Caffeine Rules for Pregnant Women Are Changing Again

pregnantDrinking coffee during pregnancy is still a debated topic. Some believe it's fine to have a cup of coffee a day when pregnant, and others decide to avoid it altogether just in case. It's hard to imagine my life without coffee -- and I did have a small cup a day during my pregnancy. (Except for those early days when I had morning sickness all day long.) My OB/GYN said coffee in moderation was safe, so I indulged. But new research is saying that pregnant women need to avoid coffee and all caffeine or else risk miscarriage, early delivery, or the likelihood of your child having leukemia.


The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) believes that the current guidelines regarding caffeine intake during pregnancy are outdated. Remember that there is caffeine in tea, chocolate, soda, and energy drinks as well as in coffee. (It's the chocolate that puts me over the edge.) The USDA has maintained that up to 200 milligrams a day of caffeine is safe -- that's about two cups of home-brewed coffee. But after carefully looking at other studies, you may question pouring yourself another cup.

More From The Stir: Drinking Coffee During Pregnancy: What Experts Are Saying Now

CSPI points out that the European Journal of Epidemiology recently revealed that drinking the equivalent of about one cup of coffee a day (100 mg of caffeine) increased the risk of a miscarriage by 14 percent. There was a 19 percent increase in the chance of having a stillbirth, and there was a link to low birth weight babies.

The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded this year that there is a link between childhood acute leukemia and how much coffee a mother drinks during pregnancy. Are you slowly backing away from your coffee mug?

All researchers felt that more studies need to be done to make firm conclusions, but that's exactly why there is concern. We don't know for sure. So for moms, there is this question: Are you an overly worried parent or not? We know there are risks in almost everything we do. But what CSPI wants to point out is that we shouldn't have a casual attitude on our caffeine intake when pregnant. The risks need to be known, even if more research needs to be done regarding those risks. 

Does this information change the way you feel about caffeine during pregnancy? Will you still drink coffee?

Image via Raul Hernandez Gonzalez/Flickr

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