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Caffeine and Pregnancy- interview with Dr. Castles

In: Uncategorized

6 Apr 2011

Since caffeine in pregnancy is such a hot and controversial topic, I decided to continue this post from last day. I gave many tips on how to make a healthier coffee if you NEED it.

Now it’s time to talk about The Good / The Bad and The Ugly of caffeine. How does this affect your health? I met with Dr. Jennifer Castle (ND) to pick her brain on this subject. To get a full pregnancy nutrition guide with meal options from Dr. Castles sign up for a free pregnancy fitness newsletter at the top of my blog.

Interview with Dr. Castle(ND)

BBF– Hi Dr. Castle

Dr.C- Please call me Jen

BBF– As you may have seen I did a small post regarding caffeine limits and coffee for my readers last week. What is suggested for main stream pregnancy nutrition is ok, but not ideal. I am here to pick your brain about this subject to take this to a higher, more informed level for our readers today.
So Jen lets start with The Good about caffeine or coffee.

Dr.C– Well Jacqueline, coffee is a great help with constipation, a regular symptom of pregnancy.

BBF-Yes as progesterone and relaxin are release they relax all smooth muscle in the body, not just the uterus so intestinal mobility is greatly reduced. Ok, lets move to The Bad about caffeine in pregnancy.

Dr.C-First of all if you don’t need your morning Joe- DON’T HAVE IT at all. If you do need something you can try replacing coffee with Green Tea. Then if you need your coffee stay within the suggested guidelines and use some of your brewing tips from last days post.

BBF-Wow, wasn’t expecting that, as mainstream guidelines indicate 400mg daily are safe. I noticed your nutritional pregnancy download (available when you sign up for the newsletter) you suggest 300mg of caffeine is acceptable.

Dr.C.- Yes acceptable, not optimal. Caffeine is dehydrating, that can contribute to further pregnancy related constipation and muscle cramps. Coffee is also an ACID food, we all know our immune system and body functions better in a slightly alkaline environment. On this thought coffee is a lower esophageal sphincter relaxor, that can exacerbate pregnancy related heart burn.

BBF– So heartburn from smooth muscle relaxation and pressure of the growing baby is made worse by coffee because of it’s acidity and ability to further relax the lower esophageal sphincter. Let’s get to The Ugly of caffeine.

Dr.C-There are many studies that support caffeine during pregnancy is safe, but there are also studies supporting caffeine during pregnancy can contribute to miscarriage. If you have a risky history, just stay away from coffee altogether.

BBF-Caffeine also interferes with Iron and Calcium absorption which can contribute to anemia and muscle cramps as well. Jen thanks for approaching some of these difficult subjects so readers can make an informed decision on what they are comfortable with regarding caffeine and pregnancy. Again refer to last days post for ways to make the healthiest cup of coffee you can during your pregnancy.
Oh yah, one more thought on that, if brewing drip coffee make sure your coffee filter is GREEN, and doesn’t contain chlorine and other chemicals. Get a basket filter if you can.

Dr. Castle is available for consultations in person at The Urban Athlete in Toronto (416-481-8880) or email/phone consultations if you live out of area. She can reached via email to set up appointments at

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