steaming up of coffeewwQuestion: I start work at 7am, so I really need a few cups of coffee to get going in the morning! But, now that I’m pregnant I’m worried because I heard it’s bad for my baby. Is coffee safe while pregnant?

Answer: Drinking coffee in moderation is just fine. Most experts agree that up to two cups of coffee a day is fine. Keep in mind though that coffee isn’t the only thing that holds caffeine. It’s also found in tea, soda, and chocolate. It can also be found in some medications, like diet pills and headache medications. Research has shown that women are more sensitive to caffeine with they’re pregnant.

As little as four cups of coffee a day have been linked to a decreased birth weight and smaller head size in newborns. Some professionals also think that caffeine use can be linked to miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature labor.

So, it’s important for you to cut down on caffeine or cut it out completely since it reaches your baby through the placenta. It affects your calcium metabolism and your baby’s too. If you drink a lot of caffeine during your pregnancy, you may experience irritability, headaches, stomach upset, sleeplessness, and jitters. Smoking can increase the stimulant effect of the caffeine.

Trying not to drink too much coffee is your smartest bet.  And, read labels on your over-the-counter medications to check if if they have caffeine. Most health care professionals agree that up to two cups of regular coffee a day is fine. That’s less than 200 mg per day. However, it might be good to just remove as much caffeine as you can from your diet. It’s healthier for your baby, and you’ll probably feel better, too.