by Angie Best-Boss, Contributing Writer
Can’t give up that hankering for a cup of joe in the morning? Crave a coke in the afternoon for a little pick-me-up? If you’re trying to become pregnant, now is a great time to kick your caffeine habit. Do so, and you might increase your odds of having a healthy baby.
Caffeine and Infertility
Should you skip the starbucks or not when you’re trying to make a baby. Studies aren’t clear about whether caffeine intake reduces fertility.
One study found as little as one cup of coffee per day was enough to increase the time taken to get pregnant. But another study of nearly 3000 women found that coffee consumption was not associated with infertility. Caffeine has been shown to interfere with the ability of the egg to implant in the uterus and when combined with alcohol or cigarettes, significant drops in fertility resulted.
So what’s a girl to do?
Caffeine and Pregnancy – Caffeine and Miscarriage
Even though the role of caffeine in infertility is murky, the best reason to quit is that it is proven to cause problems when you finally get pregnant. Even with low doses, you might be putting baby at risk.
In fact, the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reports that pregnant women who consumed more than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day (that’s about two cups of coffee), had twice the risk of miscarriage as the women who had no caffeine. Yikes!
And women who consumed less than 200 mg of caffeine daily? Their risk of miscarriage still increased by more than 40%!
How exactly? The March of Dimes notes that during caffeine during pregnancy easily passes from the mother to her unborn child through the placenta. Because the systems for breaking down and eliminating chemicals are not fully developed in the unborn child, blood levels of caffeine may remain elevated for longer periods in the unborn child compared to the mother. It can be tough for the fetus to metabolize and it may influence cell development and decrease the blood flow to the placenta. The vasoconstriction may restrict blood flow which can cause miscarriage.
Caffeine and Breastfeeding
Even when you bring baby home, you’ll need to consider your caffeine intake. A nursing mom needs plenty of water, milk, and juice and shouldn’t substitute those fluids with caffeinated beverages. A cup of coffee a day is probably fine according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, but it crosses over into breast milk even days after mom’s intake, so why take chances? Kicking the caffeine can be a tough habit to break, and going cold turkey can bring on side effects for a few days or even weeks. Since caffeine is proven to weaken bones, boost your odds of heart disease and make PMS worse, you’ve got good reasons to quit. Don’t wait until your pregnancy test turns positive to wean yourself from caffeine and start doing everything you can now to prepare for a healthy pregnancy and baby. And the best news of all – a Hershey’s chocolate kiss only has one gram of caffeine!
Wondering just how much caffeine you’re using a day?
|Foods and Beverages||
Milligrams of caffeine
|Coffee (8 oz)|
|Tea (8 oz)|
|Caffeinated soft drinks, such as cola (12 oz)||
|Hot cocoa (12 oz)||
|Chocolate milk (8 oz)||
|Dark chocolate (1.45 oz bar)||
|Milk chocolate (1.55 oz bar)||
|Semi-sweet chocolate chips
|Chocolate syrup (1 tbsp)||
|Coffee ice cream/frozen yogurt
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2000
More information below on Caffeine and Pregnancy.
Kirsten Wisborg, Ulrik Kesmodel, Bodil Hammer Bech, Morten Hedegaard, and Tine Brink Henriksen Maternal consumption of coffee during pregnancy and stillbirth and infant death in first year of life: prospective study BMJ, Feb 2003; 326: 420.
Jensen, T.K., Henriksen, T.B., Hjollund, N.H., Scheike, T., Kolstad, H., Giwercman, A., Ernst, E., Bonde, J.P., Skakkebaek, N.E. and Olsen, J. 1998. Caffeine intake and fecundability: a follow-up study among 430 Danish couples planning their first pregnancy. Reproductive Toxicology. 12(3):289-95.
34 Florack, E.I., Zielhuis, G.A and Rolland, R. 1994. Cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and caffeine intake and fecundability. Preventative Medicine. 23(2):175-80.
35 Wilcox, A., Weinberg, C. and Baird, D. 1998. Caffeinated beverages and decreased fertility. Lancet. 2(8626-8627):1453-6.