For expectant women, even a cup of coffee can become scary. With all the varying and even conflicting opinions out there, it’s confusing to know what’s true or false. This article lays down the facts and clarifies the coffee controversy once and for all.

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Caffeine, not just coffee, may cause premature labor or miscarriage: Several studies and articles have been published, each having experiments to back up their claims. In almost all of the published studies, caffeine was a popular culprit behind premature labor and birth, as well as increased risk of miscarriage. Have you suffered a miscarriage in the past? Click here to find out how to cope.

A fetus cannot handle the high doses of caffeine: It isn’t just coffee. Other sources of caffeine include:

  • Tea
  • Chocolate
  • Sports drinks
  • Some pain medications
  • Some skin care products

According to an article published by the March of Dimes, caffeine is a substance that can easily pass through the placenta and on to the fetus. Toxin-eliminating processes are not yet fully functional in a fetus, so when caffeine is absorbed, it remains in concentrated levels within the unborn baby’s body for a longer period, putting the pregnancy in danger.

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Not to worry, a little coffee is OK! Expectant mothers will be glad to know that they can still enjoy a little coffee during their pregnancy. According to a recent statement made by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, one cup of coffee may not be enough to increase danger risks in pregnant women. Dr. William Barth, the head of the Committee responsible for reviewing relevant evidence of this new finding, expressed that at this time he can say with confidence that feels one cup of coffee is fine.

How big of a cup though? Recent studies have shown that moderate consumption (about 12 ounces of coffee), is not a significant amount of put a woman and her baby at risk for a miscarriage or premature birth. Moderate consumption of caffeine may also be in the form of drinking four cups of tea (8 ounces each), consuming about 6 to 7 chocolate bars, or more than 5 cans of soda (12 oz), although everyone, especially pregnant mothers, should avoid consuming too much sugar.

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The Scientific Basis for these guidelines: Two recent studies came into play with these guidelines. The first study was conducted at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in NY and initiated by Dr. David Savitsz. His study found that there was no increase in miscarriage risks in women who had low to high intake levels of caffeine throughout their gestation.

The second study was conducted by a team led by Dr. De-Kun Li in Oakland’s Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research. Dr. Li’s group found that women who consumed less than 200 mg of caffeine daily had no risks, but those who had more than 200mg of daily caffeine consumption had a higher risk of spontaneous abortion. According to the committee that reviewed these two studies, other similar researches also proved that moderate intake did not increase a woman’s likelihood of delivering her baby prematurely. Dr. Savits also cleared the air about caffeine’s placenta-crossing ability, saying that unlike many drugs, caffeine is not inert, so it is not likely to cause miscarriage or preterm labor when consumed in moderate amounts.

Go ahead—enjoy that coffee! With different opinions from doctors and various agencies, women feel less empowered to make the right choices for the good of their unborn child. These updated guidelines can serve as a guide for health care providers as well as concerned mothers who can finally sit back, relax and enjoy their cup of coffee. Want more info on the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy? Click here.