I’m going to start by stating that I am not addicted to caffeine and I can’t even stomach coffee. So there was never a question for me whether to cut it out or moderate my intake. All I did was stop drinking caffeinated sodas, which is only about 1 -2 a week anyways. I do however still consume some chocolate, but in moderation. But I do feel, like every other kind of additive, that there can be some risk, however small it may be. At this point though, I must say that if any research is published about harmful effects of overloading on carbs, then I’m in BIG trouble!!

So are we (pregnant women) harming our unborn by drinking caffeinated products? Apparently we may be; well at least within the first to second trimester. I searched the table of contents in depth of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and I have not been able to find the article that was suppose to be publish. (If anyone does come by a copy I would like to read the actually research to come to my own conclusions, educationally.) However the New York Times published a note-worthy write-up on the information. Here are some highlights from the article:

“The new study, being published Monday in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, finds that pregnant women who consume 200 milligrams or more of caffeine a day — the amount in 10 ounces of coffee or 25 ounces of tea — may double their risk of miscarriage.”

“Dr. Li’s study included 1,063 pregnant women who were interviewed once about their caffeine intake. At the time of the interview, their median length of pregnancy was 71 days (10 weeks). But 102 had already miscarried — not surprising, because most miscarriages occur very early in pregnancy. Later, 70 more women miscarried, for a miscarriage rate of 16 percent for the group — a typical rate.”

“Of 264 women who said they had used no caffeine, 12.5 percent had miscarriages. But the miscarriage rate was 24.5 percent in the 164 women who consumed 200 milligrams or more per day. The increased risk was associated with caffeine itself and not with other known risk factors like the mother’s age or smoking habits, the researchers said.”

Now at this point this is where the ‘pro-caffeine activist’ could say the data is skewed therefore not valid. Yes, I do agree to some point. Are they saying they knew about ‘other known risk factors’ and ignored them or there were no other known risk factors within this population. Were the women of all the same race, ethnicity, age, health, etc. And have any of them had past histories of mis-carriages. To have accurate data you do need to take in to account these factors for the simple fact that they can be ruled out.

“Dr. Li said the study answered an important question that previous research had left unresolved. Women who have morning sickness are less likely to miscarry than those who do not, possibly because the same hormonal changes that cause nausea and vomiting contribute to a healthy pregnancy. But some researchers said morning sickness could lead to confusing results in caffeine studies. These researchers argued that because they feel ill, some women may consume less caffeine. That tendency may make it appear that they are less likely to miscarry because they avoid caffeine, when the reason is actually that they began with healthier pregnancies.”

First off, I didn’t even know that morning sickness was an indication of a healthy pregnancy. I personally have never had any morning sickness with either pregnancy but I just thought I was one of the ‘lucky few’. Apparently I was wrong, I have had 2 not-so-healthy pregnancies. *sarcasm indicated* However, my first one did end with gestational diabetes and a c-section and I’m waiting to hear for the results on the second pregnancy. But other than that they have been very good pregnancies. Secondly, these women who do have morning sickness may be consuming Cola products to help calm their stomaches instead of their normal coffee/tea and therefore still consuming caffeine.

I know there are many other articles out there and there may be better ones, I just picked this since it is more widely published and possibly seen by more readers.

So how much are we consuming??
8 oz coffee = 133mg (can range 100 – 200 mg)
8 oz tea = 53 mg (can range 40 – 120)
12 oz soda = 23 – 71mg depending on what kind
energy drinks = forget! anywhere from soda levels to 3x coffee levels
1.5 oz regular chocolate = 9mg (dark chocolate having 3x more)

Doctors have always recommended to curb your caffeine intake, therefore there had to be initial logic behind it from the beginning. We all know that caffeine is not the healthiest ‘drug/additive’ for ourselves, so why would we think it would be okay for a fetus. We have all heard that ‘it (caffeine/coffee) will stunt your growth’ when we were children. (Well at least I have.) With that thought in mind, I could only imagine what it could do to a fetus. We know caffeine affects our heart rates, stimulates our nervous system, can be a diuretic, can be linked to possible fertility issues, and possible other health issues. However this is seen in high consumptions, not necessarily around the 200 mg/day consumption. And there is the obvious fact, there is no nutritional value in caffeine or caffeinated beverages so why consume them anyways. But I can’t even pass up a hot chocolate!

But back to the original statement, “Pregnant women who consume 200 milligrams or more of caffeine a day may double their risk of miscarriage.” How accurate is this statement? Due to the fact that a majority of miscarries occur because of a genetic/chromosomal problem; to say that caffeine plays an effect is a hard ‘fact’ to prove since there are so many other factors to take into consideration.

In the end, as long as you live a healthy lifestyle and eat all foods in moderation you will help reduce the risk of miscarriage and have a healthy pregnancy.