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Oh dear! mucked up when it comes to caffeine and food. Pretty anxious now.

(26 Posts)
Thingiebob Sat 12-Sep-09 19:38:22

For some reason I was under the impression that you can have about 4/5 cups of normal tea a day when pregnant and half that for strong coffee.

In the first three months I went off coffee and chocolate and was careful to drink decaf tea but in the last month or so (am 23 weeks) I've fancied filter coffee again. I've lost track of caffeine intake over the last month. I was reading the Boots Parenting Club info today and was horrified to discover that they recommend only 2 cups of tea a day!

I've been glugging at least four cups of tea a day now as well as the odd cup of filter coffee in the morning, not to mention eating at least some chocolate each day and sometimes I have hot choc before I go to bed. I've been trying not to consume all these caffeinated substances in one day, e.g not having hot choc at night as well as eating chocolate during the day and dropping a cup of tea if I have coffee in the morning. I also substituted with Green tea but have now discovered that this also has caffiene in it!

So for example yesterday I had
1 small cup of strong filter coffee
3 cups of tea
A kit-kat
1 cup of green tea

This is too much, isn't it...?

I feel really silly and am now genuinely concerned especially as someone said to me the other day that it can make your baby move around a lot. In the last week my baby has gone from tiny little movements to big rolls and shifts and there doesn't seem to be much resting either. Any correlation?

I've been careful to avoid unpasteurised dairy products and uncooked/rare meats. I've avoided soft ice-cream, sushi and I don't smoke or drink. I have, however, been happily shoving down salads, prepacked sandwiches, peanut butter and chinese food but discovered that I should be avoiding these food stuffs. Also had some horrified faces from friends about this. I've gone from feeling quite relaxed about this issue to feeling like a tit now.

Should I change my diet, and am I a dangerous caffeine junkie??

I'm not even going to discuss the medication I take for some long term health problems.

YouLukaSimplyAmazing Sat 12-Sep-09 19:41:38

If you want to cut down on your caffeine intake because it is worrying you then do so.
Do not worry that you have been doing any harm up until now though smile

alwayslookingforanswers Sat 12-Sep-09 19:43:13

Don't panic - I was 5 months pregnant before I discovered that drinking too much caffeine was bad.

Up until then the only thing I'd been drinking was black coffee, I had nothing else to drink other than coffee and coke for the entire first 4 months.

DS1 is sat on the chair now nearly 9yrs old and perfctly normal (well as normal as nearly 9yr olds can ever be expected to be grin).

And when I was just over 4 months pregnant I gorged on pate and soft cheeses = things I'd not had access to for 2 1/2yrs.

I also had lots of coffee (not strong black though) and chocolate during DS3's pg.

QTPie Sat 12-Sep-09 19:56:36

Personally I would suggest cutting down on the caffeine a bit... just because it is quite a stimulant... and maybe a hyper-stimulated baby is not what you want to have (especially at midnight, 1am, 2am, 3am, 4am... etc ;-) ).

As for food, well you have to draw a line somewhere: I have been eating salads and pre-packed sandwiches (only good stuff - avoid service station rubbish). Peanut butter is only really an issue if you have allergies (if you don't then it shouldn't be). Chinese food, well it is MSG that you have to be careful of overloading on (and you can always ask Chinese restaurants to leave that ingredient out). I am lucky, husband is Chinese... so my theory is that Chinese food every so often can't be THAT bad for a half-Chinese baby! ;-)

No-one can undo what they have already done, so don't sweat it: just live for the future. PLUS you have to decide what risks you are comfortable with (some people still drink alcohol in severe moderation, some eat runny eggs, some eat sushi, some eat the occassional bit of pate...).


funtimewincies Sat 12-Sep-09 20:06:42

I'd echo YouLuka on the caffeine thing and the important word in the OP's post is 'recommend'. No-one is going to come after you with a big stick or is spraying graffiti on your door for having sushi occasionally because these are guidelineshmm.

