Q&A: Will drinking four to six cups of coffee a day hurt my baby?
I am two months pregnant and usually drink four to six cups of coffee each day. Am I hurting my baby by drinking coffee?
This is a great question, and surprisingly difficult to answer. Research studies indicate that the incidence of miscarriage is a bit higher in pregnant women who drink coffee. Before you panic, though, know this: it isn’t clear that the caffeine intake causes miscarriages. Here’s the thing, women destined to miscarry are less likely to have severe nausea. And nauseated moms-to-be are more likely to skip their morning coffee in favor of ginger ale or a sports drink. So, is the coffee drinker more likely to miscarry or is the mom-to-be who is going to miscarry just more likely to drink coffee?
Caffeine also can raise your blood pressure and heart rate, and cause anxiety and difficulty sleeping. If any of those are already problems for you, it is best to stay away from coffee and other sources of caffeine.
My best answer to your question is: everything in moderation. Different coffee products have differing amounts of caffeine. Milder coffees are surprisingly high in caffeine, while espresso-based drinks tend to be lower. Two small cups of coffee, often recommended as a reasonable amount, adds up to about 200 milligrams of caffeine per day. Caffeine can also be found in chocolate, black tea, green tea, and some soft drinks. Also, when calculating caffeine amounts, keep in mind that “one cup” of coffee is 6 or 8 ounces, not a Starbuck’s venti!
Your coffee consumption is on the high side. Many moms-to-be need to cut down slowly to avoid caffeine-withdrawal headaches. Consider cutting back or cutting out caffeine, by substituting decaffeinated coffee or something else that will serve the purpose for you. And talk to your doctor or midwife to see if there is any reason you need to totally eliminate caffeine as you seek to provide the best possible environment for your baby-to-be.