Can I have caffeine?
21716 Dr Fysh - Aug 08, 2018
Sometimes you can feel very, very tired when you’re carrying a baby. So it can seem like a cruel joke that this is the time you have to stop having your much-needed, much-loved cup of coffee or tea.
There is a widespread belief that coffee is well and truly off the menu when there is a baby sharing your diet.
In fact, the latest medical advice is that you should limit caffeine but you don’t need to go cold turkey. The NHS says:
“You don’t need to cut caffeine out completely, but you should limit how much you have to no more than 200mg a day. Don’t worry if you occasionally exceed the recommended limit, because the risks are quite small.”
It’s important to remember that caffeine isn’t just in your coffee. It is also in tea, chocolate and a lot of energy drinks as well as some cold and flu remedies (you should always talk to you midwife, pharmacist or doctor before taking any medicines including cold and flu remedies anyway). The key is identifying where the caffeine is and making sure it doesn’t add up to more than 200 mg a day.
One mug of instant coffee contains around 100mg caffeine, a mug of tea around 75mg. A 50g bar of chocolate can have up to 50mg of caffeine. Filter coffee, cola and energy drinks are likely to contain higher levels.
If you're a big fan of buying your daily hit at a coffee shop, bear in mind that the caffeine content of espressos and coffees based on espressos like lattes, often vary significantly between outlets. One study found that caffeine levels ranged from 50mg per espresso at one chain to as much as 300mg per espresso at another. So just one strong, large cappuccino could potentially take you over your daily limit.
The trick is to be aware of caffeine levels and what you’re totting up during the day. As with so much in life and in pregnancy moderation is the key.
Concern around caffeine arose after studies showed very high levels during pregnancy can result in babies have a low birth weight, which in turn increases the risk of health problems later in life. Too much caffeine has also been linked to a greater risk of miscarriage.
If you consume large amounts of coffee or any other source of caffeine it is a good idea to cut down before you become pregnant. Caffeine is addictive and if you suddenly cut down when you get pregnant it is going to make you tired, irritable and possibly anxious as well, none of which is fun to deal with!
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About Dr Fysh
Dr Fysh is one of the country’s leading consultant paediatricians, currently a consultant at The Portland Hospital for Women and Children, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health and the Royal College of Physicians. Having experienced first-hand the suffering caused by serious medical conditions to babies and young children and the emotional and financial strain that this can place on parents on a daily basis. He joined the board of directors as Chief Medical Officer and has been instrumental in the building of the NurtureFirst product.