The Truth about Caffeine During Pregnancy

Perhaps the most-loved legal drug in the United States has to be caffeine. We put it into our drinks, we make tablets out of the stuff and we even put high concentrations into “energy shots” (along with a bunch of other herbal remedies and nutrients) in order to get us through our days. Caffeine is everywhere, and for the most part the health concerns raised by caffeine aren’t something that most folks need to worry about. Like so many other issues during pregnancy, however, this is also a good time to think about the amount of caffeine that you’re taking in to your system.

You need to understand some basic facts about caffeine. Caffeine works in your body as a stimulant. It makes your blood pressure increase as well as your heart rate increase. Neither of those things are particularly desirable during pregnancy.

Caffeine is also a diuretic. This means that, in part, it increases how often you need to urinate. When you’re pregnant, you’re already urinating more frequently than normal, and caffeine can make it worse. In some cases, the caffeine will result in your body losing enough fluids that you actually become dehydrated.

Caffeine is also one of the things that is able to cross the placenta and get to your baby. Your body might be able to handle vast amounts of caffeine, but your growing and developing baby’s body probably isn’t as well-suited to that much caffeine. When you take in caffeine while pregnant, it can affect your baby’s sleep and movement patterns. It can keep your baby up at night, for example, even when you’re tired.

Having said all of that, you need to also realize that caffeine in very small doses isn’t a danger to your baby. There have been no conclusive studies to show that caffeine can be connected to birth defects in human beings. Still, it’s often better to err on the side of caution. If you’re going to take in caffeine during pregnancy, make sure that you do so in moderation. You should also check with your doctor to make sure that there aren’t any specific health concerns for you or your baby that would make using caffeine a bad idea for you during pregnancy.

Leila Pereira
Leila Pereira
I work in occupational therapy and occupational science. I specialize in early intervention pediatrics for children from birth to three years old; with an emphasis on children with autism. My goals are to support the achievement of developmental milestones in your child while collaborating with caregivers & parents; including play skill development, education, leisure, rest and sleep, feeding, nutrition and social participation. Licensed by the California Board of Occupational Therapy

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