By Meredith Watson-Locklear, MD, OB-GYN with Orlando Health Physician Associates
If you’re considering starting or adding to your family, you already may know that quitting smoking, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and taking folic acid are some of the steps you can take to increase your chances of having a healthy baby.
But did you know you should also limit your caffeine intake, even before becoming pregnant? What’s perhaps even more surprising is that your partner should limit his caffeine intake as well.
What Research Shows
A study by the National Institutes of Health and Ohio State University found that a woman has a higher risk of miscarrying if she and her partner consume more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day (about 12 ounces of coffee) in the weeks before conception.
In addition, women also are more likely to miscarry if they have more than 200 mg of caffeine a day during the first seven weeks of pregnancy. Because women may not be aware that they are pregnant in those early weeks, it’s important to reduce caffeine once deciding to become pregnant.
The Many Forms of Caffeine
When considering sources of caffeine, keep in mind there’s more to count than just coffee. Teas, sodas, pain relievers, energy drinks and even “energized” foods can contain caffeine and sometimes even as much as a cup of coffee.
So, the bottom line is, if you and your partner are planning to start or expand your family, be aware that the caffeine you both consume can affect the health of your baby.
It’s important to talk with your OB-GYN about this and other recommendations for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.
To find an OB-GYN, visit OrlandoHealth.com/PrimaryCare.