The Caffeine Conundrum
How much is too much during pregnancy or while nursing?
Most studies show moderate caffeine intake of less than 300 milligrams (mg) per day, equal to about 2 to 3 cups of coffee, is safe during pregnancy. However, erring on the side of caution and limiting intake to no more than 200 mg per day is preferred by the March of Dimes. This is because large amounts of caffeine (greater than 300 mg per day) are associated with miscarriages, premature births and low birth weights.
While you're breastfeeding baby, be cautious of your caffeine intake as well. Since a small amount of caffeine can make it into Mom's milk, continue to limit your consumption of caffeine to 200 to 300 milligrams each day. Over caffeinating may affect baby's sleeping patterns and mood.
Take a peek below to see the caffeine level in your favorite treats. Be sure to track your caffeine intake so baby stays safe (Note: The following values are approximates):
- 6 ounce (oz) brewed coffee - 130 milligrams (mg)
- 6 oz decaffeinated coffee - 5 mg
- 16 oz (medium) brewed coffee from high-end coffee shop - 330 mg
- 1 oz espresso shot - 75 mg
- 6 oz tea - 30 mg
- 16 oz (medium) tea latte from high-end coffee shop - 80 mg
- 6 oz hot cocoa - 10 mg
- 12 oz diet soda - 47 mg
- 8.3 oz energy drink - 76 mg
- 8 oz coffee yogurt/ice cream - 50 mg
- 1 oz milk chocolate - 10 mg
- 1 oz dark chocolate - 20 mg
A good rule of thumb from the March of Dimes is to limit your intake to no more than one, 12-ounce, coffee each day during pregnancy. If you typically consume more caffeine than this on a daily basis, speak with your midwife, obstetrician or registered dietitian for the best strategies for bringing your intake down to the recommended level.
Don't forget! Caffeine can be found in other items such as herbal supplements, pain relief and cold and flu medications. Always check with your health care provider before taking such products during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.