On the issue of which foods you 'shouldn't' have, I get really annoyed with friends butting in and the whole issue of heresay. It's a case of using your common sense. What on earth are you to eat for 9 months if you listen to every bit of 'they say that you're not allowed this' gossip?

This link is quite good for some sensible answers to common questions about food safety in pregnancy. Enjoy your pregnancy and hope you get that relaxed feeling back again.

LadyMetroland Sat 12-Sep-09 20:08:33

you're worrying FAR too much

Caffeine is fine - govt guidelines here

Agree that you should do what you feel comfortable with, but really, avoiding salads and sandwiches??? And peanut butter? People get WAY too caught up in all this food avoidance stuff imo

trellism Sun 13-Sep-09 14:12:43


MSG is in loads of foods, including tomatoes and (gasp) breast milk. It's fine and it's never occurred to me to avoid it.

Don't worry about the caffeine. I have 3 teas a day and 1 decaff coffee (I make sure it's decaffeinated with dihydrogen monoxide) a day and as much chocolate as I need.

Pyrocanthus Sun 13-Sep-09 14:40:42

Salads and sandwiches - I think that's about avoidance of listeria, as with pate and unpasteurised cheese, so either you've gone down with it by now or you haven't. I nervously avoided these foods while pregnant, but the risks are tiny (how many times have you had food poisoning from a salad?). You might as well avoid them now, because it's an easy thing to do, but don't worry about what you've already had.

Peanut butter - it's still not known whether it's better to avoid peanuts or have lots as far as avoiding allergies in children is concerned. Probably best to avoid if you or the baby's dad are allergy-prone.

Your baby might just be getting bigger and more vigorous. It'll be moving furniture round in there in due course.

Medication - doctor's job.

Moderation in all things, don't panic.

I think my DD2 was born addicted to chocolate though. wink

Bondwife Sun 13-Sep-09 15:12:53

Ok I thought I had been good too - what is the problem with Chinese food, because I cant get enough of it at the moment? and can I eat wensleydale cheese or prawns?

trellism Sun 13-Sep-09 15:31:44

I've never heard the Chinese food thing before, sounds like bunkum to me. I think Chinese women manage just fine on it.

Prawns I think are OK as long as they're thoroughly cooked and you have them hot. I used to love them but I haven't been able to touch them since I got pg, possibly because DH won't touch prawns with a bargepole and sprog is taking after him.

Wensleydale cheese is fine because it's pasteurised. Sashimi I eat, although I do avoid tuna for now.

Don't tie yourself up in knots about it. Common sense (which I usually don't rate) counts for a lot here.

colditz Sun 13-Sep-09 15:44:13


In my non medical opinion.

But really! "It can make your baby move around a lot!"???

Oh shit, no, a living creature whose habits vary! grin

Sometimes babies move a lot. SOmetimes they don't. You haven't done anything that the vast majority of women have been doing up until about 4 years ago.

As for Chinese food - what racist advice! can Chinese people not cook, then? Are all Chinese women endangering their babies by not sticking to government prescribed organicchicken and grated carrot sandwiches on brown Hovis?

Thingiebob Sun 13-Sep-09 16:32:11

Colditz - I was told that too much caffeine can make your baby move around a lot. This is not something I took seriously until I became anxious about the levels I was consuming and in my panic it came back to me. I thought I would find out if there was some truth in the matter.

As for the eating Chinese food - I think the advice was more to do with levels of sodium and MSG in Chinese takeaway food.
Your average Chinese takeway menu and the manner in which it is prepared is really not representative of the daily diet of billions of Chinese people.

colditz Sun 13-Sep-09 16:43:02

no, but who eats chinese takeaway daily?

