How Much Caffeine Is Really Safe During Pregnancy? Likely (And Sadly) Less Than You Thought.

I'm not a casual coffee drinker. For over a decade now, I've drank cups and cups daily. Also, I hate...
I'm not a casual coffee drinker. For over a decade now, I've drank cups and cups daily. Also, I hate decaf coffee (shudder). That said, imagine my horror when I was pregnant and my midwife told me, "Um, Jennifer, you can't drink so much caffeine while pregnant." OMG. I enjoyed most of my pregnancy. However, not being able to have my normal coffee fixes really freaked me out. In fact, my son's first outing, was when he was under a week old, in the dead of winter, was to guess where? Yup, to a coffee shop. But I digress - that's a longer story. Caffeine research: Some studies have shown that too much caffeine may be associated with lower baby birth weights and might even double your chance of miscarriage. One larger study completed in 2008, showed that just 200 mg of caffeine per day might slow fetal growth. Caffeine can also result in constricting blood vessels, which in turn, may result in reduced blood flow to the placenta. Some research even showed an increased risk of stillbirth for women who had lots of caffeine during pregnancy - I'm talking the equivalent of eight+ cups of coffee per day, but not all researchers agree with this study. Studies on caffeine safety vary greatly. While we can guess that a lot of caffeine isn't safe during pregnancy, we're also not sure what amount is the safest. So how much caffeine is safe during pregnancy?: Not everyone is as freakishly addicted to java as I am, but many women do like coffee and other products containing caffeine. Luckily, most experts do agree that while avoiding caffeine is probably the safest deal, you can have some caffeine during pregnancy. The key is careful moderation. Most experts, including the Mayo Clinic and The March of Dimes suggest that you limit your caffeine intake to less than 200 mg per day. Coming up: how to calculate caffeine amounts in common foods and drinks. Are you addicted to coffee? Was it easy for you to quit drinking your brew while pregnant? [image via sxc.]

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