Topic: Is the caffeine in soda safe during pregnancy?
Most studies suggest that moderate amounts of caffeine (less than 200 milligrams (mg) per day) won’t harm your pregnancy, but the research isn’t definitive.
That’s because while doctors have known for many, many yearsTrusted Source that caffeine crosses the placenta, its effects on your pregnancy and your growing baby are less clear.
Many studies on the association between caffeine and its risks, such as miscarriage, have been somewhat limited. Some had small sample sizes, while others had data that was subject to recall bias: Many subjects were interviewed about their habits (rather than observed).
Other research didn’t take into account other factors (aside from caffeine) that may have increased risk of miscarriage.
And bear in mind that “miscarriage” doesn’t have a standard definition in terms of how far along you are, though it’s usually considered to be a first trimester pregnancy loss.
The data has also sometimes been contradictory.
For example, one fairly large 2008 studyTrusted Source didn’t find any association between caffeine consumption and miscarriage, no matter how much was consumed.
But another that same yearTrusted Source did find an increased risk of miscarriage with higher levels of caffeine consumption when pregnant people had 200 mg per day or more.
Meanwhile, several studiesTrusted Source that examined the relationship between caffeine intake and preterm birth, including one in 2007Trusted Source, didn’t find that moderate caffeine intake raised the risk of preterm birth.
Plus, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), there’s no conclusive evidence that caffeine decreases uterine blood flow, fetal oxygen amounts, or birth weightTrusted Source.
That’s why the ACOG’s current guidelines for pregnant people states that they can have a moderate amount of caffeine, as long as it’s 200 mg or less per day.
For context, a 12-ounce can of coke has about 35 mg of caffeine and a 12-ounce can of Mountain Dew has about 54 mg.
However, it’s important to acknowledge that research is ongoing and the ACOG’s guidelines could change.
For example, in August 2020, some experts called for a change after a new analysis of existing research found that any caffeine consumption could raise the risk of negative pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, or childhood acute leukemia.
But do keep in mind that literature reviews aren’t the strongest sources of data to draw conclusions from.
So, at the end of the day, it’s up to you if you want to drink caffeinated soda during your pregnancy.
Some people prefer to play it extra cautious and skip coffee and soda. But if you want to indulge once in a while in small amounts, it’s likely not going to harm your pregnancy.
Just make sure to keep your total caffeine intake to less than 200 mg — and don’t forget to count all sources, like green tea, chocolate, and coffee.
Topic Discussed: Is the caffeine in soda safe during pregnancy?