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You Ask, I Answer: Caffeine and Pregnancy

My friend and I are both pregnant, but the advice we have gotten about caffeine [intake] during our pregnancy is very different.

My doctor was vague. He said that caffeine “once in a while” was okay.

Her doctor said she should refrain from having any.

Isn’t that too strict?

– Marcia (last name withheld)
(location withheld)

Unless there are specific conditions that put your friend at a high risk for miscarrying, I am not sure I understand the reasoning behind the “completely abstain from caffeine” recommendation.

Although liberal consumption is not recommended for pregnant women, it is believed they can safely consume up to 200 milligrams of caffeine per day without placing their developing fetus’ health at risk (the main concerns being a higher risk for miscarriages as well as problems with cellular development).

Sticking to less than 200 milligrams of caffeine each day isn’t really too difficult.

A 12 ounce can of Coca Cola, for instance, only contains 35 milligrams.

Your average 8 ounce cup of green tea adds 50 milligrams to your day, and a 16 ounce latte (that’s “grande” if you speak Starbucks) clocks in at 150 milligrams.

For those who like a stronger cup of Joe, the average 8 ounce cup of percolated coffee clocks in at anywhere from 130 to 200 milligrams of caffeine.

Other sources — like coffee ice cream or a chocolate bar — offer very little caffeine (anywhere from 10 to 25 milligrams per serving.)

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