A study in Denmark found that the risk of stillbirth more than doubled in women who drank a great deal of coffee per day – eight cups or more – compared with women who didn’t drink coffee. Some studies suggest that high caffeine consumption may slightly reduce a baby’s birth weight, but other research has shown no association.
One study found a link between maternal caffeine consumption equal to three cups of coffee per day and an increased risk of having a son born with undescended testes. This happens when the testes don’t move from the pelvis into the scrotum as they usually do in late pregnancy.
Other research has shown that newborns whose mothers consumed more than 500 mg of caffeine a day had faster heart rates and breathing rates and spent more time awake in the first few days after birth.
One thing’s sure: You’ll feel better if you don’t consume a lot of caffeine. It’s a stimulant, so it raises your heart rate and may raise your blood pressure slightly, too. Plus, it can make you feel jittery and cause insomnia. Caffeine can also contribute to heartburn by stimulating the secretion of stomach acid.
These effects may be more pronounced or last longer than usual as you approach your due date, because your body breaks down caffeine more slowly as your pregnancy progresses. And that means a higher level of caffeine in your bloodstream – and in your baby’s.
Your caffeine consumption falls within the range generally considered safe. Just be aware of hidden caffeine that could elevate your total consumption. Chocolate, syrups, coffee-flavored ice creams and yogurts and some over-the-counter cold and headache medicines are common places for hidden caffeine.
Your caffeine consumption is over the range generally considered safe. The March of Dimes recommends that women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine per day (equal to about one 12-ounce cup of coffee a day), and according to a study by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, women who consumed 200 mg or more of caffeine per day had twice the miscarriage risk as women who consumed no caffeine.
Your caffeine consumption is significantly over the range considered safe and may result in physical symptoms in addition to the risks described above. Those symptoms may include headaches, sleeplessness, irritability, gastrointestinal upset and irregular heartbeats.