Being pregnant

Caffeine caution

What you need to know about caffeinated drinks

By Ellen Desjardins, MHSc, RD, Public Health Nutritionist
Caffeine caution

Pregnant women should have no more that 300 milligrams of caffeine per day, according to Health Canada's new recommendations. Recent research has associated a consistently high intake of caffeine during the first trimester with a slightly greater risk of miscarriage. So savour that morning cup of coffee if you like, but consider leaving it at that for the rest of the day. This is especially true if that coffee is a “grande” size, which is twice the volume of a regular cup. Caffeine goes straight through the placenta into the baby.

Be careful about consuming “energy drinks” too -— which are now widely available in tall cans with cool names. Before you down one, ask yourself why they might have the power to zap you out of the doldrums. Energy drinks usually contain sugar and caffeine, plus various other ingredients with unknown effects, including herbs such as guarana or yerba mate, which act like caffeine. You will not see caffeine on the list of ingredients unless it's added in pure form. Your artificial energy high will likely be followed by an even greater energy low.

There are healthier ways to boost your energy level: eat whole-grain carbohydrates at meals and snacks. These carbs digest slowly and feed your muscles and your brain. Daily exercise, like brisk walking, helps enormously. As for true fatigue, don't fight it: Take a nap and feel your energy return!

Drink size matters!

Drink (Approx. caffeine content (mg))
BREWED COFFEE grande, large or 16 oz
tall, medium or 12 oz
regular or 8 oz
135 ENERGY DRINKS 16 oz monster can
11.9 oz can
8.3 oz can 160

TEA 8 oz 42 COLA DRINKS 1 can or 355 mL or 12 oz 42

This article was originally published on Jul 19, 2006

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