Caffeine is a stimulant commonly found in coffees, teas, chocolate and a variety of sodas. It is popular because it can temporarily increase your energy, but it is important to realize that it can also negatively affect your ability to become pregnant, maintain a pregnancy or develop a healthy baby.
According to the American Pregnancy Association (2013), reasonable amounts of caffeine appear to be harmless during early pregnancy, but consuming caffeine-related drinks and foods can increase your risk of a miscarriage or accelerate your growing baby’s heart rate. If you are two weeks pregnant, limit or avoid caffeine. If you find it too difficult to give up all caffeine-related products, ask your obstetrician how much caffeine you can safely consume during early pregnancy.
The following information can help you decide whether or not to drink coffee during your 2nd week of pregnancy:
- The Early Stages of Pregnancy
Although some obstetricians do not consider a woman pregnant until she is at least 4 weeks pregnant, the second week of pregnancy typically refers to a really early pregnancy. You may not be able to detect your pregnancy on a home pregnancy test or a urine or blood pregnancy test from a doctor’s office, but that does not mean that you did not conceive.
At two weeks pregnant, your egg has been fertilized by a sperm, implanted in your uterine lining and began to rapidly develop into a zygote, blastocyst and embryo. Your second to fourth weeks of pregnancy are the most important weeks because your embryo develops at a really rapid pace. It is also a time when the most miscarriages occur.
- Caffeine Consumption
Caffeine stimulates your body’s natural “fight or flight” reaction. In addition, consuming caffeine not only temporarily increases your brain activity, boosts your energy levels and causes you to be more alert; it also temporarily increases your heart rate, speeds up the flow of blood through your blood vessels and arteries and elevates your blood pressure (which is not recommended in pregnant women) (Murkoff and Mazel, 2008). Moreover, caffeine can cause anxiety, frequent urination, agitation and irregular sleep patterns.
Furthermore, caffeine has the ability to enter the placenta. In other words, caffeine has the ability to pass from you to your growing baby. Consuming large amounts of caffeine can increase your risk of having a miscarriage so if possible it is best to avoid caffeine all-together. If this is not possible, limit your caffeine consumption to 200 mg daily (the maximum is 300 mg daily) and check with your obstetrician.
- Pre-Conception Considerations
It is recommended that you either limit or reduce your consumption of caffeine because it can reduce your ability to get pregnant. If you consume 300 mg or more of caffeine daily, you have a lower chance of becoming pregnant than a woman who does not drink caffeine or who only drinks it in moderation.
It is important to note that even if you only drink low-to-moderate amounts of caffeine you have slightly lower chance of getting pregnant than a woman who does not consume caffeine at all. It is important to limit or avoid caffeine if you are trying to get pregnant.
- Post-Conception Considerations (Two weeks pregnant)
During the second week of pregnancy, your fertilized egg divides and multiples, travels to your uterus through a fallopian tube and implants in your uterine lining. This is one of the most critical periods of early pregnancy because of the risk that your fertilized egg with fail to properly implant into your uterine lining, causing an early miscarriage.
It is important to note that you have a high risk of an early miscarriage, if you consume large amounts of caffeine (over 300 mg daily). According to Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz, physicians, caffeine also increases your risk of birth defects and pregnancy and delivery complications (low fetal birth weight and/or premature delivery).
American Pregnancy Association. (2013). Caffeine. Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/caffeine-2.html
Murkoff, H. & Mazel, S. (2008). What to expect when you’re expecting (4TH ed.). New York, NY: Workman Publishing Company.
Roizen, M. & Oz, M. (2009). You: Having a baby. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.