Not too long ago, on my 7-links post, I noted that I really don’t talk about too much controversial stuff.
But I may be breaking that streak.
You see, I’ve had a few questions / comments recently about pregnancy and the consumption of wine and coffee. I could choose to ignore these, but I want to address them, since I too was curious when I first got pregnant. What were the rules? What’s taboo? What do doctor’s say? What do other moms-to-be say?
Before I break each down, let me first say, every pregnant woman, her beliefs, her doctor’s direction, and her personal choices on health are unique. By no means am I judging other pregnant woman or recommending my own actions. These are my experiences and my personal beliefs. That being said, your relationship with and advice from your doctor is paramount.
Baby Center and the Mayo Clinic advise similarly (source from Baby Center): The jury is out on this one. Many studies show that you can still enjoy coffee and other caffeinated drinks such as tea and cola during pregnancy as long as you don’t overdo it.
NSW Health recommends that you should have no more than 200mg of caffeine per day when you are pregnant. This is about what you’d get in one cup of brewed or espresso coffee, two mugs of instant coffee (100mg each), four cups of tea, or five cans of cola. To be on the safe side, you may prefer to cut down on caffeine or switch to decaffeinated drinks instead, particularly in the first trimester. If you are worried about your caffeine intake, talk to your midwife or doctor.
Other resources like Expecting 411 (one of my favorite books) states that 150-300mg of caffeine is allowed.
And just to let you know a Grande Starbucks Latte is 150 mg caffeine, so according to Expecting 411, you can have two of these per day.
What isn’t so explicitly stated is the amount of caffeine for your height / weight, how well you metabolize it, etc.
What am I doing? I have been limiting my caffeine to under about 50-100 mg per day. In the AM, I brew coffee from home that is 2/3 decaf coffee grounds and 1/3 caffeinated coffee grounds (resulting in 16oz of coffee). I know that I am also inadvertently getting bits of caffeine through the remainder of my day from chocolate or even a second decaf cup (NOTE! Decaf coffee still contains trace amounts of caffeine…up to ~10mg per cup brewed coffee).
I’m not a huge tea drinker, but the tea I do drink is decaf.
Every few weeks, I may order a Tall (small) Latte from Sbux or Peets that is caffeinated and oh boy do I feel it! I’m jumpin’ off the walls!
Switching to decaf was hard at first, but I think I love the taste of coffee more than I do the caffeine requirement, particularly in the morning.
And now that wine is no longer my focale point, decaf iced lattes have made a much bigger presence
Okay so if the coffee thing didn’t garner any surprises, maybe wine consumption will. I am only talking wine here because I’ve never been a beer drinker and rarely (pre-pregnancy) would order mixed drinks.
Though I didn’t start to enjoy wine until moving to California in 2002, I quickly came to love the wine tasting excursions, the flavor experiences, the food pairings, and relaxing with a glass every night.
As I mentioned in my how I got pregnant post, I wasn’t actively building my life around the process, therefore I was still drinking wine. For the first 4 weeks of my pregnancy, I drank wine on a nightly basis (1 glass about 5x’s per week). The weekend before finding out I was pregnant, my hubby and I shared our 2nd Anniversary and did a SF Staycation where we definitely splurged on the vino drinking (picture evidence!)
Obviously when I found out I was pregnant, I immediately blurted out to the nurse on the phone as well as my OBGYN (at my 5+ week 1st visit) what I had consumed. You know what both of them said? “Don’t worry about it one bit.” They didn’t freak out. They didn’t recommend a slew of future tests. They said this is extremely common and what’s done is done. While alcohol / wine are not recommended, it’s more common than not that people get pregnant because of some alcohol consumption (hehe). The worst thing you can do is stress about what is in the past and cannot change.
Consistent advice from my OBGYN, pregnancy books, and friends who are doctors all advise no alcohol (once you know you’re pregnant) in the first trimester as this is the time of critical organ and brain development.
Now the recommendations seem to vary a bit based on your source for the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. My OBGYN says no alcohol, most books will advise the same. When I talk to OBGYNs and other doctors that are my friends or parents of friends, they share a different opinion. Every doctor that is not my own, has said some alcohol is okay in the later trimesters. That also varies, from up to 1 glass (of wine) per day to 1 glass per week. Some websites will also tell you that severe stress / anxiety is worse than having a half glass of wine at the end of a particularly tough work day.
Friends who have gone through pregnancy have also shared with me that they imbibed now and then. Some say they never had more than 1 glass in one sitting and some had a glass every night. All with healthy babies!
What am I doing? I have consumed wine during my pregnancy now that I’m in my 2nd trimester. Gasp! This is my choice and also my husband’s. I asked him his thoughts and opinions and we both agreed that ~ 1 glass per week fits with our beliefs. I break this up and have at most two ½ glasses per week and sometimes none at all. After the vino hiatus of the 1st trimester, I don’t miss wine as much as I used to. That being said, I still love the taste and enjoy toasting at a wedding or a special dinner party.
I will also let you know that my OBGYN is fully aware that I consume wine and how much. She is not concerned. Nor is another OB consultant I spoke with at length. In fact, when I told her, she said “you know we have to tell you that we recommend no alcohol” followed by a wink, wink.
Some may agree with my stance, some may not.
People may think, why would you risk anything at all? Well, there are so many factors that play into a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby. And also so many issues that are completely out of your control. Where do you draw the line? How do you not drive yourself nuts with all the rules?
If, god forbid, a baby is born with any health issues, a number of reasons could be the cause, but may never be unearthed. Was it the lunchmeat you had been eating and didn’t realize it could carry listeria? Was it the Bikram classes you went to because you didn’t know you were pregnant until much later? Was it the prescription medication you had to be on for your own health issues? Was it the unpasteurized cheese on the salad at a wedding you ate?
You just don’t know.
For me, I have been completely open with my doctor about all of my habits (eating, exercise, meds, moods, etc). She supports my healthy lifestyle and knows I am doing what’s best for me to keep a balanced sane healthy approach to my pregnancy.
Alright, your turn…what are your thoughts on the above?