregnancy was not the first to consider this matter. It also was not the largest.
- Other studies from as recently as 2017 indicated no associated risks for low caffeine intake.
Conflicting evidence is minimally helpful for the woman who is interested in navigating her healthiest pregnancy. Here is what researchers have concluded. Overall, studies seem to indicate that the consumption of small amounts of caffeine is unlikely to cause pregnancy loss. However, there is no way to completely rule out this risk. What studies also seem to point to is an increased risk of miscarriage with higher caffeine intake. The more caffeine consumed during pregnancy, the higher the risk of low birth weight, as well.
Where is the Balance?
Life is all about checks and balances. During pregnancy, a woman is still an individual who must make choices for her own and her baby’s health. While there may be ideal scenarios in which pregnant women avoid all things that could threaten their developing fetus, life is far less than ideal. Thus, the World Health Organization has made a recommendation that gives pregnant women some wiggle room. This organization advises that pregnant women should limit caffeine intake to no more than 200 mg a day. This equates to about 12 oz of coffee per day.
If you are pregnant or trying to conceive and have concerns about caffeine, talk with an experienced OBGYN. We’re here for you. Call 937.771.5100 to schedule a visit to our Kettering or Englewood, OH office.