Pregnancy is an enjoyable feeling for all women, but at the same time is discomforting. Pregnant women are supposed to take precautions during many routine activities and balanced diet in order to have healthy child birth. In the US, about 15% – 20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage and about 12% of babies are born prematurely. Until recently, studies have had conflicting findings about the effect of moderate caffeine consumption on pregnancy complications. A recent study brings hope for pregnant women that documents that moderate amount of caffeine consumption is safe during pregnancy.
Why was Caffeine linked with complications during pregnancy?
In 1980, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published recommendations that advised pregnant women to avoid or limit consumption of foods and drugs that contained caffeine. The advice stemmed from a study in which pregnant rats were exposed to caffeine and various teratogenic effects, resorption of fetuses, and a reduction in fetal and placental weight occurred.
However, subsequent studies have identified lack of association between congenital malformations and maternal caffeine consumption.
New research confirmed caffeine is safe during pregnancy
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released new guidelines that confirm that women can drink a cup of coffee or one soft drink a day during pregnancy with no harmful effects. Drinking moderate amount of caffeine might not put them at risk of miscarriage or preterm birth.
- One study, led by Dr. David Savitz of The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, found no increased rate of miscarriage for women who consumed low, moderate, or high levels of caffeine at different points in their pregnancy.
· Another study which was led by Dr. De-Kun Li and his colleagues at Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research in Oakland, found a higher risk of miscarriage in women who consumed more than 200 mg...
of caffeine per day, but no extra risk at lower levels.
The Committee Opinion “Moderate Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy” appears in the August’10 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
According to experts,
- In general 200 milligrams of caffeine is equal to one 12-ounce cup of coffee, but coffee drinkers should watch as there can be tremendous discrepancies in different brews. For example, a grande 16-ounce Starbucks brewed coffee has 320 milligrams of caffeine.
- Eight ounces of caffeinated tea has less than 50 milligrams of caffeine
- Most 12-ounce soft drinks have less than 50 milligrams of caffeine
- 1.55-ounce chocolate bars have less than 35 milligrams of caffeine
Safe level of caffeine
Sami David, MD, a New York City-based reproductive endocrinologist and pregnancy loss expert says,”One cup of coffee a day, which is about 8 ounces and has around 100 milligrams of caffeine, or two cups of black or green tea per day is OK.”
For several years, we have been getting mixed messages in terms of safety of caffeine during pregnancy. The latest guidelines are based on scientific evidence and confirm the safety of caffeine or products rich in caffeine during pregnancy, if taken in moderate amount. If pregnant women suffer with any complications, please consult with your doctor.