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Is It Safe to Drink Coffee While Pregnant?

Is anyone else out there wondering if it is safe to drink coffee while pregnant?  It begs the definition of “safe” in the question I pose.  So, let me clarify.  What I really mean is, is it okay to drink coffee while pregnant?  Is it healthy for the growing baby?  Will it have any side effects that I will be upset with if I find out AFTER the daily cup of Joe habit that I maintain?

I am old enough to remember hearing about stories of mom’s that took thalidomide prescribed by their doctors, for morning sickness, and the babies born with birth effects impacting their limbs. I never knew any children suffering from this, but my mom and aunts and neighbors must had known women pregnant at the time.  I overheard more than one story while they were chatting in the kitchen (probably over a cup of coffee) about the shock of it all.  MOMS, please take care of the content of your gossiping while in front of your children.  Even young ones can pick up the drama and tone in voices which can leave a lasting impact.

I digress.  Of course, I’m not suggesting or even worried that caffeine in coffee would have the same problems associated as thalidomide did.  But I wondered what they might be.  I think because of that scare, and the labels on OTC drugs and signs at cash registers about alcohol consumption, etc., I know that what I drink, eat, hell probably even smell will impact my baby in the womb in some way.  I wanted to know how coffee would interact with her, me, us.

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A quick peruse on Google revealed that Dr. Sear’s ponders about the impact of caffeine as well and suggests, but does not cite any data or research, that the adrenaline could impact the flow of blood to the uterus, or that the liver of the fetus might not work in the same way as an adult (shocker) therefore its ability to process caffeine is probably slower.  Of course the question of possible miscarriage or birth malformations arise, but again there is no data cited in this article.  The American Pregnancy Association does a nice job at myth busting (truth or bust), and actually identifies the question of link to miscarriage showing 2 conflicting outcomes of 2 separate studies.  It is a nice read for sure.

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They also start out that article by stating what I had ultimately concluded during my own mindfulness research on myself, sample size of 1 pregnant woman (at the time).  When my OBGYN gave me the amount of coffee that the whatever association at the time had said was safe to drink while pregnant (I don’t remember the association name or the quantity, I was PREGNANT with pregnancy brain, remember?!),  I prepared my cup the next morning and took the time to drink it and paid attention to the taste and any impact it had on my body.  First, it was way more bitter than usual (my taste buds were changing), which prompted me to want to add more sugar.  Oops, that’s a no-no, right?  And I noticed that I felt more jumpy that morning.  Like the effect of the caffeine was more intense.  I tried it a few more times probably that week, and decided that I would let go of caffeine in coffee for the rest of my pregnancy.  I had given up drinking wine, and was careful about any OTC, etc, this didn’t feel like that big of a sacrifice.  It eased my mind, and isn’t that important too?

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So at the end of the day, do your due diligence and peruse the research and chatter on the web.  Talk to your medical provider for sure, and your partner.  And check in with yourself, and then you decide.  This is another example of how the various decisions that we have to make while pregnant PREPARE us for the NEVER-ENDING list of daily decisions that we are confronted with as parents.  Think of it as preparation.

Alisa B. Donner, MSW, LCSWCo-Founder of Pregnancy Awareness Month, and Mom to an Amazing Wonder

DISCLAIMER: If you or your child has a history of asthma and has a cold or flu that seems to be focusing on their chest/lungs, please contact your medical provider to learn more.  Or if any cold/flu that you or a family member has that persists and doesn’t get better, in fact gets worse, well, its time to call your doctor.  I’m not a doctor, just a mom that is sharing some kitchen table wisdom that I use in the early early stages of colds with myself and my family.  This is not a medical blog or website, and we are not providing medical advice.  Please use your common sense and talk to your health provider about any health concerns for yourself or your family.

Alisa B. Donner, american pregnancy association, birth defects, caffeine, Dr. Sears, effects of caffeine on fetus, miscarriage, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Awareness Month, pregnancy brain

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