When I went to the hospital to have my 3rd baby, I found out, first-hand, just some of the ways that caffeine can have an adverse effect on our bodies. Especially during pregnancy. March of Dimes, What to Expect, and Baby Center all agree that caffeine during pregnancy should be limited to less than 200 milligrams per day. While that was always the number that I went by with all 3 pregnancies, I wonder if it may need to be less for some of us.
I always made sure that I stayed below that daily limit with all 3 pregnancies. I had to be induced with all 3 boys. So, that meant that all 3 deliveries were scheduled as far as what day and time I needed to check in at the hospital to get started. Woohoo! In getting prepared for induction, they do all the poking to find the vein for the IV. The first 2 boys they had no problem finding a vein. With my 3rd baby, that was a different story. I’m pretty sure I did not have more than 200 milligrams of caffeine that morning, or the day before. I had to be there at 8 a.m. that morning. I did have a Coke but that was it. I did not drink enough water either, so that probably did not help.
So, the nurse was working hard to find a good vein for the IV. She was good, very patient, and friendly. She jabbed and poked and tried both arms and both hands. I was pretty bruised. She had to get help and between the 2 of them they finally got it in my hand. They asked if had drank anything before coming in, to which I replied that I had Coke. They immediately gave me a look! Then they told me that was why they had such a hard time finding a good vein. Caffeine constricts your veins! I did not realize just how much, even a little caffeine can affect our bodies, especially during pregnancy.
According the Mayo Clinic most healthy adults can be safe to consume up to 400 mg of caffeine per day. Some of the side effects of too much caffeine are headache, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, frequent urination, or inability to control urination, fast heartbeat, jittery feeling, and muscle tremors. Some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others, depending on how much they drink regularly, or not. Caffeine can also raise your blood pressure slightly. Some caffeine is not bad for you and can be beneficial. But too much of anything can be unhealthy. Rather your are pregnant or not.
During pregnancy caffeine passes through the placenta to your baby. This is why more than the recommend daily amount is not safe. Miscarriage, preterm birth, or low birth weight are other possible adverse effects of too much caffeine during pregnancy. You will find mixed information on these subjects. Some studies say that this is true, but others do not.
Caffeine is not just in Cokes and coffee. You can also find caffeine in coffee-flavored yogurt, ice cream, and other coffee-flavored products, tea, other soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate and chocolate-flavored products, and some medicines. Just be mindful of what you eat and drink throughout the day.
It’s not totally bad to have that 1 cup of coffee in the morning or that Coke in the afternoon. Just be mindful of how much you are drinking, especially when pregnant.