Caffeine And Pregnancy: Do They Mix?

By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter
By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter

Everything in moderation.
The old adage does seem to apply to most things.
But when a woman is pregnant, she has to scrutinize everything she puts in her body.
Medical reporter Jessa Goddard has more on a study that says caffeine and pregnancy may mix.
Most expecting parents will tell you, they don't care if they have a boy or a girl as long as he or she is healthy.
For years, pregnant women have been told to limit their caffeine intake to reduce the risk of prematurity and low-birth weight.
Now, a new study says some coffee's ok late in pregnancy.
When Katie McLaughin developed complications early in her pregnancy, she didn't want to complicate things further by drinking caffeine.
So, she quit drinking her favorite beverage, iced tea, cold turkey, and all other caffeinated beverages, for that matter.
"Yeah, the little things like iced tea, it doesn't have a whole lot of caffeine, but i still couldn't drink iced tea. And i had to limit my chocolate intake, which was definitely difficult, because that's what i wanted."
Now, a new study finds Katie's sacrifice may not have been necessary.
It found no significant differences in gestation times or birth weights among women who drank three cups of de-caf and women who drank three cups of regular, during the second half of their pregnancies.
Ob-gyn Rosalind Cadigan says drinking caffeine during pregnancy was an issue she started to take personally three years ago.
"i tell them my own personal experience about the research i did when i was pregnant and told them i drank five cups of caffeine a day while i was pregnant and i have a normal, healthy baby."
But, Cadigan says, the key is measuring portions.
A cup is five ounces, which means one grande latte is probably enough to put a pregnant woman over her recommended limit.
"With the way we all like to drink iced tea, eat chocolate and drink our big grande Starbucks, you really have to measure out five fluid cups."
Three weeks after giving birth, Katie McLaughlin has no regrets about her decision.
While he daughter Ella was born four weeks premature, Katie takes comfort in knowing caffeine had nothing to do with it.
"If i would have continued to drink caffeine, my heart's beating for two people. You have to do whatever you can, you know, to keep my baby safe and healthy."
This study is based on women late in pregnancy.
Concerns remain about its impact early in pregnancy and even before conception.
Drinking five or more cups of coffee a day has been found to double a pregnant woman's risk of having a miscarriage.
And, there have also been suggestions caffeine can lower fertility.


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