No one has ever proven that caffeine is linked to birth defects. There is a small group of studies that may suggest excessive amounts of caffeine increase infertility and risk of intrauterine growth restriction. I drank coffee, and I had two huge kids.
I tell my patients that they can have up to 200 milligrams of caffeine in their daily pregnancy diet, which is the equivalent of two nice-sized cups of coffee. Of course, the amount of caffeine in different beverages (lattes, teas, caffeinated colas and other soft drinks) varies, so you need to do your own research.
A lot of people entirely cut out caffeine from their pregnancy diet, but in the first and second trimesters -- when many women get headaches -- an iced coffee can make them feel so much better. (Caffeine is one of the active ingredients in many headache medications.)
I had an aversion to coffee in the first trimester of my pregnancies, but then I went back to drinking coffee. When I was pregnant, a patient of mine once saw me at Starbucks. She was so excited to see me and said, “If you drink it, I can too!”
People like rigid guidelines. Avoid alcohol, don’t smoke, don’t use drugs. But you really can enjoy most other things, including coffee, in moderation.
What was your caffeine intake like during pregnancy? Tell us about it.