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I'm Pregnant and I'm Still Drinking Caffeine

When it comes to most pregnancy dos and don’ts, I am a by the book kind of girl. I haven’t eaten lunch meat despite wanting it daily, I have only eaten pasteurized cheeses, I have avoided sushi and smoked fishes and aside from the beer I drank the night before I knew I was pregnant, no alcohol.

But there’s one rule that I don’t follow, and it’s mostly because it isn’t actually a rule.

I’m still drinking caffeine.

Now, let me clarify this one, I’m drinking one cup of a caffeinated beverage a day. Sometimes it’s soda, sometimes it’s tea. I’m not a big coffee drinker, and most days I don’t even finish a full glass. But yes, I have caffeine every day.

And I cannot even begin to tell you how many times someone has commented about this. I have been told by other pregnant mothers that caffeine will cause me to miscarry, that caffeine is going to harm my baby. One commenter here basically called me a bad mother because a picture of a purse (that wasn’t even actually my purse) had a Diet Coke in it and she was “worried” for my baby.

A Diet Coke.

It’s time to do your homework. A reasonable amount of caffeine each day, by which I mean less than 200mg, has been shown to have no adverse effects on a baby. For reference, a strong cup of coffee has about 130mg, a cup of tea has about 50mg and a soda has around 40mg unless you’re drinking an “energy” drink. So my caffeine intake each day is usually less than 50mg. The horror. Please stop me and tell me that you’re concerned about my baby.

And it’s more frustrating for me because I have been told by a physician to keep drinking caffeine. I have issues maintaining enough spinal fluid in my brain and caffeine, in addition to drinking plenty of water, is one way to encourage increased production of this fluid. I’m drinking caffeine not just to get myself up and going each day, but to protect my brain and spinal cord. Again, I say, the horror.

I am not suggesting that all women drink caffeine while pregnant because aside from the medical reason I have and the fact that it makes me not a zombie in the mornings, there aren’t really any vast health benefits. It’s just another one of the 8 million personal choices we must all make, but what I would really like is for women to do their homework and stop judging me for having one caffeinated drink a day.

Did you drink caffeine while pregnant? Why or why not?

For more information about caffeine during pregnancy, see the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Related: 10 “unsafe” things I did while pregnant — and still had a healthy baby

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