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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Pregnant Women Need New Buzz


A new study released today in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology came down pretty hard on pregnant women and the amount of caffeine they drink. The study found that women who rarely drank any caffeine had a relative low risk of miscarriage while women who drank less than 200 mg per day had a slightly higher risk. But women who drank more than 200 mg of caffeine daily had almost double the risk of miscarriage at almost 25% of the pregnancies.

Before you panic, please understand that miscarriage is more common than we like to believe. It is such a private issue that you don't hear many people talking about it, but about 20% of known pregnancies can end in miscarriage. Most miscarriages are a result of a genetic defect and is beyond the mother's control. However, it does appear that even when researchers controlled for other risk factors such as smoking, age, alcohol use, and previous miscarriage, caffeine use was linked to increased risk.

It is well known that caffeine crosses the placenta, but it is not known really what happens to the fetus once that happens. The speculation is that it may affect cell development and decrease blood flow to the placenta.

Most miscarriages happen early in pregnancy, so if you are planning on becoming pregnant, cutting back on caffeine now is a good idea. Don't wait until you know you are already pregnant.

How much caffeine do you drink?
It depends on how long you steep your tea and how strongly your coffee is brewed, but here is a guide. Researchers are recommending that pregnant women not drink more than 2 cups, but remember that your "mug" may be more than a "cup." A "cup" is 8 fluid ounces.

8 oz coffee: 107 mg (most people drink out of larger mugs than 8 oz)
12 oz Starbucks "tall" coffee: 270 mg
8 oz Starbucks "short" coffee: 180 mg
12 oz latte: 75 mg
1 oz espresso: 77 mg
12 oz most soft drinks: 25-45 mg
8.3 oz Red Bull: 80 mg
8 oz black tea: 47 mg
8 oz green tea: 25 mg
8 oz hot chocolate: 5 mg

Photo courtesy of once and future.
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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