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By Halli Rydholm

The effects of caffeine during pregnancy

Many pregnant women are worried about the effects of caffeine on their unborn baby. While research is still new on this topic, there have been new discoveries about the effects of caffeine during pregnancy.

How much caffeine can you have while pregnant?

The first trimester is the most critical and delicate time, because this is when all of the baby's organs are developing. Since babies are so delicate at this stage, many women choose to cut out caffeine completely until they have reached the second trimester.

Like most things, caffeine can be taken in moderation while pregnant. It is best to limit caffeine to about 200 milligrams per day. This is equivalent to one-and-a-half 8-ounce cups of coffee or one 12-ounce cup of coffee per day.

Remember, coffee isn't the only thing that contains caffeine. In addition to coffee, caffeine can be found in such things as soda, tea, chocolate, energy drinks, and even some over-the-counter medications. Make sure you are reading labels to check caffeine content. You may be able to handle more caffeine than 200 milligrams a day, but your baby is still developing and cannot metabolize what you can.

What are the effects of caffeine on your baby during pregnancy?

Caffeine can reach your baby through the placenta. It can keep both you and your baby awake. You may notice, later in pregnancy, caffeine can affect your baby's movements and sleep pattern. As stated above, a baby is unable to process the same amount of caffeine that you are. What may not affect you could have effects on him or her. Some studies suggest caffeine can cause miscarriage, especially in the first trimester, while other studies claim it does not cause miscarriage. Since the full effects of caffeine on babies in utero is unknown, is it best to keep intake limited.

What are the effects of caffeine on you during pregnancy?

Caffeine can raise your heart rate, increase your blood pressure, and cause you to urinate more frequently. Some pregnant women even claim that the smallest amounts of caffeine make them jittery. You may notice, while pregnant, you are more sensitive to caffeine as well. This is because your body takes longer to process the caffeine than it would if you were not pregnant.

While it is okay to have caffeine in moderation, you should avoid things such as energy drinks. These contain large quantities of caffeine as well as high doses of sugar. Neither is healthy for you or your baby. Moderation is very important when it comes to caffeine. You don't have to cut out all chocolate, tea, coffee, or soda. After all, you're pregnant. I'm sure you're craving one of those. If you are worried about the amount of caffeine you consume there are always caffeine-free options for soda, coffee, or tea.

As always, it is best to consult your doctor with any questions or concerns you have in regard to your pregnancy. Get their professional opinion and then decide what is best for you and your baby. Don't let what others say worry or stress you. So if you want to relish that morning cup of coffee, by all means do so.

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