That's my point. Our government bars things as if we were all living on Liver Smoothies with chicken chow mein, with a raw prawn and brie salad on the side, with home made mayo for dipping. Every meal of every day. ANYONE would say "Don't do that!" - but spread throughout an entire pregnancy, statistically how much damage would be caused? It'snot statistically significant!

Thingiebob Sun 13-Sep-09 16:48:40

Well I'm happy to avoid anything unpasteurised and rare/undercooked meats mainly because I've had food poisoning from these items in the past so in my experience there is a real risk there.

Everything else is on the menu.

It was mainly the caffeine that concerned me.

Pyrocanthus Sun 13-Sep-09 17:40:53

The government hasn't barred anything, it's what people do with the info. provided that causes scares. When I was first pregnant, the advice about not taking too much vitamin A was interpreted by some on internet forums as 'carrots will damage your baby'. There's no harm in knowing that there are potential hazards in things; it's a matter of being realistic about the risk.

Thingiebob- your caffeine intake doesn't look that reckless to me - I think you'd have to be glugging the espressos or be a bit sensitive to caffeine to make your baby hyper. But if you do cut back and your baby settles down, it might suggest (but not prove!) something.

Don't feel silly, don't worry.

Thingiebob Sun 13-Sep-09 19:08:43

Thanks everyone!

FlightofFancy Mon 14-Sep-09 13:21:35

Little bit late to this, but sushi is absolutely fine (according to the FSA, whose opinion on these things is about as trust-worthy as you're going to get).
I've really enjoyed sitting at work having my sushi lunch to the faces of shocked colleagues, then sending them that link... small things!

nothingbyhalves Mon 14-Sep-09 13:32:45

Stressing will do more damage. I'm only 14 weeks and have already decided I'm doing the best I can, and i'm not going to get too caught up in the food stress that i've seen lots of friends sink into. I was told by a friend that I couldn't have ice cream as i tucked into one. I think walls pasterise milk! It does make me wounder how my mother gave birth to 2 healthy girls when she didn't have all this advice! Chill out.wink

Morloth Mon 14-Sep-09 13:40:15

Sounds fine, don't stress out. If you are really worried maybe switch your 3 cups of tea a day to decaff, problem solved.

I ignore most of the advice, eat/drink what I like (in moderation), the same as when I am not pregnant.

DS was born a hale and hearty thing and everything seems to be progressing just fine with this one as well.

Bicesterbird Mon 14-Sep-09 13:44:15

I don't even like tea, but I am drinking loads of it this pregnancy! Don't stress about it - stress is far worse for baby than caffeine!!!

Your body will tell you what it needs - that's why people get cravings - and why people are less likely to eat plaster or tarmac (I exaggerate!) now we all tend to have healthier diets and an extensive food/nutrient range when pregnant.

I ate peanut butter like it was going out of date last time and my son is absolutely fine with peanuts now even thoguh I had childhood asthma and both my husband and I get hayfever allergies.

If you want a cup of tea then just have one. As long as you are not necking back vodka red bull it is not much to worry about

LadyStealthPolarBear Mon 14-Sep-09 13:50:26

I thought the caffeine thing was to do with a slightly higher risk of miscarriage in the first trimester??

nothingbyhalves Mon 14-Sep-09 16:54:25

check out
This should help, but don't panic if you have gone a little overboard on the caffine. You can't undrink it!

funtimewincies Mon 14-Sep-09 19:18:21

I never drink coke except when pregnant. My caffeine intake has gone up rather than down grin!

Jools78 Tue 15-Sep-09 13:09:51

I ate prawns in my first pregnancy like they were going out of fashion. I didn't realise you weren't supposed to. As I don't eat meat, I found them a really important source of protein and all things good.

I drank a strong coffee a day until 20 weeks and then swapped to decaf lattes. They taste almost as good!

amyboo Tue 15-Sep-09 14:12:19

My French pregnancy book (I'm in Belgium) recommends no more than 5 cups of espresso a day grin so I don't think you've got anything to worry about...

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