Caffeine and Pregnancy

Is that morning cup of coffee or an afternoon soda while pregnant putting your baby at risk? Caffeine is a stimulant and diuretic, which increasesyour blood pressure, heart rate and frequency of urination, reducing body fluid levels, and can lead to dehydration. All of those are potential dangers to pregnant women and their babies. “What you put in your body goes directly to the baby,” OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says.

Caffeine crosses the placenta, and since the baby’s metabolism is still maturing, it cannot fully metabolize or handle the amounts of caffeine you may consume. “It is a stimulant, so it’s going to do what it would do in your body the same as it will do in the fetus’ body,” Dr. Lisa says. “The information out there is that you shouldn’t drink coffee because it may cause birth defects. There are no studies that show it causes birth defects in humans.

“There are also no studies that show that it affects the growth of the baby at all,” Dr. Lisa adds. “We do know that after a certain amount it can affect the baby, but we’re not sure in what ways. The recommendation, right now, is that you can have one cup or less than 100 mg. So one cup of coffee is fine, as long as it’s not one of those big, giant bowls.”